by TeacherLem Iglesias
Remember our lesson on ‘How to Create a Superhero’? If you don’t, here’s a LINK to it 🙂
We reinforced and expanded that lesson on 2D drawing and colouring into a lesson on how to transform it into a 3D Papier Mache Sculpture.
And if you think those flat superhero designs were awesome, wait till you see these freestanding action figures.
Project Title: PAPIER MACHE ACTION FIGURES
Samples Created by: Year 9
Age: 12-13 Years Old
Thin Aluminum Wire
Pliers / Wire Cutter
PVA Glue + Water
Part 1 —
The class had a discussion recalling the previous lessons:
- Finding an ‘Artist’ and visual ‘Resources’ as inspiration for the project
- How to brainstorm for a superhero character and costume
- How to finalise a superhero design
Part 2 —
We grouped the class in pairs and told the students to collaborate one final 3D version.
The partners now need to decide which superhero design to use for the Papier Mache version, since both of them have their own individual concept-drawings from the previous activity.
Once one design is chosen, we had a quick recall lesson on how to draw a *superhero pose/sketch using the worksheet below (here’s a LINK explaining each action pose), and told them to draw different poses using their final superhero design.
The student-partners have to choose one action pose from their sketches and turn this drawing into a Papier Mache model.
Once they were ready, we proceeded to the Papier Mache phase.
STEP 1: ’EGGS’ and ‘SAUSAGES’
We will refer to the shape of our Papier Mache-head and body as an ‘egg’.
- Crumple a sheet of old newspaper into the shape of an egg.
- Wrap it with some masking tape to fix the shape in place.
- Create 2 eggs– one for the head, one for the body.
- Create 1 Sphere for hips using the same process.
We will call the arms and legs of our Papier mache figure as ‘sausages’.
- Crumple sheets of newspaper into the shape of a sausage.
- Repeat the same procedure above.
- Create 6 sausages– two arms, two thighs, two legs.
See photo below for reference:
STEP 2: ARMATURE ASSEMBLY
Create a wire armature following the *superhero pose/sketch that the pair created in part two of the procedure above.
Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to create a Wire Armature via THIS LINK
To make the wire armature stand, we used some heavy cardboard (or try a heavy block of brick or wood or whatever is available in your art room) and fixed the lower part of the armature with more wires and some masking tape– until it stands-up.
After the wire part has been fixed, we attached the ‘eggs’ and ‘sausages’ around the wire frame and wrapped it with more tape– until it’s ‘mummified’ 🙂
See the semi-‘mummified’ version below:
STEP 3: TISSUE PAPER LAYER
Now comes the messy-fun part.
- Mix some PVA Glue and water– 2 parts water, 1 part glue. Check for consistency and follow what’s the best mixture for your class.
- We asked the students to cut some 2-ply tissue paper into 1”x 1”squares, and use as many tissue paper sheets as needed.
- Dip one tissue paper square into the glue and water mix and apply it on our ‘mummy’ armature. Repeat this until the whole figure is covered with glue and tissue paper or until the newspaper layer is not seen anymore.
- Air dry from 24 to 48 hours. The surface of the papier mache figure should be hardened by the mixture of glue and water by then. Otherwise ‘paint’ some layers of pure white glue over the papier mache figure to make it solid.
See photo reference below:
STEP 4: SKIN TONE LAYER
We used two ways in colouring the skin tone: Some students preferred the traditional way of painting with a brush. Others chose to use spray paint as seen from our sample photo below. And yes, we agreed that it could be in any colour — like gold?!
STEP 5: CREATING THE 3D COSTUME
To create the 3D version of the superhero costume, students should refer to all the drawings and paintings they have done in the previous activities and use them as references to get it right.
It’s the student’s’ option on how to proceed so I step back a while and see how it goes; some would prefer painting the whole costume on the figure, others made the costumes using actual cloth others used a mix of both approaches.
Once they’re all done, everything came out awesome.
Here’s more wonderful papier mache-action figures from my Year 9 art students:
If you have some extra time left for your Art period, it’s always a good opportunity to involve the students in evaluating their own work. See our blog post about EXHIBITION, PRESENTATION AND EVALUATION (please create a specific criteria for this project) >>click THIS LINK.
I thank my Year 9 students for a superb job on this project:
Before this fantastic project came to be, we did a similar one several years back with other students, but it was more ‘artsy’ since it was inspired by Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Walking Man II’: Here’s THE LINK for the original ‘Walking Man’.
Here’s THE LINK for our ‘Twerking Man’ and other strange poses.
Thanks for the VIDEO on how to create an armature from RES ART. Here’s their YouTube Page.