48 Responses

  1. Chris Glasspool
    Chris Glasspool at |

    I would be inclined to substitute construction plaster for craft plaster, as an experiment, because it has retarders added and it is easy to work with. When I have done plastering; I use Silver Set 40 (40 minutes working time). This might fix the short pot life that you have been experiencing.

  2. Ann Preston
    Ann Preston at |

    Hi, I’ve been finding your site extremely useful, thankyou, it’s very generous. I am presently working with geometric flat forms that must go together accurately in scale and angle. I’ve got molds and am trying to find a papier mache like structure that doesn’t distort. More on that later. But I notice that you are looking for hard papier mache. You might look at a plastic and plaster: Forton MG, http://www.ball-consulting-ltd.com. It is a bit of trouble and expense requiring weighing out a number of components, all of which, including a specific plaster will need to be shipped. However, it is hard as rock, durable even outdoors when painted, can use metal loaded face coats like a resin, or stone or whatever. It is presently designed to be used with fiberglass, but I intend to experiment with cotton fiber, I’ll keep you posted. Ann

  3. Christine
    Christine at |

    Thanks Jonni, I did research it as well and nothing from the US anywhere. Talas museum conservation supplier that I ordered it from is no longer carrying it and there is not one single US source or distributor from my digging. So I guess that means we just work on perfecting our homemade versions! I’m trying to put together a simulation for the Paperclay brand ingredient list. It includes volcanic ash, wood pulp, starch, talc and preservatives. So far I did find that bentonite clay which I picked up from the healthfood store bulk section is the same thing as volcanic ash. It can also be easily ordered online from herbal suppliers and for about $6 a pound. So Im going to try putting that with paper pulp, talc, and starch? I’m not sure which kind ( something bugs won’t get to ?) and I don’t know if a Preservative is needed or not if it is used up right away. If anyone wants to join me in this experiment it might be worth a try for a lighterweight version for those maskmakers and others trying to avoid heavy plasters.

  4. christine
    christine at |

    Thank you so much for all ideas shared! I have been using a technique learned from a maskmaker where I paint a mold with polyfilla/weldbond glue backed with more of the same with cheesecloth pressed in, followed by paper strip layers, and (my insertion here) still experimenting with plaster and cheesecloth layers after. I am not making masks, but large wall hung sculptures.
    The polyfilla is the best thing in the world for capturing every detail from the mold and now I cannot get it because supplier is gone- help!
    So I tried researching how to make homemade polyfilla -which is cellulose reinforced plaster powder used for patching cracks and holes. It has a long setting time, and a smooth texture. Does anyone know what kind of cellulose that is? This is defintitely not the same as taking regular plaster and mixing it with paper pulp. The surface smoothness and detail is unmatched. I’m soo upset I cannot buy this anymore and want to make a homemade version.

  5. Cougar recipes | Sellukus
    Cougar recipes | Sellukus at |

    […] Paper Mache Cougar and “Instant” Paper Mache Recipe | Ultimate …Paper Mache Cougar and “Instant” Paper Mache Recipe. by Jonni on January 16, 2011. Paper Mache Cougar. After you read my last post, you probably assumed … […]

  6. Sharon Moreno
    Sharon Moreno at |

    Jonni I love this cougar! It is amazing.

  7. Rocki
    Rocki at |

    I don’t mean to be rude, but would it be easier to just make the hanging wolf mask and cut out the eyes? I new at this and need all the help I can get!

  8. Rocki
    Rocki at |

    Dear Jonnie,

    I want to make a realistic wolf mask I can wear. How do you suggest I go about this?

  9. GrandmaJoyce Reyes
    GrandmaJoyce Reyes at |

    Holly Cow. I have been so taken up with making faces with molds that I bought for a showing at the Redding Art Center that I haven’t taken time to see this site. WOW I love these wild animal faces. Somewhat like I have been doing with others help of the molds. I was doing a theme of Marti Gras faces. SO fun. They go on display tomorrow so now I am back to living. LOL
    For a name on these I think something with the work Safari in it would be good. Like Safari Treasures, or Safari Memories, or something on this order that would give the idea of wild animals that are hunted.
    You have done a fantastic job on these.

  10. Cassie
    Cassie at |

    Is there anyway to make your original paper mache pulp which is made with the toilet paper, glue, joint compound, linseed oil..less sticky for a grandchild to use like modeling clay,,I tried the strips to get my two grandsons used to working with the pulp but they didnt like it at all…I am fixing to make up a batch of your paper mache pulp so any suggestions will be welcome,,as my little grandsons love making things with their hands and with polymer clay but it hurts my hands so bad to condition the clay and it is so costly to buy..thank you for your time and kindness,,take care God bless you and your loved ones,,

  11. Maggie
    Maggie at |

    I’m really impressed with how this turned out!

  12. Beth
    Beth at |

    I’ve been following your discussion with Jonty, and started looking around online as well. If we look at it from the plaster standpoint, rather than as a paper mache recipe, the paper pulp functions essentially as a plaster filler, that should add strength much the same way fiberglas, sisal, or other ‘strand’ additives do. So then my question became are there ‘plaster plus’ recipes out there? I specifically looked for plaster plus glue based on the Irish glue reference above …

    There are acrylic bonding liquid additives designed to help plaster adhere to plaster, here’s a discussion of that in relation to repairing plaster wall cracks. (Actually they recommend using the powdered joint compound mixes instead of plaster – have you tried that?)

    I also found a sculpture.net discussion about plaster additives that add strength — everything from the bone meal liquid, to white glue, to egg whites.

    I remember the first time I tried your recipe I used the dried joint compound (didn’t have your instructions with me at HD when I was buying supplies) … I didn’t squeeze out much water from the shredded paper, so the the mixture was pretty wet. I ended up adding calcium carbonate, talc, plus some volcanic ash to get the consistency right, and the resulting casts were very lightweight and break/scratch resistant.

    I made discs that were about 1/16″, 1/8″, and 1/4″ thick. I can throw all of them down on the cement floor and they bounce vs chip or shatter. By hand, I can’t bend the 1/8th or 1/4″ discs at all. The 1/16″ thick disc I can break pieces off, but I have to force it. It resists me initially. Also, the 1/16″ did warp a bit while drying, but I didn’t weight it down with anything. (I cast it in a plastic lid.)

    Have you tried using powdered JC instead of plaster? Also adding white glue and/or starch to the mix?

    1. Jonty
      Jonty at |

      Hi Beth,

      There are so many simple quick fix soloutions i know would work for me here & that are within my price tag & easy to go out & purchase. You have to remember though ‘my’ experiments & what i show on my blog are more orientated for the artists out there who may be working to a tight money budget, or who may be trying to work with as many ‘around the home’ recyclable materials as possible. After all we do all as an avergae householders produce a mass of easily reuseable materials that can create art. Of course if your going to make art & sell it then the buyers want something they know will be worth what they paid & last years. Hence the experiments to find ways of achieving stronger art for as little cost as possible keeping it in easy grasp for as many struggling (financially) artists out there, maybe even in third world countries who could gain from it?

  13. Steve
    Steve at |

    Hi Jonni,
    If you are interested in a stronger plaster you might try Hydrocal. It’s described as 40% harder than Plaster of Paris. Even a mix of half Hydocal and half Plaster of Paris would give you all the strength you need in just one layer. Adding a little vinegar lengthens working time (not sure if that would help with just Plaster of Paris alone but you might find it worth an experiment). Hydrocal is available from many online art supply stores. Much cheaper if purchased from cement supply dealers.

    Your cougar mask is outstanding!

    1. Jonty
      Jonty at |

      I use this & generally buy two 25K bags at a time for my experimenting etc: http://www.greatart.co.uk/FINESTMODELLINGPLASTEROFPARIS2-plastering-modelling-plasticine.htm

      1. GrandmaJoyce Reyes
        GrandmaJoyce Reyes at |

        I just took a look at this site with your suggestion but see the $ isn’t in my money and I don’t know how to figure the difference. Can you help and also wondering how long it takes to have it shipped?

  14. Ann Thompson
    Ann Thompson at |

    Are the cougar’s eyes glass or did you sculpt them and paint them with a clear coat? The whole piece is amazing!

  15. Jonty
    Jonty at |

    I don’t have any actual plaster pulp creations ready ‘yet’, but i do have all the molds ready to work with/from. I am hoping to get to those projects next week if i can. I will send you some images of the projects of course lol.

    One of the mold based projects is a skeleton hand trophy/candle sconce idea i am toying with. Others include grouped skulls (project info when finished on that one) again others include skull faces for decorating around bowls etc, again more on those later too. I am trying to get the right mix for the plaster pulp first. Hmm i guess you can teach an old dog new tricks as they say. I might just have to give linseed oil a try. Perhaphs if i add it to my dry pulp prior to mixing in with the plaster it may give the pulp the edge & bond better with the sculpting plaster? This being my only issue with the mix so far. As i say i have never had any shrinking issues (that i have noticed any way) at the moment its obtaining a more solid ‘bonded’ core of the mix when dry.

    The projects first two stages can be seen here:



    Much to think about (as usual lol) & much to do (again as usual lol) so better get off & get things done eh lol. I will keep you updated soon as i get there lol.

  16. Jonty
    Jonty at |

    Great to see you got a version of my plaster pulp that works for you. Lol that distinctive ‘ping’ which might be better described as the same sound a ceramic ornament, bowl, plate etc might make is exactly how i know my molds are fully dried by the way. I gently tap both halves or two seperate molds together to see how they sound. the higher pitched & longer the distinctive sound seems to ‘ring out’ the more the mold is dried lol.

    Yes the plaster pulp mix is definately better suited for mold making/use, but thats just what i intended it for lol. Sadly the working time is very limited especially when you use more plaster than paper. The best wroking time i achieved during experimenting was around 15 minutes. Then again working from molds is not a real issue so not a problem as far as my own uses are concerned.

    Linseed oil will definately slow down the going ‘off ‘ time of the plaster for sure but not to any worth for free hand sculpting. As it turns out on further research using linseed oil (amounts are unclear & vary a lot) i discovered that many great PM’ers feel linseed oil actually makes PM harder!?! For myself i am still in reserve on this thinking.

    Using commercial Claycrete with a small amount of sculpting plaster definately produces a very light weight ceramic finish that is hard to beat. The white finish of the Claycrete & the sculpting plaster will give a bleached white finish that is perfect to take any light or dark colours readily. A thin lightly coloured base ‘sealing’ coat is recomended prior to final painting to reduce absorbsion of the final paint layers & reduces thining of the final colour scheme.

    Personally whilst i want to venture forth with the plaster pulp mix i definately want to try to achieve a more ‘equal’ plaster pulp mix. In doing so i hope to create a ‘hybrid’ that ‘bridges’ the distintion between pulp & plaster but does not become a totally stand alone plaster based medium in its own right. I want to remain in the realms of PM as much as possible.

    Since i dont use linseed oil i dont get or have any noticeable shrinking issues or warping that would be related to it. Definately if you want to use a thickness of under 3mm/4mm in your molds using the plaster pulp medium use a thin cotton webbed material between two layers. This will give support to the final demolded creation. The faster the mix dries the more ‘stable the form will remain. Especially once the outter 1mm or so has dried it holds the final shape better i think. With this mix as any others of course it is all trial & error & then of course ‘how’ you intend to use it & for what type of creation in the end.

    Anyway good to know you have a working version Jonni.

  17. Donie Schmidt
    Donie Schmidt at |

    This is Fabulous!!!!!!!


Leave a Reply

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.