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How to make a dinosaur model with paper

Updated February 21, 2017

Children are naturally fascinated with dinosaurs. Making dinosaur models from papier mâché is a craft project which requires minimal materials. Papier mâché is a technique which has been around for centuries, using paper, which is torn and mixed with a glue solution, and then used to model anything from furniture to figurines. Before starting the project, decide which type of dinosaur you'd like to make and get a photograph from a book in the library or online, to use as your visual pattern.

Inflate a balloon. Select a balloon shape that best matches the body type of the dinosaur you are making.

Tear newspaper into narrow strips, about 15 cm long. You will need enough to cover the balloon three times.

Dip a strip into the liquid starch and remove the excess liquid by pulling between two fingers.

Lay the wet newspaper strip on the balloon and smooth down. Continue adding strips, in a crisscross pattern, until the entire balloon is covered. Allow to dry and then add two more layers, allowing the second layer to dry before adding the third. Refill the bowl with liquid starch as needed.

Allow the dinosaur body to thoroughly dry, before going to the next step.

Roll paper into short tubes, to make four legs for the dinosaur, then secure in place using masking tape.

Wet the legs with a little liquid starch and scrunch into the desired shape. This is simply the "frame" and eventually the entire figure will be covered in papier-mâché, so don't be over concerned about the unfinished appearance.

Add a tail and neck by fashioning paper into the desired shape and securing with masking tape, and dampening with liquid starch to shape.

Ball up a piece of newspaper, making it the desired size and shape of the dinosaur's head and tape into place.

Tape any necessary protrusions (cut from heavy paper) onto the dinosaur, until it is the desired shape for the frame of the dinosaur.

Tear newspaper into narrow strips. You will need enough to cover the dinosaur three times. Cover the entire figure with three layers of papier-mâché, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.

Paint the dinosaur after the papier-mâché is thoroughly dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Bowl of liquid starch
  • Masking tape
  • Heavy paper
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.