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Create Your Own Paper Mache Bird: A Crafty Delight

If you’re looking for a creative project that will bring a touch of whimsy to your home, why not try your hand at making a papier-mâché bird? In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a folk-art inspired robin that will surely capture the hearts of all who see it.

Papier mache robin.

Papier-Mâché Projects for Every Craft Maker

Hey there, fellow art and craft enthusiasts! If you’re itching for a new project to sink your creative teeth into, look no further. Sarah Hand’s book, Art Makers: Papier Mâché, is here to breathe new life into the classic craft we all know and love.

This delightful book offers step-by-step instructions for creating a variety of folk-art inspired projects, including home decor, gifts, jewelry, dolls, and animal figurines to name just a few.

Let’s Make a Papier-Mâché Robin

Whether you’re a seasoned papier-mâché artist or a complete beginner, making a bird out of papier-mâché is a fun and rewarding endeavor. Get ready to unleash your imagination and bring your own unique robin to life!

Step 1: Shape Your Bird

To begin, choose a bird that inspires you, whether from nature or your own imagination. Crumple up some paper to form the body of your bird, and then use masking tape to give it structure and ensure it maintains its shape.

Step 5: Smooth Out the Beak

On a hard surface such as a table, gently rub the base of the beak to smooth and flatten it. This will create a solid surface for gluing the beak to the bird’s head in the next step.

Step 6: Attach the Beak

Using hot glue, carefully attach the beak to the bird’s head. To ensure a secure hold, add a layer of tape over the beak.

Step 7: Add a Tail Feather

Cut a triangular-shaped tail feather out of thin cardboard. Securely glue the tail feather to the bird’s body, positioning it under the end of the body for a sassy, upward flip. Use tape to join the tail feather and the body seamlessly.

Step 8: Wings, Wings, Wings!

Draw one wing on thin cardboard and cut it out. Then, trace the wing to create an identical one. Cover both wings with tape for added durability.

Step 11: Time for Wings to Take Flight

Apply hot glue to the top third of each wing and carefully attach them to the bird’s body. This slight distance between the wings and the body adds a lovely touch of charm to your creation.

Step 12: Bring on the Legs

Each bird leg will consist of four pieces of wire. Bundle the wires together with tape, leaving about 3/4 inch free on one end for the toes. Make two legs, deciding on their length according to your preference. Ensure each leg has 1 inch at the top to glue to the body.

Step 13: Let’s Get Bending

Use pliers to bend the wires to create toes—three in the front and one in the back. Set the legs aside for now. We’ll attach them to the bird once everything is dry.

Step 14: Papier-Mâché Time

Make a paste and tear up some paper. Dip a long strip of paper into the paste and wrap each bird leg, starting just above the toes and going all the way up to the top. Also, papier-mâché the beak and any unattached parts of the wings. Don’t forget to wrap the paper around the wing, securing it where it’s glued down. Completing the more complex parts early on will help you tackle the rest with ease.

Step 15: The Waiting Game

Allow the papier-mâché to dry completely. Once dry, sand the bird to create a smooth surface.

Step 16: Time to Get Attached

Using pointy scissors, carefully make two holes in the underbelly of the bird. Don’t worry, our feathery friend won’t feel a thing! Place the holes towards the middle back, leaving about 1 inch of space between them. Apply some hot glue to the holes and insert the legs, with the feet facing forward.

Step 17: Gesso for a Finishing Touch

Give your bird a coat of gesso to prime the surface. Make sure to get under the wings for full coverage.

Step 18: Unleash Your Inner Artist

Now comes the fun part—painting! Start by applying the base coat colors and let them dry. Next, add the beak and feathers using light dabs and lines with a small brush to achieve beautiful textures. Layer the colors until you’re satisfied with the result.

Step 19: Strike a Pose

Check that your bird is balanced and stands confidently. Adjust the toe wires if needed.

Step 20: The Eyes Have It

Use paint markers to carefully add the eyes. For an extra touch of cuteness, you can also add some red cheeks. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Step 21: Seal the Deal

To protect your masterpiece and give it a polished finish, apply a sealer and let it dry.

Step 22: Display with Pride

Congratulations! Your one-of-a-kind papier-mâché bird is ready to be showcased in all its glory. Find a special spot in your home where it can brighten up your day and bring a smile to your face.

About the Author:
Sarah Hand is an accomplished Virginia-based illustrator, painter, and papier-mâché artist. Her unique style is influenced by her childhood in a US Navy family and her time living in Germany. Sarah’s love for bright vintage colors and folk art shines through in her whimsical creations. To discover more of Sarah’s art, visit Quill And Fox.

So, grab your materials and let your imagination take flight as you create a charming bird that will add a touch of magic to your surroundings. Enjoy the process, and remember, there’s no limit to the creativity you can unleash with papier-mâché!