Introduction: Paper Mache Tank

About: I am home schooled, I like to learn from doing, and love making things with my hands.

Hi everyone!

I've have always liked tanks, and have wanted to make one for awhile. I wanted a tank that would not break quickly when dropped or played with, so I came up with a design that would last. I set my mind to it and I think I came out with a great result. Here is how I made it. Enjoy!


To start with you are going to need...

Scrap Paper (Recycle some A4 printer paper)



Glue stick

Wooden or metal rod (10mm diameter, a little longer than length of an A4 piece of paper)

Wooden or metal rod (6-7mm diameter,a little longer than length of an A4 piece of paper)



Glue gun

Cutting board of some kind

Flour and water (for making paper mache paste)

Under coat


(I think that's all)

Step 1: Paper Tubes

Lets make a start...

To begin with you are going to need to make the base and structure of the tank (the skeleton). Grab an A4 piece of paper (I used scrap paper from a business) and your rod (6-7mm diameter). Place the rod across the length of your paper and wrap the paper around the rod and tuck it in underneath your rod. Once you have accomplished this, start rolling the paper and put glue (use a glue stick here) at the end of the paper and finish rolling. (It may pay to put the glue on before you start rolling, as it will make it easier when you reach the end). Make 45 of these rolls. You'll be a pro by the end!

Also roll 3 tubes using the larger rod (10mm diameter), in the same manner.

Step 2: Frame

Take one of your paper tubes and cut it in half (that makes 2 x 150mm (approx) length pieces)(I got the measurement wrong in the video) , take another tube and cut two 20mm pieces and hot glue them to each side of one of the 150mm piece.

Take the other 150mm piece and glue it on top.

Cut another tube into 2 x130mm pieces and glue them perpendicular to the part you just made.

Cut another two 150mm pieces but this time cut them at a slight angle, glue them to the end of the 130mm pieces and finish it off with another 150mm piece.

Next cut 4 x 20mm pieces and 2 x 150mm pieces. Take two of the 20mm pieces and glue them to the end of the frame, put a 150mm piece on top of that and another 2 x 20mm on top of that and a 150mm piece at the top.

Put two paper tubes across the whole length of the frame Check out the photos above.

Step 3: Supports

Now to add some supports. Glue three supports across the width and one support at the bottom of the frame. The supports should be about 130-140mm long. Take another paper tube and cut 2 x 40mm pieces and hot glue them vertically between the top and bottom sections of the frame.

Step 4: Turret

Cut 1 x 30mm piece and 2 x 80mm pieces. Cut an angle on the 80mm piece and glue one to either side of the 30mm piece. Cut 2 x 140mm pieces and glue one to either end of the 80mm pieces. Cut 4 x 25mm pieces and glue them on a slight angle on the four corners, then put 2 x 90mm pieces on the top, now glue a piece in the middle to bridge the gap.

At the end of the 'sticking out pieces' glue two 25mm pieces vertically then bridge the gap with another piece.

At the very end of the turret put two pieces across. Now when you do this you don't want the sides of the turret parallel as it will make the turret look strange so cut the two cross pieces slightly shorter than it really is.

Glue the cross pieces across the gap. Put some more supports parallel to the supports you just glued in, one on the bottom and one on the top, then one between the two sets of supports.

Now for the gun! Take a wide paper tube (10mm diam.) and put it through the square hole in the front. (I put two tiny pieces of tube on each side of the gun to hold it in the centre of the turret)

Step 5: Wheels

Let's do the wheels...

Cut 12 x 20mm pieces and 1 x 200mm piece (the axel). Glue the 20mm pieces in a circle around the axel tube. Now take your 10mm diameter tube and cut two 10mm pieces and slide them over the axel. Now add 6 x 20mm pieces to the other side of the axel (#7 photo). Then cut a strip of paper, the width of the wheel, glue the strip around the wheel and cut off any excess. Cut a square of paper, slightly larger than the face of the wheel, and glue it on. Trim off the the excess paper to leave a circular wheel face. To make tread, 'draw' a strip of hot glue around the inner and outer circumference of the wheels and then 'draw' lines of glue crossways or in between.

Now glue the lower wheels to the frame following the photos. Glue the shorter outer tube not the inner axel!

Step 6: Paper Mache

To make paper mache glue mix 1 part flour with 1 part water. Stir the glue until there are no lumps. Take a newspaper and tear it into strips. Tear width ways not length ways, as there seems to be a grain that goes width ways and makes it easier to tear. Paper mache the top of the tank. One layer is Ok as you will do more later. Once it has dried glue the rest of the wheels in, one in each corner and two between. Now drape paper strips with glue on them down in between the wheels. Do a few more layers of paper mache, allowing it to dry in between layers.

Step 7: Wheel Covers

Cut 2 x 90mm tube pieces and 2 x 30mm tube pieces. Glue the 2 x 30mm pieces 90mm apart so they overhang the edge and glue the 90mm pieces length ways. Get another paper tube and trim it to length, so it fits nicely.

Paper mache over it, and while you are at it, paper mache the turret as well.

Step 8: Tracks

Cut six strips of paper the width of the wheels, glue three together and then another three together, wrap them around the wheels to get the right length of track. Trim the track and 'draw' a strip of glue length ways on either side of the track then short ones every 5mm width ways (this sits against the wheels), then on the other side just do glue every 5mm width ways.

Step 9: Painting

Now for the best part! Painting! I always enjoy painting as it brings everything to life and gives it character.

Grab your under coat and give the tank a paint. Once this is dry, give the tank a good few coats of green paint. You can do green if you want but you could also camo colours. Once the paint has dried add an extra paper tube to each side of the tank to give it a bit more width (I should have done this earlier but did not realize I had made the axels too long so they were going to stick out and make problems. I also decided that it looks cooler with the extra width).

Now paint the wheels grey and let it dry. Once it has dried put on the tracks. This can take a bit of work, once you have done this take some paper tubes and cut 3 x 40mm pieces and squash them flat then glue them to the side of the tank so they are pointing down. Squash another tube and glue it along the bottom to finish it off. Now cover the tubes with a sheet of paper ( a few layers of paper will make it stronger), then paint it.

Step 10: The Details

Grab four sheets of A4 paper and glue them all together to make a piece of card paper. Take a bamboo skewer and make a paper tubes out of it using the same technique as with the other tubes. You won't need a whole length of paper per tube, just roll it over 3-4x and glue and cut. Make about 8-10 narrow tubes.

Rocket launchers: Take four tubes and cut 8 x 40mm pieces out of them. Glue gun two sets of four together and put two small supports on each (see photo #6).

Radar: Cut out two cirlcles with the card you made, with a diameter of 30mm, then another circle with a diameter of 15mm. Wrap a strip of paper around both the 30mm pieces and a strip of paper 10mm wide around the 15mm circle. Glue them together, with one on top of the other (see photo #10).

Machine Gun: Draw a pattern for a small machine gun (which goes on top of the turret) onto some plain paper. See photo #11. Cut it out, fold on the lines, and glue it together. Cut a little pattern of the end and glue it to the box (this should've been part of my pattern in hindsight and you can improve on this if you like!). Glue a 30mm piece of tube to the end of the box and a small piece of tube to the bottom of the box for it to swivel on.

Look out box: Make a second small box using the pattern. (Photo #11) - this time it does not need a front!

Vent: Take a piece of paper to make the vent. Cut 6 strips about 50mm long and 2 strips 40mm long glue the 50mm strips to the 40mm strips on a slight angle then glue the other 40mm strip on the other side.

Gattling Guns: Make a small 3D triangle out of paper and block the ends off with pieces of paper, then glue a 20mm long piece of small paper tube to the triangular end.

Turret Gun: Punch a small hole in the front of the turret, beside the main gun and poke a small tube through into the hole, secure it on the other side with some hot glue.

Now paint all the details black. When the pieces have dried, glue them to the turret and tank, (you don't have to put the pieces where I put them!)

Step 11: Making a Swivel for the Turret

Glue a 20mm piece of tube on the turret and a wider paper tube on the tank (approx 180mm from the front of the tank base). To 'mask' the swivel glue a strip of black painted paper, a couple of layers thick, 260mm x 15mm in a circle around the lower section of tube. Place the turret on top of the tank by fitting its tube into the wider base tube.

Now you're FINISHED!!!!

Step 12: Tips

One thing i found when doing the paper mache was that the paper tubes started bending because of the moisture. so to avoid this add more vertical supports so it does not bend downwards

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