Make Half-life-sized Paper Maché Cranes!

Each paper maché crane will wear the number of a chick making its first journey south by following ultralight planes showing the way. Photos M. Black

CRANIAC kids in Mrs. Black's class at Harriett Todd P.S. in Orillia, Ontario* will celebrate the whooping cranes' Florida arrival in a BIG way. They're making half-life-size cranes from paper maché for a big party.

They invite you to Try It! They modified the instructions found here and customized for whooping cranes.
(Mrs. Black divided her class into two groups. Half of the class made half-life-size frames for their paper mache Whooping crane sculptures, while the other half of the class slipped and slid their way through Phase One of the paper maché process.)

Materials :

  • 2 balloons
  • gift wrap rolls and/or paper towel rolls
  • tape
  • newspaper ripped into strips
  • flour
  • glue
  • scissors
  • construction paper and/or tissue paper
  • OPTIONAL: feathers
Step 1: Construct a crane frame, using paper rolls, balloons and tape.
Step 2: Apply a coat of newsprint paper mache.
Step 3: Over the newsprint layer, apply a layer using white paper strips of paper maché.
Step 4: If the white layer dries dark, it may be necessary to paint the crane white.
Step 5: Mount the bird on a cardboard base.
Step 6: Add eyes, cardboard beak and wings, and a tissue-paper tail. Paint crane markings on the bird: red crown (which they'll start getting over the winter) and black wingtips. Add grass (or paper "water") around the crane's feet. Then listen for thanks!

The first "cohort" is done. . .and

see all 18 cranes!

* See What This Teacher is Doing
The 3rd Grade Students and their teacher, Margaret Black, are dedicated to cranes this fall. They are

  • writing to other "craniac" pen pals across North America;
  • integrating the crane migration into math, reading,and writing; and
  • being activists in a letter writing campaign to secure funds for the ultra-light migration project. More>>

    Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

Copyright 2003-2006 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form