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How to Make a Paper Mache Dinosaur: A Fun and Creative Art Project for Kids

If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity to do with your kids, why not try making a paper mache dinosaur? This easy art project will not only keep your little ones entertained but also teach them about the fascinating world of dinosaurs. In this step-by-step tutorial, we will show you how to create a paper mache stegosaurus, but feel free to choose any other dino that catches your child’s imagination. Let’s dive into the world of papier-mâché together!

Paper Mache Dinosaur

Planning the Dinosaur’s Body Shape

Before we begin, let your kids decide which type of dinosaur they want to make and think about the materials needed to bring their vision to life. For a four-legged dinosaur like a stegosaurus, triceratops, or diplodocus, a large balloon makes an excellent starting point for the body. These types of dinosaurs are easier to make as their four legs provide stability. However, if your child wants to create a T-rex, which stands on two feet, you will need to weigh down its legs for balance. You can do this by gluing some pebbles inside the legs.

Building the Body Shape

To start building the body of your paper mache dinosaur, secure four toilet paper rolls as legs to the bottom of a large balloon using tape. You can cut the rolls to fit them more closely to the balloon, but this step is optional. It’s essential to ensure that the legs are secured firmly, but don’t worry too much about perfection. As you progress, you will reinforce them with newspaper strips dipped in paper mache glue.

Adding the First Layer of Paper

Now it’s time to apply the first layer of paper to your dinosaur. Take longer strips of paper and dip them into the paper mache glue. Apply the strips in a way that covers both the legs and the balloon. This will create a strong bond between the legs and the body once the glue dries. Slowly work your way around the dinosaur, making sure to cover every inch.

Flipping the Dinosaur

Allow the glue to dry for a while, but it doesn’t have to be completely dry. Then, gently flip the dinosaur over. You can place it on a bowl to prevent it from wobbling. Now, focus on covering the belly and finalizing the legs. Use a combination of longer paper strips and small torn pieces of newspaper for the best results. Take your time and work on each leg carefully. Once you’re done, let the first layer dry.

Adding Plates and Tail

While the body is drying, let’s make the plates and tail for your stegosaurus. Grab an old piece of cardboard and draw the outlines for the plates and tail. Cut them out, and you’re halfway there. For the tail, crumple a sheet of paper into a ball, shape it to fit the cardboard tail, and secure it with tape. Repeat this process on both sides of the tail until you’re satisfied with its shape. Finally, tape the tail to the body, just like you did with the legs.

Neck, Head, and Plates

Before moving on, make sure the first layer of paper mache is dry, or nearly dry. Tape a toilet paper roll onto the dinosaur’s body to create the neck. Then, attach a small water balloon to the end of the roll to form the head. This step might require some assistance for younger kids. Finally, tape the plates onto the dinosaur’s back. If you like, you can also add plates to the neck and tail, but we recommend applying another layer of paper mache first.

Adding Another Layer of Paper

It’s time to add another layer of paper to strengthen your dinosaur’s structure and refine its appearance. Focus on the plates, neck, head, and tail by using smaller pieces of newspaper. Apply the paper mache glue and carefully layer the strips of paper. You may need to repeat this step several times, depending on the type of paper you’re using. Just remember, it’s better not to wait too long between layers to avoid any accidents like popped balloons.

Drying and Adding Color

Once you have all the layers in place, give your paper mache dinosaur enough time to dry completely. It’s crucial to make sure the glue is thoroughly dry, so we recommend leaving it to dry for a day or two. Once it’s dry, it’s time to bring your dinosaur to life with some paint. Acrylic paints are ideal for this project as they offer waterproofing. However, feel free to use any other paints you have available.

Take your time and paint the dinosaur with one or more coats of paint. One coat will allow some of the newspaper to peek through, adding a touch of charm to your creation. While painting, be cautious when working on the plates. Make sure to paint on the eyes and add other details using acrylic paint markers for finer touches. Don’t forget to paint toes on the feet of your paper mache dinosaur.

Now that you’ve completed your very own paper mache dinosaur, it’s time to display it proudly and share it with others. This fun and creative art project not only provides a memorable experience for your kids but also helps them develop their imagination and artistic skills. So gather your materials and let’s unleash our inner paleontologists!

Quill And Fox