How to Make a Kid's Papier-Mache Bird

Written by danielle paradis
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How to Make a Kid's Papier-Mache Bird
Use beads to decorate the papier-mache birds! (Bowl of beads and buttons - craft supplies image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com)

Papier-mache projects are great for kids--they enable them to be creative--and for the parents, they are very cost-effective. Most of the materials you need you can find around your house. The papier-mache paste has several different recipes, but the no-cook one is easy to make, requires very few ingredients and it is safe for children. You can create these lively birds for decoration or a school project. Have fun and don't be afraid to get your hands messy!

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups water
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Aluminium foil
  • 1 toilet paper roll
  • 1 small balloon
  • Tape
  • Shredded newspaper
  • 2 straws
  • Craft glue
  • Cardboard
  • Smooth napkin or brown paper towels
  • Acrylic paint
  • Feathers, markers, glitter seed beads (optional)
  • Fishing line or string

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Instructions

    No-Cook Paper Mache Paste

  1. 1

    Combine 1 cup flour with 2 cups water in a bowl.

  2. 2

    Mix flour and water until it forms a paste.

  3. 3

    Stir using a whisk until the mixture is smooth with a gluelike consistency. You can add more flour or water to achieve desired texture.

    Making a Papier-Mache Bird

  1. 1

    Construct the head with aluminium foil rolled into a ball and leave an end visible to be shaped into a beak. Make a point out of the end of the aluminium foil.

  2. 2

    Cut a toilet paper roll in half widthways to use as a neck.

  3. 3

    Inflate a small balloon to use as a body for the bird.

  4. 4

    Tape together the head, neck and body of the bird.

  5. 5

    Cover the base with a layer of shredded newspaper dipped in papier-mache mixture. Insert straws for legs. Glue straws in place. Use the shredded newspaper to mould around the legs.

  6. 6

    Allow the first layer to dry. Add two more layers of newspaper dipped in papier-mache to create a rigid structure.

  7. 7

    Create wings and tail feathers by using cardboard. For a more delicate look, tape feathers together for wings and tail feathers and attach a piece of cardboard for an anchor on the papier-mache structure. Glue pieces to structure.

  8. 8

    Use pieces of smooth paper napkin or brown paper towels dipped in papier-mache paste to create a smooth surface for painting. Leave to dry. It should take about an hour.

    Decorating the Bird

  1. 1

    Paint the bird whatever colour you choose. Use two layers of paint to hide the colour of the napkin or paper towel.

  2. 2

    Decorate the bird using markers, glitter, seed beads or whatever else you desire.

  3. 3

    Affix fishing line to the head with tape or around the neck to hang the papier-mache bird from the ceiling.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't like the smell of the papier-mache you can add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to the mixture.

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