How to make a wire frame for a papier mache horse

When building papier mâché horses, you can't just layer the paper strips on top of one another and expect them to take shape. Instead, you need to make a wire frame to support the size, shape and contours of the horse sculpture as well as hold up the weight of the many wet strips of paper it takes to build a convincing model. Thankfully, moulding the wire frame only requires basic materials.

Lay out a sheet of craft paper on your work surface. Draw the shape of the horse on your paper with a marker or felt pen. Don't worry about details; draw a simple outline.

Starting at one point of the horse drawing, tape down the end of your wire to hold it in place. Trace the outline of the horse drawing with the wire. Use the edge of your wire clippers to help with sharp edges. Clip the wire when you reach where you started. Glue the two ends together with hot glue.

Stand the horse frame on the wood block. Nail down the wire feet with U-shaped nails, which are available from any hardware store, so the frame stands independently. Decide on the width of the body of the horse. Cut a piece of wire that is two times the width.

Glue one end of the cut wire to the middle spine of the body. Loop the wire all the way around, under the body and back to the spine. Glue the wire down then continue wrapping the wire and gluing until you have wires indicating the widest point of the head, neck and each of the four legs. You will now be ready to cover the frame with papier mâché.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft paper
  • Markers
  • Stiff but bendable wire or wire coat hanger
  • Tape
  • Wire clippers
  • Hot glue
  • Wood block
  • U-shaped nails
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About the Author

Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.