Papier mache is commonly moulded around items such as balloons, to create simple models, such as papier mache planets. However, it can also be used to create far more advanced models, such as a wolf. Once you understand the basic technique, it can be applied to any papier mache model-making project. It can also be applied to any size project, from a small, 6 inch model to a realistic, life size model. Creating a papier mache wolf can be a fairly challenging project, but it illustrates how papier mache can be used to create fascinating pieces of art.
Decide what size you want your wolf to be. If you want a small model, draw a picture of a wolf on a piece of A4 paper. If you want a life size wolf, you will need to draw your picture on a large sheet of paper, or several smaller sheets taped together. This example uses measurements for a life-size model.
Copy your picture onto a sheet of plywood, drawing the legs and the body separately. Ensure when you draw the legs, you include the shoulder joints and the hip joints, so you can attach the legs to the side of the body, not the underneath. Use a table saw to cut out the shapes, then use the legs as a template to create two more, leaving you with a body, two front legs and two back legs.
Lay one front and one back leg onto the side of the body and draw around them so you know exactly where the legs are going to attach. Repeat on the other side.
Saw the 2-by-4 piece of wood into eight blocks, about 5 inches square. Glue the blocks together in pairs using carpenter's glue, leaving you with one double block for each leg. Glue these double blocks onto the body, within the area that the legs will be attached to. Glue the legs onto the blocks.
Scrunch newspaper into balls and glue these balls all over the wolf, using white glue. Fill in the areas where the wooden blocks hold the legs away from the body, and keep building the newspaper up to create a 3D effect. Cover the newspaper balls with masking tape, to give a more even surface on which to apply the papier mache.
Mix a papier mache paste using either half and half white glue and water or one part flour to one part water. Dip strips of newspaper into the paste and cover the wolf. Stop and observe the results every few minutes, so you know where to build the papier mache up a little more to create a realistic shape. Allow it to dry.
Paint your wolf.
For a smaller, desktop size model, use cardboard instead of plywood, and use small pieces of cardboard glued together instead of wooden blocks.
Tips and warnings
- For a smaller, desktop size model, use cardboard instead of plywood, and use small pieces of cardboard glued together instead of wooden blocks.