You make paper mache figures by covering strips of paper with paste, sculpting them over an armature, or mold, and allowing the paper to dry to a hard finish. You can sculpt a realistic horse's head using this technique to use as artwork or to turn into a mask for a theatrical or Halloween costume. Paper mache is an inexpensive way to experiment with sculpture.
Things You'll Need
- Masking tape
- Craft paper
- Craft knife
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Build an armature of a horse's head as the base for your paper mache. Wad up newspaper and shape into the head and snout of a horse, using masking tape to hold it together. Cut ears from cardboard and tape to the armature.
Cover the armature with masking tape for a smooth surface. Build up the ears with layers of masking tape. Mold the newspaper as you tape it, forming the jowls, eye sockets and other details of the horse's head.
Mix 1 cup of flour in 5 cups of water and bring to a boil in a large pan. Boil for 3 minutes, then let cool. This forms a paper mache paste that goes on easily and dries smooth.
Tear newspaper into 1/2 inch wide strips that are 2 inches long. Dip each strip in the paste and apply it to the armature. Overlap the strips and smooth them with your fingers as you apply them. Apply a second layer of dry strips over the very wet first layer. This will soak up the extra paste. Set the horse's head on waxed paper to dry overnight. Store the paste in an airtight container.
Tear brown kraft paper into 1/2 inch strips that are 2 inches long. Dip the strips in the paste and layer over the newspaper. As with the newspaper, apply the first layer very wet and top with a dry layer to soak up extra paste. Smooth the horse's head with your fingers to get rid of any bubbles or bumps. Allow to dry on wax paper overnight.
Pull the armature from the bottom of the horse's head sculpture. Use a craft knife to help get the newspaper and tape out in pieces. Trim the neck of the horse's head if necessary so it will sit straight. Paint the horse's head as desired and allow to dry. Finish with a coat of shellac.