How to Decorate a Mache Lion Head
Create the feel of the Serengeti in your own home, with a mache lion head, wool and some paints. You don’t have to be the best artist in the world to achieve this look, which is the beauty of this make – it’s the finishing touches like the wool mane and the felt features that really make this lion look his best.
How to Decorate a Mache Lion Head
Skill Level: Intermediate
Time to Make: Four hours (plus drying time)
How to Make
1. Add water to PVA to make a 50:50 mixture. Paint the lion with this using a large brush. Leave to dry completely.
2. Paint the lion with cream acrylic paint. It may ‘craze’ but don’t worry. Don’t use a hairdryer to dry the paint. Try to work in the direction that you think the fur/mane would go.
3. Paint at least two more layers of cream paint until the mache is completely covered.
4. Paint the nose and mouth area in white paint as shown using the large brush. On the edges, put very little paint on the brush to give the effect of fur. You may need a second coat of white.
5. Using the large brush, and a 50:50 mix of cream and brown paint, paint all the way around the neck and head of the lion as shown, making sure that the colour is on the part where the mane starts. Leave to dry.
6. Using your stiff brush put a small amount of brown paint onto a palette or some plastic (like an ice cream container lid). Spread the paint thinly so that it is very thinly loaded on the brush.
7. Using the ‘dry brush’ (this is the term for a brush with very little paint on), gently paint over the top of the 50:50 creams-brown mix that you have just applied to give the effect of fur. (Practice on a piece of paper first if you need to).
8. Use the cream paint, go around the lion using a dry brush starting about where the blue line is on the picture below and overlapping the brown brush strokes that you have just done.
9. Using the 50:50 mix, paint along the nose and on the cheeks as shown using the large brush.
10. Using a dry stiff brush, dab brown paint on the nose part as shown.
11. Apply dark brown paint under the eyes as shown.
12. Put a little bit of cream paint each side of the nose as shown.
13. Paint a white line around the eyes.
14. Mix an orange-brown colour. Paint in the eyes with a small brush and when dry, put black lines in. Using a cotton bud, dab the black dots on the lion’s nose.
15. Wrap the knitting yarn round a 30cm ruler. Cut along one ‘edge’ of the wrapped around yarn.
16. Apply Modge Podge to a section of the mane. Put plenty on. It needs to cover about three quarters of the width of the mane (starting from the outside edge). Put pieces of yarn onto the Modge Podge and press down. Add more Modge Podge liberally to the edge of the yarn as shown. Do this all the way around the lion.
17. Wait for the mane to dry. Then add another layer but this time using the All Purpose glue, just applying it next to the edges of the first layer.
18. For the final layer of mane you will need to have yarn lengths double the ones you used before. You will need to find something bigger to wind the wool around. An old shampoo bottle has been used here. Cut lots of these lengths.
19. Fold these lengths in half and stick onto the lion as shown, using All Purpose Glue. This gives a neat edge to your lion mane. Make sure that you mix the different shades of yarn for this top layer. Do this all the way around the mane. Give the mane a little trim in places to make it a bit more uneven.
20. Use tracing paper over the top of the lion nose/mouth to trace out a nose/mouth shape. Look at some pictures online to check the shape it should be. Cut this out of felt and apply with Modge Podge. Apply small strips of black felt to the eyes where you painted the black lines in. Paint the back of the lion or cover with felt if you so wish.