How to Make a Miniature Big Top Tent

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Real big top tents are often made from plastic of canvas.
Real big top tents are often made from plastic of canvas. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Making a miniature model of a big top tent is a creative way to express your passion for the circus. The roots of the circus, public displays of exotic animals and tightrope walking, for example, began in Europe over 200 years ago, according to History Magazine. The circus landed on the shores of America in 1793 and fast became a national institution. Big top tents are the temporary facilities erected to encase the circus with a roof and walls. Building a craft model big top tent out of papier-mache is an ideal art project for kids or art students interested in the glamour and history of the circus.

Things You'll Need

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • 4-inch-by-6-inch cardboard polygons (5)
  • Permanent epoxy
  • 5-cups water
  • 1-cups flour
  • Pot
  • Medium size bowl
  • 1-inch-by-3-inch newspaper strips
  • 1-inch-by-3-inch white paper towel strips
  • Toothpick
  • 1-inch-by-1-inch paper triangle
  • Black, red, white, blue, orange acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes

Measure and cut out five five-sided cardboard polygons to 4 inch by 8-inch dimensions. The bottom edge and two vertical sides should all be flat and stretch 4 inches in length. The top two edges should angle inward 45 degrees to form a triangular tip and each should be 4 inches long.

Bend the triangular half of the first polygon down over the rest of the body. Pre-crease and unfold the bend. Repeat for the four remaining polygons.

Stand one polygon on its flat 4 inch bottom edge. Lather the right vertical edge with permanent epoxy. Stand the second polygon on its flat 4 inch bottom edge. Press the left side of the second polygon against the right side of the first polygon at a 36 degree angle. Hold the press for 45 seconds to secure the bond. Continue building in a similar manner with the three additional polygons to form a three dimensional pentagon.

Bend each triangular top in toward center. Bond the sides of each triangle to one another with permanent epoxy. The basic shape of your miniature big top tent model is now complete.

Combine the water and flour into the pot to make the papier-mache mix. Boil the mix for three minutes. Allow the mix to cool for five minutes. Pour the mix into a medium size bowl.

Soak one newspaper strip into the mix. Press the strip into the body of the tent. Continue until the entire tent is covered in one layer of newspaper-papier-mache. Repeat with a white paper towel. The paper towel provides an ideal surface for acrylic paint. Allow four hours for the tent to dry.

Glue a 1 inch by 1 inch paper triangle to one end of a toothpick in perpendicular fashion. Stick the free end of the toothpick down into the top of the tent at center. The tent now has a flag.

Coat the tent with acrylic paint. Paint a black arch onto of the flat walls of the tent to represent the entry and exit point. Paint multicolored 1/2 inch wide vertical lines around the remainder of the tent. Allow two hours for the tent to dry before handling or displaying.

References

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