Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Paper maché gingerbread men!

Published by Manning on October 14th, 2018

I made these evil paper maché gingerbread men (excuse me, gingerbread people!) for Halloween 2018. They were easy!

Paper mache gingerbread men - finished!

I started by designing a basic gingerbread man shape in Photoshop so it would fit on a sheet of 20″ x 30″ foam board (aka foam core). I printed it out as several pages, taped ’em together, and cut the shape out.

Paper maché gingerbread men - cutting out foam board

I traced the gingerbread man shape onto two sheets of foam board; one for the front and one for the back. There are four pieces in the above pic, for two gingerbread men. (Math!) Not shown: I also drew a gingerbread lady shape with a skirt, and cut out two copies for her.

Paper maché gingerbread men - foam board supports

I cut out some 1″ foam board strips and assembled them into little triangle shapes to act as supports between the two gingerbread dude shapes. I taped these in place, and then I laid the top panel in place and connected everything with a few pieces of tape.

Paper maché gingerbread men - assembling the front and back

I cut out strips of poster board (and construction paper when I ran out of poster board) to serve as walls that go all the way around the edges of the gingerbread men. I attached these with lots of masking tape.

I wanted one of the gingerbread people to be holding a big kitchen knife, so I made plan to give her a curled arm/hand.

For this knife-wielding gingerbread lady, I wanted to curl up her right arm in both the front and back sheet of foam board. However, you can imagine how the arm for the back panel wouldn’t be long enough; if you curl both pieces forward, the back arm would end up being way too short to curl all the way around to the front. So I chopped off the gingerbread lady’s arm on the back panel and replaced it with a longer one; I just figured out the right length through some trial and error.

Paper maché gingerbread men - curling the hand

I taped the longer arm in place and curled it forward to wrap around toward the front with the longer one. I used a long piece of tape to connect the hand to the torso, to hold it in place while I worked on it.

I curled up two small strips of foam board and stuck them in between the front and back panels of the arm, to pad the arm out a bit. I taped everything together, and taped some small strips of poster board around the edge of the hand and arm. After all this stuff was taped together, I snipped the long piece of masking tape that was holding the hand to the torso, and it stayed perfectly in place, nice and curled and 3d.

Making a paper maché knife

I wrote a separate article about making the kitchen knife; you can see that here.

Time for paper maché

Gingerbread men decorations - paper mache

At this stage, I applied two layers of paper maché over all three of the gingerbread people. You can read about my paper maché process and materials here. The short version is: I use Roman PRO-543 universal wallpaper adhesive (paid link) and alternating layers of newspaper and brown wrapping paper.

Painting and decorating

Paper mache gingerbread men - spray painting

When the paper maché was dry, I took the gingerbread men outside and spray painted them a tan color. (Yes, I painted the brown paper brown; maybe this was dumb!)

Gingerbread skeleton DIY project

I cut out all the shapes for the icing/candies/whatever from craft foam — this rubbery foam stuff you can buy in colorful sheets at any art store. I used Tacky Glue to glue all the pieces in place. I also glued the knife in place in the gingerbread lady’s hand with a hot glue gun.

Paper mache gingerbread men - finished!

All done! Check out all these little creeps together!

Interested in commissioning a piece from me? Please see my page about custom paper maché pieces. Please email me; don't put your request in a comment below.

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