This site is dedicated to helping you develop your creative talents, with innovative paper mache recipes, over 450 projects, and lots of friendly support and encouragement. Welcome
On this site, you won’t find the paper mache you remember from Kindergarten. Paper mache can be used by professional artists (and amateurs, too) to make beautiful, original art. Some of our visitors are kids, but people of all ages can use paper mache to create long-lasting sculptures they can be proud of.
In fact, one of the most common things our readers hear when they show off their own sculptures is:
“I didn’t know you could make something like that with paper mache!”
Many people find us when they hear about my Paper Mache Clay recipe, an easy-to-make concoction that takes most of the mess out of paper mache. It also lets you add details that you never thought possible with an inexpensive sculpting medium (you get most of the ingredients at the hardware store). For those who prefer the traditional paper strips and paste, you can find several different paste recipes here.
And you can read more about paper mache here.
Are the Projects Easy?
There are over 400 projects shown on this site. Some of them are fairly easy, and some of them take a lot of time and patience to complete. All of them are fun. Follow the links on the art library page to find a project that fits your skill level and interests.
Once you learn my methods, you will have the skills you need to make any sculpture you can dream up. I know that’s true, because hundreds of people have shown off their original sculptures on this site, and their work is always inspiring. You’ll find their photos in the comment sections on the site, especially on the Daily Sculptors page, where we like to hang out and admire each other’s work.
Are All the Projects Made with Paper Mache?
No, not all of them. Most of our projects are made with either paper strips and paste, or my Paper Mache Clay, but other projects combine plaster cloth with my Air Dry Clay recipe, and we now have several projects that are made with epoxy clay. I even played around with concrete for awhile, until I found out that epoxy clay is easier to use for making waterproof outdoor sculptures (Portland cement comes in 90 pound bags!).
Ready to Get Started?
Excellent! Visit our art library first. It’s organized to help you find the project you’d like best out of the 450+ tutorials on this site. If you don’t see what you need on that page, check out my premium sculpting patterns. And when you’ve finished your project, be sure to come back to the site and show it off. And be sure to visit the Daily Sculptors page, too, and say hi. And come back often. There’s a link to that page at the top of every post.
History of UltimatePaperMache.com:
This site first started when I decided to start playing around with paper mache again. It had been a long time since I’d done any sculpting, so I started this website as a way to sharpen my skills by “learning out loud.” I believe there’s no better way to learn a new skill than by teaching it. (Education studies have proven that I’m right, by the way).
To be honest, I didn’t think many grownups would be interested in Paper Mache – so I’m wrong sometimes, too. 🙂 Now thousands of people drop by every day, with artists just like you visiting from all over the world.
Since beginning the site, I’ve written five books about sculpting with inexpensive materials. Most of them are now listed at the top of Amazon’s paper mache category, and they’ve received many five star reviews.
My best-selling books about the art of paper mache:
- How to Make Masks
- Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay
- Fast Faces
- Make Tiny Paper Mache Dogs
- Make Adorable Baby Animal Dolls
A bit more about me:
As you look around the blog, you’ll notice that I’m obsessed with both animals and art. I’m constantly surrounded by my growing menagerie of paper mache animal sculptures, and plenty of real critters, too – my pets sometimes “help” me in my studio. You’ll sometimes hear my cat, (unfortunately) in some of the videos on this blog. (I’m pretty good at training dogs. Cats – not so much.)
I started drawing animals back in grade school, which is a very, very long time ago. One of the reasons I like sculpting and painting animals is that it gives me an opportunity to learn so much about the natural world. For that reason, I also wrote a coloring book about endangered animals, called the Endangered Animals Color and Learn Book. You can find it on Amazon.com, or download it for free as a PDF here.
I made my living selling pen and ink “portraits” of wild animals for many years while my daughter was in grade school, and then, as many artists do, I found myself working at “real” jobs for a while. That was OK, I suppose, but it really wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life.
Now that I’m self-employed (I make websites and write books for a living), I have plenty of time to pursue my first love – sculpting and drawing and painting animals. I also answer questions from fellow paper mache sculptors from all over the world – you’ll find our conversations in the comments section below each post on this blog.
Enjoy the site, create your sculptures, and join the conversation. I’m glad you stopped by.
285 thoughts on “About the Artist”
I have just completed covering the elephant pattern with masking tape and have had so much fun! Looking forward to the next steps in the project. So pleased I found ultimate paper mache!
I’m so glad you’re having fun. I’d love to see how it turns out!
Jonni! I am so glad to have found your website… I am an avid wildlife sculptor, and was brainstorming on experimenting in other clay mediums in the interest of making larger pieces. Currently I use magic sculpt, which I love, but it gets expensive (and heavy!) on a larger scale. Your paper mache clay sounds amazing! I’ve been very inspired by your “raccoon” videos and look forward on starting a thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger piece) soon. You are so kind and have wonderful videos. Thank you for sharing so much good info and good vibes 🙂
I’ve left a link to my FB page too if you’d like to see some of my work. Cheers! And I’ll leave updates as I go along with my piece…
Hi Danette. I’m glad you found the site, too! I hope you’ll let us see your thylacine as soon as it’s done.I’d love to see it. We all would. 🙂
For waterproofing I covered my Bigfoot with some stuff they call spray-on tool dip so basically it’s a rubber spray and then painted him with 100% acrylic latex house paint in theory he should not absorb water we’ll see seeing as how he is an outside statue. My new wife wanted a garden statue so I made her one. Love your work keep it up.
I’m sure he’ll be the talk of the neighborhood! I hope he lasts for a very long time. Keep us posted.
Another pic of my Bigfoot
Oops – this one didn’t work. The file size probably needs to be lower. You can see some tips for editing your image at the top of this page.
Hello, my name is Marcos, I’m from Brazil, I really admire your work and would like to know if you could make a copy for me and autograph Paper Mache Outlaw Mask?
If so, how much does it cost?
Hi Marcos. I don’t sell my masks or sculptures – I write books and make videos so other people can make their own. Maybe you could find a local artist who would make one for you.
Do you by chance do repairs for other people? I have 2 items that need a different kind of repair. Both are vintage items.
Sorry, I don’t. Vintage paper mache repair can be a little tricky, and I’ve never done it. Contact your local antique shop or the art museum, and see if they can refer you to a local expert. Good luck!
Is it possible to buy your paper maché creation and if so how? 😀
best regards from Sweden,
Hi Niklas. No, I don’t sell my sculptures. However, I do have lots of instructions so people can make their own. If you don’t want to give it a try, maybe one of your local artists could make something for you that you’d enjoy.
Hi ms. Jonni, your my inspiration to make paper mache? and i love it
I am an elementary art teacher and am interested in making some paper mache clay for my students to use. The joint compound has some chemicals in it. Do you think it is safe to use with small children? If not, is there an alternative I can use for the classroom?
Hi Annie. A lot of school systems don’t allow joint compound to be used as an art medium. I think it’s because you need to wear a mask when you sand it. You don’t want the fine powder in your lungs. Be sure to check the rules at your school.
I don’t know of any recipe that works exactly like paper mache clay, but for many years people have made sculptures out of paper pulp that is mixed with paste. It isn’t as smooth, and it’s hard to put on a thin layer. If the layer is too thick, it doesn’t dry fast enough and it will start to mold. Still, many artists have made beautiful sculptures with it.
There are quite a few projects on this site that use the traditional paper strips and paste. I don’t know the age of your students, and younger kids do sometimes have trouble manipulating the wet paper or they use too much paste. However, it’s not expensive, and they can make very nice sculptures if they take their time. One of my favorite projects is the baby panda, which I made quite a long time ago. It’s playful and fun, and it doesn’t need a lot of sculpting skills to make it successfully. You might want to consider a project like that instead of one that uses the joint compound.
Hello! Great ideas and good job to you! I’m interested in learning to make a mold in the style of Venetian masks using a negative concave mold. I make masks using a slightly different method , but I am interested in exploring plaster molds. Can you help? Perhaps point me to where I can find this info?
Splendid work you do. Just brilliant.
Hi Ivan. We have several guest posts on the blog that show the authors using plaster molds. Laurence showed us how he made a paper mache sculpture for Guy Fawkes day, Sarah uses a plaster mold to make ceiling tiles out of paper pulp, and Adam used a 3-D program to make his original sculpture, and then reproduced it in paper mache using a plaster mold. I have not tried any of these techniques myself, but they may give you some ideas you can use in your own projects. Have fun!
Thanks for all of your insight! You are brilliant! I’ve just watched my first video of yours and I love that you use a skeleton head as your base!
Hi Kim. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. Be sure to show off your projects on the Daily Sculptor’s Page!
Hi there Jonni.
how do you make the clay/ sculpture waterproof so that it can stand outside?
I have never found a way to make a paper-based sculpture waterproof. Some people claim you can use marine varnish, but it failed miserably when I tried it. I’m now using either concrete of epoxy clay for all outside sculptures.
If you’re making something for a temporary holiday display, the varnish should work well enough, as long as you dry it out completely after bringing it back inside. In my experience, and that of other readers, the paper mache clay will soften when it gets damp, but it will harden back up if you dry it out again. But this is just for temporary displays, not for permanent outdoor sculptures!
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