To make this Papier-mâché snowman, first you’ll need newspaper and a newspaper sleeve. Yep, I used the newspaper sleeve. It seemed the right size for the snowman I had in mind. Just imagine a row of these snowmen made from an item you usually toss in the trash…
Since this was a little on the small side, I tore the newspaper in half and used the single sheets to wad into balls. The balls of newspaper were then placed in the plastic sleeve. When the sleeve was filled with enough of the newspaper, the plastic bag was tied in a knot.
I wanted legs to be visible. Using masking tape, I taped the bag creating two ‘legs’.
Then, a head was formed. This was a more compacted ball of newspaper to create a round ball. That was placed in the sleeve above the body and the knot. Another knot was tied to hold the ball in place.
As you can imagine, the head was a little ‘wonky’. In order to make it more stable, I wrapped a piece of masking tape around it. Awww, perfect!
Just like the pumpkins, strips of newspaper were glued to the shape with the Papier-mâché glue. ◄ (You can find complete directions for making the glue and the clay here. This makes a lot! You might want to make half or a third of the recipe unless you are planning on making much bigger or a lot of these!) I cut the strips for the snowman a little shorter and not as wide as the ones used on the pumpkins.
This was actually done in two settings, allowing the paper strips to dry and stiffen the figure a little before applying them to the head. Take note, a few strips were applied to the neck area both times to help support the head.
Once the paper strips were dry and the piece was completely covered, I felt the feet needed a better foundation. This little snowman has to stand on his own, unsupported. I had an empty cream cheese box and cut ‘soles’ for the feet from the cardboard box, glued them to the bottoms of the feet, and filled in the gaps with the paper clay.
About two-thirds of the body was covered with the paper clay. You can see the arms are beginning to take shape. The little fellow was allowed to dry for a day at this point. In order to hasten the drying, he was set next to the heat register in the kitchen. (Yes, we already have the heater turned on this year!)
I learned with the pumpkins and the pumpkin stems, that you need to dry areas before applying too much of the paper clay or you might have a collapse. The stems completely covered in one setting ended up having dropsy. By covering the base of the stem, allowing it to dry, and then, covering the top, the stems had a better base. They stand more erect.
Remember that. You must have patience.
Once the lower body was completely covered with clay and dried, clay was applied to the head and some clay was added to his arms. He was allowed to dry again. The register expedited the drying process nicely. He’s beginning to take shape.
The idea of having earmuffs on this little guy was inspired by a snowman at a local store. The band across the top was a spiraled wire and for whatever reason, I just wanted to recreate that look. It just seemed so clever!
To make them, two equal-sized balls were shaped, flattened, and applied to the wet clay on both sides of the head. Placing the wet clay on the wet clay helped the two fuse together. (I wanted definition between the ear muffs and the head. The wet on wet clay helped create that. You can blend the wet clay out onto the dry clay and it will adhere easily without a line but in this case, the definition was preferable.) At this point, you can poke a hole with a toothpick on both of the flattened shapes where the spiraled wire will be attached later. If you would rather, or forget to do this, a drill can be used to drill a tiny hole for it after the piece has dried.
After the Papier-mâché snowman dried overnight, another thin layer of the clay was spread over the head, smoothing out the clay, and subtle cheeks were formed. You can see that a carrot nose was also shaped and applied to his face. (Laying him on his back kept the carrot erect instead of drooping.)The eyes were shaped to resemble coal. I tried to shape ridges on the edges to replicate the edges of chipped coal. I’m not sure how successful that was but that was the objective.
He was laid on his back to add the carrot nose, the coal eyes, and to cover the front with another smooth layer of clay. At this point, he seems to resemble a troll more than a snowman but we are not done yet. Another day of drying and working on the back will be the next step.
Part 2 will be posted in the next few days. I can’t wait to get to the painting part and, ultimately, this little Papier-mâché Snowman will be glistening, too. Until then,