How to make a newspaper beanstalk

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are putting together scenery for a theatrical production, you can end up spending a lot of money on premade set accessories. This can increase the cost of the production beyond your budget. One solution is to make some of the set accessories yourself, using craft supplies. For example, you can make a beanstalk for a fairy tale play out of basic materials that can be found at any craft supply shop.

Cut a PVC pipe using a utility knife to make the pipe measure 2.4 m (8 feet) long.

Duct tape the pipe standing up vertically in the centre of a sheet of 90 by 90 cm (3 by 3 feet) plywood.

Duct tape the end of a 3.6 m (12 foot) long rope onto the bottom of the pipe, and wind the rope around the pipe until you reach the top. Duct tape the other end of the rope onto the top of the pipe.

Flatten and bend eight to 10 clothes hangers into curved shapes using your hands, and duct tape the hangers onto the pipe in various locations. These will be the branches of the beanstalk.

Cut out 12 to 20 leaves from craft foam sheets. Make each leaf measure approximately 15 cm (6 inches) wide by 30 cm (12 inches) long. Duct tape the leaves onto the clothes hanger branches.

Combine 500 g (4 cups) of flour, 317 g (2 cups) of cornflour and 546 g (2 cups) of table salt into a large bowl. Add 1.896 litres (8 cups) of water, and mix well with a spoon for 3 minutes. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes to thicken and congeal.

Cut newspaper into strips that each measure 10 cm (4 inches) wide by 30 cm (12 inches) long. Dip the strips into the papier mache mixture, one at a time, then drape each strip over the PVC beanstalk. Cover the beanstalk, branches and leaves with three layers of papier mache-covered newspaper strips. Apply the newspaper strips without allowing them to dry in between layers. Allow the covered beanstalk to dry for 6 hours.

Paint the beanstalk using acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry for 2 hours before using the paper beanstalk in your production.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC pipe
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Plywood
  • Rope
  • Clothes hangers
  • Craft foam sheets
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Flour
  • Cornflour
  • Salt
  • Spoon
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
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