Daily Sculptors

Daily Sculptors Group Page

This is the new official page for the unofficial “Daily Sculptors Group.” Join the challenge to sculpt something every single day — and stay focused on improving your craft among friends.

The challenge is to do the work every single day. It isn’t about creating something that is perfectly finished or gallery-ready. If you show us your daily work it may encourage others to submit theirs, and together we might be able to vanquish Resistance and Procrastination, at least for one more day.

If you want to join us, use the comment section of this page as a journal. Share some of the challenges and insights that you gain from your work, and show off what you made today. Upload photos of your work, so we can see what you’ve been up to. If your images are too big, you can resize them quickly using this free online picture resizer.

Enjoy!

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5,467 Comments

  • Thought I’d share my first paper mache piece created this Spring for an “Art about Water” art show. It is approximately 4′ by 4′. I Ioved doing it and am ready to try my hand at some ferrocement pieces next.

    • Susan, your sculpture is beautiful! I hope you’ll show us your ferrocement sculptures, too, when they’re done.

    • Hi. Did you intend to upload a photo with your comment? If so, it didn’t get attached. The file size was probably too big. Please edit the photo to make it smaller, and try again.

      You have a lovely assortment of critters on your etsy page, by the way. I hope your business is successful.

  • It has been a while since I dropped in on your site. A lot of great stuff to see. I loved your new raccoon Jonni, now I want to make one too.

  • Jonni, quick question. 1 coat or two? I have a double batch of clay mixed up and ready to go, but I was wondering should I do a smooth first coat, allow to dry and then do texture etc on second coat or just texture the first coat and call it good?

    Thank you.

    • You can do it either way. But you won’t want any layer to be very thick, because it can take too long to dry. Add a bit of the pm clay and play with it. If it feels right to do the texturing with the first layer, do it that way. If you’d rather have a nice smooth surface to work on, do a thin layer the first time around, let it dry, and do the texture on top of it.

  • I just did a bit of online searching to help me answer a comment, and stumbled across this page: http://www.rosco.com/spectrum/index.php/2012/05/three-dimensional-foliage/

    If you’re one of the many people who think it would be fun to build a tree for a school room or play, you have to see these trees before you start your project. Not only are they fabulous, but they’re also flame-resistant – which is something I always worry about when people start a project like this using paper mache. And no, these trees aren’t paper mache, but the armature they use and the FlexCoat could certainly be incorporated in a paper mache tree. (I love finding things like this!) If you check it out, tell me what you think….

    • Ooo – and the idea of using the little pieces of velour dipped in their goo (which sounds very much like a wet version of paper mache clay, but with other stuff added) and then laying them on the trunk to look like tree bark…. Be sure you don’t miss that part.

  • Hi Jonni,

    Well as of right now, I am calling my armature complete! I am so very happy with the way he is turning out. And so glad to be done with masking tape lol.

    On to stage 2!!!

    • I love that frill down the back of his neck! Stanza, do you have a website where you show off your other work?

      • Thank you. I love the way the frill came out.

        I don’t have a website. I used to years ago, used to post craft how-to-videos.

        This is actually the first “sculpture” I have ever done. But I am usually making something. Most recently (last 3 months?), I have done a floral topiary, a set of miniature bird houses, a couple of décor mesh wreaths, repainted a rusty sunflower my husband uncovered doing yard work and a set of hanging solar lights made from mason jars and tissue paper.

        Yeah I am all over the place!

        I have 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters/2 grandsons, so pretty much everything I start working on is swooped up as soon as it is finished, if it wasn’t originally planned with a specific person in mind. None of the girls buy hair accessories, jewelry or even home décor lol Their favorite phrase is “Mom, can you make me…?”

  • Hi Jonni,
    I am working on the raccoon that you made. I just loved it and wanted to give it a try. My question is, how many layers of the blue shop towels do I need to put on? Thanks :)

    • Hi Dina. If you use the fast-setting paste (glue, plaster of Paris, water and vinegar) or the joint compound gesso as paste (just drywall joint compound with glue added) you could get away with just a few layers, because these two paste recipes dry really hard. If you use the corn starch recipe that I used for the raccoon, you would probably want three or four layers.

      Your raccoon is looking really nice, by the way! I hope you’ll show him to us when he’s finished.

      • Hi Jonni,

        I used the corn starch recipe you used. I ended up making the toes out of clay instead of wrapping them with the shop towels. Hopefully that will work ok. I’ll post when I finish him. Thank you so much!

  • I’ve working on two winged boars meant to look sort of like the ones in front of the hogwarts castle from harry potter. They are rather large so its been taking me some time to finish.

    Eventually I plan to coat them in Thomson’s deck sealer, paint them with outdoor durable paint and then give them a coat of poylurathane sealer to be used outside as seasonal decor…hopefully it holds up. This is just one of them, his brother is still in the process of being covered with papier mache clay the wings on bother are also not covered yet.

    • Hi Erin. I hope you intended to post a photo of your two winged boars, because I’d love to see them. If you did, the file size must have been too big – they didn’t come through with your comment. Please give it another try. This sounds like a great project!

      For seasonal use, your coatings should work just fine. Some Halloween aficionados have told us that you may get a bit of softening if it rains while they’re outside, but they’ll stiffen up again when you bring them in and dry them out.

  • Hello. A little over a month ago, I told my husband I wanted to working with paper mache. I found your site and have been devouring it ever since.

    My husband drew a sketch of what he refers to as an Alium … ( as in Um… what is that thing?) I have spent the last month learning how to bring him to life. I am finally at the stage where I wanted to share my alien armature. I am still fine tuning it and am almost ready for PM clay. YEAH!

    I would welcome any critiques or suggestions.

    This is the front view.

    • I think he’s (she’s?) great! I love the idea of partnering up on a project like this. Did your husband give you side and back views in his sketch? Is he madly scribbling away as we speak, and coming up with your next five projects?

      You’ve done a really nice job on the armature, so it should be quite easy to add the paper mache clay. The hard part will be waiting for it to dry so you can finish this fellow. You must be anxious to see how he comes out. Does he have a name yet? And have you figured out where he’ll live when he’s done?

      • Jonni, Thank you for your nice comments.

        LOL If my husband had his way, I would be making dozens of these and selling them at Comic-Con. To me this is a one-off that I am making for him because I love him, if I had my way I would be making rainbows and unicorns NOT ALIENS! (My craft room is filled with beads, jewels, ribbon and lace, this is so not what I was planning when I said I wanted to make PaperMache!)

        I have a name for him but it is unprintable… LOL I can’t tell you how many times I have had him fall over on me or had to rip arms or legs off and start over. There is a definite learning curve here. Not to mention having to figure out the anatomy of a creature that has 3 arms and 3 legs!

        My husbands sketch I have been working off.

          • Hi again. I got a lot of work done last night! Added eyeballs, cheeks, and lips. Made a Y shaped fin/sail/whatever-it-is on the back from shoulders to the top of the rear leg. I kinda do like making this alien because there is nothing “right” or “wrong” because who’s to say what MY alien looks like except me?

            Anyway, I actually had a question. My supplies for the PM clay arrive tomorrow. Including glycerine. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why I ordered it??? Something on your site I know because I have been watching videos and reading comments. Do you know why I ordered glycerine? LOL.

          • Hi Stanza. Several people have suggested that glycerine would be a good substitute for the oil in the paper mache recipe. I did try it, and it worked just fine. I’m sure that’s what you read, and I’m glad you reminded me of it. I don’t think you would need to use both oil and glycerine, though – they help to make the mixture smoother and easier to work with.

  • Hi Jonnie, I found your site by sheer luck and I am pleasantly surprised of how well written it is and the simple functionality is awesome. The instructions are clear and the readers get replies from you. Well managed site and fun to browse through! Keep up the great work! Defs getting bookmarked!

  • Hey jonni! My names tasha and I’m 16 years old. I’m pretty new to your work but I discovered you across YouTube and I absolutely felt inspired to try something new. I watched your hyena video and I thought it would be a perfect start. I’ll say it didn’t come out as amazing as all of your work does but I was still pleased with how it came out due to your simple to follow instructions. So thank you for sharing your work with everyone. You have helped me to accomplish something I would never really think to try. Hope you like it :) !!

    • I think your mask is wonderful, Tasha! You’ve done an especially nice job painting him. There’s a definite “wild” look to the mask, and I love it.

    • I love your work Tasha, the workmanship is wonderful and it is your work. It may not look like the original of Jonni but that is OK as it is for inspiration. Many artists who create a first piece of art who do not use molds to replicate, find that the next piece will have many differences from the first. That is art. Be very proud of your work.

  • Hi Jonni (and fabulous readers!)
    I wanted to share a video that I did using Silicone to reproduce masks. It’s a very easy, cheap and effective method using silicone caulk that you can get at any home supply store. What’s nice about this method is that it can be used to reproduce just about any object that you can wrap silicone around!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNWmVZ4kwVU

  • Hello, Jonni (and fellow sculptors). I just finished my Halloween Advent Calendar. I sculpted the tree using the recipe in your animals book. The ornaments are made of polymer clay, numbered for each day in October, and fitted with Swarovski crystals. The armature is wire; bulked a little with foil and masking tape. Thank you for sharing your expertise and giving me a new hobby!

    • I love it! Especially that creepy spider-like face at the bottom of the tree. Where will it be displayed?

      • Thanks! I have no idea. I’m running out of room and I have three cats that like to knock everything down. Hahaha. 😀

    • Interesting! And you’ve captured the look of a sheep’s face beautifully. Well done, Karen. What materials are you using in this project?

      • Thanks, Jonni. I created this table in the image of a Moreno Sheep. It is made out of Papier Mache, Wire, Clay, and Wood. Hand painted with Acrylic paint, and stained to add a bit of an antique look.

        • Hi Karen. Your image didn’t get attached to your comment, for some reason. The file size is probably too big. Could you make the image smaller and try again? I know we’d all love to see it.

  • Hi Jonni,

    Even though I’ve been around as your subscriber for several months, it took me a while to post. Firstly, I want to thank you for all your instructions, and especially for the paper-mache clay recipe. I’ve learnt a lot of things here in your site.
    I experimented a lot with pm clay and still don’t have my ‘final’. Sometimes it gets cracks when drying, but it’s not a big deal, cracks can even give new inspirational solutions. The ‘culprit’ probably could be that I don’t have joint compound (can not be found here in Belgrade, Serbia). Nevertheless, I manage somehow with what I can get (a kind of paste/filler for ceramic tiles or fugenmasse in German)… There’s only one way to do it: try it out over and over again.
    I’m still a newbie and my main challenge is recycling/up-cycling, so I make the clay with toilet paper rolls. I really enjoy making small things from it (like bowls, pendants, beads), but I’d like to share here what I consider my best item – table lamps.
    In fact, I sculpt the clay around a plastic bottle with big opening (milk bottles), which is the lamp body. Then let it air-dry completely (for a few days) – this step is the most important.
    The shades are ready-made (I buy them in Chinese stores, similar to dollar stores) and then paint and decorate them – usually with decoupage or anything that comes to mind.

    Wish you all the best and thank you for offering us occasion for show off on your site

    Since the picture is worth 1000 words I’m adding a few to describe the making:
    1. step

    oops! the image doesn’t upload – any suggestion what went wrong… (all of them are resized to less than 250 kb)

    • Sorry for the mess, I didn’t know it will appear when I click submit…
      Here’s a new try with whole procedure in one picture:

    • Hi Matsa. As your discovered, the comment system only allows one photo per comment. And since you’re showing us the full instructions for making a very unique item, this is a great time to mention that I’ve added a form where readers can submit guest posts. The system isn’t perfect yet (I’m working on it) but I invite you to resubmit your instructions using that form. It may take a day or two for it to be posted on the blog, but it will be given a page of it’s own, which will make it much easier for readers to find, and with multiple images it will be easier to understand. If you try it and have any problems with the form, please let me know.

      • Thank you Jonni for the reply and a new opportunity.

        At the same time I’m working on my own website, and I’m putting there even more details (for example, about how I assemble the cord, the fitting, the bulb and shade holder – the solution of which was pretty time consuming) and hopefully all this will be there in a couple of days. I’m sure you know that taking and editing pictures also takes lots of time…:) So, when its ready I suppose I can add them here too.
        I’ll try now to post it on the guest page :)

        • Yes – I do know how much time it takes to put together a good tutorial – probably as much time as actually doing the project. But I enjoy both the craft and the telling, so I don’t mind. :)

      • I’ve just submitted a post on the guest page but couldn’t check my writing and how it looks – hopefully it’s ok
        Also, wanted to add some additional text regarding shades and decoration in the end, after the pictures but didn’t know how since the post “disappeared” :)
        I do know that the “technicals” are sometimes ‘painful’…

        • Hi Matsa. I’m so glad you told me in a comment that you submitted a post – the system is supposed to send me an email whenever someone fills out the form, but for some reason it isn’t doing that. I’ll send you an email to let you know how to send me the additional information at the end of your post, and I’ll try to find a better way for this process to happen, to make it easier. Thanks for doing this for us!

          • I’m glad I did it and thank you again for the opportunity, it feels good to be part of your community

            I’ve just sent you an email with additions for the guest post

  • Hi Jonni, Here’s my first project using your air-dry paper mache recipe, “Trick or Pet Treats.” Canvas is 2’x3′. I’ve entered it in the Materials Exchange for Community Arts (MECCA) 7th Annual Object Afterlife Art Challenge. Your air-dry pm clay was great, once I switched to the correct joint compound. I over-estimated my abilities and under-estimated the time it would take to make something so complicated. 80+ participants were each given a batch of “mystery materials” provided by the organization, to be recycled and incorporated into our art. They gave me discarded floral arrangement items. Holiday ribbons were repurposed into mummy bandages, hiding my goofs. Some materials are visible but disguised, some were used in armatures. Entries are displayed through September, part of an Art Walk. Awards will be presented. If there is a category for “Heaviest and Most Awkward to Transport”, I have a chance! Without your wonderful videos I probably would never have entered this challenge. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Hi Everyone. hope you are all enjoying the summer. I stumbled on this website sometime back and I must that Jonni, you are an inspiration. I learned alot from here and trying to push myself into the groove of making something or working on something everyday. Here is a tree I finished a few days ago. I used a bottle as its base and went on from there. my only issue now is how to make leaves that would not look artificial on it and also not buy those used for miniature trees( not really in a location that has those anyway) i would love to hear suggestions, criticisms and all. Thanks

    • Nice! And the bird-making tutorial on your website if wonderful – thanks for giving us the link.

      As for the leaves, would it be possible to use leaves cut out from rice paper, maybe with a clear acrylic varnish over each one to protect them?

    • Nice tree Amsa! A suggestion for the leaves would be to roll out a thin layer of Jonni’s air dry clay with a rolling pin like what is used for baking. Do this between 2 layers of wax paper. Let it dry enough to get a bit hard on the outside. Then cut the shape of the leaves out(scissors work), bend or curl them the way you like and let dry completely. When dry, they can be applied with more of the clay, or with glue.
      That being said, I did not try this on leaves that hang, but on a flower like a lotus flower. I don’t know if they would be too heavy to hang on a tree but it is worth a shot. Good luck.

      • Hi Eileen. This is an interesting idea – I had no idea you could use the air dry clay this way. Would Amsa be able to use a real leaf as a stamp to create the veins and texture?

        • Yes, on one side it works, I have done it. It would be too hard to try to get both sides lined up properly, that is if you could even find the same sized leaf. When impressing leaves, you only get the veins, not so much the texture. To get the top of the leaf to look right, you would need to press the bottom of the actual leaf to the clay. That way it will look indented like the normal leaf looks. It is tedious to have to cut out a bunch of leaves but it does work. For larger leaves, I have even embedded a thin wire(covered in masking tape) inside to help prevent breakage. I don’t know if that is absolutely necessary but it can’t hurt. I did some hydrangea leaves once, which are rather large. After imprinting and rolling out the leaf, I used a tiny knife to cut a serrated edge. It came out great. Sorry, no picture to show you- it was part of a wedding gift and is long gone. Jonni, you might try this as a background for one of your faces, if they are woodland type characters. Wouldn’t an elf be cute surrounded by leaves? Hmm…that may be an idea!

      • Hi Eileen. Thanks a lot for the suggestion. It does sound like I can do that. Would love to see the lotus flower you made.

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