Bongo Antelope Trophy Mount – Adding the Paper Mache

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Bongo Antelope Faux Trophy Mount Paper MacheThe Bongo Antelope faux trophy mount is finished, and I’m really happy with it. I can’t believe I never played around with “painting” a sculpture with tissue paper before. Of course I did use a little bit of tissue paper on the highland cow’s nose, but this time I went all out and added all the color (except for the eyes) with tissue paper.

[Edit: It isn’t easy to find tissue paper in natural colors, and the link that I posted is no longer working. If you find a source of colored tissue paper in animal colors that we can use, please let us know in the comments below.)

If you missed the post on how the aluminum foil armature was made for the Bongo, you can find it here.

As I mention in the video, I changed my mind about the joint compound. I didn’t think it really needed any on the face, but I ended up using another coat of the stuff after adding the first layer of brown paper. The paper just wasn’t laying as smoothly over the armature as I wanted it to. It doesn’t take long to spread out another thin layer. I used a little tool I cut out of the lid from a yogurt container to smooth the joint compound over the armature, and damp-sanded it when it dried. It does crack a bit when it dries, but since it has the brown paper on top of it, the cracks don’t hurt anything.

I think I’m going to do something really fun next time. So, as they say, watch this space! πŸ˜‰


32 thoughts on “Bongo Antelope Trophy Mount – Adding the Paper Mache”

  1. This bongo is gorgeous! I took care of real bongos for years and they are stunning and so unique. I have to say you captured one perfectly.

      • Yes, it was at a job. I was a zookeeper for years, mostly at a 1700 acre drive through park in Texas. I cared for various hoofed animals, like giraffes, zebras , rhinos, antelope and deer. I loved it. And now I get to make all of them… Eventually.

  2. I love all of your crafts they are very amazing and I just wanted to ask how you hung the trophy mounts up because i’m making a dragon head mount for a school project.

    • Hi Leilani. I do it two ways – if the head is going to hang directly on the wall, I just create a small hole in the back near the top. Then I slip it over a nail on the wall. When I splurge on a wooden plaque, I put a sawtooth hanger on the back of the plaque and use a hot glue gun to hold the head to the front of the plaque. So far, both seem to work, and they’re easy.

  3. Hey Jonni! First of all I want to say you’re absolutely good at what you do, everything is just perfect. Second of all.. You’re so very cute. Always smiling, I’d love to have you as my third grandma. And thirdly, I wanted to show you a project I’ve just finished, it’s a Mandrake based on the mandrakes from the Harry Potter movie (I’m a fan). The only shame is that only now I finished it, I discovered your channel! Must say I’m a fan already. Your techniques are really good, and I’ll surely use them for my next projects. This is my first ever Papier Mache project, I didn’t use newspaper at all, only napkins. The leaves are artificial leaves that I cut in this shape myself. I’m looking forward to any kind of feedback! Thank you!

    • Arthur, your Mandrake is really well done – and I knew exactly what it was even before I read your post. (Although I forgot there was a Mandrake in Harry Potter…).

      I’m really curious about how you got that nice brown finish that looks so realistic. Could you tell us how you did that? And what did you use for an armature?

      • Thanks for your reply Jonni! Translating some of the materials to english can be a bit hard (they tend to change names mostly) But I’ll try my best.. The painting is pretty simple, I painted it with a beige paint (just for the base) and then I covered it with a kind of wax, here on Brazil we call it Betume (the translation is “bitumen” but I don’t think this helps, I did some research but I couldn’t find a correct translation for this material) Anyway, it’s a brownish wax, it derives from oil, and some people use it to give kind of an “old” appearance to some objects. It’s also commonly used on wooden furniture I think. Something close to varnish, but not varnish! It did the trick pretty well. Did this help? If not, let me know!

        And I used no armatures at all, it’s just folded and taped newspaper. For the face, I folded many pieces of newspaper and taped it on until it started looking like the face of my drawings. I hope this helps, lovely lady. Thanks again!

  4. Hey Jonni! First of all I want to say you’re absolutely good at what you do, everything is just perfect. Second of all.. You’re so very cute. Always smiling, I’d love to have you as my third grandma. And thirdly, I wanted to show you a project I’ve just finished, it’s a Mandrake based on the mandrakes from the Harry Potter movie (I’m a fan). The only shame is that only now I finished it, I discovered your channel! Must say I’m a fan already. Your techniques are really good, and I’ll surely use them for my next projects. This is my first ever Papier Mache project, I didn’t use newspaper at all, only napkins. The leaves are artificial leaves that I cut in this shape myself. I’m looking foward to any kind of feedback! Thank you!

  5. Jonni,

    Quesdtion for you – I will be making a large wall piece (about 3′ x 5′) with paper mache. The paper mache will stick out from the background surface several inches. I am thinking of it the same as building up from a regular base, except the base will be hanging on a wall rather then standing. Do you have any idea what background /base material I should use for this project.
    I have been thinking of cradled masonite boards or plywood, which get rather heavy.

    Thank you for your thoughts,

    • Hi Susan. You might try one of the large sheets of insulating foam they sell at the building supply store. However, be sure to test it first to make sure the drying paper mache doesn’t cause it to warp.

  6. Hi Jonni! and your cat! Ha ha! My kitties look for her every time they hear her as did my husband!
    Can you help me with two questions? I am using glass eyes 22 mm for a life size fawn. How do I insert them? At what point? I don’t think you ever use glass eyes though. πŸ™‚

    The second question is… I am going to do a giraffe head like you might see on the roof of a carousel. It isn’t dead (I wish there was a word for them as I like living things). Since the neck is so long, is there a way to make it stable so the whole thing doesn’t just break?

    Thank you!


    • Hi Teri. You pose some rather difficult questions! You’re right – I have not used glass eyes, although I did use wooden eyes in the Ballerina Bunny. If you watched that video, you know I’m not an “expert” on the subject!

      Even though it wasn’t easy to do this on the bunny sculpture, I’d probably do it pretty much the same way if I did it again. I’d get the armature as close to the final shape as I could get it, and then make sure the eye sockets are set so the eyes will both sit at the same depth once they’re added to the armature. Then I’d use some hot glue to temporarily place the eyes, and add the paper mache eyelids to hold the eyes firmly in place. But there must be a better way – maybe one of our other readers could help us out.

      For the giraffe portrait (does that word sound better?), my suggestion is almost always to make sure the armature is solid and very well braced before you start adding any paper mache. And the armature itself must be strong enough to withstand any forces that might try to cause it to break or crack. If it’s life-sized, you might need to use a plywood core as the pattern. the plywood could be attached to a base with metal brackets that you find at the hardware store. Once you know for sure that it isn’t going to fall down or sway too much, you could start to add material to fill out the rest of the form and finish your sculpture.

      I would love to see that giraffe when you’re done. And, by the way – when I hear my own kitty on my videos, I look around to see why she’s yelling at me. She fools me every time!

      • Thank you. Of course – wood base. I am new to your videos but should have known that from your elephant! I will send a photo of the giraffe but the fawn is first. Thank you!

        • If you don’t mind, I have another question. Do you know how to insert fishing line for whiskers? I need to do this for a couple things. Do you have a video on eye lashes. Thank goodness for you!

          • I think that would depend on what material you use for the “skin.” If you make the piece with paper strips and paste, you might need to drill tiny holes in the muzzle, dip the end of the fishing line in glue, and stick it in the hole. That should hold it, if the glue will hang on to the nylon (or plastic? I don’t know what fishing line is made out of…). If you make the piece with the paper mache clay recipe, you might be able to just stick the whiskers into the clay before it dries. I have not tried this, though, so you will want to test it first.

            You can sculpt eyelashes with the paper mache clay, although they won’t look entirely realistic. It would be more of a thin shelf above the eyes that can be painted to look like eyelashes. Or, you might buy some fake eyelashes from Walmart and use their glue to stick them on after the piece is completely finished. That’s another thing you’d want to test, though, because I don’t know how it would look, since I haven’t tried it yet.

          • This is my fawn I am working on. Since this photo she has had surgery on her bottom. It was too big!

            After 6 layers of paper mache, what comes next? Can you give me the list of steps? I am going to try and get that medical grade wrap for casts.

            I ordered eyes for this fawn (her name is Willow) but they were far too small. Ordered 22mm. Will have to try again and save this set for a very small fawn.

            Jonni, do you ever use Paperclay (the brand)?

            • Teri, your fawn is lovely! And yes, I have used Paperclay, and it’s nice to work with. But it’s too expensive for me, so I tried to make a substitute for my paper mache products, the air dry clay recipe here. It isn’t exactly the same, but it is less expensive for large projects. For small projects where only one package of clay would be enough, it would be more economical to use the Paper clay.

              There are a number of things you could do now, depending on how you want the finished sculpture to look. You could add a coat or two of home-made gesso, allow it to dry, and then paint your fawn. If you want to smooth it out more but you don’t want to use the paperclay, you could use a layer of joint compound, like I did with the Bongo, and cover it with one last layer of paper. Tell us how you want the little fellow to look when it’s done, and I’m sure you’ll get some great suggestions from our readers.

          • Thank you! At what point would I use that medical wrap for casts?

            For this fawn, After she is painting I am going to flock her with specialty flocking. I understand it takes 4 weeks to get it so I better pick out the colors. It will give her a look of short fur. The flocking gun required is very spendy but simple to make so my son said he would make it for me and that is supposed to run about $25.

            Thank you for all of your help and for looking!

            • Hi Teri. I’m not quite sure what you mean about the plaster gauze. I sometimes use the plaster wrap instead of paper mache, when I’m in a real hurry. I did that when I made the Highland Cow. Then I could add just one layer of brown paper, for the final finish. Most of my paper mache sculptures don’t use plaster wrap at all. This bongo, for instance, is made entirely of paper strips and paste. Since your fawn is already covered with paper mache, I can’t see why you would need to add the plaster cloth.

              Are you intending to make a mold of your fawn so you can make copies?

          • I just started paper mache and am learning most everything from you. I do however have three things I can share back with you. Perhaps you are well aware of them.

            First there are disappearing ink pens that allow you to do things like draw on the eyes to get them right before painting (after gesso). That is number one.

            Number 2 – I use wallpaper paste instead of the flour glue stuff. It molds on me and the wallpaper paste works like a dream. The powdered version add the water first then mix in the powder. It thickens up so much so add less than you think then more water if needed. The premade bucket is even better.

            Number 3 – UV Resin Epoxy is a great coating that seals up your project really hard. I will show you my giant blow pop. It isn’t the best for non flat surfaces but I got it to work and it makes a really great finished product.

  7. This is lovely and so inspiring. I am creating a menagerie of faux mounts for a show in February and wondered about the hanger. I need to have a wire hanger for this gallery and was thinking about screwing a couple of pieces of wood to the back cardboard and then screwing eye hooks into those wood pieces for a wire. Is there a better way in your opinion?

    • I haven’t actually attached one of these faux mounts to wood yet, so I may not be the best one to answer this question. I’m hoping that it would be possible to use an epoxy glue or some other type of glue to fix the cardboard back to the wooden plaque. However, your idea seems like a better option. The small wood piece would need to be on the inside of the cardboard so the neck fits tightly against the wooden plaque, but that would be easy to accomplish. In fact, this sounds like a much better idea than the one I had, because it allows you to change the back without causing damage to the sculpture. It might even be possible to cut a piece of plywood the shape of the neck’s back, and use it instead of the cardboard piece that I used on this sculpture. You might want to use carpenter’s glue instead of paste for that portion of the paper mache, at least for the first layer, to make absolutely sure that it doesn’t come loose.

      We haven’t seen your faux mounts yet. And you need to make how many by February??? Be sure to let us know when the show is on – some of our other readers might live close enough to go to the show.

      By the way, how’s the weather in Baker City? I still miss living in La Grande – I was still there, I’d be sure to go check out your gallery.

      • Hi Jonni, when I went to show the desert dweller, I had to come up with a base or plaque to show it on because the walls where it would show were the same color as the sculpture and the sculpture would get lost. Anyway, when I originally made the sculpture, I had put a wire hook on it like you do when you imbed it right into the paper mache. To put it on a base, I simply screwed a screw in the wood and then hung it like usual. The back of the wood was hung with the traditional picture framing wire. That way the buyer could hang it either way if they wanted a change in look.
        Great antelope by the way. I love using the tissue paper. Your link to the crepe paper outlet gave me an idea….I wonder how crepe paper would work? I remember crepe paper bleeding when wet, that could give a neat effect.

        • Thanks Eileen – this is an easier solution to the problem. By the way – do you have some new work to show us?

          • Oh, I have a bunch but have been too lazy or too busy to post them. I am constantly sculpting something or other. My daughter also just got married this fall and that added to the lack of posting. When I get my act together, I promise to post a bunch. For now I will leave you with a Christmas ornament I made for my baby granddaughter. It is her first Christmas and she was the Stay Puft Marshmallow man for Halloween. All it needs is a ribbon to hang it.

      • It snowed in Baker City yesterday–a nice shift from the icy rain. Ick. My show will be at Peterson’s Gallery: http://www.petersonsgallery.net/Petersons_Gallery/Welcome.html and I hope to have at least a dozen trophy mounts (in addition to some sculptures and paintings). My mounts aren’t as meticulous as yours are though! There’d be no way I could pull that together. I will post photos soon. This winter I hope to stage a student show here in town to showcase the over 80 paper mache animal sculptures the high school students completed after my week long residency with them. They’re amazing to see as a group.

        • What a nice gallery – I’m sure your show will be a big hit. And if you would like to show off some of your student’s work too, I know we’d all love to see it. By the way, we have a lot of teachers who read this blog and would like advice on how to hold a paper mache workshop. It’s something I’ve never done, so I’m not much help. Would you be interested in writing up a short article with some tips for teachers?


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