Sunday, October 18, 2009

Monster Portraits

I wanted to do a Monster portrait similar to the Owl one I did last year.

Using paper mache I enhanced the eyes and nose and then using a variety of paper and painting techniques, created the material for the rest of the monster.

Here's the how to just in time for Halloween.

Materials Required:

cardboard egg carton
paper towel ripped into strips
white glue
recycled container for glue/water mixture
wax paper
paint acrylic or tempera
paper for painting
plastic wrap, bubble wrap (optional)
tacky glue
suitable paper for mounting...I used black construction paper

Take your egg carton and cut out a eye and nose configuration....something like can get about 3 sets with every carton.

Rip up your paper towel into strips. Mix up your glue with water in a 1 to 1 ratio into a recycled container.

Cover work space with wax paper to prevent sticking.

Start adding extra volume to the nose...sculpting it to your liking. The paper mache sticks very nicely to your cardboard base.

Continue adding strips and building up your monster's features....mine still look bird like but that's because I love can sculpt yours to reflect your taste.

You can add some features to the I built up the eyeball....add a paper mache layer around the outside of the eye as well to tie it all in together and to make for easy painting.

Let it dry will need to turn it as it dries...this will take about 2 days perhaps shorter if placed in a really warm spot.

When your eye and nose piece has dried paint I used acrylic but I have painted paper mache quite easily with tempera.

Now we need to paint the materials to make the monster bodies. Here I'm adding color to wc paper but you can use poster board or even fingerpaint paper, heavy sketch paper....

To get some texture for the monster skin I am applying plastic wrap which I then lightly scrunch to get some great detail....leave the plastic wrap on until the paint has dried.

For this monster skin I painted the paper with some purple and blue tempera. I then place a piece of bubble wrap on top pressing down to make sure the texture gets into the paint.

Leave the bubble wrap on until the paint has dried. Other things you can try...painting paper towels with tempera, painting packaging material like corrugated paper that is in cookie/snack products.

When the paper has dried I added a few painted dots. I then cut out a Monster body....because this is a portrait I have cut my monster off just below the can do a full body view if you prefer.

Here I am using some painted paper towels to make eyebrows and fur.

After adding the eyebrows I glued the eye and nose piece into place.

I'm using tacky glue.

Here I am adding some fur elements.

If you want you can add some arms....with my second monster I cut the arms with the body in one piece.

Add some I am using some leftover paper from the Owl portrait...painted packaging material from a bag of cookies.

With a class you can get students to share their leftover papers giving them lots of variety to work with.

Glue portrait into place on a good contrasting background.

I decided my monsters were attending a Halloween Costume contest so I added some prize ribbons as an extra touch.

Here is the second monster and some of the leftover papers I gather. Whenever I'm painting I try to paint a sheet or two extra and I keep all my mistakes. This gives me lots of choices to create from.

Well that's it....why don't you make a few Monsters. I'm sure they can find a home on your wall somewhere as part of your Halloween decorations.
I've never met a kid who didn't want to make a monster and they can make it as friendly or scary as they wish.

I have the distinct impression I'm being watched while writing this post.
Take care and "we" will see you next time.


  1. I wanna do this too! Thanks so much for the monster spook-torial!

  2. I wish I had one of these hanging around here!

    You never cease to amaze me with your creativity, Gail.

  3. These monsters are fantastic! I love them. I work for an afterschool program and this would be a great activity for the kids I work with! I'm gonna have to start saving some egg cartons. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have often thought about but naver had the time to set aside to do 'raised' art like this. It's funky in a way all off it's own. Great stuff.

  5. WOW! I love, love, love this! Thanks so much for sharing, I'll be linking.

  6. Hi Gail!Fantastic idea.I must start collecting the egg boxes.I was just wondering do you have a template for the two different types of Monsters bodies.

  7. I just finished reading Zorgamazoo to my class and I can't wait to have them create their own monster/zorgle! They are going to fall in love with this art project! Thank you Gail! You are truly brilliant!

  8. template would be lovely to have!

  9. I usually send your projects on to my friend for her young grandson, but this one looks like I could use it with my 12 y/o grandson. Everyone likes monsters and yours are spectacular!
    Sally Downes