Really Big Snowman Made with Paper Mache Clay

Looking for great ideas for your next paper mache project or a gift idea? Check out my patterns and videos for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts.

paper mache snowman tnToday we’ve got a really fun guest post by Lisa Dalton, who shows us how she made an enormous snowman out of paper mache clay for a stage prop. I mean, he’s really BIG. If you’ve ever wondered how to create a safe, well-balanced armature for something this size for a play or prom decoration, Lisa has the answers for us. Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

©2015 Lisa Dalton

I wanted to share with all of you my first attempt at paper Mache clay. His name is Tapper  — he is a tap dancing snowman created for a holiday dance recital, and he stands 8ft tall!

The base board is a piece of plywood, 2ft by 3ft. The pipe is 5ft, threaded into a  sleeve that I had mounted on the base. Then I used # 9 wire. It’s very hard to bend & work with, but I knew that heavy gauge wire was strong enough to hold him up and I could bend his arms & legs however I wanted.

Armature for the snowman.
Armature for the snowman.

I purchased some painter’s paper in 3ft rolls for the base of the body work. Then my friends & neighbors saved their newspapers for the more detailed body shaping.

Adding paper to the snowman armature.
Adding paper to the snowman armature.

After masking taping him up, I started to put on the paper Mache clay. It took 23 batches to cover him.

Adding paper mache clay to the snowman.
Adding paper mache clay to the snowman.

Once finished with the paper Mache clay, I left him dry for a week. This was a huge struggle for me – I wanted to finish him up! Once he had time to totally dry I painted him with a brush & tossed on sparkles while the paint was still wet to give it the layered look of real snow.

For his eyes I used tin foil pushed into a  deviled egg holder so they would be shaped the same & then wrapped them with masking tape and covered them with paper Mache clay. I painted them black and attached them with a hot glue gun.

Making the snowman's eyes.
Making the snowman’s eyes.

The nose is a piece of cardboard rolled tight at one end to make a point & stuffed with newspaper. I covered it with masking tape and put paper Mache clay over the top & painted it orange. His cheeks I just hand-painted right on to the paper Mache clay. Tapper’s smile is a piece of the #9 wire, the same as I used for the body shape. Then I painted the wire black and hot glued his beautiful smile on!

Paper Mache Snowman completed, but before going on stage.
Paper Mache Snowman completed, but before going on stage.

16 thoughts on “Really Big Snowman Made with Paper Mache Clay

  1. Tapper lives! What great fun for the kids. Soon he will need to don his sunglasses and be wrapped in a beach towel.

    • Tapper is in the dance studio front window as a winter display for the kids & now he is a Easter bunny we added ears and Easter egg buttons! He is a very fun snow man! LOL

        • I’ve tried making paper mache clay waterproof, and it hasn’t worked for me. You could completely cover the item with fiberglass, I suppose, but that’s rather expensive. Paper doesn’t work well outside for long periods, although for temporary holiday decorations, a few coats of marine varnish might work. The pm clay will soften, but it should harden again once it’s back inside and dry.

  2. That is fan blimmin tastic. I can see me making a giant snowman now, and then a santa and then a great big rudolph…… and there was me thinking I didn’t need to keep any more envelopes and junk mail. My hubby is really going to love these

  3. he is soooo goood perhaps a santa would be good with this method. thanks so much for the wonderful information

  4. Hi Lisa,
    Wow, 23 batches, you have been busy. All that work paid off nicely. He looks great. Thank you for sharing.

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