Art Attack: Highland cows

Over the last two weeks I have been making three highland cows out of papier mache and fake fur fabric. I intend to give them away as presents, although I’ll be sad to see my creations go! Scroll to the bottom to see the results.

You will need:

  • A toilet roll
  • 4 q-tips/cotton buds or 2 lollipop sticks cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 cotton wool balls
  • Kitchen towel like Bounty and toilet paper
  • Paints in: black, pink, reddy-brown, white
  • String
  • Highland cow fur fabric, 50cm (Edinburgh Fabric Store, £4.99 a metre)

Day 1

Attach the 4 cotton buds securely to the toilet roll using tape to be the four legs. Make a head out of three cotton balls and attach to one end of the roll with tape. Prop the head up by putting a bit of cardboard inside the tube and balancing the head on it. Put the forth cotton ball between the hind legs for udders.   

Once everything is securely on, cover with papier mache using the kitchen towel. Don’t do the legs just yet. Papier mache is water with a lot of PVA glue added to it. I recommend then placing the cow upside down (like in the photo) to dry on cling-film. This will not stick to the papier mache. It’ll take 3 or 4 days to be completely rock hard. Whilst it’s drying, stick some beads on the udders.

Day 2

Now you can build up the legs and the face. Use toilet paper and papier mache to mould the legs, and cover with a layer of kitchen towel. Remember to cover the udders with one more layer of papier mache.

You might want to do this stage in several parts. For example once dry you could go over the base of the cows feet to make sure they are flat and not pointy. Also, horns can be added here or later.

Day 3

Next, once dry, paint the cow! Black feet, reddy-brown body and pink nose and udders. I added horns after this but probably best to do it before. Horns are rolled up bits of paper covered in a thin papier mache layer with kitchen towel. Make two holes at the top of the head and twist the horns in. Use PVA glue to hold in place. You can paint these white.

Day 4

Cover with fabric! This fabric gets everywhere and is very messy. Do each leg first, wrapping the fabric around. Use PVA to glue onto cow. Use string to tighten the fabric around the leg so the glue sets the fabric in place. Then cover the bottom, underside and below the head. Use one large piece to go over the top like a coat and finally do the face (in one piece if possible)


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