applied instant papier-
mâché and to the entire
surface area. It dries over-
night and does not require a
layering process. The end result
is a surface as hard as a rock.
Details of eyes, ears, noses, lips,
cheeks, mouths, etc. were added to
the molded animal head. Once dry, I
cut a slit in the back of the neck and
students hollowed out the animals.
I asked the industrial technology
teacher to cut 12 x 18" ( 30 x 46 cm)
wooden backings for us and students
attached the heads to the boards
and covered their sculptures with
the instant papier-mâché. When the
project was dry, students used sandpaper to smooth out the roughest
manes, teeth, hair, and other features were added using felt, clay, fur,
feathers, and various other materials.
This project was completed in
about three weeks on a block schedule of eighty-four minutes of class
time per day and provided students
opportunities for problem-solving
and critical-thinking skills. As the
project neared the end, the excitement that grew was very rewarding
to watch. Each student viewed and
admired his or her new creation.
The pride they felt was shared with
their peers when the final sculptures were on display in our school’s
showcase for everyone to see.
The first step in forming the base
was to achieve mass. To begin the
general shape, students drew and
cut out a cardboard outline of both
the head and neck. The shape of the
head determined whether the cutout was from a front or side view.
Animals with longer snouts were
easier to build with a side-view cutout. Using masking tape, aluminum
foil, newspaper, balloons, and duct
tape, students built solid forms from
which their papier-mâché animals
would be molded. The goal was to
capture the basic form of the head
Stacy H. Lamanna is an art teacher at Trafford Middle School in Trafford, Pennsylvania. firstname.lastname@example.org
Plaster Strips and Papier-Mâché
First students covered the base with
one layer of plaster craft strips. The
plaster dried quickly and hardened
the mold. I made sure that students
left an area on the neck untouched
so that they were able to hollow
out the heads before they mounted
them onto the backboard. Next they
Painting and Mixed Media
Students painted a base coat onto
the head using realistic, natural
hues. When the initial coat was dry,
I introduced sponging, dry brush,
and other painting techniques.
Students had freedom to paint the
backboard any way they chose.
Most students selected colors that
matched those of the animal’s habitat. Careful attention was emphasized on the details of the eyes to
achieve a life-like look. Finally,
Students intentionally take advantage of the qualitites and characteristics of art media, techniques, and
processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.