How to Make a Paper Mache Horse

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Make a stand of grass or hay out of paper mache to help support the long, fragile legs of the horse statue.
Make a stand of grass or hay out of paper mache to help support the long, fragile legs of the horse statue. (Image: Pferd image by juergen2008 from Fotolia.com)

Making a horse statue out of paper mache is not a challenge, but making a freestanding horse can be difficult. If your statue is of a Clydesdale, the hoofs are most likely big enough support it. Creating the horse statue on a stand made of paper mache hay will help support the heavy torso so you don't need to worry about making the legs too thick. First, decide what type of horse you want to make and find an image of it so that you will be able to create it in the right proportion.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Acrylic paint

Sketch out a full-sized image of the horse the same size as the statue you want to make. Trace the image onto cardboard and cut out it out with a craft knife. Your cardboard pieces should be like a puzzle, the neck and head as one piece, the torso one piece. These pieces are used as the frame of your statue.

Prepare paper mache by mixing two cups flour with one cup water. Add a tablespoon of salt to each batch you make. This is a no-cook recipe that you can store in a covered bowl if necessary. Tear strips of newspaper two inches wide.

Create the torso first so that it will have time to dry before attaching it to the legs. Tape bunches of newspaper to your cardboard torso to bulk it out as a real horse would look. Dip the strips of newspaper into the paper mache paste and attach one layer over the entire torso. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Tape bunched up newspaper to the cardboard neck and head of the horse to fill it out. Add one layer of paper mache to the neck and head piece and set aside to dry before attaching it to the body. Create ears by attaching two triangles of cardboard to the top of the horse head.

Tape the back legs to the dry torso. Tape bunched up paper to bulk out the hip area. Tape the front legs onto the torso. Apply another layer of the paper mache to all of the legs and torso to cover the tape. Set aside and allow to dry before attaching the neck and head piece.

Allow the torso, legs and head/neck pieces to dry overnight. This is important as the pieces will be too heavy when they are wet.

Create a stand for your horse using a piece of cardboard. Place the torso with the legs attached to see where the hoofs will be standing and trace the area. Create hay or grass using the paper mache cut into fine strips around where the hoofs will be placed. Set the stand aside and allow it to dry.

Place the torso onto the paper mache stand and tape into place. Place a layer of paper mache around the hoofs and grass you already created.

Tape the neck and head piece to the torso of the horse and apply another layer of paper mache over the entire horse so that it will cover the tape.

Create a mane with thin rolled strips of paper mache. Create a tail by taping a pipe cleaner to the buttocks and covering it with thin rolled strips of paper mache.

Paint the thoroughly dried paper mache horse statue and stand with acrylic paints. You can paint the horse one color or have contrasting colors for the main and tail. Paint on the eyes, nose and mouth of the horse.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow pieces to dry thoroughly before attaching them to one another.
  • Do not cover the torso with too much paper mache or it may be too heavy to be supported by the legs.

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