As we near the end of this pandemic and things start going back to normal, there are few things I’m definitely going to miss. I’ll miss staying indoors for weeks and weeks. I’ll miss not caring about how I look as no one but my immediate family gets to see me. But most of all, I’ll miss wasting mindless hours buying stuff online I don’t even need.

Caught smack dab in the middle of COVID-19 last year, Bobby Duke fell into the same trap I did: Amazon online shopping. With so many cardboard boxes around and the number of activities he could do at home dwindling each day, he came up with one interesting idea: make the COVID-19 virus himself.

YouTube video

Well, the video title is certainly misleading. He didn’t go to a lab to replicate this human-killing virus. Instead, he took all the cardboard boxes lying around his house and made a paper/cardboard mache model of the virus.

Now to be clear: anyone can easily make a paper mache sculpture. Just dunk a bunch of paper strips into a glue mix, slap it over a mold to dry, and you have an instant art.

Creating the Virus Body

paper mache covid-19 virus

Bobby used a ball to mold the main body of the virus. Nonetheless, it might have been better if he used a balloon for better convenience and effortless removal. Thankfully, the mold still turned up pretty perfect.

Once the ball was removed, he figured it would be accurate to drop in a mosquito repellant bracelet to represent the virus’s RNA. So into the ball it went, followed swiftly by Bobby Duke sealing the giant hole with some more newspaper and water/glue mixture.

paper mache covid-19 virus

To finish the body, he slathered on a little more glue and dunked the whole thing in a bowl full of tiny foam balls. This gave it some more texture and made the previously brown body look closer to the virus you know and loathe.


paper mache covid-19 virus

While he was making the paper mache body, Bobby Duke was stewing his cut-up Amazon cardboard boxes on a stove nearby. After popping it in a blender and wringing out most of its moisture, Bobby explained that this pulpy mush can be a good substitute for clay and aptly dubbed it “paper-mush-clay”.

He poured a good helping of glue into this cardboard mush before mixing it all up. This resulted in the material he would later use to make the multiple spike glycoproteins and surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

paper mache covid-19 virus

He popped the molded pieces into the oven to let them harden and dry. Once finished, he drilled a bunch of holes into the bottom of the spike glycoproteins. These allowed Bobby Duke to push toothpicks into them and pop them right onto the body of the virus.

Color Coding Time!

paper mache covid-19 virus

Of course, he had to spray paint all the parts first. The main body ended up being a light gray/silver, while the spike glycoproteins were painted red. The proteins on the surface of the viral envelope, on the other hand, were painted yellow and orange.

paper mache covid-19 virus

After painting all the parts, the only thing left to do now for Bobby was to put it all together.

paper mache covid-19 virus

The biggest enemy of the real COVID-19 might be a soap, but this paper mache model faced an even bigger threat: Bobby Duke wearing a soap T-shirt. Armed with a baseball bat, he smashed his model to pieces without a single bit of hesitation.

Bobby’s way might be a little dramatic to express our hate towards this horrible virus, but considering how a lot of us now have cabin fever… I’d say a little excessive violence is justified.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.