Paper Mache Animals

Daily Sculptors Group Page

Paper Mache ChihuahuaWant to show off your paper mache creations and join the conversation with other sculptors? This is a great place to post a photo of your recent work.

You’re also welcome to share some of the challenges and insights that you gained from your sculpture, even if it isn’t quite finished yet. Need some advice on how to get through a sticky section of your project? Just ask – someone will be sure to offer an idea you might be able to use.

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10,578 Comments

  • I am just blown away by some of the creations on here! I am hoping to get into some paper mache fairy house but haven’t started just yet. I am thrilled Jonni let me be apart of this group as it looks like there are alot of resources here. In the meantime I scuplt and create my own line of porcelain dolls. Looking forward to seeing how I can incorporate paper mache with my dolls.
    Lesley
    http://www.misplacedolls.com

  • Hola Jonni me llamo Juan estoy haciendo un perro que esta pintado de acrilico , le e dado una mano de barniz acrilico mate para quitarle el brillo y el brillo persiste, no se como subirle la foto , soy un poco torpe con la tecnologia, gracias de antemano un saludo desde España, Andalucia

    • Hello, Juan. You may need to give your paper mache dog a few more coats of matte varnish to get rid of the shine. Here in the US we have a product called DecoArt Ultra Matte varnish, and it removes all the shine. I don’t know if it’s available in Spain, though.

      To upload a photo with your comment, just click on the grey Browse button under the comment text box. Find your image on your device, and click Open. This will attach your image to your comment. The image needs to be under 250 KB to load, so you might need to edit the photo to make it small enough to work.

      Translated by Google: Hola, Juan. Es posible que deba darle a su perro mache papel algunas capas más de barniz mate para deshacerse del brillo. Aquí en los EE. UU. Tenemos un producto llamado Barniz DecoArt Ultra Matte , que elimina todo el brillo. No sé si está disponible en España, sin embargo.

      Para cargar una foto con su comentario, simplemente haga clic en el botón gris Browse en el cuadro de texto de comentarios. Encuentra tu imagen en tu dispositivo y haz clic en Abrir. Esto adjuntará su imagen a su comentario. La imagen debe tener menos de 250 KB para cargar, por lo que puede necesitar editar la foto para que sea lo suficientemente pequeña como para funcionar.

  • Hi Jonni,

    I made a large mask with paper mache clay. I’m happy with the overall shape, but it needs more detail that the paper mache clay isn’t capable of. Can I layer a different modeling substance over the paper mache clay to build up the details?

    The mask has already been painted and sealed with acrylic, but I figure, if necessary, I can rough up the surface.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ben. Yes, you can add details to your mask, but roughing up the varnish would be a good idea. You might like using the air dry clay, which has the same ingredients as paper mache clay, but in different proportions and with the addition of corn starch, which makes is smoother and easier to sculpt details. It isn’t as sticky, though, so you’ll probably need to brush some Elmer’s glue over the mask before you add the air dry clay. You could also use a commercial air dry clay (I think it would work – but I’ve never tried it). You’d probably need the glue for the commercial products, too, to make sure the clay sticks to the mask.

  • Hello all. I have been absent from posting for a long while due to health crap. I quickly skimmed the posts but didn’t have time to comment on everyone’s wonderful work they have shared, but please no I loved looking at every single item. Anyways, I’m feeling better now and thought I would share my chicken from Jonni’s book. She has been named Clucky (stolen from Disney’s Robin Hood chicken) and she sits atop our microwave to supervise the kitchen. I loved making this so much and as always Jonni’s instructions in her book make it so easy to follow along. I also made the pig…but when I got it out to paint it I saw the silly thing’s tail has a huge crack in two places, so I’m going to have to figure out some way to fix it before painting. Do you all think just joint compounding the cracks would work? Anyone have any other suggestions? They are big deep cracks, not just small thing ones. Thanks for help in advance 🙂

    • Hi Carrie. Your chicken came out beautifully! She’ll do a great job as supervisor.

      For the cracks, the joint compound isn’t strong enough. It might work if you mix in some of your Elmer’s glue-all, though, or even use some paper mache clay if you have any left over. The tail on anything is always fragile because it sticks out and it’s so easy to bump it against something. My elephant’s tail got cracked when I accidentally pushed her against the wall while I was vacuuming, and I fixed it with some Apoxie Sculpt, but only because I happened to have some in the studio. If the joint compound and glue mixture doesn’t work for your piggy’s tale, you could try epoxy glue. I don’t think a small tube would be expensive and it’s really strong. You could cover the wound with a smidgen of paper mache clay after it cures.

      Do we get to see your pig, too?

      • I will check out our local area and see if I can find some apoxie sculpt, or just buy it from amazon. I don’t have any pm clay left and I don’t have any other projects that need it so I really don’t want to make a batch just for the tail. I’m in Oregon and it is our wet season and things just don’t dry well in my house in the winter even with the fan on. But I Have never made your air dry clay recipe and I have been wanting to give it a go, so do you think it would go over the apoxy glue or sculpt, whichever I find?

        As soon as I get the piggy patched up and give her some spots I will post a pic 😉 I had tried to follow your directions in painting her (before her tail cracked) but I left my pig pretty rough and didn’t sand very smooth, so the first layer of paint made her look really old and dirty 🙁 not sure how to fix that other than to find some pink or flesh tone for the base. Any thoughts?

        • Hi Carrie. The air dry clay would probably stick to Apoxie Sculpt if you brush on some white glue first. The air dry clay isn’t very sticky. You could also just use a few small strips of traditional paper strips and paste to cover the wound, or just paint over it with acrylic paint. If the texture is the same as the rest of the tail, you’ll never see it.

          The final transparent glaze of brown doesn’t work well with a really rough surface, but you can dry brush some of your pink skin tone over the areas where you don’t want piggy to look like he’s been playing in the mud.

          I can’t wait to see him. 🙂

  • It went up a treat and a very good night was has by all.

    I have been asked whether there is a hint of regret in burning something I have invested so much time and care in making. Honestly, no. I often make things and it is the artistic process of the making that I enjoy, rather than the end product. My wife was certainly pleased to see him go from our kitchen…

  • Here is the finished Pope.

    The body was constructed of wood and cardboard. There was a very small amount of chicken wire just to construct the shoulders as my attempts with cardboard didn’t look good enough. The hat was made from wallpaper (lining paper) and was simply folded to shape following an online origami pattern. His clothes were made from a sheet and an old pair of cricket trousers. The body is filled with crumpled newspaper and small pieces of wood to aid combustion.

    • Oh my goodness Lawrence, his expression seems to know just what will be happening to him! What a good sculpt and what a process you went through to obtain the finished product. He did flame up very well, it is almost scary to see a pope burned like that. We dont have Guy Fawkes day in the US. Well done on the project.

  • I wanted to post a picture of the results of my paper mache class. I used Jonni’s chicken as a first time project for the class and here are the finished chickens. For some of the class members, this type of project was totally out of their comfort zones but all put such great effort into their chicken. Others had a greater ease bit still seemed to enjoy the class. Several of the chickens are not on display as some of them were not able to attend all the sessions and they were behind. They will just have to do some homework.
    I am very proud of their first attempts! Thanks Jonni for the use of your instructions!

  • Hello All,
    Here is my Papercrete Gargoyle, made over three days this week. He will be placed over a sawn-off branch in an old cherry tree, but will take at least two weeks to dry out before I can install him. He will appear to be lunging into the garden. The papercrete I used is not anything found elsewhere on this site. It is made using 3 parts newspaper pulp, two parts Portland Cement and one part sand mixed to a clay-like consistency. I modelled it straight onto a chicken wire tubular armature, first wrapped with cement-soaked fabric. I think he’s rather fun. What do you think?

    • I think it’s fantastic! A few years ago I tried to find some good instructional books or videos on using cement for sculpting, and there aren’t many. Do you have any suggestions for us?

      • Thanks Jonni, Unfortunately, I can’t think of any particular videos or books to suggest. I trawl the internet looking at cement and concrete art when I have time and just absorb ideas. I am terrible at making notes of webpages. I’m sorry. I do make notes of recipes to try. The simpler the better. It all started when I was builing my Gothic Arches in the garden and nearly killed myself trying to position the arch top made out of concrete onto the pillars. It was so heavy. I actually got it up, but when I removed the supports, too soon, it came crashing down on my head! Ouch.
        I searched for lightweight concrete and found various sites using papercrete and hypertufa. The trouble with Google is that even when you use the same search words, different searches find completely different pages, so I have been unable to find you the sites I found most useful. I will continue to look and post anything I find for you.

        • Hi Sarah – thanks for checking, but don’t go to any great trouble to find those sites. It will be months before I can make anything outside here in Minnesota. I’m definitely going to try your recipe, though, as soon as I get a chance. I like using epoxy clay for outdoor sculptures, but it’s too expensive to make anything larger than a squirrel.

          • isn’t it 250 grams of joint compound? Voilá, 250g of cement.
            First I used a grey one (rather comon here) but then I found one called portland cement (never seen it before) which is white. Feels a bit less softer than the grey one, but still works good.
            You already know this chap, right? The white bit is the new cement batch over the old one with grey cement … 🙂

            • It’s wonderful Pedro. I was wondering how the bust was coming along. Will you put it outseide? I was wondering how the high flour content of the recipe will fare in all weathers? Her in the UK, Portland Cement refers to both the grey and the white cement. Portland is a part of the country, in Dorset where it comes from. The white cement is very much more expensive than the grey and is primarily used for sculpture or architectural uses where powdered pigment or other aggregate is added for effect. The white cement doesn’t alter colours and a pale colour can be achieved, e.g. pale green or blue. Any colour can be achieved.
              Will you be painting the bust in life-like colours or perhaps a bronze effect? I can’t wait to see the finished bust. 🙂

    • That is great Sarah! What is the working time once the mixture is mixed? How accurate does your armature need to be? Sorry to ply you with questions but I a may need to try this out. How easy is it to sculpt with? And lastly, how durable is it in various weather conditions?
      Nice gargoyle. I wouldn’t want to be caught unaware when I saw it!

      • Thanks Eileen. The working time varies according to the time of year and climate. I had a load of mix left over on the first day and was loathe to waste it so I put a wet cloth and plastic over it and used it the next day! I did mix in a little water and PVA to make it workable. Ideally, though, the mix should be used within hours. Gravity plays a part so on the underside I could only put a certain amount on before it would drop off under the weight. The Gargoyle took three days to complete because of this. In terms of hours, he probably only took 6 to make. I had to support the legs and feet when applied by wrapping in clingfilm overnight, so they didn’t drop off! There were no problems adding fresh mix to the previous day’s. It sticks together very well, but then, it is still damp. I understand you can add new papercrete to dry, but I haven’t tried it (yet). The texture of the 3-2-1 mix was a little grainy, but worked for the gargoyle as it offered texture resembling scales without having to add them. For finer work, I would use a mix of 2-2-1 pulp-cement-sand. I found it really easy to sculp with. Most enjoyable. The armature was just a tube of chicken wire with a very rough jaw line. I did wrap the tube in-situ with cement-soaked rag as the gargoyle is slightly curved as he comes out of the tree and it set the shape. It also stopped the mix from falling through the holes in the wire. (He’s hollow). I used chicken wire arches filled with cardboard and then a layer of papercrete for my gothic arches, so it depends what you are making. All the detail is added in papercrete, so the armature can be very basic. It dries very light, but of course is much heavier wet. I am expecting him to be as durable as anything made from concrete, I do not intend to use sealant on him, as he is hollow and moisture will get in from the inside. Time will tell….

        • Thanks for all the info, I will let you know if I try it. Right now I have a Pal Tiya sculpture in the works and of course some paper mache stuff too. So much to try, so much to do!

    • Yours is way nicer, believe me 🙂
      I won’t put mine outside although this Autumn is quite dried and sunny, but nevertheless no thanks also because I’m planning to give him a final layer of bitumen with starch to equalize the paper’s texture (maybe also mixed with a little bit of acrylic paint) .
      Will you put yours though? 😮
      I’m not happy with it thats why all is going too slow plus the dolls do take most of my time… He’s with a slight problem on is forehead and I think I’ll have to saw it off and re do that area. Also needs ears but im not sure if it will look like the person I wanted… If not maybe I’ll do him one of those fantasia helmets from Michelangelo’s drawings.
      But when I’ll have more space I’d like to do more busts, do a silicone cast and fill it with papercrete paste. It will be just great 😀 😀 😀

      • The forehead looks fine to me. It looks as if it goes to the hairline. Obviously, the top of the head needs rounding off. I did a few busts some years ago. Two self portraits and three of my husband. I modelled in clay though, so I could really take my time and alterations were easy. I eventually made latex rubber moulds with a plaster mother mould and then cast them in either cement or plaster. The human head is tricky to get right, isn’t it? I was very pleased with them at the time, but I can see all the faults now. I might do another of my husband next year and correct the wrongs!
        I fixed the gargoyle to the branch today. Here he is….

          • Oh, Thanks Jonni. I’m not much of a gardener, so I’ve gone for a ‘Gothic Ruins’ look and mostly left it wild. I’ve even dug up the small lawn and spread moss all over. Mind you, it has sprouted daisies and other things all over. I don’t mind, as long as there is no grass! 🙂

            • Sarah, I envy you! I hate lawn grass with a passion. I plowed up my back yard for veggies and fruit trees, but I’m still mowing most of the lot. But why? I’ll be switching to mini-clover as soon as I can afford it. And maybe throw in a few daisy seeds, too. 🙂

        • Yeap, looks good 🙂 Whats next, burial, wedding or… exorcism ceremony? 😮 Eh eh eh
          That latex rubber is it that pink thing that one sees on youtubers whilst doing casts? I wonder if its expensive and if I’d get it here in Portugal …

          • Hi Pedro, Next year I am planning to do a full-size sculpture of Saint Michael! He will go in the front of the property rather than in the garden. I have sculptured panels of the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John across the front of the house so Michael will fit right in.
            Liquid Latex in Portuguese is Borracha De Látex Líquido according to Google Translate. It is white but dries amber. It can be brushed on in layers to build up a mould. It can also be thickened to speed up the process. It is great if you want to make a re-useable mould and although not cheap, is much cheaper than other rubbers used for mould making. It goes a very long way. I have used it a lot in the past. It also peels off the casting really easily. It can shrink away from whatever you are moulding a little in places if there is a lot of detail, but this is corrected when the plaster mother mould is added. I usually but it from a sculpture supplies shop but companies who sell fibreglass supplies also sell it. I’m sure you can find it in Portugal. If you do decide to give it a go, I’d be happy to help you with instruction.

            • Sarah,
              That sounds like what I’ve used in order to do 3 casts of some tiny faces for some attempt to mass production doll making. It is a liquid silicone paste that needs a vulcanizer(?) to dry up – took 36 hours! Its a german paste, its called silcotin and costed a small fortune, almost 30 euros! No way I’d use that as bigger cast making, maybe I’d probably do what Jonni did on her bust, seal it an make the actual oeuvre by covering the madre with tissue covered with a mix of betumen, flour and glue (it worked for my historical hats)
              But, anyway, at the moment I really don’t have the space for almost nothing, so …. 🙂
              Thanks eitherway Sarah!

            • Hi Pedro, No, liquid latex doesn’t need anything to help it dry. It dries at room temp in a matter of hours. A really thick layer might take longer.For £30 I can get 5 litres of the stuff and it goes a very long way. Silicone rubber is different. There is no need to go to the expense if you are going to make casts in Papier mache. A simple plaster mould will do and is very cheap to make. I use latex moulds to cast multiples in concrete or plaster or for pieces that won’t remove easily from a solid mould. Here is a link to show you what liquid latex looks like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYKuJ070MIc

  • Hello all! I wanted to share with you my gratitude project. When Jonni started the gratitude project, I was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. We had a chance to go on a boat trip and we saw Orca whales! They are not creatures one would encounter in Pennsylvania! It was the highlight of my trip! So my gratitude goes to thankfulness for the wonders of nature and for the ability to go on a vacation!

        • Hi Pedro,
          The largest whale is about a foot long, about 1/3 meter in metric. They actually are quite friendly and very curious as they are really in the dolphin family, rather than a whale. There are no known human attacks by orca in the wild, though they have hurt humans while in captivity. How’s that for some orca knowledge?

    • It’s beautiful, Eileen. You really caught the elegance of those magnificent creatures. (My brother lives on Whidbey Island. Your boat may have gone right by his house.)

        • Sarah, I used Jonni’s smooth air dry clay for the entire project with a crushed paper and masking tape armature, a bit of wire for the fins and tail. Thanks for the comment.

      • Thanks Jonni- we might have gone right past his house! The Puget Sound is so beautiful, I envy him! We happened to have a great sunlit day on the Sound and were very grateful for that!

    • Oh, that is really great, Eileen. I painted one in watercolor and it is hanging right outside the shower, so seeing this was really special for me. Maybe I need one to go on the bathroom cabinet. Gorgeous.

      (I know Jonni tells me not to hang watercolor paintings or paper mache objects in the bathroom, but I have three watercolors in there along with my paper mache Big Bird, which sits on the floor.) I really love this.

    • Very nice, David. What’s her name – is she a well-known action figure, and am I the only one who doesn’t know who she is? Or did you invent her yourself? In either case, she looks great. How big is it?

      • Her name is Hela she is in the new Thur movie, but this one is based on the old one from past years. She is about 52 in. wide and 28 tall. and about 13 pounds. she wasn’t very well-know but new with new Thur movie out she well be.

  • Hi there, long time reader first time poster 😉 I’ve been working on this guy for a few months, and I’m in the process of finishing up on the paper mache. The base is cardboard and chicken wire and has about 3-4 layers of newspaper on each ray (I was worried about stability because it’s pretty heavy) Just wanted to share the progress and get any feedback that anyone might have. This is only my second paper mache project. And I’m hooked!

    • Hi Daisyhead. I’m glad you’re having fun – and your star looks really nice. What kind of feedback are you looking for? I don’t normally use chicken wire, (the cut ends poke a million holes in my hands because I’m clumsy). For your star it looks like a perfect choice because you’re able to get those nice curvy points. Will you painting it when it’s done?

      • It’s actually a sun, I guess I failed to mention that haha! I started painting it last night and it now has a face too. And yes, the chicken wire was kind of dangerous at times but it was perfect for the job. What would be the best type of wire to use for smaller projects? I like having a skeleton to work with.

    • Yes, Daisyhead, that is really nice. That is one project I would love to hang on my door. (Never thought of that until I saw this one.) I’m like Jonni, poking myself, but it doesn’t deter me. If you did use aluminum foil, you could take it out after the clay is dry. It helps make it lighter if that is an issue. I do that for piggy banks. In any case, great project.

      • Thank you for the kind words! And yes, the chicken wire was pretty dangerous at times…I have a few scars haha! But I really like the shape it gave to my sun. I’ll try the aluminum foil for my next project though. Thank you for the tip!

  • I had completely forgotten about this but it iscoming up to Christmas and there will be all manner of toiletriespackaed in nice gift boxes. Why not make your kids a pet mouse from a blwn egg. I covered ti with paper pulp made from a brown paper bag (Primark bags make great paper pulp)

  • Here is our whole trunk put together…the columns are 9ft (I talked my husband down from 12ft…lol)

  • I also made this really cool velociraptor claw (paw? hand?) 🙂 It was really a quick project and I used strips of cotton cloth to give it a life like feel and look. It moved in and out of it’s “containment crate” and the crate also shook. The kiddos loved it

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