How to Make a 3-D Elephant

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are teaching children about the animals of Africa, you can make the lesson more interactive and exciting by providing the kids with a hands-on craft creating one of the animals you are discussing. For example, kids can construct a 3-D elephant using basic materials that can be purchased at any arts and crafts supply store, like paper mache pulp and acrylic paint. This allows the children to be more involved in learning about African animals.

Inflate a large and a small balloon. Knot both ends. Tape the small balloon onto the end of the large balloon using masking tape.

Bend a paper towel tube to make it curved and tape it onto the end of the small balloon using masking tape. This will be the 3-D elephant's trunk.

Tape four toilet paper tubes onto the bottom of the large balloon. These will be the 3-D elephant's legs.

Tape a paper plate on either side of the small balloon using masking tape. These will be the 3-D elephant's ears.

Combine 2 cups of paper mache pulp, 1/2 cup of white flour and 1/2 cup of table salt in a bowl. Mix in 3 cups of hot water and stir the mixture for 2 minutes. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Using scissors, cut the cotton gauze into strips that measure 2 inches wide and 6 inches long. Dip the strips into the paper mache mixture and drape the strips, one at a time, over the elephant structure. Cover the entire structure with four to six layers. Let the 3-D elephant dry for 4 hours.

Paint the 3-D paper mache elephant using acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry for 30 minutes. Paint a layer of clear acrylic glaze over the elephant, which will keep the paint from chipping. Allow the glaze to dry for 30 minutes before displaying the elephant.

Things You'll Need

  • Large balloon
  • Small balloon
  • Masking tape
  • 4 toilet paper tubes
  • Paper towel tube
  • 2 paper plates
  • Bowl
  • Paper mache pulp
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Cotton gauze
  • Scissors
  • Coloured acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear acrylic glaze
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