2021 ~ Making Owls for the Plantation

Ellesmere Community Arts

There is a magic in the plantation which makes things work a little differently there, over time this has had its effect on some of the wondrous creatures that now live there’

Fizzgigs are planning to bring some magical creatures to the Plantation this summer. As lots of the community enjoyed making sprites for our last event, we thought it would be wonderful if people added to this event too!

What we want you to make are Fantastical Fizzgigs Owls. These will be made from a balloon, paper mache and a good dash of imagination. Please follow the instructions below to make your own owl. We will collect them all, weatherproof them and add them to the other magical creatures that will appear in the Plantation.

Instructions on how to make an owl

What you will need;
A Balloon. Wallpaper paste. Newspaper. Making tape. Cardboard. Garden String. Paints

If these could be finished by July the 17th at the latest that would be great. We will arrange to collect etc. as we go.
We are happy to supply a kit to anyone that wants to make one. Please ask for one by emailing: info@fizzgigs.co.uk

Here’s what we are planning to make, but yours can look any way you like!

Either cover a table or find somewhere you don’t mind some drips of wall paper paste. Start with blowing up your balloon then mix some wall paper paste in a bowl. Tear some newspaper into lots of strips and start covering your balloon. The first couple of layers are a bit tricky but the more you get on the easier it is. We found wetting your fingers with the paste and putting it on the balloon, then putting strips or squares of dry paper onto it worked best. We used quite long strips and squares around 10 or 15cm along a side.

Cover the balloon with the paper going in lots of different directions so there are at least eight or 10 layers of paper covering the whole balloon. This will take a little while but this is the main structure for your owl and so does want to be good and sturdy. Now let it dry. If the weather is good some open air will help it dry but it could take 24 hours, maybe even 48 hours before it’s properly dry. Cover over the bowl of wallpaper paste, you’ll be needing that again!

Once it is fully dry, find something to draw two large circles onto your owl and then cut the circles out. Don’t worry about popping the balloon that will still be inside.

Now lining up with the centre of the eye, on the bottom of the balloon mark two places. This is for a length of garden string to be fed through so the owl can be tied to a branch. Poke two small holes through and feed the string through, as shown in the photos below.

Now turn the cut out eye shapes around and tape them back in with masking tape. This is the shape where the eyes will go. Taping the first one in is easy as you can get your hand inside, but the second one is a bit tricky.

Now it’s time to add the fun bits. The shape of the face, the beak, wings and feet. Cut out some shapes from cardboard for a beak. feet and wings like the ones shown in the photo above. They can be different from this, the only thing to think about is that the wings don’t want to hang lower than the feet so the owl can sit on a branch.

Using cut out cardboard shapes add some features and the shape of the face. Use masking tape to fix the shape you want. Don’t worry about how it looks, but more the shape it is as it will all be covered in paper mache. And remember that owls can have very differently shaped faces as you can see below, so make yours any way you like!

Now cut out some wing shapes from cardboard and tape them into shape. Attach them to the owls body. Make them as firm as you can.

Maybe add a tail too. And now cover it all with paper mache. Quite a few layers will be needed to make sure it is good and solid. If you have used thin card it may go very soft but it will dry firmly enough so don’t worry about it. Try and make sure everything is sealed with the paper mache and there are no gaps. Ideally a good six of eight layers all crossing in different directions, then let it dry. Again, this may take 24 hours.

And finally it’s time to paint the owl. As these are magical owls they can be as colourful as you like! Have fun making them!