How to Make Life Sized People Out of Paper Mache

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Things You'll Need

  • Balloons

  • Chicken wire

  • Newspaper

  • Tape

  • Flour

  • Water

  • Plastic tub or bowl

  • Paint

  • Old clothes

  • Yarn or wig

Paper mache is an easy and low-cost technique for creating large-scale sculptures.

Paper mache, or papier mache, is a versatile craft technique that can be drawn upon to create many types of sculptures, pinatas, puppets and other home decorations. Once the simple technique of paper mache has been mastered, the options are endless for the sizes of sculptures that can be made. Life-sized people can be easily crafted out of paper mache and used for spooky Halloween decorations, props for plays or any other activity requiring a life-sized human prop.


Step 1

Create the form of your life-sized human figure. The form of your figure can be created with balloons, crumpled up newspaper and chicken wire. Blow up balloons to be used for the head and torso and crumple up newspaper to create arms and legs. Hold the form together with tape or chicken wire. Chicken wire is very flexible and can be used to help structure your figure's form. Use smaller pieces of crumpled up newspaper to create your figure's hands and fingers.

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Step 2

Mix the paper mache paste. Mix one part flour with two parts water in a plastic tub and stir thoroughly. Two cups of flour and four cups of water is enough to begin with; more paste can be mixed later if needed.

Step 3

Tear sheets of newspaper into 1-inch-by-10-inch strips. Place the newspaper strips in the tub of paper mache paste and coat them thoroughly. Remove excess paste by pulling the strips through two of your fingers. Paper mache craft projects aren't difficult, but they are a little messy!


Step 4

Drape the coated newspaper strips over the form of your life-sized human figure. Cover all areas of the form. Smooth the strips over the form leaving minimal wrinkles and creases. Some wrinkles may add a life-like appearance to your sculpture. The more layers of newspaper you apply, the stronger and more durable your sculpture will be. Apply a minimum of three layers of newspaper strips.


Step 5

Allow the coated newspaper strips to dry thoroughly. Paint the paper mache form of your figure. Areas that will be covered by clothing need not be painted.

Step 6

Dress your life-sized paper mache person in old clothing. Place a wig on your sculpture or glue yarn onto the head, creating hair.


For a spooky Halloween decoration, tie fishing line to the arms and legs of your life-sized paper mache person. Seat your figure in a chair on your front porch and move the arms and legs with the fishing line from a window above.


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