Re-create the gorgeous landscape of the glorious Swiss Alps right in your own home. You can use paper mache to mould mountains with your own two hands. Making a model is an excellent project when studying geography and for anyone who wants to gaze upon places they've been or long to go.
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Materials and Supplies
Making paper mache mountain ranges requires a sturdy base, such as a wood board, a tray or a shallow cardboard box.
Another necessary component is something to create an armature -- a type of "skeleton" -- to build on. Because paper mache is wet and heavy, making an entire mountain would require so many layers that the inside would never properly dry and would be subject to mould. For a smaller model, aluminium foil will serve. For larger models, use chicken wire. Wrap your armature with paper packing tape to give it a smooth, paper surface to which the paper mache strips can adhere.
Additional supplies are the same as you'd need in any paper mache project: newspapers, paper mache paste, scissors, bowls, a dust sheet, acrylic paints, paint brushes and a clear acrylic sealer.
Making your own settings for your model train out of paper mache can save you money and give your train set-up a personalised, handcrafted touch. Measure your model train table and carefully calculate the size of your mountain model. Before you tape up your armature and begin applying the paper mache, put the foil or chicken wire skeleton onto your model set-up to ensure it will be the proper scale. If you are planning on carving a tunnel for your train to come through, create it in the armature first and give the train a test run before you begin the paper mache process. Once you begin the paper mache process, you may find that you cannot change the design later.
If the sight of the stunning Alps stirs something inside of you that makes you want to create a work of art for your home, but you're hesitating at the thought of finding a place for a mountain range, make a textured diorama in a shadowbox frame. Paint the inside wall of the frame sky blue, then begin moulding your foil armature to create 3-dimensional textured mountains that appear to be leaping off the background. Tape, paper mache and paint the mountains to finish the project, then hang it on your wall for display.
Geography students can create a miniature model of the Swiss Alps in an old pizza box. Use a topographical map as a reference and create small foil ranges, moulding them to shape them like the real Swiss Alps. Paper mache the entire inside bottom of the box. Make holes in the paper mache with toothpicks that you can use later to stand miniature flags in them that label the geographic landscape. Paint your map to match the topographical map you are using as a reference. Make your little flag labels and glue them to the top of the toothpicks, then reinsert the toothpicks in the holes you created earlier. You can glue reports or information on the inside top cover of the box. To bring it to class, just close the box and it's easy to transport.
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