During my visit to Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti, I was overwhelmed by the quality of paper mache art that the children had made. My favorite purchase was this owl (left) that I’m told is painted with voodoo patterns. While I love the detail of it, I decided to see if I could make my own version, one that didn’t require the level of painting skill that the original artist obviously had.
1. The mache artists in Haiti seemed to always use heavy brown paper, so I tried using a grocery bag on a soup can and was happy with the results. Small torn pieces, about 2″ square, soaked generously in mache were overlapped all around the can. One generous layer that dried overnight created a great foundation for gluing and painting the owl.
2. I found that a pizza box worked well for the wings, feet, etc. The shapes were easy to cut with scissors, and the beak could split open on one end to connect firmly to the face. I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue for all, and held them in place to set up when needed.
3. After the glue was dry, I painted the entire owl in brown acrylic paint.
4. I brushed a little red brown paint over all, just to create some highlights.
5. At this point, you could paint any kind of details on the owl with white paint. I had a DecoColor White paint pen which allowed me to make nice thin lines. A dab of black paint finished the eyes. When dry, the entire owl was covered with glossy Mod Podge. Now I’m wondering if I could make a set of these in different sizes…
Paper Mache Recipe
1 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups cold water
4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
In a bowl, combine the flour and cold water. Add to the saucepan of boiling water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let it cool and thicken before using.