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Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

© 2024 Randy Schmidt

I live in New Bern NC. This is the sister city of Bern Switzerland. Bern in Swiss means bear. Our town has >100 bear statues made out of fiberglass adorning the greater New Bern area. We already had a 3 foot tall wood carved bear in the front yard. I wanted a bear for the back yard.

Note: Bernie was on TV! To see the video, click here.

Was going to do a steel bear with welding and rebar but found Jonni’s site via Pinterest and saw someone else did a backyard bear based on her bear head template so decided to go that route.

Mine is very different however.

I used PVC pipe from the armature and tennis shoes for the feet.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

I doubled the size of the head by printing on 17×22 card stock paper at a local print shop.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

I used a flexible rubber pipe insulation tube that I shaped into a circle, duct taped it together and tied it around his waist to give him some heft – referred to now as a bear belly (not a beer belly).

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

I used whiskey bottles just above his feet for some width and stability. I used beer and soda cans around his arms. I used cardboard and newspaper for his body.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

Next I did 2 layers of paper Mache.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

Then fiberglass resin and cloth (yucky toxic stuff). It gave him some strength and water resilience. After than I put bondo on in a rough manner to look like fur. I used Epoxie Sculpt for his face and paws and feet, including 2.5” long claws I found on Amazon.

During the paper mache process he stood erect outside and wind knocked him flat on his face causing some damage that I repaired. I took his feet apart and redid them adding beer bottles to make them wider and wrapped them with cardboard and duct tape and shims. Finally got his to stand up stable. And took more caution exposing him to wind.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

Then I applied fiberglass resin and cloth (yucky toxic stuff).  It gave him some strength and water resilience.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

After than I put bondo on in a rough manner to look like fur. 

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

I used Epoxie Sculpt  for his face and paws and feet, including 2.5” long claws I found on Amazon.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

I am avid Pickleball player and USA Pickleball Ambassador. My friends all said the bear needs to hold a Pickleball paddle. I used a PVC pipe in his hand so I can a paddle in and out of his hand – or anything else I want to hold depending on the season or event. 

I finished Bernie with exterior latex paint. 

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

Then I positioned him leaning against a tree.  My concern is how to keep him upright when heavy winds blow.  I used fishing line to tie his paw to the tree. I also his waist to the tree and drove 2 rebars into the ground and tied his feet to the rebar.  I have tent stakes and lines ready to secure him on 4 sides in the event a 40-60 MPH blow is predicted.

Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear
Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear

I’m having an unveiling party and the local TV station is coming to cover the story. Bernie will be on TV!

25 thoughts on “Bernie the Outside Fiberglass Bear”

  1. Hi! Great job on the bear!!! It would definitely catch my attention if I was in the backyard! I have not attempted anything yet, but want to soon. (Nothing that big either! :)) You had it all figured out nicely! Again, great job!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks, it was fun though challenging and messy, had to give up garage for the bear instead of the car for a while. Life always gets in the way and delay progress

      Reply
  2. Oh how fantastic! You did a really superb job. I’ve been saving paper, cardboard, and scraps for some time now to use inside paper mache pieces – I’m feeling inspired. It looks like your little dog is quite curious :-). It’s very nice to meet you Bernie!

    Reply
  3. Wow! What a magnificent piece of work! I just love the way artists are so imaginative in items they use to repurpose art! Thank you for sharing your process step by step. Can’t wait to see future items you make!

    Reply
  4. Bonjour Randy,

    Bernie est magnifique un grand bravo pour ce travail exceptionnel!!
    Excellente idée le “bondo” pour sa fourrure!!
    Longue vie à Bernie,
    Bonne continuation et encore merci pour ce partage 🙂

    Reply
  5. Randy, Bold move switching from “rebar and welding” to PVC pipe and beer bottles!
    Stick with Jonni and there’s no telling what you’ll tackle next. And if you get stuck, there is a world-wide group of experimenters, experts and beginners around here who will help you out.
    I think Bernie needs a pickleball partner.

    Reply

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