How to Make a Model Dolphin

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Make a dolphin model from papier-mache.
Make a dolphin model from papier-mache. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

You can quickly craft a model dolphin using papier-mache and other household items. The papier-mache dolphins can be used for any variety of things such as dioramas, props and decorations. Building a papier-mache dolphin can also be a fun art project that you can do with your children. The construction of the model dolphin is a relatively easy task that shouldn’t take more than half an hour; however, you will need to allow some time for the papier-mache and paint to dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard paper towel tube
  • Toilet paper roll tube
  • Cardboard from a cereal box
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Decoupage glue
  • Finger paint

Construct the frame of the model dolphin by cutting a 3-inch deep “V” from one end of the paper towel tube. Discard the piece that was cut from the tube. Pull the two exposed corners of the “V” together and tape them in lace. This will cause the end of the tube to scrunch together and form a taper. Do not worry about any shape imperfections, as they can be covered by papier-mache.

Stuff the paper towel roll with newspaper through the open end. This will give the frame added stability and make the process of papier-mache easier.

Cut the toilet paper roll in half lengthwise. Spread out the roll and draw on the shape of a dolphin tail. Cut out the dolphin tail and slightly flatten it. Leave some bend to the tail to make it appear more natural. Tape the dolphin tail to the paper towel tube base directly over the “V” cutout.

Roll half a sheet of newspaper into a ball and insert it halfway into the open end of the paper towel tube. Leave the other half exposed to make the base for the model dolphin's head. Tape the newspaper into place.

Cut out a 3-by-1 ½-inch strip of cardboard that is rounded on one end. Tape the strip to the newspaper head base. The rounded end should be pointing outward, as it will become the base for the model dolphin’s nose.

Draw the outline of a dorsal fin and two pectoral fins onto an old cereal box. Cut the fins out of the box and tape them to the paper towel tube base.

Smooth the base by using bits of paper and tape. Tape over any creases and crevices that may be apparent in the base.

Tear sections of newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips of varying lengths. Coat the strips one at a time in decoupage glue, such as Mod Podge, and apply them to the model dolphin base. Place the strips so that they accentuate the shape of the base and become the shape of a dolphin. Apply four layers of papier-mache. Papier-mache over the fins, tail and snout. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

Paint the dolphin with finger paint or acrylic paints to your specifications.

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