Make paper mache rocks and stack them up to create an eskimo inukshuk.
It is sometimes hard to find the perfect rocks that will stack nicely, so instead, make your own.
This is a great project for kids, especially if they are studying the inuit culture in school.
Age: 10 and up
Time scale: 3 out of 5
Drying time slows this project down a bit but build time doesn't actually take long.
Craft paints in:
Mix up your paste using flour, water, salt and white glue. You can read more about paper mache here and get the recipe.
Take a full sheet of newspaper and crumple it up into a shape that is about 5 inches long, 1.5 to 2 inches wide and about 1 inch thick.
Use masking tape and wrap it to hold the shape. It should resemble a rock that is flattened slightly on both sides with rounded ends. Make two of these. These will be for the feet.
Now crumple a smaller piece of newspaper and make a shape that is about 4 inches long and the same thickness as the other ones you just made. Make four of these paper mache rocks, for the legs of the inukshuk.
Crumple up a large sheet of newspaper so it is about 6.75 inches long. This will be for the body.
The arms will be one long piece about 10.5 inches long.
Use a smaller piece of newspaper and crumple it up to make a piece that is about 5.5 inches long for the neck.
The head should be about 2.5 inches wide by about 3.25 inches long that is about 2 - 2.5 inches thick. It should be a ball that is slightly flattened on the bottom.
Rip newspaper into strips about 3 inches wide. Dip the strips, one at a time into the paste. Scrape off excess paste with your fingers. (this is important. You don't want the paste to be too thick.)
Apply to your crumpled newspaper pieces. Do three layers. Squeeze and crumple the newspaper a bit as you apply it, to add texture.
Set aside and let them dry completely. I don't like this part! Not good for someone that doesn't want to be patient. If you are like me you may have to go find something else to do, to occupy yourself.
Okay, now that you are busy on another project, you can really make sure those paper mache rocks have time to dry. Turn over frequently so both sides dry properly.
When dry, add three more layers. When you have all the pieces done, check to see if you can stack and balance the paper mache rocks in the proper order. Do this while they are still wet. If they aren't stacking together and balancing properly, adjust the pieces by squeezing and flattening them where necessary.
Let this dry again. Check to see if they seem firm. If so, you don't have to do anymore layers. You may find that there are some thin squishy spots, so add more newspaper strips to those.
Now, wait until they are completely dry. If it is sunny and hot, put them outside and they will dry faster. If you live where the humidity is really high, like on the beach or something, scratch that idea.
After drying, hot glue the pieces in place, starting from the bottom and working your way up to the top.
Check each piece and only add the glue to the spots that are touching. Make sure as you go, that the inukshuk is staying balanced.
Let the glue cool and then apply black paint to the whole piece.
Use a stipple brush and apply gray paint randomly, on each of the paper mache rocks.
If you don't have gray paint, mix black and white together until you get shade you like.
Stipple and blend until you have the desired color. Make sure to get the spaces in between the rocks too.
Splatter small spots of white paint on by watering paint down and pulling back on the bristles of the brush and then letting go.
When this is dry, apply 3 coats of urethane sealer.
You have now made an inukshuk with your paper mache rocks. If you want to put it outside in the garden, try putting it in a dry place, like under the eves of the house. I wouldn't recommend leaving it outside all winter.
With a good sealer on it, you should expect it to last at least a couple of years. If you spend the extra money and seal it with a good marine sealer, it should last even longer.
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