Final Project

 This post is posted in descending order.  The stuff at the bottom came first!

The Final Project Product
IMG_7446 IMG_7444

Technology used in the making of this project: Youtube, Google Images, an imaging program, Pinterest, various other websites, and WordPress.

Here is a how I made this elephant:

IMG_7404  1.  Here are all the supplies.  I was missing my pump in this picture to blow up the long skinny balloon, which would become the trunk.  Thankfully I found it.
IMG_7406   2. My helpers decided they would make a project too.  They are going to attempt to make a little container with a lid using 2 small balloons.  I will post pictures once they are done which will likely be after this class is done.
IMG_7408   3. Covering the balloon with the paper strips soaked in paste.
IMG_7410   4. Here is my balloon once the first layer had dried.  I popped the balloon and let it shrivel up inside so that I could shape it a bit. I gently pushed some eye sockets and flattened the back a bit so it will mount on the wall.
IMG_7411   Here is the trunk. To get the curves, I taped the long skinny balloon in sections where I wanted it curved and quickly added a layer of paper and paste.
IMG_7412  5. Now the tricky part of joining the two balloons in a way that makes it look like an elephant.  I taped it on and added scrunched up pieces of paper in areas along the trunk to make it look more joined.  There are other pictures that demonstrate this.
IMG_7422  6. Here you can see the dimension I have built into the elephants face by balling up newspaper and then covering it with strips of paper and paste.  There are layers and layers to get the lumps and bumps right.
IMG_7428  7. I wanted to figure out how I was going to make ears.  I  saved the cardboard backing off of 2 frozen pizzas.  It looks like they will work!
IMG_7436  8. The pizza cardboard was too perfectly round, so I ripped apart a cereal box and taped it to the cardboard circle in a shape that resembled an elephant’s ear.
IMG_7437  9. Like the face, the ears need dimension.  This picture shows how I crumpled up balls of paper.  From here, I add paper strips and paste and let it dry.  Everything will get 3-4 layers of paper and paste to make the item solid.
IMG_7432  10. In order to make the back flat and to fill in the hollow I created in order for the elephant to hang properly on the wall, I added a piece of cardboard to the back and attached it with… paper and paste.
IMG_7449  11. Here it is put together.  It’s starting to look like an elephant!
IMG_7468  12. A few more layers needed here, but you get the picture.  From here, typically paper mache projects are painted.  I did not want to be able to see the strips.  I wanted our elephant to be less crafty and more elegant.  How was I going to achieve that?
IMG_7453  13. I covered the elephant with some linen-look fabric I had.  I cut it to fit and used hot glue to fasten it on.  To make it look a little more finished, I hemmed it by folding the rough edge in and gluing it down.
IMG_7454  14. I bought a fastener and hot glued it on.
I needed to figure out how to make eyes.  You can’t buy them anywhere!?  I watched this video, and although I did not pay for their information, watching it gave me an idea.

IMG_7443  15. I have a bag of these stones I have kept.  Now I know why I kept them!  I created and iris on a computer program, added white paper for the backing, made an eyelid out of fabric, and added Halloween eyelashes.
IMG_7455  Voila!
IMG_7461  16. We wanted to make her fancy.  I collect junk; especially vintage costume jewellery.  I added a peal necklace to her head and glued little crystals on, as well.  For added pizazz, I took apart a Christmas tress decoration and put it on her forehead and one in her trunk.
IMG_7458  17.  The finished product!  It is perfect for the girls room and it likely cost me under 5.00.  They love it, which is the point and they really enjoyed learning how to do paper mache themselves.  I will post their projects later.

Following up with some ideas of how you might use this in the classroom.  as mentioned, think about the volcano experiment in science.  How are you going to make that mountain? Or the recycling unit,  paper mache definitely is a recycling friendly activity.  Structures?  Paper mache can help you and your students learn about that.

How to make a paper mache volcano:

Recycling and structures:

Don’t be surprised if your grade 8 boys have fun with this:

(yes, it’s paper mache!)

In order to give you the scope of what I have in mind for this project, I am going to post a few things…

  I have a large space between my daughter’s bed that needs something.  I want 1 big item hung instead of a bunch of little items.  I am thinking 2 feet wide, by 2 feet high, with a depth of 12 -18 inches.  As you can see, the wall already has big beautiful gold polka dots, so it doesn’t need much.  My oldest daughter LOVES elephants and as a result, her younger sister does too!  Here is their room:


I plan to look at many different elephant samples in order to get a good feel for their sculptural integrity.  I need the lumps and bumps to be in the right places.  (If only I was paper mache)  Here are some of the pictures I will be using for inspiration.  All of these were found using Google Images.

This Elephant Head Wall Décor is perfect! #zulilyfindsed77580c8f8716af8d2ea7835bf8a3a8

I want to mention/confess that this is NOT the first time I have done paper mache.  In grade 6, we did paper mache.  It was super fun and I was so pleased with the little snowman I made.  Mom kept him for years.  I was 12.  I am now 38; it has been 26 years since I did paper mache.  I am an university student who is broke but loves decorating.  Instead of buying my daughters an elephant for their room, I am going to make one.  Lesson:  The arts help your future students be creative when dealing with challenges such as poverty!  Teach the arts.  It is necessary.
NOTE: my computer will not put the proper accent over the word mache.  Just wanted to let you know it is supposed to look like this: Papier Mâché (copy and pasted that off a website that spelled it properly.  It will be misspelled throughout this blog post!)

Here are some videos that were instrumental in helping me complete this project.  Watch them and learn how you can paper mache.  Think about the volcano experiment in science.  How are you going to make that mountain? Or the recycling unit,  paper mache definitely is a recycling friendly activity.  Structures?  Paper mache can help you and your students learn about that.


This information on Wiki was also very helpful in beginning the project.

This 2nd video was actually found after I was half way through the project.  It is somewhat helpful, however, the lady offers her pattern for a price (not happening) and uses paper mache clay instead of the flour-water paste (also not happening).  I also want the elephant to fit in with my daughter’s room, so this isn’t exactly the look I am going for.  However, it is a useful resource.

 I thought I had better start posting how my final project is progressing.  I was going to do the project and post everything once it was done, but posting it as it happens is probably better.  It’s how you are supposed to eat an elephant (or in this case build one)… one bite at a time.

We have tore up many pieces of newspaper.  Unpaid child labour was used in the making of this project.  However, the girls enjoyed themselves, so I think that counts.  And really, who knows when the skill of ripping paper into strips will be useful?!

IMG_7388 IMG_7389

I have also decided on the paper mache paste I will use.  I plan to use flour, water, and white glue for added strength.  The Ultimate Paper Mache website contained various recipes.

paper mache paste recipes

I will blow up my balloons and start covering them with paper and goop soon… will keep you updated!  (I’m pretending I am Emily Henderson with millions of followers waiting anxiously for my next post!)


I have thought a lot about what to do as my final project.  As I have mentioned, I am busy.  When I consider a final project, it needs to have the following criteria; it needs to hit two birds with one stone.  I am trying to think of something I could learn that I am going to end up doing anyways.  If I can cross a task off my list and have it qualify for a final project, I will be happy.  So what sorts of things do I need to do?  Well, I briefly considered documenting learning to play a recorder because we have to do it anyways for our university music class, but seriously, I’d rather learn 101 ways to destroy a recorder.


I guess that means criteria #2 for my project is, I want it to be something I might actually enjoy doing.

I want to put subway tile on a huge wall in my kitchen, however, from what I have researched, this is a huge undertaking, which may take me past our project due date.

I am a huge Pinterest fan , so I went through my DIY board, my sculpture board, and other inspirational boards.  The ideas are endless.  I think I have it narrowed down to making a elephant sculpture for my girls room or reupholstering my dining chairs and adding tufted backs to them.

I am leaning towards the elephant sculpture because I have 8 dining room chairs!

 This Elephant Head Wall Décor is perfect! #zulilyfindsThe Inspiration Image result for arrow image

Sculpture Proposal


  • At $150, I think I can make this cheaper.  My goal will be to stay below $50.00.
  • To create a beautiful elephant sculpture that compliments my daughters’ bedroom.
  • To use recycled materials.
    Resources and Learning
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube
  • past experience
  • booksDocumentation of progress
  • WordPress Blog
  • video
  • pictures


  • get er’ started
  • get er’ done!
  • Seriously, most of the work will probably get done on the Easter break.  I will start stock piling newspapers now.  I will continue to look at elephants and try to get a good handle on their anatomy and facial features.



8 thoughts on “Final Project

  1. Just an FYI if you chose to do your kitchen tile, it does not have to be finished. The focus needs to be on the learning, and journalling it and how tech has influenced the learning.


    1. I still might do the tile. If it happens in the future, I will keep your email and send you pictures. I will definitely learn how to do it online as I have no background in tile and not enough money to pay an expert!


  2. IMPRESSIVE JULIE! You got talent with style, 🙂 Last time i did paper mache since high school and you retaught me how to do sculptures. Your lesson plan and your blog went beyond the scale, you smart cookie. 🙂 Enjoy your summer, Julie


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