A Gooey, Gorgeous Mess: Papier-Mache Sculpture and Other Adventures in Art

Beautiful papier-mache giraffe sculptures by the Grade 5 and 6 artists.

This month we have been creating art with papier mache. We have had a lot of fun exploring the texture and molding our projects. Papier mache is an easy-to-make material that can be used to cover various surfaces. We use this in Art class to make various sculptures. Creating sculptures with papier mache is a classic art experience that all children should enjoy: getting your hands covered in a gooey paste – the result is magical.  
The method is named after the French term for ‘chewed paper,’ which makes sense given the steps needed for any papier mache project.  

The Lower Elementary children have had so much fun creating donuts. It got very messy as the children explored texture. We used ‘puff paint’ made from glue and shaving foam to create the effect of icing. The donut sculptures looked so real that we wanted to eat them!  

 The Upper Elementary Grade 4s had a complex project creating dogs. There were a few phases to this project, and they all took it in stride and have created some fantastic dogs. The finished sculptures really show the individual dogs’ personalities! 

The Upper Elementary Grade 5 and 6s had the challenge of creating a giraffe sculpture; they took on this considerable challenge with great excitement. This was not an easy project, but they all managed to create amazing giraffes. They were very surprised that with just paper, glue and bits from a recycled box, they could sculpt and create an animal. 

The Upper Elementary Grade 6s were slightly confused when I said that we would be making animal portraits out of egg cartons. This turned out to be a very much-loved project by all the students. Their creative minds really worked hard at this project and the results were fantastic.  

As we continue through June, the young artists of Lower Elementary learnt about the artist Henri Matisse and created their own individual version of his ‘Fishbowl’ using watercolour paint. These were beautiful and each child has really started to develop their own style of painting. 

It’s been a wonderful, creative year and all of the students have worked so hard. I have been very impressed with their creativity and artistic growth, and for their fearless exploration of art media, from foam printing, collage, papier mache, watercolour painting, chalk pastel apples, dragon eyes and much more. I look forward to creating lots more art next school year!  

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