Art Lesson Plan: Paper Mache Gargoyles

Paper Mache Grotesques/Gargoyles

Submitted by: Cathy Gaul
UNIT: Medieval Art - Sculpture - Gargoyles
Grade level: Middle School


Lesson Summary:

This is a Gargoyle/grotesque project for 7th-8th grades. In conjunction with their study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods in social studies, the 7th and 8th grade class made these instant papier mache relief sculptures.


Students used crumpled paper towels under the top slab of Celluclay Instant Papier Maché. mash to support the face area and made sure the mouth was open for the gargoyle effect. They added features. This project took 2 hours to complete. They had one class period and were able to keep working through their lunch break. (Hey, you can ALWAYS eat, Art was more important that day!).


We later took a trip into Philadelphia with binoculars to go on a gargoyle hunt. We found some great ones unexpectedly along my researched trip, eventually ending up at the Art Museum. This trip took place the day after the gargoyle making. Great timing! Nightmares in the Sky (Stephen King wrote the prologue) is a great book for inspirations!


Nightmares in the Sky: Gargoyles and Grotesques. (Stephen King wrote the prologue) is a great book for inspirations!


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From Mark Scira: I use "green stone insulation" (Greenfiber Insulation) found at any good hardware store. It is 100% ground up newspaper, acid free and add some (a cup or so) of Sand to the mix. I mix it in a large tub, so it is about ½ of the huge bag of paper grindings, sand, and some wall paper paste (mixed up wet or premix) until it takes on a clay consistency. Knead with hands. Keep the layers at deepest 1" least at ½". You can use it as final layer of paper mache mask or over a form using a bag as a release liner. Let air dry. It darkens, looks like stone, and is really, really hard. Heck, it is nearly fireproof. Oh, and when adding appliqués, such as nose, ears, etc. Make sure to have some wall paper paste handy to coat both surfaces to bond and rub in edges for a permanent fit. Good luck. I like to do the gargoyle mask idea, but mount it on foam core when it is dry using Elmer's Glue. and then the "prize" for outstanding ones is to drop in a glow stick (yes, they should cut out the eyes and mouth on the masks when wet) and they glow. Enjoy!



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