6 Fantastic Papier Mâché Animals That Kids Can Make

Young child sat at a table with paint on their hand as they paint paper mache animals.
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Image © freepik, under a Creative Commons license.

Let's cut to the chase; getting imaginative with paper mache is an awful lot of fun.

If your children love creating creatures, our simple steps will show you how to make papier mache animals suitable for kids of any age. Be prepared; making paper mache sculptures can get rather messy but, let's be honest, that's part of the enjoyment!

Papier mâché originated in China, where it was used to make helmets over two thousand years ago. Commonly referred to as paper mache in the UK, the creative art form involves soaking paper strips in paste and then placing them over a base or mould. It’s really easy to make your own paper mache paste, or wallpaper paste is a great alternative. Once the paper mache sculpture is dry, it can be painted, decorated, and even finished with a coat of varnish. Making paper mache animals is a great way to channel energy and creativity, and will give your kids a real sense of achievement.

How To Make Paper Mache Paste

What You Need:

1 mug of plain flour.

1 mug of warm water.

Cold water.

Method:

1. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the warm water and mix until well combined.

3. Stir in cold water, a bit at a time, until you have a smooth paste.

How To Make Paper Mache Clay

What You Need:

Newspaper.

Warm water.

A few tablespoons of salt.

A few tablespoons of glue.

Method:

1. Tear the newspaper into tiny bits and put in a large bowl.

2. Add just enough warm water to cover the newspaper. Leave to soak overnight.

3. Use your hands to knead and mix the newspaper until it feels similar to oatmeal. Remove as many lumps as possible; you may need to add a little more water and leave it to soak for a bit longer.

4. Once the texture is smooth, add a few tablespoons of salt and mix with your hands.

5. Squeeze out any excess water and mix in a few tablespoons of glue.

6. You can either use the paper mache clay immediately or store it in an airtight bowl in the fridge for up to three days.

A large paper mache giraffe head with a blue sky in the background.
Image © Bru-nO, under a Creative Commons license.

Easy Dragon For Beginners

Ages: 3+

What You Need:

Bubble wrap.

Sellotape.

Newspaper.

Papier mache paste.

Paper mache clay.

PVA glue.

Paints.

Paintbrushes.

Googly eyes.

Anything else you want to use to decorate your dragon.

Method:

1. Shape the body of your dragon out of bubble wrap. Secure it with Sellotape.

2. Now, use bubble wrap to make a long thin tail, with a point at the end. Bend the tail and use Sellotape to keep it in place.

3. Next, make a head and neck shape. Don’t worry if your shapes aren’t perfect at this stage.

4. Use the bubble wrap to foam four dragon legs. Make them thick at the top, and then long and thin. Use Sellotape to put bends in them for the knees and feet.

5. Stick all the bits of your dragon together with Sellotape.

6. Cover your dragon with layers of paper mache until you are happy with the shape. Leave to dry.

7. Shape spines from paper mache clay. Wait for them to dry, then glue to your dragon’s back.

8. Paint, decorate, and stick on the wiggle eyes to bring your dragon to life.

Beautiful Butterfly

Ages: 3+ (with parental help).

What You Need:

Newspaper.

Sellotape.

Papier mache paste.

Cardboard.

Two pipe cleaners.

Glue pen or liquid glue.

Paints.

Paintbrushes.

Method:

1. Make the shape of the butterfly’s body by scrunching up a sheet of newspaper and securing it with Sellotape.

2. Dip newspaper strips in papier mache paste and use them to cover the butterfly body. Leave overnight to dry.

3. Cut butterfly wings out of cardboard and attach to the butterfly body with glue.

4. An adult must now use something sharp to make two holes at the top of the body for the pipe cleaners to fit in.

5. Put a drop of glue onto the ends of the pipe cleaners and slot into the holes to make the butterfly’s antennae. Hold in position for a couple of seconds until the glue dries, then curl the tops of the antennae.

6. Make your butterfly beautiful with paint. You could also use glitter, stickers, or other decoration.

Papier mâché animal heads hanging on a wall.
Image © izako77, under a Creative Commons license.

Paper Mache Animal Heads

Ages: 3+

What You Need:

Newspaper.

Masking tape.

Papier mache paste.

Cardboard.

Scissors.

Paints.

Paintbrushes.

Method:

1. Pick an animal! This method can be used for all paper mache animals. Heads of animals such as foxes, cats, and dogs are good ones to start with.

2. Use crumpled newspaper and masking tape to build the basic shape of your animal head.

3. Cover with a layer of paper mache and leave to dry.

4. Cut ears out of cardboard and use masking tape to attach them to the animal head.

5. Cover with more paper mache.

6. If you’re feeling adventurous once your paper mache animal head is completely dry, you can add in features of the face, such as eyes, eyebrows, or nostrils, using extra paper mache.

7. Then paint, decorate, and marvel at your creation!

Adorable Paper Mache Clay Dog

Ages: 8+

What You Need:

Newspaper.

Masking tape.

Papier mache paste.

Paper mache clay.

Cardboard.

Scissors.

Plastic bags.

Paints.

Paintbrushes.

Method:

1. Firstly, you need to create an armature pattern; this is a framework around which your model will be built. There are lots of armature patterns of dogs available to print, or you can hand draw your own.

2. Use the pattern to cut your armature out of cardboard.

3. Stuff crumpled up newspaper into plastic bags and attach to the armature with masking tape to create the 3D shape of your dog. You may need a bit of patience with this step, but it doesn’t need to be perfect.

4. Cover the armature in paper mache strips and leave to dry.

5. Now cover your dog in a layer of paper mache clay, then use the clay to sculpt the features of your dog.

6. Leave to dry, then paint and decorate your perfect pup.

Red paper mache fish hanging from a string.
Image © dab306, under a Creative Commons license.

Wonderful Wire And Paper Mache Cow

Ages: 9+ (with parental supervision).

What You Need:

Wire.

Wire cutters.

Newspaper.

Papier mache paste.

Paints.

Paintbrushes.

Method:

1. Bend a piece of wire into a U shape to create the two front legs, then repeat to make the back legs.

2. Cut two pieces of wire slightly longer than you want the length of the cow's body to be. Use them to join the legs together at either side; twist the wire around the legs to secure.

3. Use a piece of wire to secure the front legs together. Do the same with the back legs.

4. To make the cow’s neck, twist a piece of wire onto the top to the front legs.

5. Make a head shape out of a piece of wire and secure to the end of the neck.

6. Wrap small papier mache strips around the pieces of wires, so that only the wires are covered and the structure is still hollow. Leave to dry.

7. Wrap larger paper mache strips around the structure so that it is no longer hollow. Leave to dry.

8. Paint, and be proud of your hard work.

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Disclaimer

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