DLTK's Crafts for Kids
BIG Paper Mache Bird
This rather large paper mache bird makes a great friend or a rather nifty pinata.
Tasha (my eldest) and I made it -- it took Kaitlyn (my youngest) quite awhile before she was comfortable with her new companion. She's not used to crafts that are bigger than she is *laugh*.
This is the most difficult project on the site so far. It is not a good "first time paper mache" project. If this is your first time using paper mache, try one of our other projects before attempting this one.
- toilet paper rolls, gift wrap rolls and/or paper towel rolls.
- newspaper ripped into strips.
- construction paper and/or tissue paper
- Optional: feathers, bow or ribbon
Make the Feet
- take a toilet paper roll, flatten it and fold it in half
- tape it so it doesn't unfold
- do this with 8 rolls.
- Tape together the rolls to form bird feet shapes (three toes with
one back toe).
- The back toe helps to stabilize the bird so it doesn't fall over
- Make 2 feet
- Tape half a gift wrap roll or a paper towel roll onto each foot (I
didn't have either, so just taped a few toilet paper rolls together).
- When taping toilet paper rolls to the feet (and to the body later on), cut
slits about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch apart all around the
roll. Flatten the slits and use them to tape the rolls to the
- Tape everything VERY well.
Assemble the Frame
- Stuff the roll full of newspaper. If you don't stuff it
well, the project will get too mushy when you're paper maching it,
and will start to collapse.
- Blow up one balloon all the way. Tape the legs to it.
This is the body.
- Tape a paper towel roll to the top of the body. This is the
- Stuff the neck full of newspaper, again to keep it from getting
- Blow up another balloon about 1/2 way. Tape it to the neck.
- You can break for a day at this point if you like.
- Read the tips to paper mache for how to make paste and tricks on maching.
- Cover the entire bird with 2 to 4 layers of paper mache. You
MUST do this in one sitting -- if you half mache a balloon it will
pop when the mache starts to dry. If the project starts
getting too mushy, just charge on -- lie it on its side if you have
to. At this point you'll be very happy with yourself if you
remembered to stuff the paper towel rolls full of newspaper -- it
really helps keep everything supported!
Once the project dries, you can adjust the legs or neck by
rewetting them with a damp cloth (or a second round of mache).
This is sometimes necessary if you had to lie it on its side.
- Let the project dry completely (12 to 24 hours depending on your humidity level)br>
- If making a pinata, cut an opening in the top of the bird.
Fill with candy. Tape shut. (Use a damp cloth to soften
the mache if you have trouble cutting the opening).
- Once dry, cover the entire bird with 2 to 4 more layers of paper mache. I like to use scrap white paper for this layer since it's easier to decorate.
Decorate the bird:
- I'm going to tell you what we did, but the sky's the limit
here! You can use feathers, paint, fake fur, tissue paper,
felt, etc, etc. Older children, especially, will enjoy a pile
of craft supplies and their imagination at this point.
We cut 4" x 8" strips of yellow construction paper and
fringed them. We taped these (starting at the feet) all the
way up both legs.
- We cut "petal shaped" pieces of pink construction paper
and glued them in a feather like way all over the body, neck and
- We added purple feathers at the top of the head. Other
people have used pipecleaners, curly ribbons and bows.
- We added large google eyes.
- We added a rolled cone of yellow construction paper as a beak.