African Elephant – Project #6 in New Paper Mache Book

Looking for great ideas for your next paper mache project or a gift idea? Check out my patterns and videos for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts.


This video is part of a series showing the projects in my new book Make Animal Sculptures With Paper Mache Clay. (The video was made before the book came out – it is now available on Amazon.com)

This video is a bit longer than normal, because I wanted to show you how the paper mache clay is added to the armature of the elephant sculpture, and how you can add textures to the clay.

Only one more video in this series, and I should have it finished tomorrow. I decided to make the horse the last project in the book, because so many people seem to be intimidated by them

The elephant sculpture in this episode is obviously a lot smaller than the baby Asian elephant I made a few months ago. He was also a lot easier to make. The size isn’t really an issue, since larger sculptures simply take more time to do – they aren’t necessarily harder to make. The big improvement was the paper mache clay.

The bigger sculpture was covered in many layers of traditional paper mache strips and paste, and each one needed to dry. Then I had to form the features, and cover them with another layer of paper. And lastly, the wrinkles had to be added with one last layer of paper strips and paste (because it isn’t an elephant without wrinkles!).

The small elephant was made with only two layers of clay, as you see in the video, so many of the steps were eliminated. And the clay itself covers any irregularities in the underlying armature. Way easier. And more fun.

On a slightly unrelated note, I found out yesterday that my paper mache clay butterfly tutorial is being put to good use. Models are being made to show the life cycle of butterflies, and the finished models will be on display at the State Arboretum in Virginia. I’ll post a link so you can see photos that show how they turned out as soon as I hear back from them.

I’m also starting a list of links over in the right-hand column that point to artists who are starting to use my paper mache clay recipe in their work. If that includes you, or someone you know, please let me know so I can add a link to my blogroll. (Hey – why pass up a free link!)

12 thoughts on “African Elephant – Project #6 in New Paper Mache Book

  1. thanks so much im going to do my best an an amature sculpter… practice makes perfect. i tried making a skelton of an elephant on my own lastnight and it came out lopsided and lumpy from the paper mache strips and tape and stuff… im hoping a bigger skeleton will come out better. do you recall the dementions of the wood for the main body? (my father said it looks about 3 feet long?) your work is so amazing! i want to be a sculture when im older, i need lots of practice though…my poor lopsided elephant…. :0
    thanks!!!!!

    • My elephant is 32 inches long and 28 inches high – but you can make your elephant any size you like. And yes, sculpture does take a lot of practice. You wouldn’t believe how many of my attempts end up in the garbage before anyone sees them. But that’s part of the learning process – if you don’t make any mistakes, you aren’t learning anything.

      Enjoy!

  2. Where can I get the baby elephant (the mini ones that are in the sitting poses) where can i get the armetures? the skeletons for the clay? also what brand of joint compound do you use? (i live in the u.s) i want to make a sculpture for a snow globe for my friend who loves elephants but im an amature and know i need some help with it. thanks! love your sculptures!!!

    • Hi April. The pattern for the sitting African elephant is in my book. You could also check out the pattern for a full-sized baby Indian elephant, which is here (scroll down the page for the link to the pattern), and then change it to a sitting position. And make it a whole lot smaller, of course. There aren’t any pre-made armatures for elephants, as far as I know.

      I like to use the Sheetrock brand of joint compound.

  3. Thanks for sharing your idea expertese with us,am so pleased to learn from you as l am a new art student,finding idea this days has been a llot problem,as the legends of art shadows rest artist.l do hope you have advise for me.thanks once more.

  4. Hm. I can’t see the video. I get a message saying it’s a “private video. If you’ve been sent this video, please accept the sender’s friend request.” Am I the only one? I did refresh the page…

    How exciting, that your clay recipe is germinating across the web already!

    • My bad. I checked the wrong doohicky at YouTube. Please refresh the page – it should work now.

      And thanks for telling me. I wondered why it wasn’t getting any views…

Leave a Comment

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.