Art Lesson Plan: Paper Mache Dinosaurs - Elementary

Paper Mache Dinosaurs

1Submitted by: Linda Erling Baker, Southern Tier Catholic School
Unit: Sculpture - Science integration
Lesson Plan: Designer Dinosaurs
Grade Level: 3rd grade (adaptable 2nd through 5th)


Objectives: Students will

  • Explore 3-D materials - make an armature and apply paper maché - develop skills in 3-D media - Make a macquette that could be used for a playgroup sculpture

  • Develop skills in painting

  • Connect art to science


Enter "Dinosaur Sculpture" in Google - you will even find a fun playroom sculpture for kids!



Pictures of dinosaurs, Newsprint., Newspapers, Masking Tape., cardboard tubes, Armature Wire., aluminum foil, flour paste (or kid safe Wheat Paste.), white uncoated kraft paper. , paint Brushes., Acrylic Paint. or Tempera Paint., Optional: Glitter Paint., Puffy Paint., Wiggly Eyes.. Optional: Tissue paper., Acrylic Gloss Medium.

Optional hats: Construction Paper., Feather Assortment.



This would be a culminating activity from a unit on dinosaurs. In science classes students would have learned all about their habitat - the general time period and such... In English class the students will have read stories about dinosaurs. In art class student will have done some previous drawing - or design lesson on dinosaurs. This lesson will tape into their knowledge of Dinosaur anatomy and delve into their imagination for patterns and colors. Approach the lesson as if they are designers for a children's garden park. They have been hired to submit macquettes to be use to create larger cast concrete sculpture (all pretend of course - but in doing this the student take on the roll of a real artist - and tied in career education, too).2

  1. Day 1: Review some basic shapes for dinosaurs - what are some characteristics? Demo drawing a plan using basic shapes on 12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) Newsprint..

  2. Demo making armature for newspaper - tubes - tape

  3. Day 2: Demo Paper Mache.

  4. When ready to paint - demo


  1. Draw dinosaur on 12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) newsprint - simplify to basic shapes

  2. Make body from dinosaur from rolled up newspaper. (Note from Judy: I sometimes provided a basic body shape on the table so student would get the bodies big enough.)

  3. Do some problem solving. What can I do to make a long neck? What kind of shapes are needed for the legs. Look at selection of cardboard tubes to see if any of them can be used for legs. Roll newspapers around wire for neck and legs - insert wire ends into body and tape well for support.

  4. Make balled up shape for head - May use some aluminum foil to shape nose. Tape head onto neck.

  5. Smooth aluminum foil over armature and tape with masking tape. This keeps armature from getting too soggy.

  6. Apply one layer of torn newspapers overlapping pieces... teach smaller pieces to go around head and legs. Apply at least one layer of newspaper.

  7. Apply layer of brown paper toweling (end rolls) - OR torn and soaked brown grocery bags - OR white layer of newsprint. This will prepare for painting. Let dry. Note: Linda used a final layer of white roll paper.

  8. Paint with glitter tempera paints - paints large areas of solid colors and let dry

  9. Paint patterns. Student who finish early will make fancy hats for their dinosaurs and babies. Use aluminum foil and newspaper for babies. Glue wiggly eyes on when dry. Optional: accent with puffy paints and/or Paint Markers.s.

3Alternate finish:

Apply torn or cut tissue paper with gloss medium. Add cut tissue paper patterns. Accent with puffy paints and/or paint marker - or Glitter Glue..


Alternate lesson for older students:

Modern Dino - Make a dino doing something fun - like playing a saxophone - playing a guitar- as a rock star... whatever you want.


Note from Linda: Linda did have one student get an allergic reaction from wheat paste. The student got a red rash on her hand and arm. If this happens, find some place for the student to stay away from the materials. You can finish the paper maché yourself for the child - or find an alternate paste (like four or Elmer's Glue.). To my knowledge, no one has reported an allergic reaction to Elmer's glue mixed with water - or flour and water mix. Wheat paste allergy is common - but not severe (to my knowledge).




National Geographic Dinosaurs. - Grades 5-9- This overview includes nearly 200 pages of information. The opening chapters offer a chronology of the age of dinosaurs, a brief history of key discoveries, and lots of information about the creatures' habits and characteristics in general.

The Dinosaur Museum. - Step inside The Dinosaur Museum, the book where kids get to act like paleontologists. This volume gives readers a behind-the-scenes peek at a museum, with an interactive experience that evokes a visit to a natural history museum.

How to Draw Dinosaurs. - This guide enables children to draw 28 dinosaurs. They include: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dimetrodon, Megalosaurus, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, Archaeopteryx and other prehistoric creatures.

Dinosaurs for Kids. - Dinosaurs for Kids shares the unique world of dinosaurs and their true history like never before as you meet the most unusual creatures to ever walk the earth, stalk the seas, or soar across the sky! Discover how dinosaur bonebeds are made, and other kinds of fossils beyond just bones. Told from the creationist point of view.



Discovery Essential Dinosaur Pack. - All of Discovery's very best dinosaur programs in one two-disc set! From the complete Emmy Award-winning Dinosaur Planet to the groundbreaking discoveries of Valley of the T. Rex to the intriguing possibilities of Dinosaurs.

National Geographic: Dinosaur Hunters. - Travel back to the days of raging raptors and the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex, when dinosaurs ruled the earth! Plus, see some of the world's creepiest creatures such as spiders, ants, dung beetles, and more.



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