Paper Mache Watermelon

How to make a miniature paper mache watermelon that looks like the real thing!


Age: 6 and up

Difficulty: Easy

Time Scale: 2 out of 5 not including drying time


  • 1/2-1 inch wide strips of newspaper 
  • Masking tape
  • Tin foil
  • Paper mâché paste
  • White glue
  • 1/2 inch paint brush
  • Tablespoon 
  • Clear Wax finish (Waverly inspirations®)
  • Soft cloth

  • Craft paints:

        Kelly green (I used Apple Barrel®)

        Holly Branch

This was made 1:3 scale for my little friend Anabelle, for her American Girl doll. It can be made any size you want, all the way from 1:12th scale up to life size. 

The inside core of a large paper mache watermelon can be made with plastic bags stuffed with either more plastic bags or with shredded paper. Tinfoil is used for small, doll sized ones.

It is helpful to measure a real watermelon and then do your conversion. 12 inches=4 inches if you are doing the 1:3 scale. There are not only different sized watermelons but also different shapes. Where did these round ones come from, anyways? I chose to do the oblong shape, slightly shorter than 4 inches.

How to Make a Paper Mache Watermelon

Crumple a piece of tinfoil into an oblong shape. You will want to have this slightly smaller than the finished size. For the 1:3 scale, I started with a piece of foil 12x21 inches. Start from a corner and begin crumpling the tinfoil. Don't squish it too hard. You may need to add another piece of foil over top to get the size you want.


This ended up being almost 4 inches long by 2 inches thick and tapering down at the ends. Scaled up, it would be nearly 12 inches long. This would be quite large in people size. I'm sure the American Girl Doll would love to take this on a picnic! There would be plenty to share with all her little friends.


There may be a few too many lumps and bumps at this point. Some are fine, but not a lot. There is a trick to smoothing it out... Did you happen to notice the tablespoon on the supply list? It is a handy dandy tool for getting the foil smooth. Hold the handle of the tablespoon and tap the tinfoil with the backside of the spoon. Move the spoon around, keeping the oval shape, without making flat spots. 

If you become mesmerized by this procedure (it can happen) and tapped away, until this has compressed down too small, just add another layer of tinfoil over top. 


Cover with a layer of masking tape. 

Mix up your paste recipe.

Dip a 1/2 to 1 inch wide by 6 inch long strip (or longer if you wish) of newspaper into the paste.

Remove excess paste. This is important because too much paste is just going to make a big sticky, globby mess and you won't be happy.

For the best results, here's how to remove the excess goop (A.K.A. Paste) :

Hold the end of the newspaper between your thumb and forefinger of your left hand. (Opposite if you are a lefty.) Slightly squeeze the paper between your forefinger and middle finger of your right hand. Swoosh down the entire length of paper from top to bottom. TADA! You will have the exact amount of paste still left on the strip of newspaper!


Apply to the oval shape. 

Cover with 3 layers of newspaper strips. 

Let dry. 

Using the tinfoil as the core, 3 layers should be plenty. A different core, will require more layers.

Squeeze the paper mache watermelon to see if it feels firm. If not, add another layer to any thin spots. 

When completely dry, sand with medium grit and then fine grit sandpaper to smooth out rough spots.

Now for the best part... the paint job will make this look very realistic. 


Base coat with Kelly green craft paint.

Dry, then add another coat of the same color. 

Use Holly branch green paint, to make zig zag stripes about 1/2 inch wide down the length of the paper mache watermelon. Space about 1/4 inch apart in the middle and join together in the center, on each end. 

If you are having problems getting the color just right, use either a picture of a watermelon  or a real one, as a reference.

Let dry.

Paint on the water based clear wax finish.

Let dry 24 hours. 

Polish with a soft cloth to bring out the shine. 

This little paper mache watermelon is the perfect size for the American Girl doll to take on a picnic.

It looks so realistic, yet can be made for just pennies! 

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