Making a paper mache BB8 droid from Star Wars

BB8 with textA step by step guide on how to make a paper mache BB8 droid from the Star Wars The Force Awakens movie. A fairly simple project to complete. Here’s what you will need:

  1. paper mache- one small half circle, two large half circles
  2. duct tape (and perhaps an ace bandage)
  3. craft paint in white, orange, gray, black, red and blue
  4. toothpick and wooden skewer (shish kabob) stick for antenna
  5. 1 inch thick foam
  6. black Sharpie
  7. glue gun, knife, scissors, paint brushes, blow dryer
    paper mache bowlsWhen we decided to do this project, we were lucky enough to have these paper mache ‘bowls’ on hand from a previous project. The most basic of paper mache shapes, these were made with balloons and would just require a day of paper mache making pre-prep to get ready for the making of the robot.
    cutting a hole in paper mache ballSince we were making a Valentine box we needed a hole for the receiving of Valentines. We decided to make the hole look like one of BB8’s markings. We marked the area with a cup that was the right size and a Sharpie and cut it out with a sharp knife.
    paper mache ballWe placed one side of the paper mache half circle into the other side until it made a nice round circle shape.
    duct taping ball togetherFor lack of a better idea and short on time, we duct taped the two sides together and within each other. We knew that it was still not held together very well, at all. The duct tape didn’t stick well to paper mache so we needed another layer of support, this is where a bit of creative thinking came in handy.
    creative combiningI found an old ace bandage in a drawer, one that we didn’t need again, was still plenty stretchy and even had the velcro swatch for closing and holding the bandage in place.  I pulled the ace bandage as tight as possible over the duct tape, effectively holding the 2 sides together and helping out with the roundness. Then I cut off the excess bandage, just past the velcro closure.
    paper mache ball for BB8 bodyThe body ball of BB8 needed to be painted white but first the surface needed to be smoothed out to hide the ace bandage connection. I used a thick spackling sort of paint we had on hand (usually for creating a crackle looking finish on surfaces) and I painted/blobbed it on as thick as possible with a paintbrush.
    drying paint on BB8Since we were in a hurry, we used a blow dryer to dry the layers of paint as fast as possible. While I was working on the body, my son was painting the head of BB8.

painting BB8 head

He went straight for the white paint on the head since the surface was already smooth and ready to go.  Looking at a picture of BB8’s details he penciled in, then painted on the orange, gray and black markings. He used a cereal bowl to make the circle of orange and gray paint around the head nice and even.

BB8 antennaBB8 has two antenna on top of his head, one slightly larger than the other. We used a toothpick and a wooden shish kebob stick for the antenna. We cut the stick about an inch longer than necessary, then used the sharp knife to poke small holes and put the antennas into place. From the inside of the head we hot glued the sticks into place (see below).
cut foam for headWe decided to attach the head to the body with foam to give it the ‘hovering’ appearance of the real BB8 droid.

cutting foamMark the foam with the actual head for the correct size and shape, then cut the foam with a sharp knife.

glue foam inside BB8 headPut a small bead of hot glue on the edges of the foam and quickly place the foam inside the robot head and allow it to dry.

glued in foamYour finished BB8 head should look like this from the bottom.

painting BB8 bodyWe finished painting the body the same way the head was painted, but by also placing the body ball on a roll of duct tape turned on its side- or any other way you can think to protect your paint job and keep it from rolling away.

where to put the glue onTo attach the head to the body we also used hot glue. We attached the head right at the ace bandage’s lumpiest point so the lump would be hidden from view.
gluing BB8 head onWith a square of hot glue on the body ball, we lightly pressed the head into place and held it for about a minute, until the hot glue set.

painting BB8A Sharpie pen was used to create the smaller lines on BB8’s body.

BB8 back viewThe look at the painting on the back of the body.

BB8 robot from Star Wars

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