Papier Mache Birds Tutorial

Here is my recent project for an upcoming art fair that I am participating in. I made over 22 papier mache birds and what an undertaking it was. Using the assembly-line method certainly helped but I was glad to see that last one completed. This is one of those projects that “looks” simple and “I can do that.” And yes, while simple and yes, while anyone can do it, the TIME factor kicked in big-time and that was the key. But we do what we love, don’t we?

I used a bag of dry papier-mache and added just enough water to make the mixture thick and non-runny. The bird body was constructed with an egg-shaped styrofoam ball and a small ball for the head. They were put together with a small section of toothpick. I used a long bamboo skewer and a sheet of styrofoam to hold them while they dried. When they were dry (about 2 days), I painted 1/3 a muted blue, 1/3 gray, and 1/3 were covered randomly with bits of tissue paper and napkins. Diluted white craft glue (2pts glue, 1pt water) was used to paint the papers to the bird. Overlapping is fine.

While they dried, I started the wings. I used 2 layers of text weight paper (cover weight would work too) and added on top, a fringe of paper from a French dictionary . Then I sprayed them all with a bit of Glimmer Mist, which is a product I found at Michael’s. It gives an aged-look along with a bit of sparkle. Their tail feathers were cut from a section of a doily.

Their crowns are small pompoms placed into the cap from a glass ball ornament. I have been religiously saving them from broken glass ball ornaments. Before I began to assemble the pieces onto the bodies, I painted the beaks and added a dot for the eyes. Their personality popped-out the second their “eyes were on.”

While the glue dried, I started their nests which were made from the silver candle clips made for Christmas trees. A little bit of crinkled paper was added on top for a nest. The final step was to nestle the bird into the nest with a bit of hot glue.

Each one has their own personality and will happily watch over upcoming holiday festivities in someone’s tree. Have fun with this project.

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