Video tutorial for Diversified ART’s Manatee Mania! If your browser isn’t showing the video above you can watch it on Diversified ART’s youtube channel.
We hope to see lots of Manatees swimming out there!
Questions? Contact us, we’re happy to help. Send a picture of your completed papier mache manatee for us to post on our site. Email a jpg to email@example.com.
For those who aren’t teachers, don’t want to build their own armature or just want to help support Diversified ART, you can purchase a wire manatee armature in our store.
We also teach papier mache sculpture classes.
Manatee Facts and Information
Save the Manatee Club, offers a free educators guide about manatees, a nice addition to this art project. Save the Manatee Club is a Florida non-profit organization dedicated to saving the endangered manatee.
Sea Cows for Kids 2004, 50 fiberglass manatees line Jacksonville, Florida’s streets to raise money for the Otis Smith Kids Foundation whose programs and services help at-risk elementary school children in Jacksonville, Florida.
- 2’ x 20’ poultry netting 1″ mesh
- 2” x 2” x 24” wooden arms (decking) for armature support
- 2” deck screws
- Drill with Philips head bit
- Wood glue to support arm on base
- 1” x 8’ wood, cut into 8” squares for base
- Aluminum wire to tie pectoral fins on
- Needle nose pliers for tying aluminum wire
- Safety glasses
- Kevlar gloves for working with wire
Paper Mache & Paint Supplies:
- Liquid starch & flour mixed to the consistency of a thick milk shake
- Tempera Paint
- Pencils – for drawing designs on sculpture
- Plastic cups with lids for paint
- Paint brushes of various sizes
- Drop cloths or newspaper for table protection
- Bowls/cans for rinsing out brushes
- Bowls for liquid starch/flour (papier mache)
- Trays/cans for brushes, pencils, etc
- Box of rags
- Boxes for torn paper
- White glue or hot glue if decorative materials are used
- Decorative materials (if used)
History of Papier Mache
Despite the French sounding name, papier mache was not made in France until the mid 17th century. However, they were the first country in Europe to do so.
Papier mache originates from China; the inventors of paper itself. They used papier mache to make helmets, which they toughened by many layers of lacquer. Examples have been found dating back to the Han Dynasty (BC 202 – AD 220).
From China, the interest in papier mache spread to Japan and Persia, where it was used in mask making and festival activities. Eventually it spread across the world. Large imports of papier mache objects swamped European markets. This led France to start making its own wares, and England followed suit in the 1670s. There was only a half-hearted interest until the late 1700s and into the 1800s, when it became widely used.
Papier Mache Timeline
Visual Arts Vocabulary
- Sculpture – art made by shaping or combining materials such as clay, glass, paper, marble, wood, metal, etc
- Armature – the skeleton of a sculpture, the inside frame around which a sculpture is built, provides stability and strength
- Papier mache – French word meaning chewed paper, a mixture of paper and glue, starch, flour or wallpaper paste
- Primer – prepares an unpainted surface for future layers of paint
- Design – a plan, in this case an artistic plan or design
- Sketchbook – a book of blank pages that artists use to plan and draw their ideas in
- Primary colors – red, yellow, blue (colors that cannot be made by mixing any other colors together)
- Secondary colors – green, orange, purple (colors made from mixing 2 primary colors together)
- Three Dimensional – having depth along with length and width, i.e. a sculpture, chair, bottle, etc.
- Two Dimensional – having only length and width (no depth), i.e. a drawing or painting, a flat surface