Paper Mache How To

In this Paper mache how to, I will give instructions with pictures to  make a creepy crawly scorpion.


Age: 10 and up with help

Difficulty: Medium 

Time scale: 4 out of 5 


paper-mache-how-to

Supplies: 

  • Newspaper strips
  • Paper mâché paste
  • Plastic containers
  • Medium gauge wire
  • Light gauge wire
  • Wire cutters 
  • sharp knife
  • Pliers 
  • scissors
  • Sharp knife
  • Tin foil
  • Glue gun/hot glue sticks 
  • paper towel or rag 
  • White glue
  • Masking tape
  • Cereal boxboard
  • Small paint brush
  • Paper
  • Dark yellow tissue paper
  • Craft paint in:

          Medium brown

          Black


Optional:

  • Glow paint
  • Blacklight flashlight


The scorpion is an interesting desert creepy crawly that can be found all over the world, except Antarctica. Who would want to live there anyways? BRRR! Too cold there for a lot of living creatures!

Here is a fun, fast fact you may not know… Some Scorpions glow under black light. They sell blacklight flashlights at the store.  Buy one and go out scorpion hunting in the dark! Remember, they can be poisonous, so be careful and DON’T touch! 

The bark scorpion is one that glows in the dark. It is found in the Arizona desert. It is small, but don't judge it by its size. Although little, the sting is very painful and in rare cases can be deadly.

The one I made is a friendly species that is not poisonous and it won't even sting!

The scorpion is normally made up of three main parts, the head, body and tail. Refer to a picture for reference.


Paper Mache How To


Mix up flour, water, salt and white glue to make a paste. Actually, paste isn't a very good word to describe it. When I think of paste, I think of something thick, but this is not. It should be more like pancake batter.

Here is the recipe, I used for this paper mache how to. (Cut it in half.) Add ingredients in this order: First the flour, salt, then glue and the water last. You will get less lumps this way. Add a bit of water at a time, until you have the right consistency. 

The white glue helps add some extra strength to the project. Leave the glue out, if kids or good clothes are involved!  

Stir the paste well to get out all the lumps. You can use an electric mixer, if you want.

I have found Canadian flour works much better than American, not only for baking but for this. Who would think a paper mache how to would include a seemingly insignificant fact like this? I hope it doesn't start a war! It seems quite odd but true. Our great Canadian, Robin Hood flour mixes up easier and not so lumpy.

If all this is new to you the paper mache projects page will give you more specific information on paper mache how to. The most important thing that I've said over and over again is this: Don't over goop! When I read "It isn't worth doing because it just goes moldy" The first thing that always comes to mind? Too much paste. How can it possibly dry if it has an inch layer of glop all over it?

paper-mache-dragon

Another complaint? Bugs and critters will eat it. Well, there are a lot of things that bugs and critters will try to eat, if they can get at it. You can use glue instead and if you put it where there are bugs and critters, they will STILL try to eat it. My poor dragon had to go to dragon heaven because he was stored in the shed. I had no choice because he was so big, but the mice got in there and ate him. I'm sure they were even inside the belly of the beast, in a nice cozy dragon hotel. Now the only thing that remains are pictures of him!


Paper mache how to make a Scorpion

base for scorpion

Roll and crumple a 24 inch piece of 12 inch wide tinfoil into an oval shape, so the body is about 4-5 inches long and 13/4 inches at the widest. The rest of the 12 inch length of tin foil is for the tail.

Narrow the shape slightly at the head.

Flatten on the underside.

Twist the tail into a thin round piece. Curl it up and around, into a curved c shape, back towards the body. 

Cut three pieces of medium gauge wire, 12 inches long and one 14 inches. 

Loop the wires around the body and twist together underneath so the wire is sticking out evenly on each side. Use the longer one to do the back legs.

The very front legs should be on the front of the head, pointed forward. 

add cardboard to wire for extra leg support

There is a method to my madness when it comes to attaching the wire for the legs. I have learned after multiple projects that have caused me difficulties. I wrap the wire around the body for a very good reason. The wires don't seem to stay firmly attached when holes are poked into the body and the wire is just glued in. The legs aren't as secure and eventually crack. Wrapping the wire around the body, solves the problem.

Cut small short strips of cereal box board and attach to the wires and body for extra support. Bend to curve the cardboard around the wire. 

Hot glue in place. 

Bend and shape the wires. Once the bends are added at the joints, the back legs should measure about 3.5 inches long and the rest about 3 inches. Use wire cutters to trim off any excess length.

Add tinfoil to make bumps on tail

Crumple small balls of tinfoil larger to smaller working your way down the top side of the tail.

Add small balls of newspaper or crumpled tin foil to the legs, where the joints should be.


cover with masking tape


Cover the entire piece with masking tape. Keep in mind, a paper mache how to is not complete, without the help of good old masking tape. It adds some extra strength to the piece.


add-claw-to-scorpion

The very front things, are these legs? Maybe not. Well yeah, I think so. They are the pinchy ones. Use a small wound up piece of newspaper to make a claw. Attach this to the wire on the front set of legs. 

Add a layer of newspaper strips to the body and legs. Use narrow pieces of newspaper for the legs, winding it around the wire. Overlap as you go. It will actually end up being more that just one layer which is fine, just don't over do it and have legs that are too thick.

make-ridges-on-body

Make five long narrow snake like pieces of twisted newspaper, dipped in paste. These can be a bit tricky. You will want to have quite a bit of paste gooped on initially, so the newspaper will twist together well. Squeeze out the excess as you twist. Use these     pieces for ridges, around the body. Refer to a picture to get the anatomy correct.

Cover entire piece with another layer of newspaper strips.


use-wire-on-tail-for-stinger

Cut nine 1 inch pieces of light weight wire. 

Use the end of a sharp knife to poke holes in the end of the tail and all but the very front set of legs.

Put the wire in these holes and glue in place. The wire on the tail should be bent with a hook on the end to make the stinger.

Does the scorpion feel sturdy now? No squishy spots? Now it's time to decide if you want to just paint your paper mâché scorpion or finish it off like I did. I used tissue paper, because I like how it looks. I also used this technique on the paper mache seahorse

cover-with-tissue-paper

To use the decoupage tissue paper technique, mix one part water with three parts white glue. 

Rip a piece of tissue paper into small rectangle shapes and use a small paint brush to apply the glue mixture.

Wrap the wire legs first, including the bare wire ends and then move on to the tail and body.

decoupage

Apply two to three coats of tissue paper to the body. 

Let it dry. 

Dilute one part brown paint to three parts water. 

Paint on the and leave for about 30 seconds or so. Wipe off with a damp rag or paper towel. Be gentle or you will damage the tissue paper.

Add two tiny black dots for eyes.

After the paint has dried, paint on a layer of the white glue mixture. Let dry. For extra durability you can add a couple coats of spray sealer. 

I hope this paper mache how to has been helpful in creating your own, larger than life sized scorpion. It is now ready to be the king of the desert. 

Here is something extra fun just for kids:

Want this to glow under black light like the real ones do? There's a trick for you to try! Mix a small amount of liquid tide with water and paint it on. Let it dry. Warning: It can have the tendency to remain a bit sticky. Some other things to try are RIT whitener, Mr. Clean or Woolite whitener. Experiment a bit to see what you like best. If you want more glow you can use crafters acrylic yellow neon paint or a glow paint.

Glow-in-the-dark-scorpion

Now, wait until dark, turn out the lights and use a blacklight flashlight to have your very own scorpion hunt in the safety of your own home.

 


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