Daily Sculptors Page

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

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  • 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.

13,861 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. wanting to make farm animal (cow pig rooster) for lawn ornaments. need a mold or pattern for cow that’s fairly large. any ideas

    • I don’t know if this will be helpful, but I have two cow patterns that I made. If you are interested in either, I think I can make a usable pattern. Right now one pattern is rough and the other pattern is 12″ x 24″! I could make it smaller if you’re interested.

      I made a “cow” for my sister, which is this one, and I didn’t like it much (I’m not fond of cows!).

      • Here is the whimsical cow. I draw my patterns on a grid, and then I can make the sculpture any size I want. Jonni’s book explains now to do that easily.

        The pattern I have is 24″ long and about 22″ tall. I could put it on a grid for you.

        Jonni’s pig is great. I don’t know how many I have made, but they have been large and small, using the grid system.

          • I went out to see the mother of the groom, and she had picked it up by the ear and cracked it. Good thing it was mesh wire. She wanted to glue it back on, but I wasn’t hearing that, so I’ve completed surgery on it and now needs painting, along with everything else!

            Thanks, Jonni.

      • woohoo..thank you so very much. Cow is adorable. would love pattern and explanation of grid. Again Thank You !

        • I pulled out the pattern and somehow it is messed up. I found my sketch from before and will try and create a new pattern. I don’t know what went wrong. It may take a couple of days.

          Jonni’s book, “make animal sculptures,” has a chapter in which she explains the grid pattern in detail and shows how to create a pattern for any animal. It is very clear. Simply, however, I have a 1/2″ grid that I created in a computer program and print it out on plain paper. When I find an image I want to make, I copy that over the grid. From there I draw another grid on cardboard. I make the grids larger than the original, the size I want the final project to be. Then copy the image from the small grid to the larger one. Hope that makes sense.

          • By the way, if you search for “giraffe” on this site, you will find my explorations into making a giraffe and you can see the image of a giraffe on the cardboard grid. Thanks. Sorry for taking so long.

        • I tried to “reverse engineer” the image, and here is the best I can do. Feel free, of course, to make any alterations you wish. The ear looks all right on the cow, but it doesn’t look right on the pattern at all.

          I will send Jonni a higher-image of the pattern. This one may not work from the post.

          Have fun!

    • Wow! It’s fantastic. Thaqnk you so much for showing it to us. I don’t suppose you took progress photos, and that you’d like to write a guest post showing us how you did it??

        • Great! Just send your email, with photos attached, to me. Be sure to put “paper mache” in the subject line, so it won’t get accidentally deleted along with the 200+ unwanted emails I get every day. Put notes in the article so I know where each photo goes, and let me know if you have a website you’d like me to link to. A few words to introduce yourself would be nice. And please don’t get fancy and put the article in a Word doc or PDF – just an email is much easier for me.

          We can’t wait to see it!

      • Lezlei, your giraffe is wonderful. That had to be a tremendous amount of work. I hope in your guest post you will tell us how long it took to complete AND where he/she will live. I love it! Thank you for showing us!

    • Wow! Do you know how much time it took you to do your Giraf?
      It is really beautifull. Wow… It is really impressive!

  2. Suddenly realized it has been a l-o-n-g time since I popped by to Ultimate PaperMache. For some reason my posts would not post & I kinda drifted away…

    Well, the bad news, my dear disability service dog passed away last year. Miss her terribly & I am restricted in my ablity to get out of the house again.

    But

    The good news: I decided I really needed to downsize (No seriously, I had rooms full of sculptures) & pass on some of the sculptures I had created. So I started selling – & am pleased to say I have sold hundreds since I was last on Ultimate Papermache.

    See. I knew it wasn’t just for kids.

    • It’s so good to hear from you again! I don’t know why you weren’t able to post before – but the security system does sometimes hide good posts from friends in the trash bin along with all the ones selling pharmaceutical products of a certain kind. Your email might have been flagged for some reason. There’s no way to understand algorithms – sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.

      That is so sad about the loss of your dog. I hope you can find another canine friend to help you get around a bit more. But also good news about selling your work. Your work is so unique and imaginary, I can see why it would sell well. And you have a great website. Is that new?

    • Good to hear from you again. Been missing those unique pieces.

      I’m not a bit surprised you have sold your sculptures. I hope you can retire in style!

      Very sorry to hear about your service dog. It’s tough. My sister raised service dogs for 20 years, and it’s a wonderful service. Hope you can get another one, but I know it is a process.

      Best to you, and please update from time to time.

    • Kuriologist, I can really only echo what Jonni and Rex have said. Truly sorry for your lose, but not at all surprised that you could sell your often gorgeous, sometimes challenging art. Best of everything to you!

  3. Jonni, going to try to post a pic of my cockatiel. You saw him when he was just white, unbaked polymer clay. This is a mixed media piece, as mine sculpts often are. I thought that I might have made a mistake by gluing on some real, naturally-shed feathers, but it is what it is. I ain’t taking them off now.

    • No, don’t take them off – they’re perfect. He looks so alert, it would be hard to not try to teach him to talk. (Love those flowers, too. What did you use to make those?)

      • Awww, Thanks, Jonni. I’m almost loopy enough to try to teach him to talk, although my real featherbabies never did. The flowers/leaves are just non-corrugated cardboard that has been hand cut, painted and coated with hot glue. I already posted the (way too big) hummingbird, I think, but here he is again.

        • Great hummingbird Shelbot! I have done several and they are not easy! How did you keep him up? When I did mine, I used a heavy wire that went from the base, through the flower and then through the entire bird, beak to tail. I also like your cockatiel. He is very life like. I had a friend who had one and the only talking it did was to call the dog! Such characters!

          • Thank you, Eileen! Yes, just some wire from an old clothes hanger, from the base to the bird. His beak is just that wire, painted. It would have been wise to go to the tail. I, alas, did not. My cockatiels (I had one at a time and they are both long gone now) made wonderful little sounds, but I don’t think they ever formulated a word. Loved them a lot though. Thanks again!

        • I would like to know the answer to Eileen’s question, too. How the heck did you get the hummingbird to stay up like that? And did you make the flowers the same way that you did for the other one, with the non-corrugated cardboard and hot glue? I’ve heard you mention using hot glue on top of things before, but I don’t understand how that would work. Hints?

          • Jonni, I needed it to be sturdy, so I used old clothes hanger wire from base to bird (Eileen had the good sense to go all the way to the tail), but that type of wire as his beak necessitated that he be larger than an actual Ruby-throated humming-bird. The leaves on this one have wire (not as thick as that hanger) in them. This flower is glued inside a very inelegant “cup” of paper mache and the petals ARE non-corrugated cardboard, but have several coats of gloss glaze instead of hot glue. As for the hot glue (not sure this is recommended by manufacturers), I just use the nozzle of the glue gun to “paint” the glue on. It IS recommended that you have cold water/ice nearby for accidents, but I never do.

            • Thanks, Shelbot. This was very helpful. and I hope your last sentence means that you never burn yourself with the glue, like I do at least five times every time I turn the danged thing on. I never thought of having ice water handy – great tip. ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Jonni, sorry I was unclear. I burn myself all the %#@$&+! time, I’m just too lazy to have the water/ice handy. BTW- I don’t have a pic of the cockatiel’s feet, but I made them by making the feet/toes shape with wire, “sculpting” with hot glue, then painting them. I did not work long enough on them to make them great, but they looked pretty good.

    • Yes, Sir. I like the feathers. Didn’t really notice they were real until I read your comments. The flowers are great. I need about a hundred of them for the fairy tree that I may never do! Thanks.

      • Rex, Thank you very much for the comment. I hope that you do make your fairy tree. If you need help making flowers, let me know.

      • Donโ€™t give up Rex! That fairy tree will get completed when it is time and not one moment sooner! I am thinking of doing a tutorial on doing the leaves and flowers with Jonniโ€™s smooth clay…will that help?

        • Eileen, it would help me, for sure. Of course, I can’t speak for Rex. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Yesterday I saw a video about using air dry clay with real leaves for a mold, a lot like my dad uses rhubarb leaves to shape big concrete leaves. But she’s using a water-based clay, like the kind you’d use for pottery. Have you ever done anything like that using our DIY clay? I have two batches sitting in my studio that I made for the recent video – if you think it would work, I might give it a try. They’d be cute for nuts or jewelry, perhaps – but not waterproof, of course.

          • Yes, I have made leaves with an actual leaf as the mold. With your air dry clay it will work slightly differently than the water based clay in the video.
            Roll your clay between 2 sheets of either waxed paper or Saran Wrap. Roll the leaves with the bottom down because the texture is better.. take the wrap off the top and let dry for a bit. Then you can use a scissor to cut around the edge or a knife like in the video. I think the knife may not work as well though…it might just pull away rather than cut. Then remove the leaf and place in the position that you want and let fully dry. The plastic wrap will peel right off. If youโ€™re u need to trim, you can use a scissor or utility knife to trim. Very similar to your dadโ€™s cement leaves. Good luck! I will try and make up a tutorial on all this since there seems to be some interest. Hopefully rather soon!

  4. I finished one of my sculpts tonight . It is myself and my dog Eon when we where competing at the national level. I am so happy how it turned out . I only gave it one go over dry brush of the bronze paint . I think I leave it this way . Thought you all would enjoy to see it .

    • Pia, although I (almost) always prefer “natural” painting to bronze/bronze paint, etc., you do some beautiful work. I would have thought it was an actual bronze piece. Thank you for posting!

    • Pia, you are over-the-top perfect. I LOVE the way your leg is against the dog. What a love.

      That’s going to be worth $1.5 million one day. Just saying.

      • Hi Rex Thank you so much , This is the picture I used . both of the dogs front feet where off the ground and one of mine . I did had to use a thump nail on his inside foot to keep the sculpture standing . I had started this a few years ago but failed the human was just so hard and the dog well was still non existent . It was Jonni’s video how to make an armature and the elephant that got me kicked into gear about 2 months ago . As with the orangutan baby who also was in the box ( glad never threw them out they where awesome base shapes ) . I did use action figure clothes dipped in glue ,now that I know I can roll out the Air dry clay between two sheets of wax paper ( Thanks Eileen ) I will attempt to make clothes when I make another human ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Thank you ,Eileen that is what my hubby said too. I been flooring that man with my new found talent . He wants me to make him a Planet of the Apes gorilla soldier on his horse to display in his man cave , so I am going to give that a try along with a fruit bat hanging off of a branch for my daughter .

        • Pia, POTA Gorilla soldier on horseback and a fruit bat?!!! Please show us EVERYTHING you make, maybe even progress pix, when you can. I realize that you may not have time for all that, but I/we love seeing your fantastic sculpts. Thank you!

          • Hi Mister Shelbot , just for you a picture of the progress so far on my Gorilla head sculpt still much to do . I found a nice stainless steel table lamp at the second hand store that my hubby modified to make the mounting base for this sculpt. Love finding a bargain.

            • Pia, I’m going to second Rex on the keeping the husband thing. He sounds amazing, but then, so are you. And I can’t even tell you how much I love that Gorilla head sculpt! He’s really beautiful. Will he be “natural’ or “bronze” when finished? In any event, Thank you so much for showing me/us!

            • Pia, that is wonderful news. Really enjoying your replies, but I know you have a lot to do, so don’t feel bad if you can’t always respond to my ramblings. : )

        • Yeah, keep your husband! I would love to see that Planet of the Apes gorilla. (I love stories where “animals” have the upper hand!)

  5. Jonni recommended that I post here to see if anyone has used gourds as a background for their sculpturing shape. hi Jonni, I have been following your emails and I am now ready to start my first project. I do have a few questions. My base will be gourds, I want to make faces on the gourds mostly Santa aces, My question is which of your mixtures will work the est and do I need to add features such as nose and cheeks or can I mold them right from the clay right on the gourd, I was thinking of spraying the gourd with 123 primer as I did when I painted on the faces, is that ok? Will the clay stick to the gourd or do i have to make a shape first as you do when you are sculpturing a paper mache? I am really excited in trying this.. painting has been my main art for my shop now I want to try new things and sculpturing is one of the art I am very interested in. I would appreciate any advise you can pass on to me in my new venture. LInda

    • Linda, I’m not sure if this will help at all, but I knew a woman who sculpted on gourds. She used mostly SuperSculpty, but I did make her PM clay and she used it. She didn’t put anything on the gourds.

      I will attach a couple of photographs because that will answer more than I can say. I think you do have to make the sculpture “hang” onto the gourd so that it doesn’t just fall off. (I could be lying, maybe it won’t fall off, anyway.) Sorry I don’t know more.

        • Here is one she did. The body is paper mache. The legs were dog chews, and you can see my girl helped herself to one of the legs.

          I will add that on some she mixed pm clay and SuperSculptey.

      • Your Majesty, I believe I remember your friend’s witch and the beautiful, but unfortunate (LOL), vulture. I hope that it helps Linda. I really want to see her gourd sculptures. But I also just liked looking at the pix, so Thank you for posting.

  6. Jonni recommended that I post here to see if anyone has used gourds as a bax=background for their sculpturing shape. hi Jonni, I have been following your emails and I am now ready to start my first project. I do have a few questions. My base will be gourds, I want to make faces on the gourds mostly Santa aces, My question is which of your mixtures will work the est and do I need to add features such as nose and cheeks or can I mold them right from the clay right on the gourd, I was thinking of spraying the gourd with 123 primer as I did when I painted on the faces, is that ok? Will the clay stick to the gourd or do i have to make a shape first as you do when you are sculpturing a paper mache? I am really excited in trying this.. painting has been my main art for my shop now I want to try new things and sculpturing is one of the art I am very interested in. I would appreciate any advise you can pass on to me in my new venture. LInda

  7. Hi Joni and sculpting friends,
    I have been gone from the posts for a couple years!! So weird to realize how long it’s been since I’ve been on your blog; Thank you for still going strong and your ongoing generosity!!

    Okay, so, I’m catching up on what’s new and what’s old and how things have improved in the world of mask and sculpture making. Ove the past couple days I’ve made two paper mache masks, the old style method of building up the subjects on a face mold (of my face), in clay, and layered blue towels with the original recipe of plaster, glue, vinegar and water over it. (All’s well but sure is messy, how we forget those little details.) And in my hopes of creating a more smooth outcome, remembered about the PM clay recipes.
    So before I continue to work…
    I’m currently ready to cover a mountain lion but my armature is the sculpy clay, and I know I can’t cover that permanently due to the oil base of the clay. (Plus it’s heavy as sin).
    But, Can I use the paper mache clay recipe as I would the original recipe (with plaster, blue towel, etc.)? Or does the paper mache clay ONLY work when it’s covering a substrate/artature that has no water or oil base to it? (Such as wire or foil, etc.) Will it dry on top of such a thing? Will I be able to dig out the clay from the back side of the PMclay or will this adhere to the sculpy? Will it be necessary to use the vaseline/plastic layer prior to the PMclay or can I spread a thin layer of Vaseline to the clay as is, without the plastic sheet, and then use the clay? OR… sorry, 20 questions… Or, does the paper mache clay recipe stand alone, and I shouldn’t be used with anything but a coverable substrate? Is it still true that I’ll only need a thin layer to cover the mask, and once dry, will be stronger than the couple layers of towels I’d ordinarily use? Are the PMclay masks comfortable? Light weight? drillable for elastic/ribbons? Oof!! so many questions!!
    Did any of that make sense?
    Thank you for any help. I’m on a timeline to finish 16 masks before September; and with the original recipe and towels, layers, details being lost in the folds… I’m hoping to source this information before wrecking a nice little lion face.
    All the best,
    Susan

    • Hi Susan. I think the paper mache clay will come off the Sculpy if you use just a thin layer of petroleum jelly, but I have to say that a mask made entirely of pm clay is not very comfortable. It dries really hard, like plastic, and any tiny bump on the inside will scratch your skin. If possible, use at least one layer of paper strips and paste, because it will be much smoother and easier to wear. Just use newspaper and the flour and water paste. Then you could use the air dry clay over it, which will help you make finer details. You can find that recipe here. It isn’t very sticky, but you can brush the paper strips with a light coat of a mixture of water and glue, and the air dry clay will bond to the paper mache and make a nice strong mask. If any details are lost in the process, you can add them back in with the air dry clay.

      I hope this helps. Have fun!

      • Oh Thanks for getting back to me so quickly Jonni! I’ll post a photo when I’m done with it. Thanks for the ideas!

  8. I put it on top of a few, after I had painted, but the last few I put the urethane on first, it soaked in, I primed it and painted. I’ll use a clear spray to hold the color.
    Since it soaked in I’m hoping it sealed.

  9. I’m new at this. Used urethane over the clay, then a primer before I painted. I’ll spray it to seal the paint I’d like to think I have the clay sealed. I’ll put a piece outside to find out.

    • Good luck with it. When I tried using urethane varnish over my tortoise, it lasted until the sun hit it. Then it cracked, and the water got in. I’d suggest keeping it in the shade, at least until you’re sure it will work.

    • I will be interested in your experiment.

      I quit using urethane, and I don’t know how you painted over it. Did that work all right? Please let us know.

      Thanks.

  10. Hello, everyone. I think it’s time for me to make another video showing people how to make the Silky-Smooth Air Dry Clay. (It’s going to rain tomorrow, so I can take a few hours off from painting the house to make my new video.)

    Anyhoo – a lot of you have more experience with the air dry clay recipe than I do. If you have any suggestions for things I should mention, like tips on how to mix it or ways you can use it that I haven’t tried, please let me know.

    I also hope you’re having a great start to your summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Jonni not sure if you have used it as such . Many PM artist use polymer clay but your air dry clay works awesome for details too such as claws and teeth . Like I mentioned before I make nails teeth it ahead of time with nails I stick the dry ones into the wet end of the toe such as I did on the gargoyle. For the first time on the gorilla I used your clay with my glass eye , I formed the eye ball with the clay let it dry but I also poked a hole in the back side so air can get inside it . The hole comes in handy when you have to pop out the glass cabochons for what ever reason . Then I used the dremel to carve out the depth and size of the glass cabochons (which are the iris of the eye.) came out so good . I mix it by the gram scale as you suggest in your video comes out every time. I haven’t tried polymer clay at all so I do not have any comparison . Same to you have a great summer

      • Well, Pia, I’m still jealous and in therapy for my envy of your creations! However, putting that aside, are you saying that you pound nails into a “jaw” and then put the clay over the nails? I would love to know more about how you do that. I really need to give that a try.

        I have made teeth and nails using clay, and they break very easily. So I have gone back to making teeth and nails out of air dry clay, and I’ve had no trouble with the clay breaking, except if I step on it or otherwise abuse the thing.

        Did you use a pattern for the gargoyle? Do you care if I try and attempt to copy yours? I don’t know how to do figures, but that monster is perfect. O High One! Thank you.

        • Hi Rex , I used Silas the gargoyle as a guideline because I liked the pose . you can look it up on google . I did not make a pattern I just went with it ๐Ÿ™‚ No ,of course I would not mind. as for the jaw I make the teeth ahead of time place them on the jaw line and then place the lips over it . With the gargoyle I used cloth with the dogs air dry clay for the lips. same with claws I make them ahead by rolling a piece of air dry clay in between my fingers . Then when I got the toes where I want it to be I stick the dry claw into the soft clay on the end of the toe /finger to get this effect . I attach a picture of the fingers

          • I find that really interesting and can’t wait to try it. I’m attaching a photo of a dinosaur I made a couple of years ago. I can tell already that if I had made the claws and let them dry, it would have saved me a world of frustration. And tons of time.

            Just to be clear, You make the claws and teeth and place them on a nail, and after they dry, you can insert them into wet clay?

            • Here is another animal I’m trying to get painted. You can see the same problem I’m having with the teeth and claws.

              I used a wire grid for the jaw bones and added clay on top of that.

              I think it’s too late to cut out the teeth and start over! Thanks again.

            • Rex, this is a totally different subject, but would it be OK with you if I use one of your photos of your pumpkins in the video to show people a project using one layer of PM clay with the air dry clay over it? (Nice scary teeth, by the way. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

            • no I just stick them into the wet clay no nail no wire was needed because the air dry clay get so hard . After everything dried I just brushed more glue over where the claws had been added worked well .I think your teeth and claws are great I wouldn’t change them ,very nice work !

            • Jonni, certainly. Use anything you wish.

              Another comment about air dry clay is that it dries quickly and I would recommend keeping it in a baggie. I was working on a lamb today and because I was slow, the dob I had out dried before I got to it.

              Thanks.

            • Hi Rex I pained the gargoyle by first applying a coat of watered down charcoal grey all over it . Watered down it was easy to get to every nook and granny , once that was dry I used 3 different shades of grey starting with the darkest first . I dry brushed all of the shades on the sculpture . I also used the cellulose insulation clay .I wanted a rougher surface look for the more stone like effect . Hope that helps . I need to look I did make pictures from the beginning of the gargoyle would that help you ? I will post if you think that would help you .

            • Pia, I would love to see it.

              By the way, I finished a lamb today. The watering down technique will be great for getting into its rough coat. Thanks.

              Love the gray colors, also. Very interesting.

          • Pia, I’ve heard of people using polymer clay and epoxy clay for teeth and claws, but I didn’t know the air dry clay would work, too. I’m sure you already told us, but I forgot. Thanks for the photos. If I can fit it in, would you mind if I use one of your photos in my video?

            • Hi Jonni ,I would be honored . It also worked really well with making an eyeball with a glass iris insert . Very life like I took a picture of them for you . I am still experimenting on how far I can push this beautiful air dry clay of yours .

            • Pia, you are so good. I was looking at the gargoyle again — yours is much better than anything on google! — and can you tell me how you painted it.

              I love the smooth air dry clay, and I will be interested in how far you can push it! After applying it, I wet my finger and push it around. Also makes the surface smooth, if you’re looking for that.

      • Pia, do you happen to have a close-up photo of one of the eyes you made this way? Or better yet, would you have any interest in writing up a guest post to show us exactly how you do it? I bought a bag of the glass cabochons a few years ago, and they’ve been sitting in my drawer ever since. I’ve never used them. Now that you bring it up, I’m really anxious to give it a try.

        • Hi Jonni I looked on my phone and I did make a picture of them after they where done . the iris is glass the eyeball air dry clay . Sure but you have to tell me how to do a guest post . I did the ball first and then had to use a dremel to make an indent , so the glass cabochon fit in flush . I am wondering if I could have just push the glass into the soft clay , that would make it easier .

          • Hi Pia. For guest posts, I just need the text of your article sent as the text in an email message, along with the images you want to include. Let me know where to put the images, and if you have a website that you’d like me to link to. You can find my contact info here.

            Those eyeballs look just as nice as the expensive ones from the taxidermy supply stores. I know we would all love to see how they’re done. Do you paint the eyes onto the back of the glass, before you press it into the air dry clay ball? Or should I stop being so nosy and wait for your post? ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Hi Jonni yes the iris is painted in on the back side of the glass . I found some ideas on line on how to . With the gargoyle eyes I used the scratching technique to get the effect for the different colors of his dragon eyes ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried painting the entire eye on glass it did not come out as good as these. You are so good painting eyes yours would be out of this world !! My gorilla is coming along just handsomely . I modified the original cellulose recipe from Stalloween and was able to use it for the fur texture and ears finally can sculpt with it and get it to be smooth and don’t mind working with it anymore. I still have so much of the cellulose insulation in the basement . Have a great day

          • I have never done anything like this, but I bet you could just push them into the smooth air dry clay. You can always wet your finger and clean them off. I do it all the time.

    • Jonni, I was thinking about the process this morning when making another batch. I think you have it down. I’ll try, briefly, to relate how I do it.

      Mix wet paper with baby oil, elmer’s glue, and joint compound. I mix it well with a beater. At this stage it is very beatable! (Actually, I had breakfast at this stage, and I imagined that waiting a few minutes until the next stage helped it soften the paper. It is probably unnecessary, but I tear every section of the toilet paper and after it is wet, I break it apart. I never have lumps in my smooth clay.)

      I sprinkle the corn starch on top and beat it up. Easy.

      The last stage is I add the flour. At this stage the clay begins to get thick and tries to creep up inside the beater. To prevent that I beat a small section on the side of my plastic bowl and as I move around the bowl, I do and up-and-down motion with the beaters. It works well. I don’t beat it a long time because the kneading part takes care of whatever I have missed.

      I put a bit of flour on the counter, scrape out the clay onto it, and add a little flour on top. I knead it until and add flour until it gets to the consistency I like. The part of your video I really liked is checking to make sure the the air dry clay holds a shape. This has been really important for me, especially in doing ears, eyes, tails, hooves, and mouths. I beat the first bowl of flour into the clay and add the second bowl until the texture of the clay is where I like. Usually there is not much flour left in the second bowl. Other times I use it all.

      I’m one of those people who puts all the dry ingredients into bowls, so I have two bowls of flour and one of corn starch.

      A little backwards here, but I put the wet paper in the bowl, set it on a scale, add the baby oil, reset the scale, add the glue, reset the scale, add the joint compound, etc.

      As I’ve said a million times before, when I got the clay to the consistency I love to work with, I weighed the ingredients.

      I can’t wait to see how you improve on that! Thanks so much.

      Now, off to outside to sand the cow! LOVE your sander.

      • Thanks, Rex! You’ve shared some great info. I must admit that it’s been awhile since I mixed a batch of air dry clay, so this is going to help a lot. I’m wondering if your mixer has the dough hooks that I like to use with the PM clay at the end of mixing. The material doesn’t crawl up the beaters as much, but a lot of small electric mixers don’t come with dough mixers. It might be worth watching for them at garage sales.

        • I think Eileen is wrong and the corn starch should be added first. lol (just kidding. I don’t know if it matters.)

          I do have dough hook beaters, and I used them for a while, but I don’t use them any more. I find if I mix the wet ingredients with the paper first and beat it, there is no problem with the beaters when I add the corn starch. When I add the first bowl of flour, however, I watch the beaters carefully because the clay will crawl up them quickly. That is why I do an up and down motion on the last bit. But the dough hook beaters work well. I’m just too lazy to change them.

          I’ve had my small electric mixer for five years now, and I found one at that time with the dough beaters. If someone is dying for hook dough beaters, I’ll be happy to donate mine.

          Having said that, when I mix two or three batches at one time, the regular beaters do get more of a challenge. When I was making five batches at once, I bought a beater that goes on my drill. That worked well, also.

          Sorry for going on so long.

          I went out to visit a cousin today to help her with her air conditioners, and I saw the cow I made a couple of years ago. I forgot how cute it was! It is a couple of feet tall. When I gave it to her, I told her to pick it up by its tail (which is a hook) and not by its ears, but she forgot. When she picked it up, the ear broke. She wanted to glue it back on, and I told her NO! I have it at home and have cut a large section away from the ear and am building the clay up a bit at a time. My point is that if a sculpture is heavy, one might want to add as much clay around the ear as one can. I cut deep in this one and am adding about a 1/4″ of clay at a time. Don’t know if that is helpful to anyone.

          • Poor cow! But now she’ll remember to be careful of the ears. My piggy lost an ear when the cat knocked him off his shelf. I removed some of the pm clay around it, and then built the ear out of plaster cloth and covered it with a thin layer of the air dry clay. It worked, but I still haven’t painted it. Your cow will probably be finished before I get around to it.

            • I like the idea of plaster cloth. I even have some. I don’t know why I have never tried it.

              The cow was for her son for his wedding, which was two years ago. She has kept it because they have been moving. I told her she ought to keep it, but I’m not in charge.

    • I agree with all the comments on the smooth air dry clay. I have done the claws that way as Pia with success and do make the clay the way Rex does as well but I put corn starch on the kneading board instead of flour. One thing i have experienced with my students is that they, as beginners, tend to overuse the glue and water mix to try to get it super smooth and they wind up making a sticky mess. So emphasize the minimal use of glue and water to smooth it out. You might want them to know of the color changes as it dries. I tell my students that if there is any yellow left on the sculpture, it is not dry. Also that if they can push it in at all, it is not dry. It really has no give when dry. Lastly, this smooth clay can be rolled out between wax paper and then leaves or petals can be cut out of the partially dried rolled out clay. It is fun to do flowers in that manner.

      • Thanks, Pia.

        Eileen, your comments are great.

        I use 2 bowls with 70 gm flour and 1 bowl of 70 gm corn starch. Are you saying you use 2 bowls of corn starch? or just add it when you knead the clay?

        One of these years I want to get back to my fairy tree and do the leaves the way you said.

        • Rex, I use cornstarch on the counter when I knead it, otherwise all the measurements are the same. I add more cornstarch as needed.

          • Eileen, good morning! I don’t always use all the flour in the last step. As soon as it “feels” right to me, I stop. If I used corn starch in the kneading, I might end up with less of it.

            We need a chemist or a lab technician (I don’t keep lab notebooks but I should!), and I’m not sure if the recipe needs all the corn starch.

            What’s next?

            (Sheep and baby cow are coming, I promise.)

      • Eileen, I believe you showed us a sculpture that had flower petals made with the air dry clay. Would you mind if I use the photo in my video as an example? I’ll have to hunt for it, but I’m sure it will be easy to find.

  11. Rex, my last two (well, NoButcher is not completely done) only took weeks. Unusual for me, I know. Though I still have a lot of really old WIPs sitting around. Glad that yours won’t take years. Did you already have a post where you told us who will be lucky enough to receive the calf and sheep, etc? I know that I’m missing something.

  12. Some time back I posted a dragon I was working on and new it is done it was a long time coming but I liked how it turned out.

  13. Here is my first PM attempt, Bambi laying in my garden. I was worried about any standing water that could damage it from the bottom so I painted the bottom with Redgaurd (a rubber coating, used in showers). It doesn’t smooth out well-but, its the bottom after all!

    • It’s lovely, Angela. Do you intend to leave him out in the rain? It’s so beautifully done, I worry that water could make him melt. Did you use a good waterproof coating on the upper portion, too?

      • Thank you, Jonni. I did spray a couple coats of Spar Urethane over it and am hoping that will protect it. Honestly, I am more worried about the heat. Its been 107 for a couple days now and it will be getting over 110 many days this summer. If you have any favorites for weather-proofing for rain and sun, please share! I have started a Winnie the Pooh and any changes or additions are welcome by all!!

        • Hi Angela. I have to admit that all of my waterproofing experiments were failure. My Spar varnish cracked in the sun, but it worked well when the turtle sculpture was in the shade. Many of my readers swear by Flex Seal. I haven’t tried it yet, but I hope to experiment with it sometime this summer. Our biggest problem is the huge temperature swings, with -40ยฐ one month, and +80ยฐ the next. That can put a big strain on any outdoor projects. Be sure to read Linda’s guest post about her waterproof toadstool. She contacted me recently and said it’s still fine, and she lives in the Florida panhandle, where they get plenty of rain.

          • Thanks for the response and info Jonni. I did actually buy some flex seal but hesitated putting it on as i was not sure if it would yellow as I have seen some sealant-like products do on various things. If your readers are recommending, I feel better and will go ahead and give it a shot. Thanks again!

            • Hi again everyone! I haven’t used it on paper mache, but I am using a product called Ames Elasto-Barrier on the flat roof of a shed I’ve built. It’s gray and it would have to be used as the primer and then painted. It’s water-based so any latex or acrylic paint could go over it. It isn’t UV stabilized, so something has to go over it, and it is rubber, so small details would get lost. But it is much less expensive than Flex Seal. I got it at Ace. You may want to look into it.

    • That is really nice. Love the spots. It is an amazing first project, and the butterfly happened by just in time to make it a wonderful photo. Thanks.

    • Wow! He’s beautiful, Michael. Using the brown fabric for a mane is a great idea, too. I assume that all the extra fabric is for a costume? I’m sure you told us already, but my brain is a sieve – but anyway, if it’s going to be worn, I hope he can also be displayed somewhere permanently. It’s way too nice to only be seen a few times.

      • Actually, the fabric neck is meant to allow the sculpture to grow on stage as students bring offerings for a missions project during the week. The stage in our sanctuary has a 14-foot ceiling. My mother made the neck 24 feet long!

        I think I’ll try a tabletop sculpture next. I would like to try something like the Scottish lion rampant.

        • Oh, of course – now I remember that you told us that before. And I must say that you have a very talented (and patient) mother.

          If your giraffe is a big hit with the students this year, perhaps he could become a tradition.

    • Michael linville, Although Jonni (and Rex) are extremely generous, I find that some artists, and they know who they are, selfishly refuse to send me their amazing works of art. Will YOU go on the selfish list? I want this giraffe. Seriously though, it is beautiful. If you are the artist that posted the pic of the face/eye of an elephant sculpt, that was beautiful too. More pix please of ANYTHING you make.

      • You are too kind! The elephant was also mine. Both sculptures were primarily made for our vacation bible school, safari themed obviously. I have taken first rights on the elephant, and I’m giving first rights to the church for the giraffe.

        With the fabric, it looks to me like a morality tale of why we don’t blend giraffe and python DNA!

        • Michael, I SO want to see a pyraffe or a girthon! But you do you. LOL. I really love your sculptures. Did you post other pix of the elephant anywhere? And are you making any more safari (or other) animals? I’ve only ever made two giraffes, I think. Both small and couldn’t hold a candle to yours, but I’ll try to post them. The first, if it comes through, is a birthday party, with an elephant, BTW.

            • Talking with my wife I made a joke about opening an Etsy shop. This hobby is fun enough that it could possibly happen. Until then I will always post a pic of anything I make from paper mache (pmc) here. More pics will be available on my Instagram feed. You can find me @Linville.Teacher. Of course, you will have to deal with my other hobbies and pics of my family, especially my kiddos.

            • Michael, I’ll let you be for a while after this post, but I hope that you do open an Etsy shop at some point. I’d not be able to afford you, but other people would. Thank you for the comment about my giraffe and especially for the info to view more pix. I’m sure your family and your other hobbies are terrific also.

            • Rex, I believe you are addressing that comment to Michael, but I’ll paint your giraffes for you. ?

        • Michael, Sorry. I just saw where you already told us you might make a Scottish lion rampant. Please show us pix when you can.

      • I used burnt umber and ultramarine for the base, then I used burnt umber and canary yellow for the top color.

        I would have liked to use brighter tones, but I needed to match the fabric.

  14. Hi all,

    I am in need of your advise…

    I have volunteered to make a game for the school fair and it consists of a large paper mache nose. I was wondering if you could advise me in best way to do this and best way to fix the nose to plywood also, that will be strong and Not allow the nose to fall off?

    Please see pic for better idea.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jessica. Does the back of the nose need to be open? It looks like the girl is reaching in for something, so I’m assuming someone is back there handing her something? If that’s the case, I think I’d cut out the hole first, and then create a rim around it, perhaps with heavy cardboard. If this was tacked to the edge of the hole, and if it extended out a few inches, you could then place it on the floor and create your form with a big plastic bag filled with crumpled newspapers or bubble wrap. Cover the bag with paper mache (or my paper mache clay recipe) and let it dry. Then remove the form and paint the nose. Would that work?

      • Yes thatโ€™s right where the nostrils will sit there will be 2 holes big enough to fit hands in and behind them a will sit buckets – 1 full of prizes the other slime.

        • If you’re only making holes big enough for hands, my idea wouldn’t quite work. But you could cut a long piece of cardboard about six inches wide. Cut tabs into one side, and then shape the long piece into the outline of your nose. Use wood glue or Elmer’s Glue-All to attach the piece to the plywood backing. The un-tabbed piece will then form the outside edge of your nose, and you can fill in the shapes with crumpled paper and masking tape. I threw together a very crude drawing of the idea – let me know if it doesn’t make any sense. The squigly lines are the crumpled paper before the masking tape and paper mache has been added. The tabs would have to be covered with paper mache to hide them, unless you glue them to the plywood in the area inside the outline of the nose.

          paper mache nose

  15. Oh my, No Butcher is adorable Mister Shelbot , so is your chocolate lab . The scary masks are creepy , if you know what I mean . hahaha. Very good job on all . I enjoy seeing everyone’s creations

    • Pia, Thank you so much for your comments! I enjoy seeing everyone’s creations too. Can never have too many pictures.

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