Paper Mache Faces, Figures, Dolls and Puppets

Guest Post – Self-Portrait Made With Celluclay

Self-Portrait with Celluclay

Today’s guest post is by Joanne Gennarella, who shows us a self-portrait she made with Celluclay.

Joanne sent these comments with her photos:

Attached is a self-portrait done with Celluclay papier mache and the original picture of me I used to do it.  Also there is a mask of a jester that I have done in the same Celluclay and lastly my “snow Leopard” done according to the instructions in Monique Robert’s book – “Paper Mache Design“, it is completely hollow and was fun to do according to Monique’s instructions.
Any comments on my work would be informative and appreciated.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to finish my self-portrait statue that would be very nice.  Thanks.

And below, you can see a close-up of the self-portrait , plus several masks that Joanne also made using Celluclay. And don’t miss the snow leopard down below that she made using Monique Robert’s instructions:

Self-Portrait Close-Up

Self-Portrait Close-Up

Mask Made With Celluclay

Mask Made With Celluclay

Mask Made With Celluclay

Mask Made With Celluclay

Mask Made With Celluclay

Mask Made With Celluclay

Jester Mask Made With Celluclay

Jester Mask Made With Celluclay

Paper Mache Snow Leopard

Paper Mache Snow Leopard

I find that a good armature for my projects is commercially available wire mesh – the kind that comes in rolls. Once the form is molded with the wire and taped into position, I stuff it with newspaper. Final step in my process is pasting one layer of plaster impregnated gauze over it for strength and rigidity. When you are positive this layer is dry you can brush/glue over with water/Weldbond mixture (TO HELP PREVENT THE MOLD AND MILDEW, although I sometimes skip this step), and when this is dry you use your clay or strips of choice. Hope this helps someone. Yours, Joanne.

The way I make my masks is to form them over a face form made from my own face – plaster strips applied to my face, omitting my eyes, over lots of vaseline. Once this sets take it off your face. It’s a little risky but some of me goes into every one of my masks this way! When this is dry you close the eye holes and build it up with lots more plaster strips for rigidity, paint it with acrylic of your choice to waterproof, then secure it to a painted board with some plastalina clay. Can’t say this is my secret I learned it from master maskermaker  Jackie Miller from her video. Works for me.


About the author

Jonni Good

I'm a sculptor, author, gardener, and grandma. When I'm not catering to the needs of my obnoxious cat, I make videos, create stuff, and play around with paper mache. I'm also the author of several highly-rated books on paper mache. You'll find them in the sidebar, and on


  • Hi Carol – so sorry that I did not respond till now – sometimes I don’t check this site. But many, many thanks for the marvelous compliments you sent my way. They are very much appreciated. Yours, Joanne

    P.S. – how is Texas to live? Unemployment high down there as in a lot of the states? What do the temperatures rise to down there on the average? Always wanted to relocate from New York to a more inexpensive town – perhaps Texas?

  • Stunning, Joanne! However, I think you’re a bit lucky and have a particular advantage, in addition to incredible talent: to have such a gorgeous mug 😉 would make the work of replicating it in sculpture a joy!
    BTW, did you by chance use a photo of yourself (and that one shown above, in particular) as a model from which to work?

    Just lovely. lovely, as well as your other pieces!

    Cheers from a too hot and dry Texas.

  • Hi Jonni – Hope all is well with you. If you still have those instructions I sent to you on making mask armatures for constructing masks you can post them in your Halloween party section. If you have the time let me know if you still have them.

  • Jonni,
    I’ve seen those google boxes around. I had no idea what to do with them. (I still don’t really know what they’re about.) I’m always afraid of MORE junk in my mail box!

    • I have several Google accounts, and they never send me anything. I think they’re just trying to figure out a better way to decide which sites to put on their front page of search results.

  • These are wonderful Joanne. I have to tell you that a smile spread across my face as I was looking at your self portrait. Your smile if very contagious. :) Thank you so much for posting your work.

    Celluclay has come a long way since I tried it , hum, it must have been a good 9-10 years ago. I’m looking at BALTO, a wolf/dog my little granddaughter and I put together then. Still have it, still love it…especially the memories. But we didn’t sand it much – the finish is rough. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even seal it and it still looks like it did those years ago. I did not know celluclay could be sanded so smoothly. Lovely work!

    • Dear Sharon – thank you for the lovely comments on my work and photo – they are much appreciated. Good luck! Yours, Joanne

      Oh, and by the way Celluclay is a wonderful product to work with if you want to try it again. It sands very smooth and handles easily.

  • Wow Joanne, that is a fantastic self-portrait sculpture! I imagine that’s even harder than drawing or painting a portrait. I love the snow leopard too.

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