A Child’s Geography: Papier Mâché Globe Project

imageThis is a project inspired, though not mandated by, our new geography book, A Child’s Geography: Explore His Earth, which we’re all greatly enjoying so far.  For Chapter 1, I believe, where it introduces Earth as our home, the book invites kids (with their parents) to make their own Earth, partly to see how amazing it is that Hashem can make the earth in only 7 days (and even quicker, if He’d wanted), while all we can come up with in 7 days is a crummy imitation.

Well, I wouldn’t call ours crummy, but it certainly drove home the idea that there are a lot of steps that go into making the entire earth…

We started this around the middle of January, but I hadn’t posted pics because I was planning to give it to my sister as a birthday present (makes sense – she loves the world!).  However, she did get a sneak peek at the project at a couple of stages along the way.  Nevertheless, I hope these photos will help her appreciate the hard work and many steps that went into creating the Earth, both our version and the original.

Step 1:  Coat balloon with newspaper strips, coated in boiled flour/water paste (with a touch of salt to help keep off mold, maybe, based on negative past papier mache experiences!).  This took a few days, because we used two main coats of newspaper, followed by a single layer of paper towel for a nice, white finish.

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2.  When the final paper-towel layer was dry, coat the globe in gesso and allow to dry.


3.  First in pencil, then with a permanent black marker, Naomi Rivka traced the continents by hand, using a globe and a couple of atlases for reference.  We started by drawing the equator.  I think she did a great job with that, considering she did it freehand.

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4.  Now, it was time to paint the continents!  Carefully around the edges, then more broadly in the middle.

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5.  At this point, we were busy for MANY days and the globe just sat there, half-finished.  But we finally did get around to adding the oceans!  Elisheva suggested a lighter colour around the edges of the continents, then a darker blue in the middle.  Ted suggested adding some green to the blue, which I tried, but it doesn’t exactly show.  Annoyingly, the poster paint we used developed minute cracks as it dried – what a lousy product!  I would use acrylics if I was doing this again.

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6. Finally, last night – three weeks after we started, we retraced the continents to fix the edges, and Naomi also wrote in the names of the continents, vehemently refusing assistance even as she wrote “Noth america.”  I snuck in the “r” afterwards.  I used a line of masking tape to define the equator and let her trace it all the way around.


7.  Then, layers and layers of smelly podge (gloss)!

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8.  Oh, yeah… maybe we should include some way to hang the thing up, considering Sara has ZERO free table or display space in her tiny apartment.  Turns out every plan for creating a hanging globe incorporates a hook or wire early in the papier mache stages, NOT right at the end.  I knew that, from my papier mache days.  Doh!  Poke a needle and thread in and tie it up for an impromptu hanging loop!  (as long as nobody tries swinging it around too much or using it as a piñata)

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9.  And – yes! – a birthday hit!!!  Or at least, one that cannot be readily exchanged for cash like the Magic Bullet blender!


Wait!  What’s the cool hat she’s wearing, you ask???  Glad you asked!!!


  1. Here's a trick you can try for the paint: stir in a few drops of liquid dish soap. It helps keep the paint from cracking. Don't put too much in or your paint will get foamy. ;o)

    Peace and Laughter,

  2. Awesome project! I'm sure Aunt Sara would never consider using it as a pinata :-)


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