How to Make a Moon Model With Paper Mache

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Pictures of the moon can be used to sculpt the details on a papier mache model.
Pictures of the moon can be used to sculpt the details on a papier mache model. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Papier mache makes a fairly accurate medium for a moon model, as the uneven way the paper dries mimics the surface of the moon. Craters, valleys and rocks on the moon's surface can be sculpted with paper using pictures of the moon as a guide. Papier mache can be manipulated while wet so you can experiment to get the details just right. Work in a large space with plenty of protective plastic or newspaper underneath to start this messy and engaging project.

Things You'll Need

  • Round balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Water
  • Paintbrushes
  • Acrylic paints, white and black
  • Duct or packing tape

Tear the newspaper into different sized strips. Make long strips as well as squares and little scrap pieces for the details.

Blow up the round balloon to the desired sized. An air-filled plastic ball is also suitable as the base for the model.

Lay the roll of duct or packing tape flat and position the balloon on top so that it's a few inches off the surface. The papier mache will be easier to apply because the balloon won't move around. Tape a piece of duct tape over the hole of the tape roll, sticky side up, and press the balloon down to make it even more secure.

Mix one part wallpaper paste and one part water in a large bowl. The liquid should be thick enough to coat the paint brush handle when dipped in.

Place a strip of newspaper on the balloon and paint over it with wallpaper paste. The newspaper strip should be completely saturated with paste to stick to the balloon. Smooth out the strip of newspaper using more paste if necessary. Continue to add strips of newspaper, overlapping the strips, until the entire balloon is covered. Wait for the newspaper to dry before turning the balloon over to finish the underside.

Add moon surface details. Using pictures as a guide, apply the smaller pieces of newspaper to sculpt moon craters on the balloon. The craters and surface details should look uneven and rocky.

Ball up newspaper in different sizes to create rocks. Put a dab of wallpaper paste underneath to stick the balls to the paper mache moon surface and cover them with newspaper strips painted on with wallpaper paste.

Let the model dry and paint it. Blend white and black to make different shades of gray. Paint in the shadows of the craters and rocks. Wait for the paint to dry to turn the model over and paint the other side. Spray transparent acrylic paint over the model when completely dry to preserve it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Another papier mache method: Dip the entire strip of newspaper into the glue before placing it on the balloon. The method can be much more messy than using a paintbrush.

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