Paper Mache Lesson Ideas Elementary - Middle School

Paper Maché Lesson Ideas

Submitted by: Linda Woods, St. John's Lower School, Houston Texas
UNIT: Recycling - Paper Maché (Paper Mache.) - Sculpture
Grade Level: Elementary through Middle School (Examples shown are by fifth graders) When a Chair is x



Corrugated cardboard, Masking Tape., newspaper, Newsprint. (brown paper bags or brown paper toweling), Wheat Paste. (flour paste or Elmer's Glue. mixed with water), Acrylic Paint. (latex house paint or tempera), Brushes., embellishments. For chairs: Cardboard tubes, cardboard cones. For Boxes: Sturdy gift boxes with lids.


General Procedures:

  1. Make sketches of project - select best for construction

  2. Cut corrugated cardboard (may have parent helpers for this step).

  3. Build armature - cover with masking tape to prevent warping. Large areas can be covered with aluminum foil

  4. Apply several layers of Paper Mache. - newspapers - with final layer a solid color (brown paper bags, brown paper toweling or white newsprint).

  5. Paint with acrylics when dry (latex house paints and tempera may also be used)

  6. Add embellishments

More Than a Chair...

1 2 3

Barbie Goes to the Prom

Bossy the Ice Skating Cow

Sleepy Time Bear Chair

4 5

Fortune Teller

A God Who Loves the World

When is a Box more than a Box?


Shrine to the Batter (Above)
Shrine to the Universe Below)

Retablos for Cat Dog

Ode to the Universe


Retablos - Shrines- Click images for larger views

Alternate idea - Chairs "in the style of....."


scream chair

The Scream Chair by Linda Woods


Construct chairs (using the above materials) inspired by a master artist. Do research for that artist and present to the class. Many lessons are on line for Chairs "in the style of..."


This chair is now a focal point in Linda's corner for "naughty boys and girls" that is their sign in book (Guest Book) on the seat of the chair.


Submitted by: Linda Hoffelt, Mickelson Middle School, Brookings, South Dakota
UNIT: Sculpture - Artists Research
Lesson: Shoes "In the style of....."
Grade level: Middle School (adaptable to elementary)

9      10      11
Frank Lloyd Wright            Pablo Picasso René Magritte

Click on the images for full size


Corrugated cardboard, newspapers, Wheat Paste. (or flour paste), Masking Tape., wire, Acrylic Paint., Brushes.. Miscellaneous extras/embellishments as needed.



Students will research an artist of their choice. They will create larger than life shoes using the artists' works as inspiration. Students will make sketches and then plan their armature. Cut out armature, tape together, and pad with newspapers. Apply layers of Paper Mache.. Paint when dry. Add embellishments.


Alternate idea: Design a shoe for an entertainer. A "Know the artist" poster is made to go with this project.


Alternate Lesson from Linda Hoffelt -Artists' Hats "in the style of...."


12      13      14
Salvador Dali      Roy Lichtenstein Poster

Students drew a name of the artist, did research on the artist and research on different kind of hat styles. They worked with a partner, built a frame with cardboard, paper mached and painted. some added embellishments other than paint. They had to make a poster and give a presentation to the class about the artist and how their hat was representational of the artist's style.


Note from Judy: Rather than trying to find Art hats "in the style of" as examples... I would look at hats from many cultures. Look at the reasons for hats - the symbolism and status. Look at the Tlingit Hat. - Yoruba Crowns. ...Helmet masks (like Gelede Masks). ..... Pre-Columbian Cultures. exotic head wear.. .etc. Hats through time...


Here is a very good site on African Head wear from National Museum of African Art.
Don't have Flash on your browser? Use this link.

Here is a link to History of Hats from Canadian Museum of Civilizations:


Book: Hats: An Anthology. - Published to accompany an innovative exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Hats offers an unprecedented view of the world of millinery from ancient Egypt to a Tudor knitted beret and a 1950s Balenciaga hat to Jones' own creations.

This link might be helpful: (Archive)

Here is a clever title for your lesson:
What's Your Hat-itude About Art? or Your Hat-itude

Hats off to you... Have some fun.

See Sculptural Headwear from 8th grade students at Germantown Academy, Pennsylvania. (Archive)


Homage to 20th Century Artists - Sculptural Headpiece
"The culminating art project in 8th grade this year is to create a sculptural headpiece in homage to a 20th century artist. This project gives students the opportunity to work with a vast array of materials, experiment with new processes, and explore innovative solutions. In addition the classes learn about art history in an integrative way, combining research with hands-on application and understanding through art making. The student's job is to determine what they want to make and the teacher helps with how to do it."


Texture Landscapes with Paper Maché Pulp from Greg Hogan

Wanted to share this lesson that I do for Junior High on texture. I have been at my present school for only two years and when I came, there were two 50 bags of paper maché pulp. What did I need with that much pulp? 

I came up with a lesson that turned out very nicely.  I had the students draw a landscape of their choice on pieces of cardboard and fill in the space for the mountains, trees, etc.. with the pulp. They had to put it on sparingly because if not it would crack and fall off.  Then they would paint it, the pulp was easily painted. It gave the piece a real textured feel and they enjoyed doing it. It was a good lesson on texture.



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