Paper Mache Bongo Antelope Trophy – Making the Foil Armature

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Bongo Antelope I’ve been working on another faux taxidermy trophy mount. This time it’s a Bongo – a rare African antelope with some nice stripes and spots. He isn’t quite done – The armature is done (that’s what you’ll see me build in the video) and I’ve just now started adding heavy brown paper over the armature. In the next video we all get to see how he turns out. I have some ideas about how I’ll finish him, and I hope it works as well as I think it will.

As you can see from the photo, courtesy of Wikipedia, these antelope have some very nice patterns on their faces, and every individual antelope seems to be just a little bit different.

If you’d like to use my pattern to make your own Bongo Antelope, click here for a printable PDF.

How the pieces look when taped together.
How the pieces look when taped together.

You can see the way I added the paper mache and finished the bongo antelope here.




32 thoughts on “Paper Mache Bongo Antelope Trophy – Making the Foil Armature”

  1. Thank you for providing such a thorough description and video for what you did on this lovely project! It was my starting point for making headresses to wear on Halloween: my daughter wanted to be a cheetah, so it seemed only fitting that my husband and I went as antelope. I used foam roll to add a neck, and painted the masking tape rather than doing paper mache. Mine doesn’t look as polished as yours, but I was delighted with the result.

    • You did a fantastic job, Jennie. And what a wonderful idea for Halloween. Congratulations! By the way, if you re-post your image on the Daily Sculptors page, a lot more people will get to see it. πŸ™‚

  2. hi from egypt πŸ™‚ i just want to say thank u so much u r the best and please keep on , and please keep doing experiments to find out new materials and ways . thank you πŸ™‚
    ps : here my first papermache and im working on bongo in same time πŸ™‚ – what u think ? thanks

  3. Hii Jonni..!!

    I am in love with ur sculptures ?
    And the way u teach these things in a simplified manner is just awesome…!!!

    I am trying to make the bongo
    You told in ur video that the picture of the skull helped u a lot
    Can u please share the link of the picture of the skull so I can reffer to it

    I googled it but i am not getting any proper image

    And also i will be painting the sculpture so if you can please tell me the name of the colors it will be a great help…!!!

    Thank you…?

    • Hi Prabhanjan. I just went through the search history on my computer, trying to find the image I used as a reference to make the bongo. I could not find it. Several of the webpages I looked at back then have disappeared, and Google Image Search is returning lots of images of lots of different kinds of animals, but no bongos. Weird.

      I didn’t paint my bongo – I used the colors of tissue paper that happened to be available. I think I mostly used black, raw sienna, and espresso, with a little bit of white and vanilla for the stripes, and gray for the horns.

      I do wish that bongo skull hasn’t disappeared from the Google search results. There are lots of photos of bongo faces, though, and those really do help a lot.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I have been brainstorming how to structure a head for a stag-head headdress. This video is going to be my go-to video for building up the head piece. The twist is it will be painted with greens and such to be a deer version of a Green Man motif, then decorated with bead and feather talismans and attached to a mantle that will drape down the wearer’s head and shoulders.

      • Here you go. I learned a lot in the process. Not a bad first attempt at this sort of thing. Thanks for the site and videos. They were a big help.

        • Hi Rowan. Did you try to post a photo to the blog? If you did, please try again. The image file may have beeen too big for the upload plugin.

          • Sorry about that. This one is smaller, although the site is giving me the “Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB” even though the image is 33.7KB. If this doesn’t work I’ll email you a copy so you can see the end result. It was a big hit at tonight’s gathering and I owe much of that success to the information you provided here.

            • It worked. And I can see why your costume was such a hit – it’s wonderful. Is there a story that explains that interesting color and design? And could you tell us how you attached the antlers? I’m hoping to design a wall sculpture of a white tail deer sometime this year, and I’m worried about the antlers.

        • I took floral wire and twisted a couple of strands together over and over to make a stronger wire and pushed them into the head. Then I built the main part up with foil and masking tape. The tines were just more foil and tape compacted pretty tightly down around the main part. Once I put the paper mache on they were pretty sturdy. I used heavier brown paper, like from grocery bags, around the base. The tips were tricky and in the end I just kind of addressed them with joint compound. Next time I’ll cross thin strips lengthwise over them instead of wrapping paper on a diagonal.

          The color scheme was based on a Green Man motif. I figured if I tried for realism it would probably not look very good. Since this was used for a spring equinox event, I decided a Green Man theme would be a fun way to go so that I didn’t have to worry about any level of realism. (If it didn’t turn out so well I could just say it was a kind of “folk art rustic roughness”… heheh.) The spirals drew from Celtic inspiration, but I didn’t want to get tied up in designing a knotwork pattern.

          As it came together, I got the idea for doing the dots in areas from Australian Aboriginal artwork as well as Oaxacan style sculptures. I had mixed feelings about the results until I put the dots on there. Those really made the artwork on it “pop.” I think I may have found a new form of artistic expression in the whole “Celtic/Oaxacan-inspired paper mache art” idea.

          I attached another photo that lets you see more of the top-front. I used it at another event today and when I set it on the ground to put it aside for a moment I looked at it among the green and thought, “Oh, I gotta get a picture of this.” This is someone else’s photo, but basically the same shot I took.

          • I thought you used real antlers, because they’re so realistic! Your explanation is great, and the color and patterns are really inspiring. Thanks, Rowan.

  5. Hi, I really admire your work and I was wondering how I could go about purchasing or commissioning some pieces. I live on the small Dutch Caribbean island of Saba and we are planning a production of The Lion King. We don’t have a huge budget, so I would need some quotations. I would love to get some antelope masks similar to this.

  6. Hi! your art its AMAZING!
    I want to buy your book (How to make masks) but IΒ΄m from Argentina, is it a ebook version?. Please send me an email.

  7. Hello Jonni, your work is really fantastic and I one your animals, very new to paper machΓ© your work is try inspiring thank you for sharing all those wonderful lessons

  8. Hi Jonnie, look what my wife had me do using your techniques. This was the first paper mache item that we have ever worked with. This is Olaf from the movie frozen. The only disappointment was that the sculpture ended up developing mold since we also used the paper mache clay. The mold is in the inside. I sprayed him down with bleach. So far he has been great for Christmas card. He will also we used for class pictures at my 6 year old’s school. We love your website. Thank you for everything that you share.

    • Hi Miguel. Did you try to upload a photo? If so, it didn’t work. That’s probably because the image is too big. I hope you’ll edit the image to make it smaller, and try again. I’d love to see it.

      The paper mache clay should not mold if it’s applied thinly and if it dries quickly. I hope the bleach stopped the problem, so you can keep Olaf around for awhile.

  9. This is wonderful. I have been working on an elephant planter and I cant wait to share with all of you. I also use brown paper bags. They seem to dry smoother and are very sturdy

  10. Your animal pieces especially are always so wonderful. You can tell you have a love of the animal form and have great skill and talent in the making of these pieces. This is a marvelous work. Thank you for sharing.
    Been working with paper and glitter and all that for Christmas so haven’t been working in Paper Mache for a while.

    • I go for the cheapest, largest roll I can find. The lightweight foil is easier to crumple, so I’d like it best even if it wasn’t the cheapest alternative. I get mine from Walmart. (Don’t hiss – we don’t have many shopping opportunities where I live. ) πŸ˜‰

  11. Hi,
    Ive been watching your videos and ordered your dog book. I have been playing around. I bought some “Duck Tape” brand masking tape and it really does not want to stick! What brand do you like. should I go buy some 3m? Is it because it rained yesterday? Thanks in advance !

    • I agree, the Duck brand doesn’t always stick very well. That’s probably intentional, since masking tape needs to come off the wall after using it for it’s original purpose. I sometimes use it, anyway, because it’s usually easier to find, and it’s inexpensive – but if the little ends sticking up are causing you to go slightly nuts, then by all means get a roll of the 3M brand. You won’t need much, so one roll should last a long time.

      I hope you’re having fun with the book – other than the tape issue. Be sure to show us what you make!


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