Jonni's Books Paper Mache Animals

My Paper Mache Books, and Upcoming Online Sculpting Classes

Baby Unicorn and Friend Online Sculpting ClassOne of the reasons I made this short video was to remind everyone that I have several books that would make great presents for the creative people in your family. Yes, it’s shameless self-promotion – but my book sales keep my blog online, so I really should mention them more often. I don’t do that because I’m kind of shy – and because I’m lousy at marketing. I must get better at it. Maybe I’ll put that on my list of New Year’s resolutions.

The books mentioned in the video:

To download the free PDF of the Endangered Animals Coloring Book: http://www.ultimatepapermache.com/download-the-endangered-animals-coloring-book

About that Baby Unicorn –

After I try to sell you a book in the video, I introduce my upcoming online sculpting classes. The patterns and full instructions for making the baby unicorn and his friend will be in the first class – just as soon as I paint them, and edit all the videos, and put together the screen shots, and learn how the new course software works … Do I look as overwhelmed as I’m feeling right now? I’m very excited about the new classes, but putting all the pieces together has been a challenge for me.

The next class will be much easier, I’m sure.

And that brings me to the most important reason for this post – I need your feedback and suggestions for what you would like me to make for the next class, after the baby unicorn is finished. What materials do you want to learn how to use? Is there a specific sculpture that you’ve been hankering to make, but you could use some help getting started? Would you like to see more home decorating and practical projects, in addition to sculptures? Did I forget an important question that I should be asking?

Please add your suggestions in the comments below. As always, I really appreciate your feedback. And if you’re not already receiving my emails. be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll be among the first to know when I get the first sculpting class posted online.

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You may also like:

How I painted the Unicorn.Unicorn Pattern
Hyena Mask PatternHyena Mask Pattern
Life Sized Paper Mache Baby ElephantLife-Sized Baby Elephant

55 Comments

  • Love your books , have most of them , including the 2 mysteries that I dearly loved . Keep hoping for another. Paper mâché is one of my crafts that sells well . My work is very primative to yours . Love this site . ThAnks for all you do . The classes cost ?

    • Hi Monica. I’m glad you’re enjoying the books. I do hope to write another mystery, someday. The next one in the series would introduce us to the farm where Jocko was born – that would be a fun book to write. At the moment, though, I have too many other projects. Someday.

      Do you have a website where you sell your crafts? If so, can you share the web address so we can see what you’ve been making? We would love to see them.

      And yes, there will be a charge for the classes, to cover my costs. I haven’t decided on the actual price yet, though. That’s one more thing on my list. It just keeps getting longer and longer …

        • Thanks, Monica. I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work – I’d like to do a ‘test’ so I could get feedback from a small group of people. And more ideas about what to teach. Since the software tends to be kind of expensive, and I’m kind of broke right now, it may take longer to get it going than I hoped…

  • Hey Jonni,
    How about posting a tutorial on how you make your 3D patterns. I would love to try these out on some of our New Zealand critters but dont always have a lot of patience for learning computer programmes. To see exactly what programmes you use and how you go about the process would be really helpful. Just a suggestion as I know you are really busy. My Maui dolphin is still a work in progress but I am making some headway. I did not make the armature quite plump enough so now am having to add heaps of clay to get the shape right. The stand for it has been another stumbling block to but I think I have now figured out how I am going to do that. Can’t wait to get it finished and show everyone. Although it is not a traditional holiday for us in NZ I wish you and all your family and friends a very happy thanks giving.

    • Hi Basil. You probably have more patience with computer programmes than I do – after my first four 3D patterns, I gave up on it. I could never remember which button to push to do the next step, and had to learn the program from scratch every single time. But if you’d like to see a video by someone who actually knows how to do it, this is a good one. After the 3D image has been created, they’re turned into flat patterns with a program called Pepakura.

      I’m really looking forward to seeing your Maui dolphin. How big is it going to be?

      • Thanx again Jonni, I will check that link out. I to need to be using a computer programme continuously to really get the hang of it. Unfortunately the only ones that are anything like second nature to me are the ones I use at work , and where’s the fun in that. My dolphin is just over 2 feet in length but as it will be jumping vertically up out of the water by the time it is finished it should stand around 4 -5 feet high. I will be using 4 or 5 lengths of stiff wire which the tail flukes will nestle into and they will be disguised as water like you would see it falling off the dolphin as it leaves the water. At this stage it will be in two pieces I think so as to make it easier to work on both the dolphin and the water effect. Just off to mix up some more clay now. Thanx again Baz…

  • Hi Jonni,
    You can count me in for any sculpting class you offer. You are my go to person for all my paper mache questions. I love your Make Animal Sculpture book and actually suggested to an instructor that it would be worth while for her to purchase it. I hope she did as she would benefit from having it in her library.
    I would love to learn how to sculpt the human form. I have a really hard time with getting the correct dimensions. My heads are either too big or too small the arms too long or too short and the hands often look like claws. I won’t go into detail about the faces except to say that all my people look like men, even the females. Lol!
    I am sure though that whatever you decide to share with us will be received with great enthusiasm and anticipation to be able to learn from you.
    So looking forward to your unicorn class but I do have a question about the clay you are using. Can I use creative paper clay instead? Not sure I can get the other here. Thanks.

    • Hi Diann. You’ve given me some great ideas for future classes. Thanks! And about that clay – I haven’t used the Creative Paper Clay recently, but it should be possible to use it. The actual sculpting happens while making the armature, so any product that dries hard and can be used in a thin layer should work. I’ve had several questions about the Creative product lately, so I might need to order some and play around with it.

  • Love your creative talent!!! I have yet to sculpt using paper mâché but I have a project that I think it will be the perfect medium. I have a request to make 10 angel heads that need to be approx size of a 6″ head each. I’ve got the wings figured out already… the angel heads with wings will be used as part of church decorations next year at Christmas time.
    The heads need to have refined features then painted realistically..three big hurtles for me. I’ve sculpted 1head in non drying clay already then made a mold from it. I used the mold to produce two heads in air drying clay that look good but are heavy and fragile…
    So need to rethink medium thus papermache option
    Love your work, so very creative but I keep hoping that you would turn your attention to small detail work on a female head
    It must be difficult as I have yet to find any totorial on utube that separates art work from craft work and I just know you have the skills that could teach me how to accomplish my goal
    Please help!! Thank you so much
    Norma

    • Hi Norma. What did you use for your mold? Are they made with silicone or plaster? Do you have a photo of one of your molds, so we can get a feel for the amount of detail you’ve captured? The Apoxie Sculpt product can be used in a silicone mold, (or so I’ve been told. I haven’t tried it yet). My air dry clay recipe has been used by some folks in silicone molds, but I think their molds were much smaller than yours. The air dry clay will shrink when it dries, and with something that large they might crack. Paper mache strips and paste can be used in any mold, as long as you have a release on the mold so it doesn’t stick, but it’s really hard to get the kind of details you’re looking for. However, you could add additional details with air dry clay.

      If you don’t need them to be all exactly alike, you might be able to use the methods I use to make the heads for my baby animal dolls. I made a video several years ago – while I was sick, so the video is pretty bad – but you might be able to get an idea about the process. Basically, I use a sock filled with rice for the basic shape, cover it with plastic to protect the sock, and then cover that with a few layers of plaster cloth. After that, the actual faces are sculpted with the air dry clay. Each face ends up being different, of course. Someone else suggested a class on making puppet heads, which would be essentially the same as your project, but for a different purpose.

      Your angels don’t have to be finished until Christmas 2017? If so, that gives us lots of time to figure this out. 😉

      • Hi Jonni
        Thank you for your quick reply. I sculpted one angel head out of Chavant clay and made a mold of it using Mold Builder, a liquid latex rubber. When applying additional layers of the liquid latex, I reinforced the mold by adding strips of gause, , then added additional layers of the latex. This made the mold less flimsy. Once completed, I added airdrying clay into the mold about 1/4″ thick, keeping the back of the head open for even drying of the clay. I removed the head from the mold about 24 hours later so that I could refine details and give the head an opportunity to dry. It also gave me the opportunity to change the head slightly. I made an additional head from the mold and each head looks a little different but they are on the heavyside
        I’ve used the mold twice and it’s held up nicely
        but it’s time for a new look.
        I have to tell you that I just saw your video on using a child’s sock as your armature!! I’m so excited about giving it a try. It’s time for me to create different heads as I’d like each head to be unique and your giving me new options, thank you!
        Additionally, your comment about adding airdry clay over the paper mâché has me intrigued. Do you think a paper mâché armature would hold up to the weight of clay and if so, what should I do to assure the clay doesn’t fall off the mâché armature?
        The combination of the two mediums may allow for a more refined skin texture I’m looking for
        Thank you again for all your wonderful videos and generously offering your expert advice.
        Norma

        • Hi Norma. I’m glad you were able to get through that video – I was embarrassed when I went back to look at it. I really shouldn’t get in front of a video camera when I’m sick! As for adding the air dry clay over a paper mache armature, I would keep the support inside until after the air dry clay is dry. It’s very strong once it’s dry, and will hold up well. The paper mache can just be used as a base. The air dry clay on this site (and Creative Paper Clay) isn’t as sticky as the paper mache clay recipe on this site, so you may need to keep a bowl handy, with a mixture of half white glue and half water. Brush it lightly over the dried paper mache to make sure the air dry clay sticks. You may also need to apply it to the edges of the clay, to make sure new bits stick to bits that have already been applied. The clay starts to dry really fast, so you need to work the edges between two pieces a little to make sure there is no division line when they dry.

          I’m really anxious to see how your angel heads turn out. I hope you’ll come back and show us, when they’re done.

          • Hello again Jonni
            I’m planning on making a batch of air dry clay from your recipe and following your thorough instructions with paper mâché and clay over the baby sock armature. I do have one question though, is it possible to sand the air dry clay once it is completely dry? I’m hoping I can make a smooth surface on the Angels face but just in case it would be reassuring to hear that the clay can hold up to some light sanding. thank you again, as always!
            Kindest regards, Norma

            • Yes, you can sand of. Use a face mask to keep the fine dust out of your lungs. You can also use one of those sanding sponges, slightly damp, which cuts down on the mess.

  • Hi Joni,

    I first found (and was inspired by) you via your YouTube videos on how to make a papier-mache cat. It’s something I am planning for after the first of the year, when things aren’t so busy! In the meantime, I find myself with an abundance of Creative Paperclay. I initially bought two packages in order to repair a ceramic vase and ended up using only a small amount from one package. So there they sit.

    Is Creative Paperclay similar to the clay you use? I am wondering if it would be interchangeable to use for the items you make out of your clay mixture. (I guess I just need to try it, huh?)

    Looking forward to the unicorn video. I’m very interested in the rabbit!

    • Hi Lisa. Yes, the Creative PaperClay is similar to the recipe for air-dry clay on this site. It isn’t exactly the same, but if it can be applied in a thin layer over an armature, it should work just fine. You might need to use the mixture of glue and water along the edges where two pieces meet, just to make sure the individual pieces don’t pull apart when they dry. Any water-based air dry clay will shrink a little as it dries. If you try it, please let us know what you learn.

  • cAN’T WAIT FOR THE LESSON ON THE UNICORNS FRIEND, THE RABBIT. HAVE BEEN WANTING TO MAKE A HARE IN THE LOOKING UP STANCE FOR A WHILE NOW, BUT LACK THE CONFIDENCE TO START. i HAVE ENJOYED YOUR PREVIOUS ONLINE VIDEOS AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR NEW APPROACH TO THEM. I APPRECIATE THE AMOUNT OF EFFORT AND DEDICATION YOU PUT INTO ALL YOUR WORK AND THANK YOU IMMENSELY. YOU ARE A MENTOR FOR ME AND I BET YOU DONT GET TOLD THAT OFTEN ENOUGH!

    • Thanks, Lisa. I do hope to get both the unicorn and the rabbit online in the next few weeks. Wish me luck! The rabbit is quite small, about 5 inches high. I might need to make another one life-sized. I love their faces, and those ears …

  • Hi Jonni,
    I am in Australia and visit your site often. I started paper mache as a form of rehabilitation exercise for my hands. I could not see the point in rubbing around physiotherapy putty. So I went on line and have started making some wonderful paper mache items as a way of doing my hand exercises. I am in the process of attempting a ferro cement project at the moment. So thank you, and I just wanted to let you know that you are inspiring us the world over!

    • Hi Kim. I’m so glad you’re able to use your creative energy and help improve your hands at the same time. What an inspiring story. Do you have any sculptures you’d like to share with us? And are you enjoying the ferro cement project?

  • Joni I love your work and wish I could do some of these…but I lack experience and talent…but watching you make these is so powerful in, making me want to learn and make something is awesome…that is what you precede…but I agreed you do need help promoting yourself…I have been on design teams where we would create from what ever that person wanted to reach others…another words…you need a design team and let them go out and promote you on their society mediated…and draw in others that might not know of you and your talents…
    This is how Stamping Up…MaryKay….Avon..,.all did…have designers to help promote them and there products…
    Of course I would love to be on your team…this is just a thought and if you need any help with anything I would love to help….

    Hugs gloria

    • Hi Gloria. I had to smile when you mentioned MaryKay and Avon – I tried to imagine myself running a billion-dollar business out of my back bedroom, but I had a hard time making that image work. But hey – you never know.

      You’re welcome to send me an email if you would like to explain what you mean by “design team.”

  • I tell everyone that Jonni’s book, “Make Animal Sculptures,” is a fantastic book not only filled with instructions how to work with paper mache clay, but filled with information you can use whatever you make. It is truly a book that keeps on giving. I don’t think I do a single project that I don’t refer to this book. Many of the questions people have about working with paper mache clay are answered in this book. It would make a great gift for a creative person.

  • Hi Jonny love to listen and watch your video s. My mom and Dad made hand puppet heads out of the old old….ugg old newspaper strips, flour and water on light bulbs that were absolutely wonderful. Wish I still had them. An idea maybe? You are incredibly talented and an inspiration. Thankyou. Brooke

  • Do you have an email address you could share? Would love to send you some pictures of furniture, etc. someone I know made from paper mache. Amazing pieces.

  • Hi, I am very interested in learning how to sculpt paper mache antique dolls such as an Izannah Walker doll. I only need to sculpt the head, neck and breast plate the rest is cloth. I have made some that I attach a paper clay face mask onto a cloth head. The mask I have made from a mold, but that means my dolls are not my own design. Just a thought for your new classes. Thanks Adrienne.

    • That’s an interesting idea, Adrienne. I’ve made only a few dolls, but I’ll do some research and see if we can find an easy way to make an Izannah Walker-style doll. They are beautiful. That’s a great suggestions – thanks!

  • Would love to have more books on sculpting animals. Write more…I’ll buy them with pleasure. How about some on making furniture with paper mache?

    • More books – yes, maybe someday. I do enjoy taking on a really big project like that. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing some waterproof sculptures for my own yard (a gaggle of geese would be fun) and they would probably be made with the epoxy clay. Or made with real clay, then a mold is made, then some sort of waterproof resin poured in the mold. That’s kind of a production-type process, though. It would be too expensive if you only needed one. But I’m just chattering away – you’ve given me some good ideas.

      Speaking of furniture, I found a YouTube video a few days ago, purely by accident, that showed how a fellow made really strong, lightweight cabinets for his RV out of 1/2″ foam sheets, which were covered with paper mache. He has a really easy method for keeping the foam from bending. The warp is the biggest problem with flat cardboard, so I’ve tended to avoid using it flat, but I’m going to try his method and see if it makes cardboard stiffer. Or maybe foam and cardboard both inside furniture? Are you looking for chairs and couch-type furniture, or chests and shelves?

  • Hi Jonnie
    I’ve already received my aoxiesculpt and am excitedly awaiting the baby unicorn and rabbit. Have been using paperclay sculptures in wreaths and they are selling very well! Thank you for your books, blog and videos!
    I’m interested in large outdoor sculptures, humans, animals, horses and rabbits are my favourites which you cobpver very well. But also interested in the human figure and you do such wonderful faces and expressions a detailed video on that would very much interest me.
    Down to NY State from Ontario Canada to celebrate Thanksgiving with our grown children and want to wish you happy Thanksgiving!
    Thank you for all of your work Joni
    Cindy Jenkins

    • Hi Cindy. Thanks for the suggestions, and happy Thanksgiving to you, too! I’d love to see those wreaths you’re making. Do you have a website or online store?

  • Jonni, I haven’t watched the video yet, but I wanted to ask you about cross promotion (or pollination, as I refer to it). I really wish that you had others to promote your books because, as you point out, you are shy. If I wasn’t a complete doofus, I’d certainly try to do that for you. As you know, my anti-virus may not catch everything so I hope this is safe, although you’ve probably already read it, if it is any good at all. Again—I don’t know how anything works. And this may not apply to anything that you are trying to do.
    https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/tips-tricks/5-ways-to-cross-promote-social-media-posts
    And, obviously, if you ever want to email me privately to say: STOP already!— or something, PLEASE do.

    • No need to stop – but I can see from the title of that link that it talks about social media. And I am not so good with social media. Not because I don’t love Facebook, you understand (OK, I don’t love Facebook) but it’s because I don’t have enough time to make stuff, run the blog, wash the dishes occasionally, and hang out on social media. I do get a hypnotized by the occasional YouTube video, though. (Did you know I have over 34,000 subscribers on YouTube? Do they consider that social media? I like YouTube.) For shy folks like me, good news is that Amazon does have a free program that pays people for promoting my books when they put links to my books on their blogs and Facebook pages. They don’t pay much, but every little bit helps. And then, every once in a while, I mention them here, too. But I should do it more often. I have a marketing book in my wishlist, but I haven’t’ had time to read it yet.

      I will read that article you sent, though. Elegant Themes is a great company.

      I hope you’re having a nice Thanksgiving. My daughter and her family got the flu this week, so they’re coming to my house tomorrow if they’re feeling better. If not, we do it next week. Any day is a good day to be thankful. 🙂

      • Jonni, yes, I think YouTube is considered social media (!?) I did not know that you have 34,000 subscribers. That’s great. Although for money making purposes, they say it’s about the views, but you know way more about this than I do. I was trying to scan some tips about YouTube to see if there was anything that might be helpful, but it is so far over my head. http://www.shoutmeloud.com/get-youtube-subscribers.html And, yes, I know that you are probably too busy to read it anyway.
        So sorry about your daughter and family getting the flu. That can be really rough. Hope that they are much, much better & that they can come to visit tomorrow.

        • Gosh – no, I probably don’t know more about this stuff than you do. Getting subscribers seems to be the easy part, though. Make videos and posts that people are interested in. After that – that’s the mysterious part. But I have some marketing books in my wishlist, and I hope to start reading up on it soon.

          The kids are all well now, and we’ll have a late Thanksgiving meal this afternoon. The little boy brought it home from daycare. But they’ve all had flu shots, so why did they get sick? That’s another mystery.

          I hope you enjoyed the day yesterday. And that you enjoy this day, too, of course.

          • Jonni, well, we won’t argue, but I can assure you that you know more. If I could figure out even the most basic of marketing strategies I would volunteer my time to help because I would like your book sells go up, if not through the roof—which I would prefer. But I live with extreme anxiety every day and the fear of doing something wrong kind of keeps me paralyzed. Even posting comments is stressful.
            I have read that there are changes in the flu virus, one called “antigenic drift” (constant small changes over time) and “antigenic shift” (an occasional abrupt, major change). People can still become ill because the viruses have changed enough that their immune systems may not recognize the new virus.
            Although someone could say that that is all hogwash and they could be right. IDK.
            Really glad that all is well. Hope you all have a wonderfully enjoyable time. Did you cook?

            • Hi Shelbot. I’m sorry your postings are causing you stress, because I do enjoy reading them. You’ve given us some great ideas, and you’re so supportive of everyone.

              You may be right about the flu virus – it sounds like they’re working hard to outwit us. Fortunately, everyone in my family got well quickly, and we ate way too much yesterday to celebrate. I stuck a chicken in the crockpot, if you can call that ‘cooking.’ I’m a terrible cook, but the slow-cooker chicken comes out pretty good, even for me. There were no complaints (but I do have a very polite family). I disagreed too often with my daughter’s political views, like old people often do, and my grandson and I made some home videos. It was fun.

            • Jonni, yes, a chicken (or anything edible) in a crockpot IS cooking, if you plug it in/turn it on. Bet yours was delish!
              I’m glad that your family is polite, although I did hear, “Danger, Will Robinson!” (ancients will know this) in my head when you mentioned “political views”. I do not want to alienate you or any of these lovely artists so, let us never speak of this again. : )
              I’m sure the home videos are adorbs.

            • “Lost in Space,” eh? 🙂

              My problem with politics is that I love a good argument, but everyone I know is afraid of them. Bring up an opinion that goes against the grain, and all conversation stops, although there is a certain amount of silent glaring. Perhaps they think it’s rude to tell an old lady they think she’s wrong? I won’t mention those opinions here, of course. Wouldn’t want to alienate anyone, for sure.

            • Jonni, Yes, very good! “Lost in Space”, it is—as you once again pretend to be an ancient. An “old lady”!!??? It is to laugh. ? (Tried to copy/paste emoji—did it post as just a square? Anything? Oh well…)
              And I see—you want to come into a political conversation with a sound, well-reasoned argument, whereas I prefer to shout obscenities and punch inanimate objects. Potato patato

            • OK, I confess – I had to look it up. When I was a teenager in the 60’s, we lived in a remote town located in a ravine, and only one TV station would come in over our antenna. Our antenna was set up in a neighbor’s pasture, since it was higher than our house. A bull lived in the pasture. There were many days when our Sylvania TV set didn’t work at all, because said bull liked to rub himself against the antenna’s pole, which knocked it down, and my brave father had to trudge back up there and put it right again. Even if the bull didn’t interfere with our nightly entertainment, our station didn’t get Lost in Space, anyway. That’s the only reason why I didn’t recognize the reference legitimately. Honest. (Mostly).

            • And I have no objection to shouting, so I’m sure you and I would enjoy a good argument (but not here, of course). It’s the silent glare that takes all the fun out of politics for me.

            • Jonni, I love your bull story! That sounds like an insult, doesn’t it? Maybe if you could add a rooster in there…
              I always wonder, was that a time & place to which you wish you could return? Were you happy then? Happier now? Will you ever write a non-fiction book? Stay tuned for more nosy, non-of-my- business questions.

            • I wrote several non-fiction books, you know. But no stories inside. Just fiction for the stories. Inside and outside the books.

              Happier? At the time, I thought I was miserable. I think medication might have helped. And you? Do you look back all those many, many years, and wish you could go back?

            • Jonni, you’ve not written an autobiography, I mean. I covet your art books, but I think you would probably have an interesting story to tell.
              No, I wouldn’t want to go back. I really can’t think of a time when I was happy. I deleted an entire paragraph that referenced the show “The Golden Girls” because I couldn’t explain it well. (My entire life is TV based.) What was happening in your life when you were the happiest?

  • Jonni,
    I am so happy I found you…I have always wanted to sculpt with clay and I love animals…your art is amazing..I have purchased three of your books and I have all the ingredients to make the paper clay..after the holidays I will have time…thank you for the videos and can’t wait to see the unicorn one.
    Peace and love,Karen

    • Hi Karen – Thanks for buying the books. As soon as you have time, and you finished some of your projects, I hope you’ll come back and show them off on the Daily Sculptors page. We have a very supportive community here on the blog, so don’t be shy – we would all love to see how they came out.

  • Sounds interesting! I keep honing my sculpting skills with paper clay with fair results, but when it comes to actually sculpting with traditional clay I get a bit intimidated. So I guess traditional clay is the material I would like to learn more about, although I am always open to anything that involves paper clay as well.

    I’m open to the animal sculptures and one project I’ve been wanting to tackle for a few years is making a creepy-looking yet realistic tree for Halloween. Maybe a texture class on how to create wood, bark, stone, etc. I’d also be interested in a few projects for a kid’s room or something they could help with. My little one is a bit too young yet, but I’m looking forward to the day when she can start creating too!

    • Hi, Joy. Great suggestions! I really like that Halloween tree idea, and I’m glad I have a year to think about it. Textures would be a great subject for a class or post, and I really like the idea of creating something for a child’s room. In fact, you’ve already got my mind churning with ideas – thanks!

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