Making a paper mache BB8 droid from Star Wars
A step by step tutorial on how to make a paper mache BB8 droid from the Star Wars The Force Awakens movie.
We made this project for a Valentine’s Day classroom valentine collection box. This project could also be constructed as a piñata or good old fashioned homemade decor for a Star Wars fan. It’s an easy paper mache project to complete.
Here is what you will need:
- paper mache pieces- one small half circle, two large half circles (made using balloons)
- duct tape (and perhaps an ace bandage)
- craft paint in white, orange, gray, black, red and blue
- toothpick and wooden skewer (shish kabob) stick for antenna
- 1 inch thick foam
- black Sharpie
- glue gun
- paint brushes
- blow dryer
When we decided to make BB8 for this project, we were lucky enough to have these paper mache ‘bowls on hand from a previous project. These are the most basic of paper mache shapes to make. Made by blowing up balloons, covering the balloons newspaper strips covered with flour and water ‘glue’. When making the round shapes with balloons, please allow a day for the paper mache to dry. When the newspaper is dry, pop the balloons with a pin and then you’re ready for the next steps.
Cut a hole in the bigger body paper mache section. This hole will be on the belly and will be used for the receiving of Valentines. We decided to cut the hole look like one of BB8’s markings. Marke the area with a cup and a Sharpie and cut it out with a sharp knife.
Place one side of body section of the paper mache half circle into the other big body side until together a nice round circle shape is made.
For 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.
I found an old ace bandage in a drawer, one that we didn’t need again. The bandage 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.
The 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.
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.
We went straight to the white paint on the head since the surface was already smooth and ready to go. Look at a picture of BB8’s details, pencil them in, then paint on the orange, gray and black markings. A cereal bowl was used to make the circle of orange and gray paint around the head nice and even.
BB8 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 antennas. We cut the stick about an inch longer than necessary. Use a sharp knife to poke small holes and put the antennas into place. From the inside of the head, hot glue the sticks into place (see below).
Attach the head to the body with a piece of foam just inside the head to give it the ‘hovering’ appearance of the real BB8 droid.
Mark the foam with the actual head for the correct size and shape. Cut the foam with a sharp knife.
Put a small bead of hot glue on the edges of the foam. Quickly place the foam inside the robot head and allow it to dry.
Your finished BB8 head should look like this from the bottom.
Finish painting the body the same way the head was painted. Place 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.
Attach the head to the body using hot glue. We attached the head right at the ace bandage’s lumpiest point so the lump would be hidden from view.
With a square of hot glue on the body ball, lightly press the head into place. Hold the head for about a minute, until the hot glue sets.
A Sharpie pen was used to create the smaller lines on BB8’s body.
Painting details on the back of the body.