I try to do at east one sculpture during the year with each class. Sometimes it’s plaster; sometimes it’s wire, and sometimes it’s paper mache. This was the year of paper mache for sure! As the kids get older, they enjoy challenges, so I try to make each year a little harder than the last. For my 7th/8th grade class, the challenge was to make a monster that was 2 feet tall, and could stand without support.
The first step was to draw out their monster. I think this was the most difficult step of all! I asked them to not make a monster that’s been “used” before, such as in movies or even other projects. We talked about structure, and what types of things (legs, tails, etc.) a monster could have to act as sneaky supports. The monster also had to have eyes and a mouth. Looking back, I should have added a width limit, because some of these monsters got REALLY wide! As in almost 4 feet! Whoops…
The first thing was to start building the parts of the monster out of nothing but newspaper, masking tape and foil. This also lent a challenge to the students.
Once the monster parts were built, they were put together and adjusted to be able to stand up. Some designs only had two legs starting out, but quickly went to three legs or two legs and a tail to keep the balance.
After the monsters were assembled and structurally sound, the students added 3 layers of paper mache. Some of the kids are finally at age where they’re really paying attention to the smoothness of the final product, and they think about this as they go. It’s good to see them want to be proud of their work! Some monsters were significantly bigger than others, so when the students with smaller monsters got finished, they helped out with the larger ones. Teamwork!
Once the three layers were applied and dried, the next step was to add the primer. I make my own using glue and white acrylic paint.
Once everything was nice and white, it was time to paint them. This project took a long time, but the end result was work it. Here are the completed monsters at the show: