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How to Make a Life Size R2D2 Unit with Paper Mache and Paper Clay

Create a R2D2 Robot from Star Wars

me and r2This is the easiest way to create your own R2D2 replica robot.  Using the rubbish around your house, paper mache, and paper clay you will turn the ordinary into the unexpected.

You can make R2D2 in an array of sizes depending on your whimsy taste. Here is list of supplies, everything we remember using.

Relax, you can do this and you will love the fruits of your labor.

Watch the how to video: https://youtu.be/-Vk7uT6o1T0

Make the Force Be With You



R2D2 formingQuick List

1 Large Balloon

Cardboard box

Recycled Newspaper

Masking Tape

Paints and Paint Brushes

Glue Gun (optional)

Container (optional)

H20 and Rags

Whatever I missed…


Creating Your R2D2 Armature

In the video we walk you through the steps we chose for creating R2D2 which doubles as a secret storage container.  If you do not want to invest in the cheap container, no worries you can create your unit just the same without his head detaching.

1 Build Your Armature (form)

R2D2's Rounded Dome Head

R2D2 doom headYour goal is to make a rounded dome head from cardboard and a large balloon or something similar. Of course look around your house to see what you have available only you know this.

For R2's head cut a circle for the base, the circle should be the larger than the opening on your container. To create a lip the head wrap a piece of flexible cardboard around the cardboard circle and glue into place. Pizza boxes are good for things like this.

R2D2 side viewCreate a doom for the top of the head using a balloon or something you have around the house. Tape this to the base of the unit head.

Cut cameras for the unit from empty toilet paper rolls and tape into place and anything else you would like to add to his head.

You will have to account for the paper mache stripping and clay, give yourself plenty of room to sit the head onto the body.


R2D2's Cylinder Shaped Body

R2D2 bottomYou can use a cylinder shaped garbage can for R2's body or you can make his body from cardboard.

Your goal is to make a cylinder with a slightly slated bottom with two gaps on each side of the bottom.

Cut a circle for the bottom the same size as the opening of your container.  Use scrape cardboard to build the cylinder walls.  Refer to video when in doubt.

R2D2 base coatSecure all the cardboard with tape or hot glue gun.

You can cover your robot forms with a plastic bag; this will help prevent the cardboard from warping. When using thick cardboard sometimes I leave of the plastic bag and I did when creating our R2D2.



R2D2's Legs and Feet

R2D2 footCreate his legs and feet from scrape cardboard and glue together. You will then glue this to the sides of the unit.

You can print out a coloring book page of R2's feet to use as a guide otherwise like me you will have to just study a unit and do the best you can.


Assemble the unit pieces together

Now glue and tape all your pieces together so we can start stripping our unit. This is ALL demonstrated in the short how to video, PLEASE like it when you watch it.


2 Paper Mache Strips and Paste

R2 paper clayCover your unit with 3 to 4 layers of paper mache strips dipped in your homemade paper mache paste.  Will stripping make sure all your air bubbles are worked out to prevent air pockets from forming as the strips dry.

Your R2D2 must be completely dried before adding more wet paper mache strips (see note) or using paper clay to finish your piece, which ever you wish to use.

Once your 1st layers of news strips have dried you can cover the entire R2D2 with 1/4 inch layer of paper clay and let that completely dry before painting. It will take some time to dry but worth it.

Paper Clay Recipe: http://goo.gl/xoTFbJ

r2 backNote: If you are NOT going to cover with paper clay you can cover with more paper mache strips. Start by applying 3 to 4 layers of paper mache strips and let it completely dry. After these strips have dried continue using paper mache strips and paste to cover your R2D2 with at least 10 more layers.

All 10 layers does not have to be done in one setting but once you stop for the day the giant R2D2 must be allowed to completely dry before starting a new paper mache stripping session. Below you will find the recipes and steps.

Quick Link to Paper Mache Paste Recipe

If you need once the R2D2 has dried you can lightly sand with sandpaper and wipe off.

3. Paint the Giant R2D2

R2D2 paintingPaint a white coat of paint on your unit to give you a white canvas for painting on. I used white interior flat paint as my base coat.

Once the base coat of paint as dried you can then paint with acrylics to look like R2. Let him completely dry after painting.

You must seal your paper mache pieces with varnish for protection. Varnish comes in a spray can in gloss or stain, spray on 3 to 4 coats and let it dry.

This is just one way to make a life size paper mache (clay) R2D2 unit; we would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions to improve this technique.

R2D2I cannot wait to see the out of the world R2D2's they you are going to make and then post a picture for me to enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by the studio if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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