How to Make a King Cobra Model

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The adult king cobra is normally between 12- to 18-feet long, with beige, white or yellow bands covering its black-brown to olive green body. Its underbelly is yellow and is commonly seen when the king cobra rises above the ground to strike its prey. You can make your own model of this venomous snake with a few supplies and about a week of your time. Gather some pictures of king cobras first so that you can use them as a reference for shaping, then painting, your model.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire
  • Plywood
  • Staple gun
  • Wire cutters
  • Water
  • Glue
  • Bucket
  • Newspaper
  • 150-to-180 grit sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Water-based polyurethane

Preparation

  • Shape the king cobra with chicken wire. Roll the chicken wire to make a firm, rounded body for the snake. Use wire cutters to trim excess wire. Bend the chicken wire in the desired shape, including the head of the king cobra. The chicken wire serves as a foundation for your model. If you are making a twisted cobra, ready to strike, weigh the bottom of the chicken wire down with a piece of plywood. Simply attach the chicken wire to the plywood with a staple gun.

  • Mix one part water with one part white glue in a bucket for the paper mache paste. You can mix water with flour, but be advised that the flour-water paste does attract insects over time.

  • Shred newspaper into strips. A variety of lengths provides the ability to cover different parts of the body effectively.

Paper Mache

  • Dip each newspaper strip into the paper mache paste, then place the strips on top of the chicken wire. Cover the entire chicken wire frame at least two times and cover all exposed parts of the frame with the newspaper. If desired, after applying the top layer of paper mache, shape it with your fingers to create ribbing and scaling on the snake. Any imperfections can later be sanded down carefully with fine 150-to-180 grit sandpaper after the paper mache has completely dried.

  • Allow the paper and paste to completely dry. This may take two or three days.

  • Paint your king cobra with acrylic paint and a paintbrush, detailing the cobra’s face and body as desired. A soft yellow will be needed for the snake’s belly, antique white for its neck, browns, blacks and/or olive greens for its body and eyes, as well as white for its fangs. Start with the base coat of paint all over the snake, then add details, such as banding, scaling and ribbing, after the base coat has completely dried.

  • Apply a coat of water-based polyurethane over the paint with a paintbrush after the paint has completely dried. Use a matte finish. The polyurethane will protect the paint on the model.

Tips & Warnings

  • Acrylic paint works best with paper mache because it is water based. Oil-based paint takes hours, even days to dry and can cause the paper mache paste to lose its hardness.
  • To bring out the details on your snake, remember to shadow your scales and ribbing. Dark brown paint thinned with water and lightly applied along the edges of the scales and/or ribbing can create those shadows.

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References

  • Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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