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Halloween Spiders from Paper Mache

Posted on 3rd September 2013
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Karnival Costumes blog post on making Halloween decorative spiders from paper mache

Make Halloween Spiders from Paper Mache

Clown Logo of Karnival Costumes your Halloween specialists for Fancy Dress and Costume AccessoriesIf money is a bit tight this year yet you still want to make a splash this Halloween, or perhaps like most of us you have children to entertain now that the weather has started to close in around us then why not make some spooktacular paper mache spiders which you can decorate to your own taste.  Paper Mache is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make any number of decorations and it’s used around the world to create lightweight sculptures.  Providing you have a form made for it to follow, it’s a very versatile medium to work with.  Okay, that sounded like that message was brought to you on behalf of the paper mache marketing board, but it really is that useful and not only at Halloween.
Just one of the spiders available from Karnival Costumes, your Halloween decoration and props specialistsTo make your Halloween spiders, simply follow these few simple instructions and once you understand the principles you’ll be creating more complex decorations for sure as you let your imagination run free.  The only real consideration is to allow yourself plenty of time so that your creations dry out fully before you start the decoration process and you’ll need to collect a few days worth of newspapers beforehand. And if it’s all too much trouble, we’ve a massive collection of spiders in a variety of sizes, each of which will be able to fit nicely into your own Halloween decoration theme!
If your children are involved and if they’re anything like mine, they’ll need a little supervision but it is a fun activity and they will learn from the experience.  And if you’re planning ahead and are thinking about making these in advance and letting a party group decorate they’re own as part of your Halloween celebration, we estimate that the decoration and clean-up will take something like 45-60 minutes which allows some paint and glue drying time in the process.  You may also want to apply the first coats of paint so that your guests only have to worry about the final decoration.
To make and decorate the Spiders you’ll need:
  • Newspaper
  • Two balloons of differing sizes for each spider
  • Paper mache paste
  • A pin
  • Masking tape
  • Art card
  • Black and red paint plus paintbrushes
  • Wiggle eyes and glue
  • Glitter (optional)

How to make your spiders:
  • IMPORTANT: Cover the working area well as this is or can be a messy process
  • Inflate the balloons to slightly different sizes - the larger is used for the front of the spider, the smaller for the rear
  • Cut out 8 legs from the art card and gently crease and bend the one end to create a foot. You can also create a second joint half yah up the leg if you wish
  • Stick the two balloons together using the masking tape.  This should be tight at the joint and if you’ve slightly underinflated each of the balloons you should be able to easily ‘squish’ them together (technical term)
  • Attach the eight legs to the spider's body
  • Rip and tear your newspaper into small strips about 1" wide by 4” long but frankly it doesn’t really matter too much about the size
  • Prepare your paper mache paste to the instructions.  If you don’t have any, then you can either create a mix of flour and water, in a suggested ratio of 1 flour:2 water and when you’ve mixed all of the lumps out, add a little salt to prevent any mould growth, or simply water down some PVA glue if you have nothing else available
  • Dip the newspaper strips into the prepared paste and when whetted, spread them onto the balloons allowing a generous overlap for each piece. Completely cover the balloons and the legs and allow this layer to dry completely. If you are in a hurry to dry your work, put it in a warm place to speed up the process
  • Repeat this adding another two or three layers to your spider making sure to mould the paper mache to form the required shape
  • Once the spider is completely dry, burst the balloon inside using the pin and now it can be painted and decorated as required
  • Glue on the wiggle eyes to complete

This is a nice project for both adults and children and can easily be scaled up by using bigger balloons and introducing the final piece, once decorated into some stretched spider web material. If you are extending the scope to bigger items, say a spooky tree with overhanging branches, then we would suggest either creating a chicken wire frame or a frame made from cardboard, again the choice of framing material will be dependant on the final size and weight of the item so some experimentation may be required.  Have fun!  
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