Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tutorial on how to make paper mache elephant (almost life size)

Welcome back friends!!

I am back again with the tutorial for paper mache elephant. This post is one super lengthy and picture heavy!! Please excuse me for the messy garage, we were working on multiple projects with a tight schedule. Big shout out to all my friends and their family who helped me on this project.

I referred to which is for a elephant calf, with few tweaks.

Materials Used:
-- TV Box
-- zigsaw to cut out the shape
-- Costco Milk Cardboard boxes
-- Foam bowls, Cups
-- water bottles
-- Old News paper and time magazines
-- Empty cereal boxes/cereal bar boxes
-- Spray adhesive/Construction adhesive
-- Duct tape
-- All purpose flour
-- Paint
-- Pallet
-- Rolling wheels

Only thing we bought for this project was duct tapes, construction adhesive and rolling wheels for the pallet.

- Drew the elephant on the cardboard (you can use the plywood instead if you want it to be more sturdier). Used big TV box for the body and the legs

- Cut the cardboard on the traced line.

- U will have 4 legs and body cutouts by the end of this step.

- This is the very important step as this will decide the proportion of the elephant. I Used the milk cartons as the spacer to attach the legs to the body using construction adhesive and the duct tape. Placed weights (whatever heavy thing I could grab from garage) on the top so that whole structure glued well.  It was left like this overnight.

- This is how the elephant looked at this stage

- It's stuffing time now. This is where I needed lots of hands to crumble the papers and stuff it. Few of my friends, kids and their spouses helped me a lot during rest of the elephant making process. we couldn't get enough newspapers, so we used old time magazines for the same. we started with one side, as it got heavier on one side, noticed the structure wasn't stable. I had wood from the pallet, my husband and friend's husband made two rectangle wooden structures to go under the leg to provide stability.

- Continue the stuffing and securing it with the duct tape or spray glue. Around the stomach area, to avoid lot of stuffing, we used light weight boxes, water bottles, foam bowls/cups. Made sure the shape isn't impacted during stuffing. Wooden piece used as the support is peaking thru in the below picture.

- Using the all-purpose flour, made the glue for the paper mache. Applied the paper on the stuffing using the DIY glue. Sturdiness of the object depends on the glue more than the thickness of the paper.  we were working with pretty tight deadline, so used the hair-drier/heater to dry the paper mache between the layers. We did 3 layers of paper mache

- Then the fun part, painting the elephant in gray color. I had leftover gray paint from master closet/bathroom painting, black paint from another painting project. Kept adding the black paint to the gray to get desired shade of gray.

- If you notice, I added the ear after painting the elephant. My friend had wire mesh for the bird control which she happily let me use for the ear.  First I traced the ear and test tried it on the elephant. once I was happy with the placement and dimension, Placed the mesh between two papers and attached it to the elephant head with the construction adhesive and staples.  It took couple of tries to get to the ears that looked good :)

- I asked one of my artist friend to help with painting the eyes, decorative painting on the top of the trunk, also on the ear.

- Since we were using this during the procession, we mounted the elephant on top of the pallet with the rolling wheels.

This is one wonderful craft to make with kids.

Thank you for stopping by

Sharing at remodelaholic


  1. No kidding! Did you actually make that? That is a lot of effort! Wow!

    1. Hi Vidya, thanks for stopping by. Ofcourse it was lot of effort, but many of my friends and their families helped me.

  2. Hello ?
    I'm Brazilian and I love to decorate my garden.
    I really enjoyed the Elephant Parabens !!!
    Could you pass me his measurements?
    I already thank you.

  3. Were considering doing something similar for a Mardi Gras kart. DO you have any guess on how much the final project ended up weighing?

  4. hello, how tall did you make your elephant?
    thank you!


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