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How To Make A Paper Mache Elephant

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This is a fun little art tutorial where you can learn how to make a full size baby Indian elephant from paper mache.

The sculptor has her template for this design online which she refers to in the video so all you have to do it transfer the pattern cut images onto a 4×4 ft sheet of particle board and grid out the board with a pencil to be completely accurate, then use a jigsaw to cut out the different limbs and main body.

Scraps of 1×4 inch timber are added as padding and reinforcement and used to support the 2D limbs before it is screw together and bound with glue to create a wooden 3D armature. Newspaper and 2 inch masking tape is then added to form the muscle definition and general mass of body tissue before the fun task of finer detailing with paper mache is applied. A great video which is sure to bring out the creativity in you!

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How To Make A Paper Mache Elephant , 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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14 Comments

  1. Van Dargel says:

    I enjoy the videos, but would appreciate the message possibly streaming below the visual portion. Such is the curse of being hard of hearing! Possibly the videos could even be broken down into various sections, e.g., sketching the preliminary onto the surface; paint mixing; stroke direction as a few. Also explanations on the hows and whys would aid in teaching.
    Thank you for you services.

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  5. nushibear says:

    AWESOME TUTORIAL. I was looking for a paper mache elephant kids can ride on. I honestly did not think it existed! You made my day. I am throwing an elephant themed naming party for my baby and all our friends have kids. Bit much? Definitely! But that hasn’t stopped me before :-) It will look awesome and it will entertain the kids. I am definitely doing this! I’ll try a smoother version as my audience won’t mind the lack of wrinkles. Thank you! One question, how long does it need to dry in between coats? The party is a month from now.

  6. For this project I combined joint compound with some ground cellulose insulation. If I did this again I’d just use my paper mache clay recipe, which was developed after the elephant was made. You can find the recipe on my website, UltimatePaperMache. The cellulose comes in a really big bale, and you only need a small amount, while the clay is made with toilet paper instead. Much easier and cheaper.

  7. what a cute little guy, but if and when I make one. I’m going to have to fix that trunk of his. poor guy is loosing all his luck. (Trunk up means good luck, trunk down means bad luck. Old wives tale but it hasn’t failed me yet.) But he is still adorable none the less.

  8. rankc1971 says:

    Wow this video just made me want to make something for my work, I work in a giant floral cooler and been trying to figure out a way of making it more interesting . you have just inspired me hummm Need a rock wall ,a couple of trees, I think I need to watch more of your stuff. Awesome and Thanks

  9. Your work is beautiful! Gorgeous! (I’ve made similar (although not nearly as nice) papermache work. Just an FYI if someone lives in a humid climate, sometimes chicken wire with no paper filling will stop mold/rot – and glue instead of flour also helps keep away mold and bugs. I also use the butcher paper from the local newspaper – it’s about $3-$4 here to; well worth it. The ink from the printed stuff tends to smear with water. (Paper towels for texture – great idea).)

  10. I ended up keeping my elephant in the house, but since then I’ve learned that you can get good results by using deck sealer or basement sealer on the paper mache before painting, and then use as a UV resistant varnish over the paint. It won’t last forever, but it should hold up for a while. The varnish will need to be redone at least once a year.

  11. Do you mean the particle board that I used for the armature? It’s a wood product that you get at the lumber store. Thin plywood would also work. Or very heavy cardboard from moving boxes, if you can find some that are big enough – maybe a refrigerator carton.

  12. I don’t use the cellulose insulation any more, since I started using my paper mache clay recipe. To be honest, I can’t remember the old ratios any more. Sanding anything that puts off fine dust can be harmful if you don’t use a good face mask. If I did this elephant again, I’d use the paper mache clay for a lot of it, since it would be much faster and easier to do.

  13. Amazing, it comes to life. If i can ask, what is the ratio with the joint compound and the cellulose insulation?Also is that safe when sanding and breathing it?Thanks so much, keep up the amazing work. I’m ordering your book as I’m watching this vid!

  14. I can’t remember how I did the eyes on the elephant – I made her so long ago. I think I probably put on just a bit of joint compound and pushed it around until it was the right shape, and then covered it with the final layer of paper towels and paste. If I did it now, I would use the paper mache clay recipe that you can find on my blog or youtube channel. It would be much easier.

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