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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4,479 Responses

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  1. Becky
    Becky at |

    I have to say, I LOVE Jonni’s quote at the top of this page. It seems to strike home today LOL

    I have picked 3 “starter” projects, and am trying to work on my grids to get them cut out. I would like one to be slightly larger than my card board :/ Have any of you had luck forming an armature with taped together pieces of cardboard, to make the piece large enough to fit your pattern on ? Or would I do better, if having to tape it together, to use that as my pattern and then use wire for my frame? The project I am trying to do, is of a flamingo, so already plan on using wire for it’s Neck and legs. I have 14 gauge wire on hand, and figure if I double it, it should make the neck and legs strong enough to hold a lightweight body.

    Reply
  2. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Hi again! I just wanted to know what kids of varnish is better for finishing papier mache projects, oil based or water based? What are the benefits and drawbacks of both kinds of varnish? Does one offer more and better protection than the other? And how many coats do you guys usually use? Thanks for any input and suggestions.

    Reply
    1. Jessica Gray
      Jessica Gray at |

      If I use Jonni’s clay, I do three coats with either Miniwax or Krylon. However, I had a problem with Krylon when I applied the second coat (overwhelming smell), so I kept it to two coats then. Never used Miniwax on just a paper mache project.

      Reply
    2. Rex Winn
      Rex Winn at |

      Sherri, I use either the Golden matte acrylic varnish (brush-on), or Folkart Clearcote Acrylic sealer (matte finish), which is made to spray on paper mache and other stuff.

      I have had trouble with many spray-on varnishes turning the project yellow, and I usually use matte finish unless the project is black, in which case I use gloss because I like the way it makes the black shine. I use three coats. Good luck.

      Reply
  3. patti
    patti at |

    Just wanted to thank you for your help with my daughter’s Homecoming float. The tea cups and the characters heads were all made using paper mache and then your paper mache clay. We went through a lot of flour, glue and joint compound but the kids did a great job and they came out great.

    Reply
  4. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Aha… it worked!! Thanks again Jessica!! These are my amateurish papier mache jack-o-lanterns I made a few years ago…

    Reply
    1. Jessica Gray
      Jessica Gray at |

      Wonderful! Are the lights candles or lightbulbs?

      Reply
      1. Sherri
        Sherri at |

        I used candles for the picture, but I normally use the battery operated candles, just for safety reasons.

        Reply
  5. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Thanks, Jessica… I’ll give the picture thing a go…

    Reply
    1. Lynn
      Lynn at |

      They are fun!

      Reply
  6. Rex Winn
    Rex Winn at |

    Here are two kune kune piggy banks I just finished. I must say I got attached to these two, but they are going to good homes!

    Thanks for the pattern, Jonni.

    Reply
    1. Marilyn Kalbhenn
      Marilyn Kalbhenn at |

      Rex your piggy banks are gorgeous :-)

      Reply
  7. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    I have a few questions about papier mache paste (just the flour water mix). I read somewhere on here Jonni mentioned wild yeast and the liquid it forms on the top of the paste if it’s left a few days. Is it ok to just mix that liquid back in, or should the batch of paste be dumped out? If you use it will it damage the project or cause problems? I had read that you can use a little salt in the mache paste to prevent mold growing. Has anyone tried this? I have had problems with salt dough (some Christmas ornaments I made) and the high humidity here in the summer…they got quite soft and a little crumbly. I wonder if it could cause similar issues with a papier mache project if salt is added to the paste? Also, earlier I had issues trying to post a couple pictures on here, the files were too big… this will probably sound like a dumb question, but is there any way to make the picture files smaller so I can upload them? Thank you for any help :)

    Reply
    1. Jessica Gray
      Jessica Gray at |

      I use a teaspoon of salt in my regular paper mache paste (which is made of 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour), and I have never had a problem. I live in Florida, and we have high humidity here too. Of course, I have–in the past–covered it with Jonni’s original paper mache clay. I also cover my paper mache projects with gesso, paint, and varnish–so that probably gives additional protection. I also always make sure I cover EVERYTHNG. I find that sometimes people (with Xmas ornaments) will leave a side uncovered, and then humidity can get into it.

      What I do to resize files is to put them in paint (either the one that comes on the computer or the one you can download). You can adjust the actual size, or you can sometimes reduce file size by changing the type–like making it a jpg (which tends to take less space).

      Reply
  8. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Darn, the files are too big…sorry :(

    Reply
  9. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Here are my jack-o-lanterns I made a few years ago. I want to do some more (in time, I have too many ideas on the go already!) They hold up so well and look great. I use the little battery operated candles in them, I have to use a few to get them to really shine though. If I knew then what I know now, they would be a lot better, but they’re not too bad for my second-ever papier mache project.

    Reply
  10. Heather Garton
    Heather Garton at |

    I wanted to share with you my tree frog. He was made using aluminum foil for the armature. It was a hoot to make and its a fun surprise for the children when they enter our jungle room. I did learn an important lesson with this guy- next time I will shape that armature on site instead of at home. He was originally supposed to hang in a much larger tree so his arms are really open on this tree. It was good practice and alot of fun! Thanks Jonni for your great tutorials!

    Reply
    1. Rex Winn
      Rex Winn at |

      Wow! This is the first thing that has made me think I need a fake tree. Imagine how much fun one could have filling it with delightful critters like this. Great idea.

      Reply
  11. Heather Garton
    Heather Garton at |

    In looking for ideas to decorate our churches children’s worship room, I came across your elephant video tutorial on youtube. I have since spent countless hours on your website and have so enjoyed learning more about this fun, creative medium. I love to craft, but paper mache was new to me. Using your recipes and tutorials, I made my own elephant head for our jungle room. From top to bottom she is just under 6′ tall. It has been an enjoyable project to work on. Thank you Jonni for all of your inspirational tutorials and recipes.

    Reply
    1. Lynn
      Lynn at |

      What a fun project! To tackle such a large item must have been fun! Looks great.

      Reply
  12. Rex Winn
    Rex Winn at |

    My pumpkin. I finally settled on the colors, and before Halloween. It is 3′ around.

    I wanted to put some green on it, and I was looking at Hooker’s Green. I noticed that the green is made from Phthalo Blue, Napthol Red, and Hansa Yellow. So instead of using the green, I used the three colors, and I love them. It is easy to make the brown (stem – combine all three colors), orange, green, and everything in between. I am constantly inspired by people on this site, and I thank you.

    I think I’m going to give this to a cousin who just moved into a nice big home with a large front porch. (And she can worry about storing it!) I used the FolkArt acrylic sealer and love it.

    Reply
  13. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Hi again! I was wondering if there is any “Rule of Thumb” for armatures? Any basic info on what to use to make armatures for any size sculpture and tried and true methods? I tried Jonni’s wire armature and foil for the Chihuahua. My next project will probably be a lot bigger (a 3 to 3 1/2 foot tall fox statue) and I’m not sure if the wire and foil armature is right for it. Should I use cardboard or wood with scrunched up newspaper for shape? Should it be made the size of the finished project or should I allow for some bulk to be added? Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thank you :)

    Reply
  14. Sherri
    Sherri at |

    Jonni, I want to thank you for all the wonderful information on your website! I live in Australia and recently had a lot of trouble buying a fox statue I really wanted over the internet (I was very upset). So I decided to make my own!! I’m starting small and using your advice and I will post my first creation once it’s done. I have done some papier mache a few years ago to make my own jack-o-lanterns. The pumpkins to carve real ones were VERY expensive here (they are getting cheaper – Hallowe’en is catching on!) But I’m very excited to try something a little more ambitious. I will have to post my mache jack-o-lanterns too. Thanks again!

    Reply
  15. Sue
    Sue at |

    Dog #4
    Rayzn Cane, my Labrador agility partner. She was a top competitor in her day. She is now 14 years old and still my most wonderful companion.

    This was done all with flour paste and paper strips.

    Reply
    1. Christine Majul
      Christine Majul at |

      Sue, our pets give us so much and the time they have with us they give so much and ask so little in return but love and pets. The memories are also priceless. This sculpture is a great ode to Razyn Cane and a wonderful commemoration to a wonderful dog.

      Reply
  16. patti
    patti at |

    What type of varnish is best for large pieces? Spray? brush on? We are recreating the tea cup ride at Disney World on our Homecoming float and have made large tea cups using paper mache and your paper mache clay recipe. They are painted with acrylic paint and we would like them to have a ceramic like finish. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Jessica Gray
      Jessica Gray at |

      I’ve used two types: Miniwax Polyurethane–which is a brush on, and Krylon Acrylic Coating (UV Resistant). Each has their problems and advantages.

      Miniwax can be bought at Home Depot. I don’t think it is terribly expensive. The advantage is that you can brush it on, and it doesn’t have an offensive odor. This is normally used to treat wood stains, so it is created for outside stuff. The problems? You have to be careful when applying it because it can “pool”. Also, it leaves a yellowish stain, so your whites will not be totally white. You can choose the gloss type, but even semi-gloss can make things very shiny…which may not always be what you want.

      I usually use Krylon. This is a spray. What I like about it is that it isn’t so shiny, which is nice for my “lifelike” sculptures. It doesn’t pool. It can be expensive, though if you get coupons from your local craft store, you can get it cheaper. The smell is a problem, particularly if you live in a humid state like I do. I don’t recommend using it inside. However, even outside, it is easy to get overwhelmed. I recently used it on my Havisham wall hanging, and I got so sick!

      Reply
      1. patti
        patti at |

        Thanks everyone. We went with the Krylon spray. It worked really well. Will post pictures once it is complete.

        Reply
        1. Rex Winn
          Rex Winn at |

          Patti, I’m a little late in my comment, as usual! I have tried many types of varnish, and Krylon is one of my favorites. I find the ACE brand is noticeably yellow. Some of the projects I brush on varnish (GOLDEN).

          However, lately I have been using FOLKART Clearcote Acrylic Sealer (Matte Finish – you have a choice of finishes), and it is by far my favorite. I tried it because it stated it was for paper mache. I love the finish and have not had any problems while spraying it on.

          Reply
  17. Melinda
    Melinda at |

    I’m currently in the middle of a giant head project. My plan is to use faux fur for the hair and not to do paper mache on the back of the head. Am I potentially making a big mistake in the overall structure stability this way?

    It’s got a stable foundation of cardboard with sculpting in newspaper and tape. Planning to do the paper mache clay for the finer facial details.

    Since this is a secret project for a costume contest I can’t share pictures until after Halloween. This website has been amazing for ideas and I welcome any tips.

    Reply
    1. Jessica Gray
      Jessica Gray at |

      Is this a costume you are keeping afterwards? I don’t see a problem unless you want to keep it for a long time.

      Reply
  18. chris
    chris at |

    hi ,finally my penguins are ready
    I am very satisfied :D
    I have worked very hard on
    greetings from belgium , chris

    Reply
    1. Nikki Lawing
      Nikki Lawing at |

      Wow! Those penguins are so beautiful! :D You did such a great job Chris!

      Reply
      1. chris
        chris at |

        thank you Nikki :D

        Reply
    2. Julie Ellis
      Julie Ellis at |

      Chris I love your penguins! How tall are they? They’re beautifully done and painted.

      Reply
      1. chris
        chris at |

        thank you Julie :D They are 12 inches high ,otherwise they could not in my glass (cabinet) closet , I have nine cats so must be careful :p

        Reply
    3. Sue
      Sue at |

      What beautiful penguins!

      Reply
    4. Rex Winn
      Rex Winn at |

      Chris, these penguins are really beautiful. I love them. Great job.

      Reply
  19. Christine Majul
    Christine Majul at |

    Lynn, I would love to see the finished product. I bet they will be beautiful and Santa and angel would be very nice come Christmas.

    Reply
    1. Lynn
      Lynn at |

      Worked on the pumpkin and bones today. Learned a lot about making them. the bones easy! The pumpkin. wait until you put the paper clay layer on and it dries before you take out the stuffing and bag. I just used elmers glue for the paper strips coats. It was NOT half as strong as using Jonni’s glue and plaster recipe.
      Still have one more layer of paint and the finish to do.

      Reply
      1. Rex Winn
        Rex Winn at |

        Lynn, awesome pumpkin and bones. I love the pumpkin. Wish I had thought of that!

        Reply
        1. Lynn
          Lynn at |

          Thanks They were a just for fun project. I am going to fix the poor pumpkins jaw. I didn’t add the paper clay to the bottom and it has caused it to sag a bit. Will also try a second one. Should go a lot faster.

          Reply
  20. Lynn
    Lynn at |

    Been having fun this week while on fall break. Made a bunch of models from 1.5 liter bottles, crumpled paper, foil and tape. Made an angel, santa, snowman and wizard. I am also working on two pumpkins, 5 bones and an owl. Today I start the paper mache. Then I can complete them when I get home from teaching. At least on those days I have the energy :)

    Reply

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