Build and paint the paper mache animals and then tie on a wire "halter".
I would be concerned, like you, with wire protruding from the piece being
or straining and fraying the edges where the exit wire comes out.
The halters could be decorated with crepe paper or garlands.
We have a HUGE ( 7'X5') Dragon in our art room and we couldn't even get his
supported by wire from the ceiling. ( He sat on a table) Unless the piece is
small and light, the weight of the wire tears into the piece.
PS. I did an assignment with Eric Carle theme.
Each student drew a picture of an animal that filled a 12X18 sheet of paper.
Each table of students took turns decorating a sheet of construction paper
watercolor dye. ( Not washable paint--- but brillant colors.)
We had each table ( four children per table) with two analogous colors of
watercolor dye. Six tables total , we ended up with 24 sheets of paper in;
Then the students used their animal drawings as tracers and cut each section
of their drawing out from our colored papers.
Just like Eric Carle. They pieced the picture back together with glue, and VOI
Ther own Eric Carle Animal Picture!!