Manatee Mania!

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!

Manatee Doodle ©2011 Sasha Heath, Australia.

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


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.



Armature Supplies:

  • 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:

  • Newspaper
  • 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

Courtesy of

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 – h


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
Manatee Mania! Endangered Manatee Papier Mache Sculpture Video Tutoria. Vol. 2 no. 1 ©February 2011, Published by Diversified ART™  ISSN 2166-3661

About Diversified ART

Community-based artists guild, international artist registry, and digital gallery with classes, activities, and programs in the visual arts. Our organization focuses on the visual arts and social and environmental consciousness.
This entry was posted in Creative Art Activities and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Manatee Mania!

  1. Armando Neuner says:

    I certainly enjoyed your page. You have some remarkable articles. Appreciate it.

  2. Diversified ART says:

    Here’s a link to our membership info Center for Diversified ART Membership

  3. Communities in Delaware says:

    Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters?

  4. Latesha Rusten says:

    Take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will advocate this web site!

  5. Diversified ART says:

    Glad to hear folks are finding these activities useful.

  6. Deidra Molinere says:

    Several award blog posts with this website, saved to faves.

  7. Boyce says:

    Superb Site!

  8. Anonymous says:

    That is pretty good post. Appreciation for your determination to supply this kind of helpful tips here.

  9. Lillian Blanquart says:

    Pleasant article, I genuinely enjoyed studying it, keep doing the hard efforts.

  10. Everette Mesidor says:

    nice work, keep up the great blog.

  11. Anonymous says:

    wonderful post, very informative.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this post.

  13. You’re welcome. Glad you found it helpful!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a ton for taking a few minutes to line this all out for people. This write-up ended up being quite helpful if you ask me.

  15. I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thx again! “Every time we remember to say thank you, we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.”

  16. Thanks for that, I’ll check it out.

  17. E.J. Bisch says:

    The city of Ft. Pierce, Fl. had a similar art contest a number of years ago and then displayed the finished products in various locations in downtown. Some of these works are still on location. Might be something you might like to see.e.

  18. Hi Anu,

    The contest is open to anyone, anywhere. Just email the finished manatee by the deadline. Good Luck!

  19. Anu says:

    My 17 year old daughter is a visual artist who is also an environmental crusader. She would love to be a part of this contest. I would like to know if this contest is open to International participants.

  20. Diversified ART says:

    Thanks Kimberly

  21. Finally had a chance to get over to LinkedIn – we are listed under Diversified ART.

  22. Anonymous says:

    are you on linkedin?

  23. Diversified ART says:

    Can’t wait to see them Stephanie!

  24. Stephanie says:

    My kids and I are having a great time doing this project and will send pics when we finish it. THANK YOU

  25. kimberly says:

    yeah nice


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