Daily Sculptors Page

Join the conversation and share your paper mache sculptures with our supportive community.

Paper Mache Chihuahua
  • Tell us about the project you’re working on, even if it isn’t finished yet.
  • Ask for advice if you need it.
  • Help other readers find answers to their own questions about paper mache.
  • Show off your projects when they’re done so we can see how they came out. We love to see what other paper mache artists are doing.
  • And tell us a bit about yourself. We’re glad you’re here. Welcome!

Get a fast start on your next paper mache project or hand-made gift with Jonni’s easy downloadable patterns for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts. The patterns help you create a beautiful work of art, even if you’ve never sculpted anything before.

14,216 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. Here’s my roan antelope, pretty much done. I may add some more paint details, but ready to move on to something new. I didn’t get the overall color right, it’s too peachy, oh well. Still haven’t tried hanging it. I drilled a hole in the back at an upward angle, stole a magic marker lid from my son and glued it in the hole so a screw wouldn’t wear away the clay or cardboard overtime.

        • Thanks- the fur texture is just a butter knife through the pmc. The eyes are just pmc, too. I made the eyelids (w/ eyelashes) first, let them dry, then formed the eyeballs with pmc. I probably wouldn’t do that again, as they are not very smooth, but I suppose it matches the rough look of the overall sculpture, and paint hides a lot of imperfections.

    • Oh my Cassie, that is one lovely antelope! You caught that sweet vulnerable look that they have. It is not too peachy! Nicely done!

    • It’s beautiful, Cassie. The eyes are amazing, and I love those big ears – and your idea for reinforcing the hole at the back. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Cassie, wonderful antelope. I don’t think it is too peachy, but I know what you mean. The hippo, above, was supposed to be gray, but I couldn’t get it there. You have a gray on the patch on the face. How did you get that color? I don’t think I have ever painted anything that is actually gray (elephants, rhinos, hippos, etc) because I can’t make that color that looks half-way decent. Okay, enough about me!

      The idea of putting a cap or lid in the back so a nail wouldn’t wear it away is a step outside of creativity. Genius. I like the way you think outside of the box. I really like the horns, ears, and eyes. Great work. Thanks.

      • Thank you, Rex! Well, I love the hippo, no matter what color it us! As for the great on the antelope’s face, it’s actually a brown-gray. I think I just used dark brown, white and black. My next challenge is a cheetah and to not make it too yellow, or is spots too black, so wish me luck. And I don’t know about ‘genius’ status. We’ll see if it works…

        • Jesse’s tutorial on making brown has given me courage, but I didn’t get the hippo painted totally using her knowledge. I’ll keep trying.

          I often use Jonni’s suggestion to make black using Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna (or a little Raw Umber), and it works great, but I would like to get to the point where I can make it from the primary colors (all 6 of them). Don’t ask me why! Thanks.

    • Rex,
      your hippy bank is awesome. Every child should have a smiley hippy bank to encourage savings. Will you be putting a ‘starter’ coin inside? Is there a stopper in the belly to allow withdrawals?

      • Thanks, Izabella. I purposely make the hole so coins don’t fit in the slot. It is made only for paper money, and hopefully anyone contribute can find a $20 (silly me, of course). I don’t have a stopper, so it means drilling a hole in it. I wish someone would come up with a great idea for a stopper.

          • That’s a great idea. Almost everyone I have made a bank for complains that there is no “exit plan” for the money. I think my next “gift” to them will be a drill bit and a cork to fit. Great idea. Thanks.

    • Sweet hippo Rex, another masterpiece! Remind the folks why you don’t put stoppers in your banks….isn’t it to start saving for the child’s first car?
      I have used a screw top cut off of a milk jug. Imbedded the plastic of the jug into the clay and left room for the screw top. It is a bit unwieldy but it works.

      • Eileen, you have a great memory. The piggy banks began as an idea for children to save for a car (or college) when they turned 18. This was after a cousin and a nephew got a car and both wrecked them. In the family we had this joke about saving money to buy a car so you could wreck it. I have made so many banks I can’t even count (before I started the paper mache clay even), and some people refuse to put money in them because they don’t want to break them open.

        I like the idea of the milk jug because the lid is small, and I can envision gluing the plastic around the rid inside the body with clay. While tearing out the inside would be a perfect moment. I’ll have to reflect some more on it. One of the reasons I liked a bank without a hole is that it might discourage a 14-year-old from raiding the bank when he needs a soda. Thanks, Eileen.

    • Wow Rex, what an adorable hippo and what a lovely gift. I’ll bet you soon have to make another hippo because it’s stuffed with paper money in no time.

      • Thanks for the giggle, Corinne! In a light-hearted way, I’m saying no more babies. The oldest gets a bank, then the next, and the next, etc. You get the idea. I do love paper mache, however, as you know.

    • This hippo piggy bank is gorgeous, Rex!
      I like the eyes, it is as if they are full of joy, and it looks really happy as well.
      It think that everyone who is looking at this will have a smile for the rest of the day.

  2. I fell in love with your lion right when I saw him. The regal mixed with whimsical. I kept his mane long so he can sit. Snd gave him a partner. Thx for being a great creator and teacher.

  3. Hi all,

    As Christmas is behind us for more than a month now, I’m already looking forward for easter to come. It’s in this mindset that I have begun a new paper mache project: making some spring lambs. While I have attempted to create a wool-like structure, I thought that maybe some of the creative minds on this webpage could help me to figure out how it could be more ‘wool-ish’ (I’d like it to have a soft and huggable look, like lambs should have). For this little fellow (although he’s about 45 cm tall), I used paper mache clay to make the curls. There are some cracks in it because paper mache clay is not designed to use as ‘real sculpting clay’, but I’m dealing with it by filling them up with some more paper mache clay.
    Suggestions to make it more wool-ish are welcome, as I have another little lamb that needs some fleece.

    Kind regards,
    Isis.

      • Isis, I’m not going to be any help whatsoever, but this is my favorite lamb, ever. I don’t even care it is not “woolish,” but Jonni gave you a good idea. This lamb is great, and I hope we get to see it painted — if it even needs that!

        By the way, I’m thinking of making a Pyrenees, and this coat looks perfect. Can you tell us a little bit more how you made it? I have never had paper mache clay crack. Did you put the wool on a piece at a time. Thanks much. The feet are great.

        (I grew up on a farm, and I can tell you this made me love sheep again!)

        • Hi Rex,

          Thank you so much for your nice reaction.
          My intention was to paint it. But I do agree with you that it’s not really necessary…so I don’t know for sure yet.

          I don’t know if you could tell by looking at the picture, but I tried several methods. I started with his neck; my idea, at first, was to add a thicker layer of paper mache clay and then sculpt the curls with ‘clay sculpting’ tools. I thought it worked fine, however, when things started to dry, they came out too flat (Apparently my paper mache clay tends to shrink a little when it’s dry, which causes cracks when it’s applied too thick).
          So, as you already mentioned, at the end I started to put on the ‘wool’ piece by piece. That’s how I did the back leg. As you can see, it came out a little rough. I tried to create a little more detail by ‘carving’ into the thicker ridges. However, when I looked up a photo of a Pyrenees (I had no idea they were so cute!) I noticed that its hair is actually that rough in his neck. Like Eileen mentioned in the comment beneath, I think it is a good idea to make the ridges not as thick for the rest of the sculpture.
          I can’t wait to see it! It seems even more challenging then a lambs coat.

          • Isis, thanks for the reply. Also, thanks for the reminder to pull out my clay sculpting tools because they stay put away, but the worked great for this.

            I know keeping details with paper mache clay is difficult and to “overdo” it up front isn’t always obvious. Jonni would know better than me, but if your clay cracks, would a little less joint compound help with that problem?

            I love everything about your lamb and appreciate your comments on how you did it. (I just posted the hippo, and I’m a little worried that his nose and cheeks might fall off because I don’t think I ever put that many layers of clay on anything and that thick. I tried to let it dry really well between coats, but it seemed the bigger the nose got, the cuter she got.)

      • Isis, I think your lamb is fantastic! The wool looks like the scruffy coats that lambs have, maybe not make the ridges quite as thick? Left as is would be great though. I think Rex thought you used actual wool, that is a testament to how realistic it looks. Don’t be hard on yourself, it is a great lamb! I liked Jonni’s idea with the foil too.

        • Hi Eileen,

          I’m glad you liked the coat. Sometimes I have this image in my mind of how my sculpture should look like, but it almost never looks like it in reality.

          My first intention was to use actual wool. However, it is hard to find that around here (for a reasonable price at least). Additionally, actual wool gathers so much dust, which is difficult to clean on a paper mache sculpture.
          Making the ridges not as thick is a good solution as well.

      • Isis, every few hours I think of you lamb. It has such a great face. The wool on the forehead is very believable. The coat looks good to me. It may not look exactly like wool, but I think it looks better than a “woolly” pattern might look. “Poetic license” if you will. I love the dramatic quality in it.

    • Hi Isis. Your lamb is adorable! Wool is hard to sculpt. I had an idea that might work – but you’ll want to test it. I added a thin layer of fairly stiff paper mache clay over foil, and made a couple of mounds of wool by pouncing the PM clay with a very stiff ruined brush to create tiny points in the clay. Then I used my finger to slightly soften the points. Does this look like wool?
      sculpting wool

      • Hi Jonni,

        I think it’s definitely worth trying. I like the way how it’s more subtle, which I think is also the case for real lambs (especially for the very young ones). My second lamb looks younger than the one in the picture, so I think this kind of structure is better.
        Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Hello everyone. I’m working on an elephant and just made the paper mache clay. I’m wondering if there’s any special clean up procedures I need to use when cleaning up the paper clay. Am I able to just wash everything up and let it run down the drain? Will the joint compound cause problems with the plumbing? Thanks in advance.

  5. Hello

    Advice please for UK alternative to ‘drywall jointing compound’.

    Thank you.

    Google keeps bringing up, jointing compound to fix plumbing leaks . But I think I have managed to find some for plasterboard. However it’s expensive at £40 ($52) per tub, it contains gypsum and has a short use-by date, is this the one? A similar product is available in powdered form, but it sets very fast. Or alternatively small 1L tub of all purpose Pollyfilla for £10 ($13).

    • Hi Linda. Some of our readers have told us that it’s called joint filler in the UK. I don’t think a gallon should cost that much – I certainly hope not, anyway. And it should last for a very long time. This store has some that’s a bit less expensive. Does anyone from the UK have some shopping tips for Linda?

      • Hi Jonni

        Thank you for your swift reply and the links. Yes £22.90 ($30) is a lot cheaper, according to a review this product is very difficult to sand. Is this usual, perhaps it’s just this particular brand or an unfair opinion?
        Thanks

        • Most drywall joint compound is very easy to sand, but it leaves fine dust everywhere – and you must use a mask when you sand it to keep it out of your lungs. I never sand joint compound or paper mache clay. See this post for an easier way to make it smooth, without sanding.

          I don’t have any way to test that product in the paper mache clay recipe, because it isn’t sold here.

      • Hi Jonni. What are the likely results, or consequences, of using the wrong type of jointing compound or wall crack repair product? For example, the easy accessible, Pollyfilla.
        Thanks

        • Linda, I just searched for Pollyfilla UK, and it brought up this product. Aside from having more warning notices on the product than you’ll find in drywall joint compound in the US (perhaps because of different regulations) it looks like the same product that we use. I’d get the small size and do a fast test – if you mix a dab of this product with some white glue, it should not get rubbery. If it stays smooth and creamy, then it should work just fine.

          • Thank you Jonni, that’s brilliant, I can find Pollyfilla anywhere and in small size tubs, I wasn’t sure about the consequences of using it.

    • Linda,
      I use and recommend “151 All Purpose Filler” by a company 151 Products Limited.
      They come ready mixed (like the joint compound Joni uses) in 600g tubs. I got mine from a local hardware store at a very reasonable price.
      Builders merchants will have big buckets of fillers of many descriptions.
      Also eBay.

      Let me know if I can be of more help.

  6. Hi All , lots of great work going on , love love the faun. I am sad to report Serefina the seahorse was murdered in the park after a large parade in Lakeland. She will be missed as she was supposed to go to another show, but she was a huge inspiration and the city paid for her ( thank goodness) I am doing a lot more with the concrete paper pulp mix. I wanted to share I have found a company “direct colors.com” that has sample kits of concrete colorants. I think they might work well for the paper mache stuff for you guys too. I am mixing them with a sealant and they are beautiful, can be layered and brushed, spray misted or added right into the mix to cast . This is a large blue heron I am working on now using these colors. Carry on nice peeps and enjoy the colors, let me know how they work for you if you try them .

      • She was attacked , climbed , looked like hit with something until they managed to break her in half:( I don’t understand what enters peoples minds……
        The new show refunded my entry fee but the jurying was done so I was not able to send a replacement piece this year. I am hoping to finish the heron for a call for public art on an intersection corner competition. The swan bench in the back round I am waiting to hear if has been accepted to another city art on loan program . I have officially not fired my kiln in a year ! I have become a concrete girl – lol

        • What a bizarre thing to do. And they were probably so drunk or stoned that they don’t even remember doing it. What a shame. But perhaps it gives you an extra incentive to build even more beautiful sculptures this year. and perhaps show some of them inside, where the doors can be locked at night. Good luck with all the competitions. 🙂

    • Oh no!!!! Poor Serafina. I remember her well and she was a triumph! I remember voting for her too. You must have been sick when you found out. I am sorry. People can act so stupidly at times. I love the heron.
      Since you are so into cement these days, have you tried Pal Tiya yet? I wonder if the colorants you mentioned would work with Pal Tiya which is a cement based air dry clay.
      Again, so sorry about your ruined sculpture.

      • Thanks so much for voting. I make my own mix, strong, clay like and much less expensive then the premade stuff. Congrats Jonni just saw you are #1 best seller is that for the newest book ?

  7. While working on my hippo piggy-bank, I was watching PBS “Antiques Roadshow.” Here is an antique table that was made with paper mache (at least the part on top that was painted). Crazy. (Hope I’m not stepping on any copyright laws here.)

  8. Hello
    I was wondering if anybody has found a useful way to utilise the thick cardboard tubes, from inside an aluminium foil roll.

    • In the olden days!, I used to use them for legs. In the project attached, I used them for the neck and probably a bit for the top of the legs. It’s been too long. This was the last balloon piggy bank that I made that way.

  9. Hello fellow crafters!

    If I want to sculpt a body – hips, torso, arms, neck…What is the best product ot use.

    Would want to sand to smooth out the final piece and apply a color- dye, acrylic (not sure yet) and finally apply a thick protective glossy coat…Help.

    I am ready to create!

      • Thank you Jonni for all this info. I am however, planning to use the actual human form as my base. Putting the paper mache on the body to create a form.

        Was wondering if you know the process- How to prep the skin and if any specific materials are needed when mixing, applying or removing.

        Thanks again- and now form your link I have an cool idea to create a mini sculpture form!

        • To make sure I understand you, you intend to put paper mache directly on the skin of an actual person? And they will not move for 24 to 48 hours while the paper mache dries, along with the skin under the paper and paste? I do not think that’s a great idea. Skin is a huge organ that the body uses as a filter, and it’s constantly giving off moisture. Either the moisture would keep the paper mache from drying, or the drying paper mache would clog up the pores and possibly put the person in the hospital. Have you considered creating a clay sculpture, and using it as a model instead?

          So, no, I don’t know how to prep the body. You might want to see Cory Triplett’s guest post. He allowed his students to wrap him in plastic (but only for a few minutes – the skin needs to breathe!) Then they wrapped tape around the plastic (duct tape would work) and carefully cut the whole thing off the very brave art teacher and put it back together again. There are YouTube videos of people doing full-body plaster casts, but don’t even think about trying it unless you have good health insurance. Plaster can burn, and every hair on your body will come off when the plaster comes off. This does not sound like fun. The same thing would happen if you did coat a person with paper mache and it had time to dry. Pulling one hair out hurts. Imagine thousands of them all at once…

  10. Piggy bank idea.

    I wanted to add a note here while I think about it. I’m working on a hippo piggy bank. Yesterday I cut it in half and tore out the insides. While I had it open, it occurred to me to add a thin layer of paper mache clay inside the bank. I did that and was happy with the results. It dried quickly. It gave the sculpture more strength, which meant that when I put the two sides together I didn’t have collapsing parts of the sculpture to contend with. Also, the inside of the bank looked better.

    • What a good idea Rex, thank you for sharing. I admit I had to look up what “a piggy bank” is but now I know it’s a “spaarvarken” (in dutch). Looking forward to the final result.

  11. I liked Jonni’s folk art bunny so much that I am making a serie.
    The bunny and piggy are finished (except for the varnish). The dog takes more time, I find it difficult to get the colors wright.

    • These made me laugh out loud. My dog wasn’t impressed because she was sleeping!

      Jonni changed my life with making black. If you use Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna, you get a beautiful black and if you’re not too fanatic about mixing the colors together, you get a beautiful brown/blue-black color. Also, I think a little purple (Dioxazine Purple) adds another dimension to the black. Wonderful and great subjects. (I think I learned from Jonni, also, that black in animals is a blue-black, not a green-black that you often find in black tubes of paint.

      • Corinne, I second what Rex said about the black. When I use black, it is always mixed raw umber and ultramarine blue. It is a much more realistic black. Some blues over the black may give you the look you want. If not, it can always be painted over…..the beauty of acrylics! Fine job on all of your sculptures. They all have such personality!

        • Eileen, of course, is right. I often use Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Sienna and add a little Burnt Umber. I think you will find it a much more satisfying black. I wanted to clarify the Dioxazine Purple. I use it very sparingly and for high lights. You don’t want a purple dog! I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone say to me, “There’s purple on that black”; my point is that it doesn’t want to be noticeable but give a little variety to the coloring.

          My sister would knock me over for that dog, I can tell you. She trained seeing eye dogs for 20 years. I tried doing a mask for her once, and then she wanted another one. But it was too traumatic for me, so I really admire these.

          • I know what to do and that is to throw away the black paint:-) Thank you Eileen and Rex for your expertise and your kind words, appreciate it.

            With your advice I am sure I’ll succeed in bringing this dog to life. I have never used Dioxazine purple but I am certainly going to buy it. I like to experiment with different colors, its just like Eileen said I can always paint it over. When the dog is finished I’ll show you the result.

            Jonni, probably both. These are quite easy to make and an unique present. The next project I’ll make is for the granddaughter of my dear neighbour. She asked me to make a horse. For the mane of the horse I ordered colored hair extensions…

    • They’re wonderful, Corinne. I’m totally in love with the pig. The dog has a great expression. And the brown finish on the bunny makes it look like polished wood. What a nice collection. Will you keep them, or are you making gifts?

    • He does have a strong expression, and not the usual sweet and soft bunny look – but I like it. Real rabbits aren’t as meek and mild as people think they are, and his expression shows that he can handle whatever life throws his way.

      Just a few lines or a small shape can totally change the personality that appears to live inside our sculptures. Sometimes, they insist on ‘feeling’ the way they do, in spite of us.

      • That certainly is true:-)

        Now, when I look at it again, I might change the triangle at the mouth maybe this helps to give him a softer expression.

  12. Hi Everybody,
    Here another project that I think is finished. I am still in doubt if I like the bunny’s expression.
    The bunny has been made with paperstrips and DAS clay.

    • And one other suggestion – when you apply the paper mache clay, try using a silicone spatula instead of a knife. It slides over the paper mache more smoothly. You can also dip the spatula in the glue and water mixture and use that instead of the brush to smooth over large areas more quickly.

    • You have a great beginning here. With whatever I have tried, the first coat is usually rough like this.

      I don’t know if you want to consider it on this one, but I have become a fan of putting a first coat of Jonni’s paper mache clay as the first layer and then for a second coat I put on the smooth air-dry clay. You can make fur marks in the smooth clay using anything with an edge.

      I can’t wait to see this one. It is right down my alley. Also, be careful when adding the feet that you don’t break off his horns. (I say that because that is what I do!) Thanks. Really nice shape.

  13. Hi Jonnie- thank you so much for sharing all your expertise with everyone! I’ve never tried anything like this, but you made it seem so approachable, that I’m giving it a try. Our church’s VBS setting is Africa this year, so I’m working on a bunch of African animals. Starting out with a dik-dik (tiny deer- google them- they’re so cute!). I was just amazed that, by using the steps you taught, I could sculpt something like this:)

    Now- I’ve covered it with one layer of the paper mache clay, but I have two questions..
    1.) Should I have mixed the clay longer or done something else differently? (It looks much shaggier than yours do.)
    2.). How would you suggest making “fur” lines? By sanding, then adding another smooth layer that I attempt to carve fur into? or by trying to add that texture when I do the gesso layer?

    Thanks again! Have a great week!

    • Hi Pamela. Your did-dik looks great. You captured the shapes perfectly. What an unusual animal – and a great choice for your first one. For a smoother surface there are several things you can do. First, mix some white glue with water, about half and half – and then lightly brush the mixture over the wet paper mache clay. This will still leave some texture, but it won’t have a pointy look that we sometimes get when using a knife to apply the paper mache. The next step, using joint compound, would be used after the paper mache clay is dry. You can see how that’s done on this page. I would make a smooth layer first, and let it dry. Then use an old, worn-out brush to apply another very thin layer of the joint compound right over the first one, and make sure your brush marks go in the natural direction of the fir. Let that dry, and then use an acrylic gesso to protect the soft joint compound.

      I can’t wait to see how the dik-dik turns out. And all the other animals, too!

  14. I need some advice about finishing paper mache. I made a mask, using the directions on the Pokemon video, with 2 layers of plaster cloth, 2 layers of paper, a raw flour paste. I applied 3 layers of the gesso recipe in an effort to get it smooth. Now, I have put 3 coats of acrylic paint (Anita’s from Hobby Lobby in white) and the paint looks very transparent, almost as though some discoloration is bleeding through. Furthermore, the paint leaves a very matte finish, and I was hoping for something more glossy. Do I need a different paint? Can I use interior house paint? Should I add something to prevent bleeding? And how to I get a soft, semi gloss sort of finish? Thanks so much in advance.

    • Hi Pam. I’m not sure why your paint isn’t as vibrant as you want it to be. Any white acrylic paint should stay white – especially after three coats! Has anyone else had this problem?

      As for the final finish, you can use an acrylic varnish to get the glossy look you like. Any brand of acrylic varnish will work, but my favorite is The DecoArt varnish. I like a matte finish on most of my own sculptures, but for a soft shine the satin varnish will probably work best for you. The varnish will also protect the sculpture and seal it, which is always a good last step.

      • Thank you! So I just bought another brand of acrylic craft paint and so far, it is looking better. And I will try the varnish when I am through painting…

      • Just to follow up…this morning, with everything nice and dry, it looks great! One coat of acrylic paint, basically, the “premium” brand at Walmart, lol. I think it was named “Waverly”. Even the finish is better, matte, but smooth and not chalky at all, as the other paint was. Every step of this has had a learning curve…

        • Hi Pam. I’m glad it’s working now. I had no idea there would be such a difference between brands of craft paint – this is really useful information. Thanks for letting us know! We’d love to see how your mask turned out. Do you have a photo you’d like to share>

    • You are doing great. When I opened this page, I immediately recognized the dog. It will be a treasure forever. What a special gift you have. Thanks.

  15. Hi Jonni, I’m almost done with my dog. The collar needs painted and it’s tag. My friend wants Purdue Boilermakers written on it like the real dog had on his. (I’m going to do that on a steady hand day.)

    Ps; please-o please-o picture work with me and come thru!

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.