Make an Animal Portrait with Paper Mache Clay, Part 1

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I’m using cardboard and foil to make the armature of a paper mache animal portrait.

This is Kneesaa, the alpaca from BlueDasher.farm.

She got a haircut just before we visited, and I added some extra foil to make the portrait look like some of her wool had grown back in. The lightly-crumpled foil for her wool is an experiment – we’ll see how well it holds up to the paper mache clay in the next step – coming soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’d like to make a sculpture of Kneesaa, I made a free PDF with the simple pattern I made and the photos I used for my models. Download it by clicking the button, and save the PDF to your device:

Alpaca Portrait Files

This style of inner pattern can work for any kind of critter – even sculptures with four legs. You can see how they’re made in this video.

I used the same method for all of the projects in my book Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay.

However, I didn’t use foil for the projects in my book – I used crumpled paper and masking tape, instead. The paper is a lot less expensive, but it’s a little more difficult to work with because it tries to un-crumple while you’re covering it with masking tape. Either one will work, but not quite the same way.

Sculpting with foil is not as intuitive as working with clay, and the process doesn’t look that great in a video, but it makes a really strong base for a paper mache sculpture. When you make a sculpture or mask with wet clay or oil-based clay as the form, the paper mache has to be cut apart after it dries and the clay removed. That’s an extra step, and I didn’t want to do it for this alpaca sculpture.

Be sure to watch for the next video, when I add the paper mache clay to the alpaca, and answer as many questions about paper mache clay as I can.

4 thoughts on “Make an Animal Portrait with Paper Mache Clay, Part 1”

    • Hi Judy. Yes, I used the little mallet to flatten the foil on the face. I wanted to use a little rubber mallet that I have – somewhere. But I couldn’t find it. I don’t usually flatten the foil that much, but I wanted to get the shapes right on the alpaca’s face, and the mallet helped.


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