Paper Mache Animals

Dragon Wings – Aluminum WireForm Mesh by Amaco


I put the finishing touches on the dragon’s paper mache clay skin yesterday. In this video I talk about the two different grades of Amaco WireForm sculpting mesh that I used for those huge bat wings. I think the heavier mesh worked better, just because it came out a lot smoother and wasn’t distorted so much when I added the paper mache clay. I would use the lighter mesh for a small sculpture that needed a lot of detail, bends and twists. It’s fun stuff to play with – but I rarely have a good excuse for using it.

You can see a closeup view of the 1/4 inch mesh on Amazon, here.

By the way, I want to thank everyone for being patient with the blog this week – we were offline for several days. I still don’t know for sure what was causing the problem, but it seems to be fixed, for now anyway. We did lose the subscription function that allows people to subscribe to responses to their own comments, so please check back often if you leave a question and would like to see how it was answered. I’ll try to find another plugin that the server likes better, but in the meantime, just keep checking back.

See all of the posts for this dragon:

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25 Comments

    • Hi Matt. The photo didn’t come through for some reason. It may be too big. Please edit it to a smaller size and try again.

  • Hello,

    I like your work and the way you share with others what you do. I wonder if you finish the dragon, ’cause I would like to see the final result. thanks and have a happy Christmas ans a happy new year.

    • HI Stella. The dragon is sitting out on my front porch, waiting for the weather to warm up so I can paint him. I really didn’t want to do it in the dining room, and it’s way too cold to do it outside. He’ll be finished in the spring, and I’ll be sure to post his ‘done’ photo, when the time is right. 😉

  • Hi,
    So here is my question –
    what can your recommend to make something similar but much lighter ! say instead of 30 pound – only 2-3 pounds ! Thanks

    • How big an item are making? You could make a hollow sculpture using chicken wire for the form, and that would reduce the weight a lot.

  • Hi Jonni, Thank you for sharing your craft with all of us. I have a question related to Paper Mache in general. I have made a paper mache book box for a diorama that I would like to light up. Back light and a Chandelier inside the box. Would it be safe to attach Christmas Tree light to the box and run the lights to inside the box. The display is open not like a shadow box. If not Christmas Tree lights is there something safer that would be battery powered?

    • The LED strings might be OK, but if this is for a public display, you might want to talk to an electrician friend. I’m not an expert for that sort of thing. It sounds like an interesting project!

  • Jonni,

    thank a lot for sharing all those great ideas along with us. I discovered your web site not too long ago and I keep on reading it and find it really inspiring. I was a bit stuck with an idea i have of transforming a horse into a Pegasus, and your dragon wing may be a way to walk through what I want to do. Will see.

    But right now, I have that question you may have already answered in some post. When do you use your paper mache clay instead of your air-dry paper mache, is it the same for you or for a different use? It seems to me that the difference is corn stash?

    Thank for your help,

    Michele

    • Hi Michele. I think your Pegasus wings would work well with a wire support and the wire mesh, like I used for the dragon. They turned out really strong.

      I use the paper mache clay, original recipe, when I want to cover a large space quickly. It spreads really nice. When I want more detailing, I use the air-dry clay. It isn’t very sticky, so you do need to use the glue and water mixture to get a new layer to stick to an old one, and it is much slower to apply – but it’s smoother, and easier to sculpt. The biggest difference I think is the reduced amount of paper, and also the cornstarch. One way to make one batch and get the benefits of both is to use the original recipe and then pull a small amount of it out and add cornstarch to thicken it. It doesn’t come out exactly like the air-dry clay recipe, but it’s close, and you then have two different textures to play with.

  • First of all your video’s are great and I love them and I wanne try for my self I alwast liked paper marche I juse it for a holiday thats cold Sinterklaas its something from the Netherland. I made Kwide some cool stuff I think and I wanne do beutifull stuff like you make.
    Butt are you already bissie with painting? I wanne now what colors you juse.

    Have a nice day and sorry for the bad Engelise
    Sander.

  • Jonni you are amazing, the dragon is coming along nicely. Is this the largest paper mache/paper clay piece? I’m looking forward to seeing him finished.

  • Wow, what a fantastic project! It looks bigger than what you described. The wings reminded me of a product I read about on DickBlick.com called Paverpol. Are you familiar with it? Here is a bit that I copied from their site:
    Mix Paverplast powder with Paverpol Textile Hardener to create a sculpting paste that air-dries to a weatherproof, watertight finish, ideal for outdoor birdbaths, fountains, and pools.
    Paverplast also creates a watertight layer for styrofoam, self-hardening clay, plaster, or papier mâché sculptures.
    see also …
    Paverpol Art Stone Decoration Powder
    Paverpol Josefine’s Relief Decoration
    Paverpol Pavercolors
    Paverpol Pavercotton
    Paverpol Stockinette
    Paverpol Textile Hardener
    Paverpol Wrappers
    The Big “How to Paverpol” Book.
    I know that weatherproofing is something every PM artist is interested in PLUS the addition of textiles (wings?) could be interesting.

    • Just an additional note on the Paverpol stuff. I have never used it or even heard of it until about a week ago. Just wanted to let you know that I am not advocating its use….I’m just curious about it and it seemed like wings and such would be perfect for it. (though it looks a tad bit expensive for me unless it really does a good job with weatherproofing).

      • I have seen photos of some really nice artworks made with Paverpol. But the cost keeps me from trying it. I do think it would work well for wings. As far as that goes, burlap and the Monster Mud would probably work, too.

        • Thank you for the input. I had indeed noticed the price (Eeek!) and its definitely a problem for me, too. If I knew someone close who does this kind of art maybe a shared buy might work, but I don’t know of anyone and it would have to be after Christmas. Also I don’t know how much is in one container. Oh well.
          I can’t wait to see what your next project will be. Watching your videos is better than TV!

  • I have really enjoyed watching you create this dragon. I can see how many decisions have to be made along the way. You really have a ” stick to it ” personality. Thanks so much for not throwing it out when you didn’t like it. We would have missed a lot of lessons. Thanks so much!

    • Heh – it wouldn’t fit in the gabage can! But I’m glad that I didn’t give up on him, too. It was that duct tape that made me dislike him at first. Once it got covered up, he started to have some personality. Still not my best work, but still worth doing, I think.

    • Thanks for all your work and sharing it with us. I may not do a dragon immediately, after all, I’m still working on my pumpkin, but I think it has inspired me to try and make a Pegasus. I don’t know what this thing is about horses – because it was my least satisfactory “lesson,” — but I just completed my 5th one. Now I want to do a Pegasus, and the mesh seems like it would be a great idea for the wings.

      I like the dragon, and I think it would be a great painting project for high school students. We have learned a lot along the way.

      I want to say how much I have enjoyed your books. I don’t know if I had an appreciation of how much genius went into selecting the colors you used, but I am beginning to understand the “success” of painting by not making it too complicated with the colors, and your books were a great help in the painting processes. Thanks, again.

      (I kept getting a FORBIDDEN ERROR when trying to get on your site, so I’m happy to learn it wasn’t my computer!)

      • Hi Rex. No, it wasn’t your computer – but I still have no idea why the server shut down the site. They said there was too much traffic, but not because there were too many visitors. I don’t understand the whole tech side of things, but, fortunately, other people are around to fix things when they break. 🙂

  • Thanks so much for going into detail on the different mesh sizes. Really sparked some ideas! I LOVE your dragon and I think it came out fantastic. I applaud you for taking on such a large project and I look forward to seeing the painted completion 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

  • Thank you so much for making the BIG dragon, I’m sorry it wasn’t a favorite project of yours and it’s caused you to lose so much time. It is wonderful however and has given me some great ideas. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be anxious to see how it is finished and where it ends up. Blessings.

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