About a week ago, I agreed to babysit my nephew, Owen. I don’t often agree to do this because I don’t really like kids all that much, and I merely tolerate Owen. My sister, Colleen, and her husband, Max, were long overdue for a “date night,” though, so I reluctantly agreed to supervise the sprog. I didn’t think I was going to have all that much fun, but honestly, Owen and I had a total blast! I love dogs, and he loves them too, so what we did was get down and dirty and messy, and made a paper mache dog!
My need to keep him entertained sent me off to the Internet (Thank God for the Internet!) to find something that wouldn’t leave me horribly bored, and Owen whining.Not that he’s all that whiny of a kid, which is why I manage to tolerate him.
Anyway, I found this great craft on the Internet – there was a website that offered comprehensive instructions on how to make a paper mache dog!
I was amazed at how easy it was.
First, you have to make the dog shape. You might think that this sounds complicated, but it’s really not. You do this by taking a couple of sheets of newspaper, and laying them down on a table. Then, you smush up three more newspapers, into balls, and put them on the flat sheets. Next, take the flat sheets and roll them all around the balls of newspaper until you get a tube shape, which kind of looks like the body of a dog.
The next step in making your paper mache dog is to take the tube shape (the body), and bend it in the middle so that it forms an “L.” At the point where it bends, wrap it with masking tape. This should give you something along the lines of a “head and body” shape.
Now, you’re going to make the dog’s snout. Take another piece of newspaper, and scrunch it up, so it looks kind of like a ball. Which is, I guess, kind of what a dog’s head looks like.Then, use more masking tape to the head shape to the body shape.
This is where you make the ears. You’re going to need some cardboard for this, so head out to your local grocery store and pick up some of those boxes that they’re just going to throw out. Cut the cardboard into ear shapes.
What you do here really depends on what type of paper mache dog you want to make. If you want a pointy-eared dog, cut triangle shapes. If you want a floppy-eared dog, cut ovals. Cut out the ears, and tape them to the side of your paper mache dog’s head.
I hope you’ve been saving your toilet paper rolls because this is where you’re going to need them – they’re going to form your paper mache dog’s legs! I was surprised at how easy this step was. Take a roll and cut it in half lengthwise. Then roll it backward, so it’s inside out. Tape it together. As you might expect, you’ll need four toilet paper rolls to form all four legs on your paper mache dog.
Now that you have your dog basically made, you need to cover the entire structure with masking tape. Smooth down the tape all over the newspaper, making sure that it’s flat and that there no air bubbles or gaps.
Now It Gets Messy!
Owen loved this part! This is where we made the paper mache – that whole, glorious mess! We took a couple of cups of water, a cup and a half of flour, and two tablespoons of salt. I’m not sure what the salt was supposed to do, but hey, it was in the recipe, so we did it!
Then we just put our hands in and smushed the whole thing up. Once we’d done that, we washed off our hands and grabbed some more newspapers, which we began to tear into strips. We found that anything that was an inch or two wide worked pretty well.Then, we dunked the newspaper strips into the bowl of flour and water paste, lifted them up, and draped them over our sculpture. We flattened them down and smoothed them out, and then we put our sculpture in a sunny window to dry.
Thank God, Max and Colleen came home, and I didn’t have to deal with Owen any longer!
Of course, I’m not totally horrible, so when he asked, “Ash, when can we finish our doggie?” I said, “Next weekend.”
When I came back, our paper mache dog was nicely dried, and all we had to do was paint him. So I let Owen go nuts with the poster paints, and we ended up with something that looked sort of like a Beagle/German Shepherd cross, with purple ears and an orange tummy.
Oh, well. There’s no explaining art, is there?
The Final Word
Hey, it was fun. If you like kids better than I do, then I’d highly recommend this craft. I managed to tolerate doing it with Owen, so you should be able to manage it with the little ones in your life. Maybe it won’t be great art, but you’ll have a blast making a paper mache dog!