Hamm the Paper Mache Piggy Bank

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Introduction: Hamm the Paper Mache Piggy Bank

About: I'm a Product Design Engineer, currently living in the UK. I have been fortunate to have lived, studied and worked in Hong Kong, Norway and California. I believe physical models help people to communicate, d…

Why do we give kids piggy banks made out of ceramic? Well, once upon a time, they were meant to be smashed open, as a last resort to access savings - but nowadays most come with a stopper for easy access, so it seems more of a tradition to make them ceramic. Anyway, as I have a 5 year old, he's a not skilled enough to make one out of clay, and we'd both be sad if it got smashed - so paper mache seems a great alternative, and we put some packaging to good use also.

In case you're curious - some history on Piggy Banks (LINK).

This also came in handy when running a recent Plant & Seed Shop - DIY: (LINK).

Supplies

Household Recycling, Containers, etc.

Paper from Packaging (the cheap brown/beige paper from Amazon seems perfect).

Scalpel and Pen.

Glue Gun or Sticky Tape.

PVA Glue, Water, Paintbrush, Paint.

Glue Pen by Bosch (LINK) - in case curious.

Step 1: Exploded Piggy Diagram!

Turns out I have enjoyed playing with a new sketching tool on iPad, so hope you find this useful.

There are no rules in how to sculpt Hamm, and part of the fun with my Son was trying out various pieces, tubes, and pots, and seeing what got close to the end form.

I've annotated what parts we used for what, but have fun, and as ever, it's the time spent not the perfection that matters. I've made 'terrible' things which are as beloved by my Son as the 'showy' stuff.

Step 2: The Body

The Body was made from a Cocoa Powder tube/tub. The nice thing about these, is like Pringle's tins, they have a metallic lining inside, which makes it durable for putting (and shaking) coins in.

I cut about 2cm off the end off, to get it to size (as Hamm is more 'fat' than 'long').

Next I cut a hole for the Stopper, and inserted a piece of Toilet Tube (white), and then added a Milk Bottle Top (green), to be a snug fit.

Step 3: Add the Head

This is a really unusual yoghurt pot we bought. In truth it tasted really awful, so we only had a few. But the plus was that when you start saving your recycling containers, you realise they you do spot the 'unusual' from the 'typical' / standardised stuff, so it's worth keeping for exactly stuff like this.

Again, the 'skill' is not is having infinite collections or tools to sculpt, but finding that odd thing that is 'just right' for what you want to make. I really think Kids are exceptionally good at this, and only need a little provocation to see the potential in a random object.

Anyway, I stuck this on with Glue Gun glue.

Step 4: Tubes

I made the Legs and Snout from various Toilet Roll (white) and Aluminium Foil (brown) tubes.

Again, stuck on with Hot Melt / Glue Gun.

You need not be too accurate, as the whole thing will be covered in paper mache anyway, but a good tip is not to use sticky tape if possible, as the PVA will not stick so well.

Step 5: Forming & Details

I added some 'belly' to Hamm, just to make him more squat / rotund looking!

And I tool a slice from a Toilet Roll tube, and made it into a Mouth for Hamm.

Some offcuts were also used for the Ears.


In may ways this is the 'cheat' in the project, in so much as conventional / authentic paper mache, often suggests you start with a balloon or form which represents the final product, but here I like that the pure cylinder of the Cocoa tub is functionally ideal, and the rest is simply added on as 'bulking out'.

Step 6: Add the Slot

I cut a slot in the tube, and then added some car around the edge, to give it some structure, and for the paper mache to form around. This is not essential, but it will make the edge cleaner.

Again, some offcuts were used for the eyes, not so much as essential forms, but more to allow me to 'correctly see' if the features looked right. If it looks ok at this stage, it'll look better once covered in paper mache.

Step 7: Don't Forget Nostrils!

One thing to realise about paper mache, is that it 'smooths out' a lot of detail... this is great for simplifying the crude body elements I've added on so far, but it also means that subtle details like nostrils need to be made in a exaggerated way - so here the holes are really deep, and you'll find that these look very subtle once covered over in paper mache.

Step 8: Glue, Water, Paper and Fun!

Some things seem universal, and the weird experience of using PVA Glue, and having it dry like 'dead skin' on your hands was as weird for my Son, as it was for me as a kid. (If you've not let PVA dry on your hand and peeled it off - do try this - oddly satisfying!).

Mix around 50% PVA to 50% water. If the paper is very coarse (like the one here) you can probably mix this right away. However, if the paper is more like printer paper, you may need to soak it for 1 hour to allow it to absorb more water, and become more mouldable / compliant.

As much as I believe that a good paintbrush is worth the extra cash, for paper mache, cheap is best, as the PVA always messes with fine bristles to some extent. Or worse, goes rock hard!

Anyway, as you can see my Son was tasked with cutting up all the pieces, which was great fun for about 15mins, and then the same time again mixing it all together with Glue and Water.

Step 9: Layer Up...

Add some glue on the Hamm model, and then keep adding more layers of soaked paper, using the brush or your fingers to press it down. It's a nice team project, a good opportunity to work out where the form needs more material or less. It's easy to underestimate this, but having your kid see the abstractness of the model of tubes, etc, start to look homogeneous all of a sudden is something...

Step 10: Formed for Function

Once you're done, I suggest placing Hamm on some foil or other non-porous surface to ensure it does not stick.

Step 11: Drying

I left Hamm near our Boiler overnight, and this seemed to do the trick.

But I'd recommend not drying too rapidly, as this might warp the model. Better to let it take a full day or two if you can wait that long!

Step 12: Painting

The Model does not need to be 100% dry, but should be 'stable' / 'touch dry', and it'll go on drying for a week probably in ambient air.

We mixed up some Pink, and it needed 2-3 coats in most places. Taking care to paint the underside first and topside last makes life easier for handling. All good discussion points - haha!

TOP TIP: We also mixed in some PVA Glue into the paint, which makes it more durable, and shiny. Add about 1/5th to the volume of paint. And add a final coal as 'varnish' if you like also.

Step 13: Hardening Off

After a day or two drying, Hamm is pretty solid, and durable.

Paper mache is not just strong, but also endures the wear and tear of a kid's play style really well. Since making this to writing it up, it's had all sorts of drops and knocks and been fine, and of course more than if it were Ceramic! But I'm actually quite shocked at how durable Paper Mache is, and am contemplating other things to make with it, that make a virtue of its weight:strength.

Step 14: Finishing Touches

I googled the image to get the eyes right, and it's worth doing in pencil, before committing to permanent marker.

We didn't go 'Dr Evil Porkchop', but its clear that you could make a good Top Hat, out of paper Mache, should the moment take you! Please share a picture if you do!

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    14 Comments

    0
    BarbaraHeredia001
    BarbaraHeredia001

    Question 17 days ago

    how does it still work after many drops it is truly a master peice

    0
    Katrillion
    Katrillion

    27 days ago

    The diagram was really great! It was very cool to see this go from pieces of material from various items around the house to a very functional and fun piggy bank. Nice work!

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Reply 24 days ago

    Hehe - glad it was useful!

    0
    valkauffman
    valkauffman

    25 days ago

    I love this and that you included your child!

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Reply 24 days ago

    =)

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    4 weeks ago

    The "Exploded Piggy Diagram" was so funny and well done!

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Reply 26 days ago

    Takes me back to my days working in a Butchers ;o)

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    He's still going strong - after many drops xD

    0
    cirena
    cirena

    4 weeks ago

    Nice family project with regular materials.

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thanks! Glad you appreciate the lo-fi approach ;o)

    0
    craftisan
    craftisan

    5 weeks ago

    He (?) is a cutie :)

    0
    Hey Jude
    Hey Jude

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Hehe - glad you liked it!