DIY “Super Why” Why Flyer Tutorial

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Hi guys! Halloween is just around the corner, so now it’s crunch time for making those costumes! If your child’s costume requires (or would be made better with) a plane or car or something, read on! I’ve got a tutorial just for you. It’s not hard, really! It just takes a bit of time. I was able to make these two “Why Flyers” from Super Why in a day. Granted, a day dedicated to making them, but if you split up the steps, you should have no problem getting them done by Halloween!

Materials Needed:

  • Thin plumbing tubes – I was able to get these at a local hardware store for about $1.50 each
  • Cardboard – I’d been saving boxes for a while, so hopefully you have some in your garage. You’ll need one to rest your vehicle on, and another for the wings/tail and other details
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or twine
  • Newspaper or brown craft paper
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Large mixing box
  • Wisk
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon
  • Packing tape

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Directions:

1. If needed, cut the tubes to your desired size. I wanted to attempt to make my Why Flyers look as rounded as possible, so I made the top smaller than the bottom. It would have been a better look if I’d done a third layer that was the same size as the top, (small-large-small) but I figured this was close enough. Save your scraps. You might need them later! Last minute, I decided to use one of my scraps to support the propeller on the purple and orange plane.

2. Since these tubes were designed for insulating pipes in winter (I’m assuming anyway) they already had a convenient slit cut into them. I just lined the slits up so that the top tube’s was pointing down, and the bottom tube’s was pointing up, and I inserted some cardboard into them. The cardboard kept the tubes the “proper” distance away from each other. I didn’t bother to glue them in place or anything, since I knew I was going to paper mache over the whole thing. I would recommend thick cardboard for this step, otherwise your cardboard might bend under the weight.

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3. The tubes will naturally make a circle once taped. If you want more of an oval, you’re going to have to make it an oval. Take your twine and tie it around the whole thing. Pull it tight until you have the shape you desire. Tie tightly.

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4. Now it’s time to get your paper mache on! Move your vehicle into an area that you don’t mind getting messy. I worked in my kitchen, since I could easily clean the tile floors. Cut your paper (newspaper or craft) into long strips. I didn’t worry about making them look pretty and didn’t bother to make them the same size. I just made sure they were long enough to cover the entire side and wrap around the edges of the tubes a little.

5. Make your paper mache mix. Using the big mixing bowl and wisk, combine 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of cold water, and 2 tablespoons of salt. (The salt helps prevent mold.) You can double the recipe if you don’t want to make a ton of batches, but I wouldn’t increase it any higher. I found that doing so made some of it dry out before I could get to it.

6. Once your paper mache mix is ready, spread it over your strips of paper and apply them to the vehicle frame, making sure to overlap pieces so there aren’t any gaps. Repeat until entire vehicle is covered. Store any left over paper mache mix, covered, in the fridge.

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7. Set somewhere secluded to dry. I put mine out on our porch so that the sun could speed up the drying.

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8. While the vehicle is drying, draw and cut out any wings, tails, or other vehicle accessories/details you want to include. Make sure you leave an extra strip on the bottom, and cut that strip into tabs. Fold the tabs so they go in opposite directions. These will be what you use to attach the piece to the vehicle.

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9. Once your vehicle is dry, you can use some duct tape to attach the pieces to your vehicle. Repeat until all pieces are attached.

10. Paper mache over the new pieces. Repeat until all pieces are covered. Depending on how long it took your vehicle to dry, you might have to make new paper mache mix.

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11. Continue adding more strips of paper to cover the inside gaps of the frame. Once that is done, set somewhere secluded to dry. By this time, my kids were in bed, so I just left them in the kitchen.

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12. Once the wings were dry, I added the tail…rocket propeller things, and “seat back.” I had to wait to do these, because the paper mache for the insides got the area that I’d planned on taping the tail pieces wet, so I couldn’t apply the tape. I couldn’t add these during the wings step though, because of how the “seat back” needed to be applied. *sigh*

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13. Again, apply paper mache, and wait to dry. FYI: I just placed paper over the ends of the tubes; I didn’t bother to make cardboard covers for them. Add touch up pieces of paper mache to any areas that have gaps in them. (Like that gap in the front inside of the plane above.)

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14. Once all of your pieces are attached, paper mached, and dried, draw your design with highlighter that is similar in color to your paint. I chose highlighter because I was sometimes working with light colors, and this helped the markings blend in a lot better than they would have if I’d used black marker or something like that.

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15. Paint! I was very very fortunate to have my mother in law help me out. Here’s a warning though, if you have someone help you out who says they’re not crafty:

I’m going to assume since you’ve gotten this far into the tutorial, that you’re a crafty person. Not everyone is. Some people really are not. I didn’t think it would be hard to paint around my lines, but I ended up needing to go back a lot to clean up lines because my MIL got too close to the highlighter, reapply some colors, and we lost an entire grouping of yellow stripes and the triangle in the front. So um, maybe let the non-crafty helper (who you are still super super grateful for having) paint the inside, haha.

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16. Set aside and let dry. At this point, I went to bed.

17. The next morning, I hot glued a scrap of plumbing tubing to the back of the purple and orange plane. The hot glue started actually EATING the tubing material though, so I had to cut a circle the same size as the tube, apply the glue to that, and then stick it to the tube. For some reason, this worked. So it went, plane-hot glue-cardboard-hot glue-tube. I just put the hot glue on the propeller and stuck it to the tube.

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18. To make the shoulder straps, I measured my boys to see how much ribbon I would need, and cut two pieces per plane. I used hot glue to keep the straps in place, and then added clear packing tape for extra support. This will be fine for Halloween, and worked fine for my youngest’s birthday party, but I’m trying to see if I can figure something more permanent (like grommets or something) so they can be reused again and again. I’ll update this if I figure something out.

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See? If those straps can survive races while being worn by multiple kids, they should survive some trick or treating. Happy Halloween, and I’d love to see if you make a version yourself. I think some CARS race cars would look great, no? Or maybe Thomas the Train? So many possibilities!

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