Sea monsters or owls, teddy bears or ponies, papier-mache is a fairly simple way to create practically any animal sculpture you can think of. It's a fun and messy process that's great fun for kids, but allows room for as much elaborate self-expression as an ambitious adult feels like delving into. If you are sculpting with kids, have other activities available for the stages when the sculpture is drying and be careful to supervise them around the wire cutters and pointy edges of the chicken wire.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Chicken wire
- Wire cutters
- Tempera paint
Create papier-mache mixture by combining one part flour with two parts water, mixing, and adding water or flour until the mixture reaches the consistency of pancake batter.
Create a rough model of the animal you want to sculpt out of chicken wire. Cut pieces of chicken wire, roll them into cylinders, then bend in the ends of each cylinder or warp its sides as necessary to create a head, body, legs, etc. Attach the pieces to one another firmly by twisting protruding wire ends to create the overall form.
Dip strips of newspaper into the papier-mache mixture until saturated and then lay them across the wire form. Continue to add wet paper strips until no more of the form is visible. Use the strips to fill in gaps and refine the shape of the animal.
Allow the sculpture to dry, then add another layer of newspaper strips dipped in papier-mache mixture.
Form the surface texture by wrinkling, folding or arranging the top layer of newspaper into ridges, waves or smooth surfaces.
Paint over the surface of the sculpture with a layer of papier-mache mixture, allow it to dry, then paint the sculpture with tempera paints.
Tips and warnings
- Supervise children while creating the chicken wire form to prevent them from poking or cutting themselves on the edges of the chicken wire. If young children are involved, you may want to tape cardboard shapes together instead of using chicken wire.
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