Easy, Inexpensive Papier Mache Bone Prop Tutorial
In theatre, there’s no limit to the number of odd props that you’ll end up needing for shows. On several occasions, I’ve actually needed bone props. This method came in handy for my Halloween Haunted Theatre where there was a need for a large quantity of “bones”. It’s definitely cheaper to make them than to purchase them. Also, if it’s not around Halloween, they’ll be harder to find locally, and you’ll find yourself having to order them. In the end, making your own bone props is the quickest and least expensive route.
Step 1: Creating the Bone Structure
Open up a sheet of newspaper and lay it flat. Working from top to bottom, scrunch up the midsection until you are about 2/3 of the way down, letting the edges fan out. This will give dimension to the bone, keeping it from being hollow and collapsing on itself. Without releasing the midsection, roll the center the remainder of the way down and secure the newspaper lengthwise with masking tape. Then roll the fanned edges in and tuck the excess under. Secure with tape in an X pattern to keep the newspaper from unrolling.
Step 2: Shaping and Smoothing
Squeeze the newspaper to give it a bit of a wrinkled texture and to shape the ends. Papier mache the bone using newspaper torn into about 1″ wide and 4-6″ long strips. Dip the strips into a 50/50 glue water mixture; then squeegee off the excess with your fingers and smooth onto the bone to give it a cohesive look. I tried doing this technique with masking tape instead of papier mache, but it almost always resulted in my “bone” tearing.
Step 3: Painting
If you’re patient, allow the glue mixture to dry before painting. I didn’t always wait, and still had good results, so try both and see which method you prefer. Begin by blending cream or brown paint with some white paint on a paint palette. The paint doesn’t need to be completely mixed, as a bit of streaking will help provide a more natural look. Apply using a craft brush and allow to dry.
Regardless of why you need a bone prop, you’ll find this method of making papier mache bone’s quick, easy, and inexpensive. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like…