Diwali Elephant Model

This impressive elephant makes a colourful decoration for a Diwali display.

Diwali Elephant Model

Skill Level


Time to Make

2 hours + drying time for glue, Modroc and paint.

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. To make the elephant’s body, scrunch up 8 sheets of newspaper into a ball. Press the newspaper into an oval then wrap it tightly in masking tape to hold the shape, about 16-18cm long and 12 cm wide.
  2. To make the head and trunk, twist a sheet of newspaper into a long piece, fold over one end to make it thicker with masking tape over the top. As you wrap masking tape over the thinner end of the newspaper, curl it round for the trunk shape.
  3. To make the legs, cut 4 pieces of card 15cm x 8 cm. Roll each piece into a tube then stick masking tape along the edges to hold the shapes. Snip around the tops of the tubes 4 or 5 times then fold out the flaps. Place the elephant’s body in a bowl to hold it still then tape the legs in place as two pairs. Turn the elephant over to check it stands up, if the legs look too long or are wobbly, trim the ends with scissors.
  4. Tape the elephant’s head onto the body. If the shape looks uneven, add smaller pieces of scrunched newspaper with masking tape over the top to fill in any gaps. This newspaper form makes the basic elephant shape and doesn’t need to be too precise. .
  5. To make a holder for the tea light on the elephant’s back, cut a 3cm section from a cardboard tube. Cut 1cm strips around the edge to make small flaps, fold them out then stick the tube onto the elephant’s back with tape.
  6. Cut up a roll of Mod Roc into 10cm wide strips. One a time, dip the strips into a bowl of water, squeeze out any excess water then press the strips onto the elephant. Cover the head, body, legs and candleholder with Mod Roc, smoothing down each piece until the elephant is covered. Leave to dry.
  7. Tear up some strips of coloured tissue paper. Brush PVA glue over the elephant then paste the tissue strips over the top. Leave to dry. Paste a different colour over the top and head of the elephant for the saddlecloth (or ‘jhool’).
  8. Paint the candleholder, eyes, ears and feet with metallic colours. Leave to dry. Decorate the elephant with jewels and cut out felt shapes. Glue wiggle eyes on the elephant’s head.
Diwali Elephant Model Diwali Elephant Model Diwali Elephant Model

Top Tip

Before you stick the cardboard tube onto the elephant’s back, check there’s enough space for an LED tealight to easily fit inside, allowing for a Mod Roc layer on top.

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