Mountain props are ideal for school play productions or for large-scale science dioramas. One method to make lightweight faux mountain props is to use chicken wire as the internal structure. Once a basic mountain is formed using lightweight and easy-to-shape chicken wire, paper mache is applied onto the exterior of the structure. After it dries, you can paint the mountain any colour you desire. This method creates mountains that can be moved for any project that needs them.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Chicken wire
- Wire cutters
- Chair or ladder
- 2-by-10-inch newspaper strips
- Brown, grey and green paints
Cut two pieces of chicken wire about 6-feet long with wire cutters. Bend the two cut ends together to form a triangle shape without a bottom. Cut two more pieces of 6-foot-long chicken wire to place in the areas without wire. You are trying to form a basic mountain shape with one peak.
Form the mountain into your desired shape. Leave the bottom underneath open. You may need to prop it up by placing the mountain structure over a tall chair or small ladder. This will help it stand straight as you shape the chicken wire. Add more pieces if necessary.
Add one part flour to one part water in your bucket. This will create the paper mache paste. Mix it together with your hands. You want an oatmeal consistency, so add more flour or water as needed.
Saturate your newspaper strips in the paper mache paste. Cover the entire chicken wire structure with your strips in one direction. Allow the structure to dry for 24 hours. Apply another layer of newspaper strips with paper mache paste, but place the strips in the opposite direction. You want to create a criss-cross pattern, which will make the paper mache stronger. Allow the structure to dry for 24 hours and then add one last layer of strips. Dry for another 24 hours.
Paint your mountain brown, grey and green using a paint brush. You want it to look realistic so place patches of green for grass on your mostly brown and grey mountain. Let the paint dry and add another coat if necessary. After it dries, remove the mountain from the chair or ladder.
Tips and warnings
- Save leftover paper mache paste in a covered container in your refrigerator. Stir before using again.
- Cut your strips of newspaper before you start your project. It will allow for easy application.
- If you do not need a human-sized mountain, you can build a smaller one using old cardboard boxes and masking tape. Then paper mache over it.
- Wear gloves while working with chicken wire to prevent cuts and scrapes.
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