Decorative and Practical Paper Mache Paper Mache Holiday Projects

Easy Paper Mache Gift – a Goose Pen Holder



This goose pen holder would be a great present for anyone who works in an office. It would also look really nice holding a dried flower arrangement.

The goose is easy to make with crumpled foil, paper strips and paste. You’ll also need a glue gun for the foil, and some acrylic paint.

I was able to make my goose in one day because there’s only two layers of paper mache. It’s also really cold outside so the furnace is running, and that means I could put her over the heat register where hot moving air would dry her quickly.

The basic plan is to fill a small plastic bag with rice (or dry cat food), cover it with crumpled foil to give yourself a very strong form, and then cover that with paper strips and paste.

The traditional paper mache worked just fine, but the air dry clay recipe would work well, too, if you happen to have the ingredients on hand. It wouldn’t take much for such a small project.

You can make paper strips and paste smooth with the gesso recipe on this site. I didn’t use it this time because I wanted a project that anyone could make with supplies they already have on hand. She still came out OK, even without that final step.

If you have any ideas for cute and easy paper mache gifts, let us know. It’s that time of year … 🙂

And if you make a pen holder yourself, please let us see how it turned out!

 

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9 Comments

  • Oh Jonni!! As usual, it is adorable! I want one now! Great to see an old fashion paper mache video from you. Great to see any video of yours always 🙂

  • In this photo I used a cookie container to make this sculpture. I crumpled paper all around the plastic container and put masking tape all around it and put paper strips to make the base. Tin foil was used to make the features. It is hollow on the inside. I was not pleased with the way I made the face and still am not liking this. I feel I am the worst sculptor out there as I never get what I see to come out as I see it in my mind. That is why my projects take years to finish. I still have one that I have had for the last five years and I dare not try to do anything as I might just ruin it. I love the creative process of making it, but when it comes to painting, my skills are the pits. I will have to try painting classes and I am sure I can find some online. I really would like to finish a project that does not comprise of making a bowl.

    • Christine, none of my sculptures ever come out the way I want them to, either. Sometimes, though, they accidentally come out better, and I have no idea why. 🙂

      Using the cup is a great way to make a hollow sculpture. Easier than my way, for sure.

      I think you’d have a great time at an art class. My daughter is taking one now, for drawing portraits, and she loves it. You probably wouldn’t want to drive to South Dakota to take it with her, though. 🙂

      For your faces, the best instruction I’ve found yet are from two very different sources. Adam Reeder made a great video that I used when I made my witch mask from the Wizard of Oz. I’ve watched a lot of sculpting videos, and I think his method is the best. It’s really more for studio work, though, and portraits, and it’s a bit more technical than we need for most paper mache sculptures. I watched another video from Richard Austin that was taken from workshops in England. I don’t think he’s selling the video anymore, and his Facebook page hasn’t been updated for a long time, and that’s a shame. It was a great video. My copy doesn’t play anymore for some reason, or I’d mail it to you. His video is where I go the idea of making little miniature skulls to use under my faces.

      I can’t offer any suggestions about painting faces, other than the book on color that I use all the time. I think you’d have a lot more fun with a class, anyway. 🙂

  • Sweet little goose and a very nice gift for someone. I have encountered the same problem with putting the strips/paste on tin foil-it is very slippery. It can be done with patience but i like your idea of making a thicker paste.
    This may be a good project for teaching paper mache and the different techniques available. I am looking for easy/no fuss projects for my classes. I need to come up with different ideas for each session as the same people may be attending. We started with your chicken and they finish up next week. I will post a pic when they are done. So far, all the class members want to continue on to the next session and I am having fun teaching them!
    Thanks for your tutorial/s Jonni.

    • Hi Eileen. This would be a great project for a class, because it can be done so fast. Another one would be the Tomte (Santa) for the same reason. I’m really looking forward to seeing how your class projects turned out. A lot of people think about doing a paper mache workshop, so if you ever feel like writing a guest post to them out with lesson plans and other tips, just let me know. 🙂

    • Jonni, I absolutely love the goose. What a great idea. I need a whole gaggle of them! Can I make one for myself? I always learn many things from your tutorials. I love the feet, so I’ll disagree with you on that.

      Teca was sitting on the desk on her bed, but she didn’t like the sound of aluminum foil, so she got down for a few seconds. (She hates it when I pull it out any time – like to cook her chicken!)

      If anyone cares about a “round” hole for the middle, I take a doggie (poop) bag, twist it at the top, tape it, cut the “square” bottom off, turn it inside out, and fill it with rice (as you know). As your project went on, the cat food worked well and looked great. Your speed and talent amaze me.

      This is an awesome project. Thanks so much.

      I’ve been painting the pterodactyl (3 years old at this point), and still don’t like it. So I switched to painting the rabbit I did last August. I have been working on it hair by hair and after five days have his back and sides almost finished. I think this will be it after I do the rest of the body, but I can’t seem to get him gray. He has turned into a brownish jackrabbit (hare).

      I have four “pencil” jars on my table, and geese would be much more fun to look at.

      • Hi Rex. You’re more than welcome to make a goose. In fact, I thought you might take this idea and change it up a bit – perhaps by making a pen-holding kangaroo or pangolin instead of a goose. 🙂

        For your brownish rabbit, did you try giving him a light glaze of blue? Don’t take that as a suggestion, because I have no idea what it would look like, and I’m sure he’s already perfect. I can’t wait to see how your pterodactyl and rabbit come out.

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