Paper mache is fun and easy to make. You can recycle your old newspapers lying around the house and turn them into a great rainy day project. Here are instructions to make a simple paper mache puppet.
- Small round balloon (about 4 – 5 in diameter)
- Small plastic soda bottle
- Scotch tape
- Assorted tempura paints
- Assorted paintbrushes
Cover your work surface in newspapers. In a throw-away container with a wide mouth, mix in three parts water to one part flour. Stir this mixture until most of the lumps have disappeared. Tear (don’t cut) a large amount of newspaper into thin strips.
Blow up the balloon and tie off the knot. Cut the neck and bottom piece off the soda bottle to create a tube out of the bottle approximately 5 in length for the body. Roll two pieces of newspaper into thin tubes approximately 3 in length and secures with tape for the arms. Roll two pieces of newspaper into thin tubes approximately 5 in length for the legs and one tube 8 for the handle and tape securely.
Place the balloon on top of the plastic tube. Secure the balloon onto the top of the plastic tube with a bit of scotch tape. Secure the two 3 tubes for the arms and the two 5â€ť tubes for the puppet’s legs and secure the 8â€ť tube to the middle of the back of the puppet at a 45-degree angle for a handle.
Once you have the head, arms, legs, and handle attached securely to the plastic tube, begin wrapping the puppet with strips of newspaper, one strip at a time. Dip a strip of newspaper into the flour and water glue mixture. Get it wet but don’t saturate it. As you pull the paper from the glue mixture, run your fingers down the strip to pull off the excess glue. The jagged ends of the newspaper will disappear as you wrap the puppet. Wrap at least three layers of newspaper around the puppet, letting the paper dry thoroughly between each layer.
Once you have completely encased the puppet, you can begin to form the face. You can either make the face with a few pieces of newspaper secured for the nose, chin, and brow line or use a bit of modeling clay. Secure the clay onto the face to create the nose, chin, and eyebrows and then cover with another layer or two of paper.
Let the puppet dry for a few hours or overnight. Now you are ready to add features and clothes. Tempura paint will adhere nicely to the paper mache. Add colored yarn to the head of the puppet for hair. Just cut the yarn into long pieces and glue to the head. Paint on the face and clothes and you are ready for a puppet show.
Tips and tricks:
When creating the face on your puppet, consider exaggerating the size of the chin, nose and eyebrows so they really stand out for an extra dramatic effect.
Paper mache is not strictly for newspaper recycling. You can use any paper products you have including magazines, scrap paper, wall paper, or wrapping paper. Use the thinner paper for the inside layers and the heavier paper for the final outside layer. When the paper mache is completely, totally dry you can sandpaper the surface to get a clean, smooth surface.
If you want to really jazz up your puppet, go to the dime store and purchase a set of doll’s clothes to fit. You can actually dress up your puppet body to become any character you can find. Create a simple puppet stage with a large cardboard box. Decorate the outside to create the scenery, crouch behind the box and hold the puppet up to the audience by the handle secured to the back of the puppet.If you want