Papier-Mâché Puppets

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For a child, the fun of making one of these papier-mâché puppets is twofold. First, she can decorate it to look like whomever she wants--her very own twin or a fantastic creature. Then, she can cast it as the star in an impromptu puppet show.

To put one together, you'll need papier-mâché (See recipe below)), a balloon, a straight pin, a 2-foot-long wooden dowel, masking tape, acrylic paints, paintbrushes, scissors, construction paper and glue.

Blow up the balloon and knot the end. Dip newspaper strips into the Papier-Mâché paste and cover the balloon, leaving a small opening around the knot. Let dry (it takes about 12 hours). Apply another two or three layers.

For a nose, use your fingers to mold a few paste-coated strips. Gently press the wet shape onto the face. Once the nose dries, poke the balloon with a pin at the knot and remove it. Slide the dowel through the bottom opening until the inserted end rests against the top of the head. Tape over the opening. Anchor the dowel with another layer of Papier-Mâché.

Now, your child can paint on a face, covering the entire head with a skin-tone base before adding features. For hair, cut strips of construction paper. Use the straight edge of the scissors (adults only) to curl the ends. Then, glue the paper locks onto the head.

How to Make Papier-Mâché

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • Newspaper, torn into 1-by-6-inch strips

Combine the flour and cold water. Add the mixture to the boiling water in a stove-top pan and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in the sugar and let cool.

Dip the newspaper strips into the paste, as needed, using your thumb and forefinger to remove excess paste.

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