With the progression of posts featuring the redecorating of Kate’s room, you are getting a glimpse into the quagmire that the projects in my world seem to fall into from time to time. Kate and I started re-doing her room 6 weeks ago…and I’m still plugging away. Truthfully, we accomplished a good deal when she was home for Christmas, but there were still some ‘to-do’s’ on my list. This paper maché ram trophy head is the last element of the gallery wall that Kate wanted. The ram head is significant as a Ram (Ramses) is her school mascot.
So the conversation went something like this:
Me: “What are you thinking in terms of art for your walls?”
Kate: “I’d like a gallery wall, with lots of pictures, some quotes and a ram trophy head.”
Me: “A ram trophy head?”
Kate: “Yeah, you know…not a real ram trophy head, but one made out of cardboard or paper mache.”
Me: “hmmm…O (dot dot dot) K (dot dot dot)”
Kate: “do you think you could make one?”
Me: “ummmm (dot dot dot) sure!”
Challenge accepted! One paper mache ram trophy head coming up!
I have to say that I haven’t really worked with paper mache since I left elementary school…a few years ago! But I really enjoyed this project!
Not only is it fun to get your hands all goopy, but you can actually form something with nothing more than newspaper, flour and water and most importantly…it is a very forgiving craft. If you make a mistake (which I did several times) you can easily mend it.
After Ram(shes) was all done and ready to be hung, she fell off of the counter and cracked in several places. I merely whipped up a wee batch of water and flour, ripped a couple strips of newspaper and voila…she was easily mended.
Oh, and let’s get this right out in the open…yes, I know Rams are male. But I’ve claimed some artistic license here and made our Ramses a Ramshes. Freddy Mercury Ram? or Boy George Ram? or Bruce Jenner Ram? Matters not…this is a Glam Ram.
What you need to make a paper mache ram trophy head (or other animal trophy head):
Newspaper, torn in strips about 9-12″ long and 1 ” wide
Whole sheets of newspaper to be balled up for the form
Flour and water glue (equal parts of white flour and water)
How you make a paper mache ram trophy head (or other animal trophy head):
Figure out an image that you can use as a reference.
I printed a photo of ram off of the internet and realized that I was aiming for a triangle shaped head. I balled up some newspaper and shaped them accordingly.
I wrapped those first three balls of paper and taped that together. Then I added 3 more pieces, 2 side by side where the eyes will be and 1 added on to the opposite end where the nose will be.
Here’s where the fun starts. Mix equal amounts of water and flour (I would do 1 cup of each at a time). Dip your strips of newspaper in the flour/water paste and run the paper through your fingers to get most of the paste off of it.
Start overlaying your paste strips on your figure, covering it completely. Once it is covered, set it aside to dry. Or, you could put it in your oven, set at 150-200°. How long depends on how wet your figure is. I would turn my oven for one half an hour and then let it sit in the oven after I turned it off.
After I had her head pretty much set, I realized that she needed a neck and that she needed a little more meat under her chin. It was so easy to just bundle some newspaper up, tape it on and then cover it with the paper mache.
Just a note, it does seem that I had a hard time finding a tape that wanted to adhere to the dried paper mache…not sure why. But it stayed on long enough for me to cover it with the paper mache.
In retrospect, this would’ve been a good time to take some of the original paper balls out of her head to reduce the weight. As it was, I did it after I attached the neck, which was not a problem at all. I told you it was very forgiving.
I also ended up cutting a hole under the nose to remove those balls of paper. I was hesitant to pull them all the way from the back…didn’t want the structure to collapse. Once I got all the ‘stuffing’ out, I merely patched her up with paper and water/flour paste.
I then made her horns. I used some of the wire I had from my felt garland, which is a heavy duty 24 gauge wire. I double it over, taped it together and then wrapped the paper around the wire. Then I began to wrap the paper mache around the horns.
The image below shows the paper being wrapped around the wire. It also shows where the original balls are under the paper mache head.
I drew in where I thought her eyes would go and then placed the horns appropriately, using the photo as a reference.
I cut holes in her head big enough for the horns, put a little glue in the holes and then stuck the horns in. I propped the horns up on cans while they were drying to keep them in place.
By wrapping the paper maché strips both vertically and horizontally on the horns and where they attached to the head, I was able to make them very secure. I ended up making the horns much thicker after they were ‘installed’. I also cut out the eye area, added a small ball made of aluminum foil to the eyesocket and paper mache-d over it when I attached the horns. I used a knife to outline the eye area.
At this point, I started wondering how I was going to attach the paper mache ram trophy head to the plaque that I found in the attic during my unclutter. What I noodled was to attach some wire mesh to the back of her head. That would make it possible for me to attach her to the plaque in any number of ways. Once I folded the wire mesh around the hollowed out back. I glued and paper maché-d it on.
I used paper towel instead of newspaper to mold her nose and mouth. Paper napkins and paper towels are much easier to mold.
Ramshes spent a fair of time in the oven, or she’d probably prefer ‘sauna.’
I added ears cut out of cardstock to the paper mache ram trophy head.
Once the gold was dry, I slipped plastic bags over the horns and spray painted the rest of Ramshes pink using Valspar Pink Burst High Gloss Spray Paint.
The piece de resistance on Ramshes, in my book anyway, are her gold eyelashes. I used the same gold cardstock that I used for the ears and cut fringe-y eyelashes. I then sprayed them with adhesive glue, sprinkled them with fine gold glitter and curled them on the handle of a wooden spoon. I slipped them into the slits I made and just added a wee bit of glue to keep them in place. Don’t hesitate to make your slits bigger as necessary with a knife or letter opener.
‘Oh, la, la’….Ramshes, the Glam Ram is the bling that made Kate’s gallery wall sparkle.
Ramshes, the pink paper mache ram trophy head absolutely perfects and finishes Kate’s gallery wall. I am so glad she thought of it. I have to say that the gold glitter eyelashes really make her a complete knock-out in my book.
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Hi there, I’m Lynn and I’m in my happy place when cooking, baking, creating, crafting, diy-ing or gardening. You too? Hey, we should be friends! You can reach me at [email protected] and read more about me here.
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