Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tutorial: Papier Mache Skulls

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated November 1. I love the imagery and symbolism of Day of the Dead, so decided to make my own calaveras from papier mache (and teach my Mundo Lindo kids to make them too.)
  • liquid starch
  • newspaper
  • masking tape
  • gesso (or white primer paint)
  • acrylic paints  

    1. With 1/2 sheets of newpaper, crunch and shape into a ball shaped head. Wrap in masking tape to shape the head and secure the shape
2. tear strips of newspaper

3. Dip strips in undiluted liquid starch. Run the strip between two fingers to remove excess liquid.

4. Wrap the head in overlapping strips of newspaper. (Dip each strip in liquid starch and apply one at a time.)

5. Shape head with your hands as your work.

6. This is a great project for kids. I taught 15 kids to do this one afternoon.

7. Using a 'slice' of paper tube, create a neck for the head.
Wrap the tube in strips of paper first.

8. Secure the 'neck' with overlapping strips around and inside.

8. Cover the whole shape with 3 layers of paper strips.

9. Let dry for about 2 days. These are the kids' heads.
(They wrote their names on the paper plate, so we could tell them apart.)

10. When the shape is completely dry, paint with gesso
(or white primer paint.) Paint two coats to get it nice and white.

11. Reseach the internet for possible designs.  When the gesso is dry,
lightly pencil your design, then re draw it with
permanent black marker. Paint with acrylics.

I used Collage Pauge with Sparkles and
painted the eyes and some details.


  1. Or, like me, you could be INCREDIBLY lazy and go to Michael's, plop your dollar on the counter, and come home with one ready to paint! Yours are charming!!!

  2. Viva la Vida! These are so cool and colorful...thanks for the lesson Jane

  3. This looks like so much fun! I love the doodle like designs and how colorful it is.

  4. Jane! This is fantastic! I love all the varied shapes.

  5. @Vivika! what, they sell papier mache skulls?? NOW you tell me. :-)

  6. Thank you for sharing
    This fabulous work with us
    Good creations

  7. i really like how the kiddos have both the drawing and the paper mache calavera. super fun!


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