Papier Mache Shorebirds is a fabulous paper mach project, and my kids love paper mach.  This fun kids activity is great for both girls and boys.  If you are looking for more boredom busting ideas check out all our summer crafts and activities ideas that will kids active and entertained this summer! I have gathered the best craft bloggers to share  fun kids crafts! Gather some kids and make these fruit and yogurt popsicles or try creating this squirt bottle tie dye tutorial. Be sure to keep checking back and you will find fun creative ideas that inspire and encourage imaginative play this summer!

kids crafts

DSC03957Hi everyone.

It’s Gail from that artist woman. I’m an art educator and spend my days teaching kids about art.

One of my favourite art projects to do with kids is papier mache.  My birds are always a hit at school and with my own kids. Today I thought I would put a summer spin on things and do shorebirds.

Nothing says summer to me than hanging out by the ocean and watching the sandpipers race up and down the beach.DSC03980

So let’s get started.


Take a piece of newspaper and crumple it into a pear shape.  For a sandpiper you want a long pear shape.  Use masking tape and wrap it on your shape to secure.

DSC03812Now it’s time to get messy. I use cut up paper towel for my strips.  They work better than newspaper strips, easier to paint (it’s white) and it soaks in all that mache mix so it’s less messy.


My mache mix is glue and water (50/50).  It dries very hard so your creations will last a long time.

DSC03826Dip the paper towel strips into the mix and start wrapping.  The birds are small so you only need about 2 coats.

DSC03828We want to add a long beak so take a strip or 2, dip in the mix, and twist into the beak shape.

DSC03831Secure on the head with a few strips.

DSC03834At this point I like to let them dry out a bit.  At school I don’t always have the luxury of time so my students might add the tail and wings at this point.(I’ll talk about that in a minute)DSC03891

Once the bird bodies have dried you’ll want to add some legs. Cut some wire, I use 22 gauge, you need 2 pieces about 10 inches long.  Fold in half. Starting at the fold bend in 3 toes and the twist the ends together to form the legs. Trim at the top.

DSC03897I use an awl to poke to holes into the bird body but you can also use a knitting needle. Put a bead of hot glue on the hole. (adult supervision required) and then push wire leg in.  Add extra glue if needed.

DSC03904Once the legs are on you can add the tail.  Cut out a tail shape from some recycled cardboard. For the sandpipers we did not add wings as they keep them tight to body when zipping up and down the beach.  If you want to add wings just use the same cardboard method.

DSC03910Then attach with…you guessed it…more papier mache.  Just a few strips will do ya.

DSC03915You can also wrap a strip or two around the leg where you glued it.  This will hide the hot glue and make your bird look more realistic.

DSC03917Set aside to dry.

DSC03918When the bird is dry it’s time to paint. I give my kids/students pictures and bird books to use for reference but they are also free to paint it any way they want. We use acrylic but you can also use liquid tempera.

P1080571_edited-1My youngest loves making these birds. We have them all over the house!

DSC03926If you want you can wrap the legs with some embroidery floss.  This makes them look more realistic. Just knot it on, wrap several times and then knot it off.

DSC03930Finally you can add a coat of Mod Podge or sealer to the bird.  This will preserve it, give it a nice shiny finish, and protect it from getting picked up by every person who visits your house. (‘Really, you made that!’)

That’s it.  If you liked this project and want more…..DSC_0370come visit me over at that artist woman. I have lots of art and craft projects you can do all summer.


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