My Paper Mâché Projects

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Good Afternoon everyone, In my last post I wrote about how I lost 3 weeks of my life creating a dragon head for my company. I thought I’d follow up that post with some pictures of my dragon head along with the process. I think we all learn how to do paper mâché in art class at some point in our education. It’s a pretty simple art project, all you have to do is take some newspaper, tear it up, make glue, and then layer it on a base object. The basic glue is water, flour, and salt. Everyone has these ingredients in their pantry and if you don’t they are super cheap to buy.

The first time I did paper mâché out of school was with my mother. One summer while I was in elementary school we made paper mâché piggy banks! I have fond memories of doing crafts with my mother during summer breaks. Even though she was busy with work, she always made time to do things for me and because of that, I have some pretty special memories with her. I like to make paper mâché sculptures, but for a long time I didn’t have the inspiration or need to do it. Then last year my company had a World War 2 theme for Halloween and I decided to recreate two Curtis P-40 Warhawks! They turned out pretty good and I was proud of myself considering it had been over 5 years since I even did paper mâché.

This was also the first time that I was able to show my company that I have some craft skills. However, it kind of opened a can of worms, because now whenever we have an event going on they look to me to help with decorating. Which I love to do, but they didn’t ask me until they say my planes.

When the dragon boat races came around again, they asked if I could make a dragon head that someone could wear. Our team is the Hungarian Horntails and so we needed a dragon head. I said sure and with that, I sealed my fate for 3 weeks. Every day after work I would come home, work on the dragon head, and then go to sleep. It was actually a lot of fun, I had a reason and inspiration to be creative. My dragon head started off as a bunch of balloons that I had taped together to make the shape of the jaws. I made a lower jaw and an upper jaw.

step 1.jpg
Top and bottom jaw bases

I love making paper mâché because the bases always look nothing like what the final product will look like.

step 2.jpg
One layer of newspaper

After the first layer was put on it started to take shape. I put on about 4 layers of newspaper and then I put on a layer of cheesecloth. I needed the dragon head to be a little more sturdy than just a standard paper mâché sculpture. Adding a layer of cheesecloth between layers of newspaper adds more strength to the sculpture.

step 3.jpg
4 layers of newspaper and 1 layer of cheesecloth

Once the cheesecloth dried, which took 2 days instead of the standard half a day that it takes the newspaper to dry, I applied 2 more layers of newspaper. Then I applied one more layer of cheesecloth and newspaper on top of the cheesecloth. While I waited for that to dry, I created the eyes for the dragon.

eyes.jpg
Dragon Eyes

The dragon eyes are simply wooden balls I found at Hobby Lobby. I painted the base with metallic gold paint. After the paint dried I put a layer of Mod Podge super gloss to create the glossy finish. I cut holes in my dragons top jaw to insert the eyes. Using clay I created brow bones and horns. I popped the balloons and then I combined the top jaw and the bottom jaw.

step 4.jpg
Jaws connected with eyes and horns
step 5.jpg
Close up of the eye

The bottom jaw warped as the two jaws dried without the balloons. I had to perform jaw surgery on the dragon to get the jaw to look correct. Once the jaw surgery had been completed, I cut the hole for someone’s head and I painted it.

After the first layer of paint was dried, I put 3 more layers of paint and then a layer of Mod Podge to give him a glossy look. I finished right on time, the night before the races. And here is the final product!

finished.jpg
Final Dragon Head Look!

I’m very happy with how my dragon head turned out, and people were able to wear it comfortably. It’s not a masterpiece, but I am proud of it and with more practice, I should be able to create even better sculptures!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my projects and the process of my dragon head. I hope to post more pictures about different crafts I complete. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

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