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Paper mache is one of the most fun, versatile and impressive crafts around. It looks like it should be complicated, but if you’re asking yourself, ‘what do I need for paper mache?’ the answer is: not very much. All that’s needed to make homemade paper mache are a couple of items you’re likely to have lying around the house already, including some glue, water and strips of kitchen paper. Once you add in a kitchen paper tube and an empty tissue box, you’ve got the basis for your very own paper mache animals.
Let your kids use their imaginations to make whatever creatures they like with homemade paper mache. From unicorns and ponies to dragons and dinosaurs, there are so many options. Looking for a little inspiration? We’ll show you how to make paper mache animals step by step, using a crafty crocodile as our example. Follow our tutorial below and learn how to make paper mache animals the easy way.
We recommend that a responsible adult does the cutting when making paper mache animals, and kids take on on the art direction, painting and gluing.
How to make paper mache crocodile
Make our ferocious-yet-friendly paper mache crocodile using strong Plenty kitchen paper – simply use an empty tube as a base and build up layers of ‘skin’ with paper and glue. Give him some spikes and feet with a few strips of Plenty paper glued together, then paint green and add some wiggle eyes. Ready to discover exactly how to make paper mache crocs the easy way? Here we go.
Takes 24 hours (including drying time)
What you’ll need
- Kitchen paper tube
- Plenty The Extra Big One kitchen paper
- Scrap cardboard
- Sticky tape
- PVA glue
- Green paint
- Paint brush
- White pen
- Black pen
Before you get started with the shape, make the paper mache. Take two sheets of Plenty kitchen paper. Cover one with a thin layer of PVA glue and lay the other one on top, smoothing it down evenly. Spread another layer of glue over the top sheet. Fold it together lengthways with the glue on the inside to form one thick sheet of layered kitchen paper, then set aside to dry.
- Take the empty kitchen paper tube. At one end, use scissors to carefully make about eight cuts around the tube measuring 7cm long – this will form the head of the crocodile. Then make 10cm long cuts at the other end of the tube, which will be its tail.
- Twist to form pointed ends, and then wrap some sticky tape around to hold each in place.
- Now it’s time to learn how to make paper mache. Tear up some kitchen paper into strips. Pour some PVA glue into a bowl, add a few drops of water and mix. Homemade paper mache is as easy as that! Paint some of the sticky mixture onto the tube and apply the paper strips, covering the entire surface and any cracks. Add more layers, building up a textured, scaly skin – try to make the tail longer if possible. Leave to dry somewhere warm overnight.
- Scrunch up some paper into balls for the eyes and nostrils and stick them to the croc’s head.
- Cut some thin strips from the scrap cardboard and bend into a zigzag for the croc’s spiky back and tail. Next, draw and cut out four spiky feet.
- Glue the spikes to the crocodile’s back, and the feet under its body.
- Put the kids in charge of paining the crocodile green. The kids can wipe up any paint spillages with some moistened kitchen paper while you wait for it to dry.
- Finally, draw some eyeballs and zigzag teeth on the croc’s head with black and white pens.
Use a kitchen paper that is absorbent enough to soak up lots of glue, and strong enough to hold together when it’s wet, like Plenty The Extra Big One.
Now that you’ve learnt how to make paper mache animals step by step, there’s nothing stopping you from trying out different designs. All the family can get involved in cleaning up the gloopy mess while waiting for their mini masterpieces to dry. Get ready to create a whole menagerie of paper mache animals!