Make a Paper Mache Classic Car – Dodge Caravan/ Plymouth Voyager

Bryan Divers wrote a guest post for us today, and I don’t think we’ve ever had a project like this on the site before. He built a classic Dodge Caravan with paper mache, and even sent a template for us. And it can be used as a bank, if you want. Read on …

©2015 Bryan Divers

How to Make a Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager in Paper Mache

The first mini-vans ever built, these identical twin models continued production for almost twenty years. Although the Voyager was dropped when the Plymouth line was canceled in 2004, its identical twin has continued production for one of the longest times of any automobile model. It is still in production today and has re-assumed a similar appearance to the 1990 model as of 2008 .

Plymouth Voyager-Dodge Caravan

Because of the vehicle’s squarish geometry, it is easy to make a model of it. The steps below show how:

1. Start by drawing the side view of the van including the wheels on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Then trace around it onto another piece and cut that one out. Click Here to See the Pattern- PDF

2. Cut out a long rectangular piece to form the grille, hood, roof, windshields and lift-gate. If you don’t get all of this on one piece, it’s okay—just make sure that if you add another piece to make it longer, it still aligns properly between the two side pieces. Use masking tape to hold it in place around the edges. Notice that the hood curves slightly right under the hood ornament at the end of the hood. Bend the cardboard middle piece into a curve here and slant it at the windshields. Cut off the cardboard at the bottom of the front bumper. Don’t worry about making a separate piece for the hood ornament—it’s stronger and easier if you just paint it on.

3. Cut out another long piece to be the bottom of the van. Make sure you allow extra length because you will have to curve it again around the contours of the wheels. Cut it off at the point where it meets the back bumper.

4. Mix two rounded tablespoons of flour with ¼ tablespoon of salt and add water until it’s the consistency of white craft glue. This small recipe gives you enough for each session without much waste.

5. Begin the papier-mâché. I recommend using the strips method for this project as opposed to papier-mâché clay. Please note that torn edges produce a smooth surface, whereas cutting the strips will result in your car looking like it was mummified! Only do enough to cover the whole thing once per day. It should be dry within 24 hours. Only do one layer at a time for 3 days until you have three dry layers.

Adding the paper mache
Adding the paper mache

6. When the last layer is dry (tap on it to make sure; it should feel hard all the way through and make a knocking noise), paint the whole model the body colour you have chosen. Paint the bottom black. Let it dry.

Painting the Plymouth Voyager
Painting the Plymouth Voyager

7. Mark the windows and windshields with a pencil and paint them either grey, light blue, or black. Mark the headlights, taillights, grille, license plate, bumpers, door handles, gas cap, hubcaps and ornaments as well. A unique design to this model, the headlights are square with a chrome division along the bottom and outer edge, separating the headlight, fog light, parking light and directional. The parking light should be orange, the headlights yellow, and the directional and fog light white. Paint the chrome and make the grille grey or silver with black spaces between the horizontal bars. You will need a very fine brush for the ornamentation. It also adds realistic detail to outline the headlight and taillight assemblies with a thin line of silver or grey.

8. Paint the rectangular door handles black and add the silver handles and keyholes when the black paint has dried. Paint the wheels black and after they’re dry, add the hubcaps with grey or silver. Paint the chrome and black padding on the bumpers. Paint the door outlines and the slot behind the sliding door with black.

9. If you want to use your van for a bank, cut a slit in the roof with a boxcutter and get a rubber stopper at the hardware store. Trace around it on the bottom of the van and cut out a circle to put the stopper in. Put the stopper in the hole.

10. Find a nice place to park your van!

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