Coffee Tray Gargoyles

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Learn how to make fantastic gargoyles using paper take-out coffee trays and paper mache pulp.

By Andrea Mulder-Slater

Gargoyles are medieval faces of stone,
At the tops of old buildings and towers they roam.
You can find them in Germany outside fancy castles,
You can see them in France on the walls of cathedrals,
You can even find gargoyles in New York City,
Crumbling and cracking it is such a pity.
So why not create a sky creature with,
some junk – go ahead, make your own myth.

What You Need:

  • Carry out coffee trays
  • Egg cartons
  • Masking or packing tape
  • A piece of 12″ x 12″ cardboard per gargoyle
  • Paper mache pulp (see recipe at the end of the lesson)
  • Sand & glue
  • Water-based paint.
  • Paintbrushes, water, water containers and a newspaper covered work area.

What You Do:

Cut a carry out coffee tray in half.

Cut one half of the tray in half again.

Take the half piece and bend in it in the middle so it curves outward. Tape it down securely to the center of the cardboard. This will form the basis of the eyes and nose.

Next, take the two halves, stack them on one another and place them at the bottom of the piece you have just taped down, allowing the top piece to overlap slightly. (See diagram).


You can use egg carton cups as the beginnings of horns at the top of the gargoyle’s head. Tape the cups securely into place.

Make sure that you tape every opening. This will prevent the paper mache pulp from getting into the tiny little holes.

Using small bits of paper mache pulp, slowly build up a gargoyle face. Follow the natural shape of the carry out trays. Look at them closely, they will suggest eyes, a nose and a mouth to you.

Make gargoyles out of coffee trays.

You can build the face up in several stages. Even after the pulp has dried, you can add wet to dry and it will stick nicely.

When the entire gargoyle face is complete, let it air dry for several days.

To decorate, you have several choices. You might be happy with the natural look of the paper mache pulp, or you may choose to color the gargoyle with markers. You could also paint the gargoyle or glue sand onto the finished piece to give it a “stony” appearance.

If you choose to decorate with sand, the key is to apply a fair amount of glue to the gargoyle face, sprinkle sand over top and seal the finished piece with water-based sealer.

You can also decorate the gargoyle using store-bought granite-look spray paint that has the appearance of real stone. If you do try this, make sure you spray the gargoyle outside or in a very well ventilated area.

coffee tray gargoyles coffee tray gargoyles Gargoyles made from coffee trays. Gargoyles made from coffee trays.