Inside: detailed instructions on how to make an airplane out of a soda bottle and newspaper WITH KIDS. And then how kids can use it to travel the world.
I will tell you about one thing that was in abundance in the Soviet Union.
It was everywhere: in huge unsteady piles in the corners of our small apartments, in classrooms, flattering on every bench in a park and in doll-like Newspaper kiosks on every street corner.
|This newspaper is going where? Photo credit: http://20th.su|
|Photo source: khushi24.ru|
Cooking newspaper? Yep!
The resulted paper mass was shaped into a tree and planted in a backyard. Kidding. This paper mass was mixed with gymnastics chalk (don’t ask me, if a regular chalk is any different from gymnastics chalk, but that’s what I had) and then some quantity of washing starch and carpenter’s glue was mixed in. Call it “science” maybe? This mix was poured into an empty metal can, homemade clay form or some other suitable form. The cleaning up took a week.
One of the best things to do was to make a papier-mache airplane and fly it into a huge map of the world on the wall. I kept my eyes closed until the plane touched the wall. Then I pulled out a huge dictionary and looked up the facts about the country where the airplane landed. The country I most often ended up “visiting” was Chad, probably because it was right in the middle of the map. You could wake me up in the middle of the night and ask,
|Looks like a map I had as a child. Photo source: http://kiev.all.biz/|
How to make a papier-mache airplane
There is something in the paper-mache projects that appeal to me like no other creative outlet. The feel of it under the fingers? The 3-D form? The nostalgia?
Since making molds takes too much time, I simply use objects from a recycling bin as a base with my kids. Our favorite base is the soda bottle! It makes the best dolphins, spaceships, and boats.
I don’t have pics of dolphins and boats because we did those projects in the days before the blog. But I can share with you our airplane project just in time for the National Aviation Day today! August 19th!
Making an airplane involves 4 steps
If kids are helping you, the surface of the airplane is not going to be as smooth as you want it to be and that’s ok! We left our papier-mache airplane in the downpour and it cracked in many places. My son looked at the damage with a critical eye and pronounced, “I don’t care. It is still the best airplane in the world.” Kids do not mind the imperfections, but their pride at accomplishing this long project knows no bounds.
What you need
- Soda bottle
- Duct tape
- Cardboard for wings and tail
- Lego wheels of milk cups
- Water, flour, salt to make glue
- Newspaper or similar paper (something that is not too thick or glossy to blend in)
What to do
8. WHEELS. You can use milk cups or Lego Wheels. Whatever is handy.
Use duct tape to attach them to the bottle. The papier-mache glue will help to keep them in place.
9. GLUE. There are many different ways to make glue. Two points to consider. First, since my kids dip their fingers in it, I never add anything toxic to it. Second, the no-cook version is not only easier when you work with kids, but actually better. It dries to a smooth finish (unless kids use too much of it), it has a nice light shade (that is easy to cover with paints), and it is very reliable (stands up to multiple crashes)
My glue: 1 cup flour, 1 cup flour, 1 Tablespoon of salt.
Salt is added to prevent mold growth. But also make sure you let each layer dry completely before starting the next one or your project will start smelling in a few days.
10. Papier – Mache. Tear newspaper into small pieces. I try to avoid the edges because they don’t blend in as well. However, newspaper edge pieces are perfect for the area around the front window.
Dip a piece of paper into glue mixture, squeeze out the excess with your fingers, so it isn’t drippy. Lay paper over the base and smooth it out gently. Work in the same fashion until everything is covered, EXCEPT the window. Or don’t leave the window space, just papier-mache everything and paint the window on later.
I usually don’t cover the front and back openings until final layers because that’s how I hold the airplane. When you are ready to cover them, just duct tape them and cover with glued newspaper.
Let the airplane dry for 24 hours. Repeat layers as needed.
11. Important note on the WINGS. When you are doing the first layer ALWAYS rest the wings over a support until everything is dry. The weight of the glue and newspaper will pull them down until the wings touch the table. However, once the glue is dry, they are cemented into place and you have nothing to worry about.
10. Once it is dry, it’s time to paint. Both tempera and acrylic paints work well. We like to paint it white first.
How to travel the world with a papier-mache airplane
You can put a map on the floor, land the airplane with closed eyes and then explore the country where the plane landed (with a dictionary or youtube videos). You can also spread alphabet cards on the floor and once the airplane landed on a certain letter, explore the countries that start with that letter and look them up on a map.
I hope you give this project a try. I can’t wait to find out if my instructions were clear or not. Meanwhile, feel free to check our Airplane Board on Pinterest.
You might also be interested in Airplane Books and Activities