How to Make a Giant Papier-Mache Cow

Written by catelyn millette
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Papier-mache crafts are good for school projects or simply for entertaining children on cold or rainy days. Use old newspapers, empty paper towel rolls and beverage cartons to make a creation with your child. For a giant papier-mache cow, you'll need more materials, time and patience than you would for a typical papier-mache project, but the result will be well worth the effort.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Glue
  • Water
  • Two balloons
  • Empty wrapping paper or paper towel tube
  • Paint
  • Cardboard
  • String

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Tear the newspaper into strips and set aside. An inch or two is a good width, but they can vary a bit.

  2. 2

    Bend the chicken wire into a circular shape in the size you want for the cow's midsection. Use the wire cutters to trim the sheet of chicken wire if it is larger than desired. Secure the loose edges of the chicken wire together so it will hold its

    shape.

  3. 3

    Use more chicken wire to make a smaller cylinder for the cow's neck. Attach this cylinder to the body.

  4. 4

    Create four more chicken wire cylinders for legs. They should be smaller in diameter than the neck but longer. Attach these to the body as well.

  5. 5

    Create a paste from three parts white glue and one part water. If you're using higher-quality white glue, increase the water percentage a bit. The project is pretty big, so you'll need to make a large quantity. Start with two quarts of water and six quarts of glue. If you need more later, you can mix more.

  6. 6

    Begin covering your chicken wire skeleton with strips of newspaper that you've dipped into the paste. Make sure each strip of newspaper is covered in paste, but it doesn't have to be thickly coated. Lay the strips, overlapping each other, all over the skeleton of the cow, but leave open the end of the neck where you don't yet have a head attached.

  7. 7

    Continue adding strips until the structure is covered with three to four layers.

  8. 8

    Blow up two large balloons. Fit one into the opening of the neck to create the cow's head. Attach the other to its underside to create an udder, using tape to hold it in place temporarily.

  9. 9

    Cover both balloons with three to four layers of papier-mache. Make sure it extends to the places where the balloons attach to the main structure so it looks seamless when you're through.

  10. 10

    Attach an empty wrapping paper tube to the top of the cow's backside to form a tail. Cover this in papier-mache the same way you did the balloons.

  11. 11

    Wait for the cow to dry.

  12. 12

    Add finishing touches to your project. Paint the cow the appropriate colours for its breed; paint on eyes, a nose, a mouth and hooves. Cut out two ear-shaped pieces of cardboard and attach them to the cow's head, using more papier-mache to hold them in place, if you wish. Attach string to the end of the cow's tail for a more realistic appearance.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have white glue handy, you can make the papier-mache paste with one part flour to one part water.
  • You can papier-mache each section of the cow's body separately, if that makes the process easier, but the cow will hold together better if you ensure that the chicken wire frame is stable without the papier-mache covering.
  • Use caution when shaping the chicken wire so you don't cut yourself on the sharp edges.

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