How to Make a Papier Mache Hammerhead Shark

By Nicholas Zacharewicz
Apply papier mache over paper rolls and tape to create this predator of the deep.

Hammerhead sharks are fierce predators, eating even some kinds of poisonous rays and, in some cases, their own kind. However fierce this fish might be, its shape makes it a relatively easy papier mache project. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks and tape can be used to make the shark's shape. Then a papier mache mix can be used to coat this shape, and paints can be used to add the final touches that will bring your model to life.

Preparing the Base

Slip one of your toilet paper rolls inside of the other so that they stick together. About half an inch of one of the rolls should be hidden inside of the other.

Place your joined toilet paper rolls against one of the open ends of your paper towel roll. Trace the outline of your paper towel roll's end onto your toilet paper rolls with your black marker.

Separate the toilet paper rolls and cut out along the line that you drew.

Slip your toilet paper rolls back together, put the paper towel roll into the hole that is left and tape around the openings between your rolls.

Draw a vertical line on the paper towel roll 2 1/2 inches from where it connects with the toilet paper rolls. Draw another vertical line 3 1/2 to 4 inches from this line. Draw a line on the top and bottom of the end of the paper towel roll. All of these lines must be roughly aligned with the seam between the toilet paper rolls.

Make two vertical lines on the lower sides of the paper towel roll half an inch from the toilet paper rolls. These lines should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. Make another two lines half way between the toilet paper rolls and the end of the paper towel roll. These lines should be one-quarter to one-half inch apart. Halfway between these lines and the end of the paper towel roll draw a vertical line. This line should be right below the second to last line drawn on the top of the paper towel roll.

Use your X-Acto knife to cut slits along all of the lines that you have made.

Stick whole popsicle sticks into the first slits nearest the toilet paper rolls (top and bottom) so that most of the popsicle stick is exposed. Stick another popsicle stick through the second to last slits in the paper towel roll (the one on the top and bottom that are aligned).

Cut one popsicle stick in half and put these halves into the slits on the bottom of the paper towel roll that are the closest together. Cut another in half and put it in the bottom slit at the end of the paper towel roll, and slip a whole popsicle stick into the top slit at the top of the paper towel roll.

Separate four pages from a newspaper. Crumple these pages and place one crumpled page along each quarter of the paper towel roll. Wrap these crumpled pages against the paper towel roll with tape.

Place a strand of tape from all four sides of the tips of all of the popsicle sticks down to the crumpled pages. This will give the fins on your model more shape.

Preparing the Papier Mache

Put two cups of water into your bowl.

Add two cups of flour to your bowl.

Mix the flour and water together until there are no more clumps.

Cut the rest of your newspaper into long strips.

Applying the Papier Mache

Dip a strip of newspaper into your papier mache mix and place it over part of your model.

Continue to dip strips into the papier mache mix and place them over your model until you have covered your model with the newspaper.

Let your papier mache layer dry.

Paint your model to look like a hammerhead shark.

Add any other decorations that you want on your shark.

Tip

Press the crumpled newspaper down so that the popsicle sticks are still visible and distinct. This will make the fins more distinct after you have covered your model in papier mache.

Stuff the space between tape and popsicle sticks with crumpled newspapers to give your fins more firmness.

Humidity is a factor in papier mache, so if you live somewhere very humid then add less water.

Add some salt to your papier mache mix to keep it from molding.

Use at least four layers of papier mache on your model. You can add more if you want it to be harder, but remember that adding too many might obscure your fins.

For an easier time painting your model, use computer paper as your last layer of papier mache.

Warning

If you don't let your papier mache layers dry between adding more then your model might get mushy and won't last.

About the Author

Nicholas Zacharewicz is the holder of a Master of Arts in English and has had poetry, short fiction and articles published in anthologies, journals, newspapers and online. His writing specializes in Medieval literature and culture, genre fiction, and video games.