Dinosaurs are special. A gorgeous boy with deep blue eyes asked me about them – the son of children’s writer Julka – Julia Spiridonova. It was the first thing he wanted to talk about when we met. And I made some sauropods… as best I could. Then the kids took a great pleasure in coloring them.
Well covered with aprons and lots of nylon sheets, and armed with tempera paints.
It takes some time to make the body before it’s ready to be colored by the kids.
First you have to build ‘the skeleton’. You will need a litre (or 2 litres) long-neck bottle (depending on the dinosaur’s size), 5 empty toilet paper rolls (4 for the legs and 1 for the neck), a fruit yoghurt container (for the head) and some kitchen foil (for the tail). You will also need lots of masking tape (more than 1 roll) to put everything together before you start covering it with paper pieces and diluted PVA glue.
Cut the toilet paper roll to make it fit tightly around the bottle’s neck – which is going to be our sauropod’s long neck.
Remove the side parts of the yoghurt container to make it easier to attach. You may have to cut it a little at the top.
Depending on the size of the bottle (the body), you may have to make the legs narrower, too (and cut them on the bias).
The tail is very important as it balances the body (just as it did for real dinosaurs). Crumple some aluminium foil into a conical shape and attach to the body with masking tape.
Now comes the slowest part – covering the ‘skeleton’ with small pieces of paper and diluted PVA glue. This technique is called ‘papier mache’. Cover the dinosaur well, then wait until it is completely dry before adding a second layer – or it could start falling apart. If you want to have bumps on the skin, add a piece of paper napkin, drenched in PVA glue, and cover again with paper pieces.