How to Make a Paper Bag Look Like a Mountain

Mountains inspire with their height and rugged shapes. In dioramas--classic three-dimensional constructions in boxes--or settings for a model railway or other imaginative activity, building a mountain adds to the realism of the environment. Paper bags provide a free and versatile building material for creating the king of the landscape, the mountain. The Disney Family Fun website recommends a technique for stabilizing paper bag trees that you can use to make your paper bag mountain a success. (See References 1) Allow a little time for practice to create a paper bag mountain to help bring your scene to life.

Make the paper bag mountain pointed on the top and wide on the bottom.

Things You'll Need

  • Picture of a mountain

  • Large paper grocery bags or shopping bags

  • Scissors

  • Empty plastic jug, small on top and wide on the bottom, such as one for laundry detergent

  • Piece of heavy-duty cardboard, larger than the desired size for the mountain

  • Pebbles or sand

  • White glue

  • Poster paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Cotton swabs

  • White sand from a craft supplier, if needed

Step 1

Cut the bottom panel off the grocery bag.

Step 2

Cut open the paper bag lengthwise, from top to bottom.

Step 3

Squeeze the paper bag between your hands and twist the paper from one end to the other. This softens the paper and will allow it to take on the creases and crags of the mountain.

Step 4

Pour some pebbles or sand into the jug. Fill it with at least 2 to 3 inches of material to give it some weight. Lift the jug to make sure you don't make it too heavy to lift, so that you'll be able to move your mountain project when you finish it.

Step 5

Spread a layer of glue on the cardboard in an area large enough for the jug.

Step 6

Place the paper bag around the jug. Make a cone shape over the top of the jug with a point for the summit of the mountain. Fold one cut edge of the paper bag over the other--leave plenty of loose paper around the jug to form the crags and irregular folds of earth that give mountains their rugged shape. Use a foam paintbrush to apply a layer of glue to one edge of the paper bag. Gently press the other edge of the paper bag along the glue from top to bottom. Cut off any extra paper.

Step 7

Create folds in the paper bag to copy the shape of the mountain picture or the mountain in your imagination. Shape the mountain the way you want it. For example, if the mountain is a volcano that has erupted, make the top flat or jagged instead of pointed. Make the sloped sides of the mountain steep or gentle. Spread the paper bag out around the bottom of the jug as far as it will reach to give the mountain its wide base.

Step 8

Spread glue on the cardboard under the lower part of the paper bag mountain. Press down the paper bag to glue it to the cardboard.

Step 9

Mix 2 tablespoons of glue with 2 tablespoons of water.

Step 10

Spread the glue mixture carefully in a thin layer with a sponge brush all over the mountain. This helps to strengthen the mountain surface and hold the shape you created.

Step 11

Finish shaping the mountain while it's wet with the glue. Squeeze and mold the paper bag to look the way you want it. Allow the shaped paper bag mountain to dry completely.

Step 12

Paint the cardboard the desired color for the mountain setting, such as white for snow, green for grass, yellow for a dry meadow, gray for rock or brown for bare earth. Allow the paint to dry for at least a half hour. It may take much longer if the paint is thick or if it's a wet day.

Step 13

Paint the mountain to look like the picture or like the mountain in your imagination. Allow the paint to dry.

Step 14

Add white sand for snow, if desired. Apply undiluted white glue to the areas of the mountain where you want the snow. For example, on the tip, or extending halfway down the mountain, or all over it.

references & resources