I try to do at least one papier-mâché project a year. Only one, because the process takes a long time and I only have each group of students for twelve weeks before they rotate to another fine arts class. Only one because I can’t stand the mess for any longer than that. (I’m sure the cleaning staff at my school agrees.) But the results are always worth the mess. This year it is 6th grade papier-mâché dragons.
There is not any more inexpensive and versatile sculpture medium for children than papier-mâché in my opinion. Newspaper, tape, flour, water, paint. That’s the basics of what you need. The only limit to what you can do is your imagination.
For this 6th grade project I started the process by simply offering a dragon as the subject. The size and demeanor of the dragon (cute or scary) was up to the student.
I demonstrated how to make a simple substructure using newspaper and masking tape. We had poster board, beads, tooling foil and other odds and ends from around the art room at the student’s disposal. We looked at dragon images on the internet and then I turned them loose.
I love the fact that sculpture is something you have to build with your hands and you don’t always know where you are going when you start. So the act of creating is very challenging and exciting. We ended up with some very awesome tiny dragons and some very spectacular large dragons. Hope you enjoy them too!