Posts Tagged ‘paper maché’

Christmas Character models

I couldn’t resist doing a little festive project this year. So, using balloons as our armatures, the students created their very own Christmas character paper maché model. The children decided for themselves what type of character they wanted to make and I was pleasantly surprised by the variety we had. Santa (of course), reindeer, snowmen, Christmas bunnies, Christmas puddings and Christmas penguins!

The balloons were paper machéd until they were quite solid (we did around four layers of newspaper and used child friendly paste glue with PVA mixed in), then painted them with poster and acrylic paint. The finishing touches of making scarves and Santa hats really brought their cheeky characters out. The students thoroughly enjoyed this project and all the models were finished in time to take home to put on display.

So, all I need to do is wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year x


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How to construct a Minion


I just couldn’t resist making Minions when I caught a glimpse of one on Pinterest by mollymoocrafts.com

Using toilet roll card cylinders, paper maché, newspaper, card, wool and acrylic paint, you too can make a Minion.

Firstly we rolled up half a sheet of newspaper into a ball, then placed that in the centre of the other half of the newsprint and smoothed the paper over the ball, then scrunching the paper tightly at the base of the ball to create a lollipop shape. The paper ball was inserted into the card toilet roll cylinder and pushed so that it poked through the end to create a dome shape, this was taped in position (this makes the body/head).


A layer of paper maché was added to the body/head. When this was dry, we gave it a quick undercoat of white paint to cover the newsprint. Once dry the body/head was painted yellow.

To make the arms we rolled up a sheet of newsprint tightly then rolled it in another sheet. Masking tape was wound around this to secure the paper. The ends were cut at an angle.  Tape was added to the ends where the hands are painted. Some children wanted bent arms, and for this we inserted a short piece of wire into the rolled up newspaper, the arms were bent into shape at the elbow. The arms were painted yellow, with black tips for the hands. We used PVA glue to stick the arms onto the body.

How to construct a Minion

Make the arms from newspaper & masking tape

For the goggle we used a piece of cardboard cut into a circle, with a hole cut out in the centre (we drew around the circumference of the googly eye to get the correct size). The black goggle strap can be painted on or a piece of black paper can be glued around the head.

Drawing the Minion’s expression and clothes are the really exciting bit, we drew these in pencil, then painted with acrylic paint.

Lastly, hair was glued into position and details, like stitiching on the dungarees, were added with a Sharpie pen.

We carried on this project by designing Minion homes, what a blast! The best bit was, the children took their Minion characters home and played with them, some children even went on to make more Minion friends.





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Kids Maori art

Enjoying my work

This project has been quite a long one, but there has been many aspects and processes to it. Above all it has taught the children patience ….step by step they have seen their designs develop into these amazing masks. Children from the ages of 5-11 years participated in this project and I am very proud of all of them and their work.

We started off discussing about Maori culture and I showed the children some pictures of Maori people and their houses, boats and jewellery etc. Art has always been an important part of Maori culture and this can be seen on many of their posessions.

Kowhaiwhai are beautiful patterns that look like painted scroll designs. The Koru is the most basic shape of the Kowhaiwhai. Koru is the Maori word for loop and its shape is based on the new unfurling frond of a fern. The shape symbolises new life, regeneration, growth, strength and peace.

So, we started off drawing the Koru shape, to help the younger children I created a template that they could draw over until they felt confident to go it alone. Once we had the idea the children created a Koru inspired picture using oil pastels. This particular drawing activity was inspired by the one on Kinderart.

Now, on to the masks. I bought some plastic white masks from Baker Ross. I cut large circles of card and used pizza base packaging big enough to leave room around the edge of the mask for drawing. The process is quite simple and is as follows:-

Centre the craft mask on the cardboard circle and secure with masking tape. Scrunch up some newspaper to form a forehead shape and tape in place (make sure it is secured on the inside of the mask too). Some children added cardboard cut-out feathers to their mask at this point.

Strips of newspaper were cut ready for the paper maché. Mix PVA glue with a drop of water or you can use Scola-Cel glue (please note that a couple of photos show the paper machéing being done with wheatpaste glue which I made as a try-out, it doesn’t work so well as it gets brittle when it dries).

Begin to cover the mask with paper strips dipped in the gluey solution. Make sure you cover the cardboard circle too and feather (if you have them), going over the edges and onto the back just a little. Once dry, paint with white acrylic paint (you can use poster paint too), we gave the masks two coats.

Now the children had to design their mask. I found that it was a good idea to photocopy a few shapes that I drew onto an A4 sheet of paper as a starting point. We talked about symmetry and how to reflect a shape so that the mask looked the same both sides.  I decided that the most practical way to demonstrate reflection was to use tracing paper. I got the children to practice on some plain paper first, They traced over a Koru shape with a pencil and then flipped the tracing over, placing it in the correct position, they then traced over it again. The first pencil mark pressed through to the paper, when the traced shape is flipped back again and traced in the correct position for a second time, the children can see how their design has been reflected.

Using a pencil the children began to draw their shapes onto the masks, most children used a mixture of traced shapes and freehand drawing. Once they were happy with their design they went over their pencil lines with a black sharpie.

The Maori patterns were painted in the traditional colours of red and black (there were a few children who couldn’t resist mixing the two colours, so some masks have a brownish tinge but hey, the children loved it and that’s what matters). Finally we added a hanging loop at the top of the mask.

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Paper maché bowls

This project is quite a long one, it has many different stages but is really worth while. Firstly I made a large amount of paper pulp (mixing torn up bits of paper with water and blending it to a fine mush). I did demonstrate to the children how to do this but since you need a food blender this was strictly adults work.

The work stations were set up with the paper-making equipment (vat of water, deckle, couching cloths & bowl for the armature).

The children made a sheet of paper which they moulded over the bowl. Once dried the children could decide whether to trim the edges down. The bowls were painted bright colours and influenced by Mexican bowl designs (well most of them!) A varnish of PVA glue was added for protection and 2 holes drilled either side at the top of the bowl with a Dremmel.

At this stage the children set aside the bowls to concentrate on making polymer clay beads. They learnt about making ‘canes’ with 3 different clay colours which were sliced thinly to cover a small ball of clay (we used Fimo). Holes were poked through the beads with a toothpick, onced baked, they were threaded onto the bowls and fixed in place with crimps (jewellery findings). Any left over beads were made into bracelets using stretchy jewellery elastic.

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paper maché jug

Here are a few more photos of jugs and vases created by young children in the Art Cabin. Information on how these were made can be found in earlier posts called ‘Clarice Cliff inspired vases’.

I would like to thank Ms Ale from Art lessons for kids whose ‘Greek Vase lessons’ got me inspired to do this project. Clarice Cliff designs are a favourite of mine and introducing the Art Cabin kids to her work through making vases of their own was a perfect project – I just couldn’t resist.

The vases have gone on display in the foyer of the school and are truly admired by the people who visit. The children are incredibly proud of their work and I’ve watched their confidence grow throughout this particular project – it’s priceless.

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paper maché crafts

At last we have a couple of completed jugs to show you. This project has taken quite a long time to complete, but I think the effort and dedication the children have shown it, has paid off.

These jugs were inspired by the ceramicist Clarice Cliff. They are made from paper maché and painted with acrylic and poster paints.

I will post some more photos up as soon as the other young artists finish painting theirs.

Paper maché crafts

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Clarice Cliff inspired vases

At last the painting has begun, much to the relief of the young artists who were struggling to come to terms with a project that is labour intensive.

The cries of “Not more paper maché-ing this week?” will no longer be heard. Mind you, there are very important lessons to be learned with an art project that takes time to complete, such as patience, coping with the repetitive nature of doing the same thing week after week (applying paper maché in this case) and learning that the hard slog will eventually bring it’s rewards (in this instance the vases & jugs are looking superb due to the care and attention taken in creating them).

I think I can safely say that once these vases are finished, they will take pride of place at home for a very long time and avoid being included in the ‘art cull’, that us parents have to do sadly every so often when our children are prolific art producers.

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