Sunday, April 14, 2013

Papier Mache Caterpillar

Grade 1 starts their "Life cycle of the Butterfly" unit next week.

We are making the clay butterflies but I needed something for the caterpillar stage.

I thought we could make a papier mache one.

- paper tube from a paper towel roll or wrapping paper
- small balloon
- masking tape
- bubble wrap, optional
- paper towel cut into strips
- white glue
- recycled container
- water
- acrylic or liquid tempera paint
- packing peanuts
- coloured paper


Blow up the balloon.  You don't want it too big about the size of a baseball.

Tape onto the end of the paper tube.

Stuff some paper towel into the other end to close the hole.

You can wrap the tube with some bubble wrap or newspaper.  This is just to add some bulk and decrease the amount of mache you have to add.

Mix some water and white glue in your recycled container (1 to 1 ratio).

Dip your paper towel strips into the glue mixture and start layering on your balloon and paper tube.  Criss cross the layers for strength.  Add a dry strip every once and a while to soak up the excess.

When you have about 2 layers all over the base set aside to dry in warm spot.  It will take about 2 days.

Rotate after the first day to get the underside to dry.

Paint the background colour for the body of your caterpillar.

Paint on your details.

I needed to add feet.  I had lots of these packing peanuts so I putting them to good use.

Glue feet onto bottom of the caterpillar.

You can add some paint to the feet.  You need to add a drop of dish soap to the paint to get it to stick to the plastic surface of the peanuts.

Cut 2 eyes out of coloured paper.  I also cut out a mouth and a few teeth.

Glue into place.

That's it.  Now I have to come up with the chrysalis stage, stay tuned.

See you next time.


  1. Perfect idea! I used to bring in some caterpillars from my garden and we would watch them grown, shed, eat, grow. Repeat. These are so cute.♥♫

  2. What an adorable project! I think I will be pinning this idea!

  3. Cute caterpillar! Are the kids able to do most of the wrapping and taping themselves? Thank you for all your clear and simple to use directions!

  4. Hey Jane,
    The balloon taping will be done ahead of time and the kids will add the bubble wrap/newspaper. That's the plan anyway. :)

  5. This is really great idea. I have both toilet rolls and ball with me. i would love to make one. Thanks for sharing