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How to Make a Paper Mache Penguin

Paper Mache is an inexpensive way to decorate for birthday parties and other theme events. Your paper mache project can be an item that is used for casual decoration or intended for short-term use, such as a pinata. The entire project is simple enough for anyone to complete. Even a child, under the supervision or guidance of an adult, can create a paper mache project. Create a penguin for a themed party for a child who is entranced by penguins.

Shape your wire into the form of a penguin. Shape the head, wings and body separately. Shape the head like a ball, using a softball or playground ball as a model, depending upon the size of your penguin. The body should take on a more oval form and be proportional to the head. Form the wings by moulding the wire into two diamond shapes. Wire the head, body and wings together. Insert a paper clip in the top, tie a string to the paper clip and hang it so that it will be easy to work on.

Cut or tear newspaper into vertical 1-inch strips, approximately 2 inches wide, and set aside.

Prepare the paper mache mix by combining Elmer's glue and water in a 4 to 1 ratio. If desired, use a commercially-prepared mix. You will need to use a wide-mouthed bowl because you'll be using both hands while feeding long strips of newspaper into the mix.

Dip the strips of newspaper into the paper mache and allow the excess to drain. Grasp each strip with two fingers, and slide the index finger and middle finger of the other hand down the strip to remove excess.

Place strips on the surface of the penguin, taking care to smooth the edges of the newspaper. Continue until all surfaces of the penguin are completely covered. Repeat this step after the first layer dries in order to adequately cover the penguin.

Paint your masterpiece after the paper mache has completely dried. Paint the wings, back and head black, and the front white, following the colour pattern of your model.

Tip

If your paper mache penguin is to be a pinata, use balloons instead of wire. Once the paper mache is dry, cut a flap in the top of the head, pop the balloons and fill with candy.

Warning

If you are using white or light-shade paint, it might be necessary to put several coats to ensure that the newspaper print does not bleed through.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper Mache mix
  • Wide-mouthed bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Newspaper
  • Wire
  • Large paper clip
  • String
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Pencil
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About the Author

Katherine Bradley began writing in 2006. Her education and leadership articles have been published on Education.com, Montessori Leadership Online and the Georgia Educational Researcher. Bradley completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University in 2009.