To conclude our unit on Australia, students in grade 5 through 7 made puppets out of papier-mache' to represent an Australian animal of their choice.
After looking through a variety of books and websites, students did preliminary sketches of their animal's head. Once this was done, they selected a small balloon that was approximately the right shape, inflated it, and then taped it to a cardboard tube that would serve as a "neck." Then they began applying layers of papier-mache'.
After the initial layers of papier-mache' had been applied, the heads were dried overnight on an improvised rack.
The next day, they added details such as ears and bills to enhance their animals.
After another layer of papier-mache' (using white paper toweling for the final coat), the puppet heads were painted, and eyes were attached with a hot glue gun.
Students then made "bodies" by tracing their hands in the "puppet-holding position" to make a pattern (allowing extra space for a 1/4" to 1/2" seam on both sides), transferring this to a piece of doubled fabric, and sewing up the side seams using a back stitch.
Had time permitted, students would have painted and added more details to the "body" of their puppets, but most were quite pleased with the way they turned out, regardless!