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.

14,607 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. I just displayed a life-sized camel at a large event at the Botanical Garden where I work part time. It is made mostly of palm frond parts, but I used Jonni’s book and you-tube posts for inspiration for the armature, which was made of thin plywood with plastic flowerpots to offset the hips and shoulders from the body. Here is a picture of my camel poorly PhotoShopped to stand in front of the Giza Pyramids (my picture). My first attempt at anything like this. Thanks for the great website and books!

    Reply
    • That is crazy! What an imagination you have. I have a nephew who began making a camel, and I’d love for him to see this. Thank you. And love the pyramids, also.

      Reply
      • Thanks! Not so much imagination as a good reference photo, as Jonni always emphasizes. “Palmer,” (because he’s made of palm parts) is based on a drawing by Elijah Walton, from the 1800’s. So less imagination than success at reproducing the silhouette using the grid system!

        Reply
    • John, that is an incredibly cool looking camel and a great picture. I wish I could PhotoShop that “poorly”.

      Reply
  2. I finished my dawn horse. 55 million years old. The toes are still partly there, but will morph into hooves from the middle toe. They were about this size, 8″ tall.

    Reply
      • Thanks, Orlando and Jonni,

        I didn’t realize, until I started this structure and obsessed about the eyes, that horses cannot see directly in front of them. Boggles the mind. How can they move quickly without seeing in front of them!

        Reply
    • Rex, I agree with Orlando – you brought this creature to life. The eyes are perfect – and those toes! Very nicely done. And I love the white stripe. He should be in a permanent collection in a museum or library, so people can see how the tiny ancestors to our modern horse. It’s almost unbelievable that they could start out so small.

      Reply
    • King, that Dawn Horse is freakin’ adorable. But so are your other kids. And the stained glass is gorgeous. I mean, seriously, how do you do it?

      Reply
  3. Hello everyone, my first piece (Rooster) was published on February 15, 2018 .. (“time flies?”) I have been working on other projects, this is one of them. “Little horse” .. in this I used the formula of paper mache without flour … dries and hardens quickly and is durable … no mold.

    Reply
    • orlando, that is a really hot body. The hooves are amazing, and I love the look on its face. (My dawn horse could use a few lessons!) Thanks.

      Reply
      • The first time the hooves looked like clown shoes after some research I was able to get something more acceptable.I used the paper mache without flour, let it dry, sanded it and then I used a second layer mixing it with plaster and white glue. I think it was the hardest part of the whole piece.

        Reply
      • Thanks Jonni,
        After seeing dozens of horses (Internet) I based my “small horse” on the “Mustang” breed…and then I let the imagination take control of my hands…and add and remove until my eyes tell me to stop.
        I had a small horse when young , he was the combination of various types and breeds.

        Reply
    • Orlando, I love your noble beast, “Little Horse”. I had to go back and find your “Rooster”. He is fantastic! I’ve made a horse and a rooster (he finally got neck “feathers” and wings), but your sculptures really put mine to shame. Can’t wait to see more from you.

      Reply
    • Which part of it are you working on now? Are you looking for ideas about making the armature? For making the cone shape, I’d go to a local furniture store and ask for a really big cardboard carton. If you cut a semi-circle out of it, you could curl it up into a cone shape, hold the edge together with some duct tape, and cover it with paper mache. The ice cream can be formed with a large plastic bag filled with Styrofoam pellets – the furniture store might have some they need to get rid of, or you can buy them at WalMart.

      Reply
    • Another way to make the ice cream cone would be to use a tomato cage as a starting point for the armature. Hope we get to see it when you are done!
      -Lisa

      Reply
  4. I’m doing my first project for a party in September – it’s the Hookah Caterpillar from “Alice in Wonderland” (the original Disney cartoon version). My head understructure and body segments are almost complete and ready for assembly together.

    My Question: For large pieces and having more control of the “sculpting”/correcting processes, it is better to use traditional paper mache strips in layers or layers of paper mache clay? Or a combination of both (ie. strips for most, but clay for the face)??

    Will post photos when I get finished…also building a big mushroom to mount him on and plan is to also create smaller mushrooms once I get the BIG project finished. Thanks for comments/input!

    Reply
    • Hi Alan. I would use just the paper mache clay if I was doing it, but if your caterpillar is quite large and you don’t want to make up so much PM clay, you could use a few layers of paper strips and paste first. Many people like using the paper strips and paste first on all their projects, but I never do. Make your paper mache clay layers quite thin, though, so they can dry all the way through.

      You might also want to use one last layer, using the smooth air dry clay recipe. It would smooth out the texture left by the paper mache clay. This would be especially useful on the caterpillar’s head and for any fine details you want to add.

      I can’t wait to see how it turns out. 🙂

      Reply
      • Almost ready to start connecting all the structural segments! I might move one of the upper body to the lower body (or not). I’ve used a combination of duct tape, foil, and masking tape – anything I should know before starting to add the paper mache coating/clay/air dry clay?

        For something of this size, suggestion for weighting down the base of the mushroom to give a good solid base?

        I have a longer piece of PVC pipe that I think can be used to “connect” the Caterpillar to the mushroom after transporting (and I can also stabilize it using heavy weight fishing line). I’m totally making it up as I go, so all suggestions are appreciated!

        Reply
        • It’s looking good, Alan. Can you fill the stem of your mushroom with plaster or concrete, or even a bag of sand? If your PM clay doesn’t stick to the plastic, you could cover it with masking tape, although I don’t think you’ll need to do that. But if gravity causes the clay to slip off, you might need the tape.

          I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

          Reply
          • I found some cardboard barrels (for free!) on Craigslist that are used to transport aluminum cables – perfect for the base of my Mushroom since they are reinforced heavy-duty cardboard and have metal/wood lids; no problem supporting our Caterpillar! Can put rocks/bricks/etc. in base of the tube for upright support. After doing the “mega worm”, I’m thinking the mushroom is gonna be cake!

            Reply
        • Wow! That is amazing to see. I have never made anything that large, but it is definitely coming into shape. Excited to see it.

          I was doing one project where I made five batches of clay at a time, and I put the ingredients in a large plastic bucket and mixed it with a beater in a drill. That worked well.

          That’s exciting.

          Reply
          • The ‘danger’ in not having a project fully planned and being created on the go – it’s gotten bigger and bigger and… haha I started the body before the head and then used Jonni’s “grid system” to create the head design to the body scale. Totally backward!

            And now to get the mushroom to the scale to make Caterpillar look right, IT’S gonna now have to be even bigger! Aw, what the heck – I’m having fun!

            Reply
            • Yeah, I agree with your approach. When Jonni did her dragon, I thought she had lost her mind doing the head first without the body. Thinking outside of any box I entered. The mushroom ought to be great. I’m excited, so get busy!

              I know projects take on a life of their own at a certain point. Now you’re the slave. Good going!

            • Checking back to see if you have any progress photos posted! I couldn’t sleep last night and kept seeing this Caterpillar body parts coming together. I’m excited about your project!

          • I’ve been doubling the recipes for the PM Clay and tonight the Smooth Air Dry Clay. With the latter, Jonni’s recipe showing the GRAMS measures for the dry/wet paper was great. NEWBIE TRAINING MOMENT: When Jonni so sweetly says that Smooth Air Dry Clay can travel up your beaters, this is NOT the time to play “Tim the Toolman Taylor” (‘Hoo hoo’) – clay WILL crawl up your beaters and threaten to keep going (Huh??!)! Stop where you are, do not pass Go (it will cost ya $200 if you mess up the wife’s mixer). Instead, pull out the dough hooks! YES! Soooo many lessons to learn…IF we pay closer attention to Jonni the FIRST time! haha If I don’t run completely out of time, I may also try to do a PM teapot (for our Wonderland Door Mouse, of course).

            Reply
            • Thanks for the loud and continuous laugh! Did you ever see the movie, “The Blob?” In the 1960s. That’s what the clay is like going up your beaters.

              That’s why I mix the paper, glue, joint compound, and baby oil together thoroughly before adding corn starch and flour. I’ve had to run from the blob before, and there are still tinkling sounds coming out of my beater!

              Can’t wait to see what you’ve done.

          • Me either…my bedroom is feeling like a recycling bin with all the cardboard and paper. All of this is getting ready to move to the patio & garage so I can take my room back!

            Reply
        • So here’s the latest…I started working on assembly of all the pieces last night and it occurred to me that if I connected them where they sat on the floor, Caterpillar’s lower body/tail would sit totally at 90-degrees of the mushroom.

          Soooo…I elevated the piece of cardboard I’ve been using as work area so that Caterpiller is now going to be angled down the mushroom’s curve! These things you don’t think of until you get into them…

          NEWBIE KNOWLEDGE TIP: As these pieces grow and get heavier, keep in mind where the weight will be! I’m going to have to re-build up my bottom pivot joint because it’s flattened a bit. I also decided that I’m going to wait to connect the heavier headpiece til after I get the joint/body sturdier with some paper mache hardness.

          Reply
        • Alan, I have dreams about your caterpillar. I love the idea. How is it coming, or did you put it in prison like I do half my projects? I visited my sisters over the weekend and was telling them I want one of what you are making!

          Reply
      • Am having a bit of a challenge with the PM Clay not adhering to the Duct Taped areas of the understructure. I think it’s going to be okay on 2nd coat, but had better results in using the paste/paper strips over the duct tape in parts of the body/tail section. No problem with the masking tape or foil areas at all!

        Am using Smooth Air Dry Clay for 2nd coating of the head/face. It’s easier to manipulate than the PM Clay and spreads smoother. But to get it REALLY smooth, I take my finger and dip it in a little warm water and LIGHTLY smooth over the clay – it is smooth and glossy. NEWBIE (Perfectionists) CAUTION: no mattter how much you want to touch up an area you decide isn’t quite smooth enough, LEAVE IT ALONE UNTIL IT’S TOTALLY DRY!!! As the clays dry, the outter surface may look dry; but until the underlying layer is completely dry, touching the outter surface WILL booger it up! SO QUIT PICKING AT IT! 🙂

        P.S. Another couple of days, and I will shoot updated photos after everything is clay coated and dry. CAN PM CLAY BE USED TO CREATE THE EYES/BROWS?? OR WOULD I NEED A DIFFERENT CLAY OR SCULPIE?? Plan B is to simply paint them, but could be more 3-d if they were formed instead of flat. Suggestions???

        Reply
        • There are lots of options for eyebrows, but the one I happen to like when I’m feeling silly is to press the air dry clay through a garlic press, and then cut it off at the right length and press the clump of ‘hairs’ to the sculpt. That’s how I made the eyebrows, beard and ear hairs on my wild man. (You might want to ask your wife how she feels about rummaging through her kitchen drawers for sculpting tools, though. 🙂 )

          Reply
    • Alan, because I do surgery often, I like using clay. 95% of the time I do what Jonni said, pm clay and then smooth clay on top of that. I have to admit I’m not very good with paper strips, but the most valuable lesson I learned from Jonni is to tear off the straight edge of newspaper so you don’t get a line. (I learned that after about 20 piggy banks!) Good luck.

      Reply
    • So in all my reading, I saw that there is a concern when using the flour-based glue about the formation of mold. Want to make sure everything dries well, yada yada.

      NEWBIE TIP OF THE DAY: When you live in warm climate, mache crafts dry quite nicely when you have a work table outside. I was actually worried about my dogs or squirrels attacking the Caterpillar body while I was at work. Nope! But here in the South where our days are warm, what should we worry about more than mold??? Hint: Sandwiches are made of flour. What is likely to visit if you leave a sandwich on the table outside??? ANTS!! Those little suckers actually crawled underneath the layers I did last night – some of them are now in “Ant Heaven” and the others have been mummified inside a Caterpillar (oh, the shame!). Think I’ll be spraying my table or art tomorrow with some Raid before I go to work… 🙂

      P.S. So far, so good on the piece itself! Doing a few layers in paste/strips, then will go to Paper Mache Clay. For the head, I think I’m going right to the Paper Mache Clay and then doing the finer parts of the face area in Air Dry Clay for smoother surfaces to paint more detail on the cartoon-ish features. Will catch some photos after I get to the next upcoming layers…

      Reply
      • Thanks for the update Alan – and good luck with those pesky ants! I think in our part of the world, the local crickets would be a big problem with a damp paper mache sculpture outside. Or maybe the raccoons. A wire puppy kennel covered with window screen might help, if someone wanted to make a lot of sculptures and dry them in the open air. That would be a lot of trouble and expense, though, if you don’t happen to have one laying around.

        Reply
  5. Hi!

    Gilda, the dragon, took a team to create! I enlarged and modified Jonni’s giraffe pattern to make a happy dragon head for my community’s annual Jul 4th parade. Gilda slithered her way through the parade route to celebrate the diversity found in Gleneden Beach, OR. It takes five people to make Gilda come to life!

    I actually made two heads. The first head was too heavy to wear and ended up being the mold for the head you see here. I learned about “big head” masks after starting this project. If you’re interested in making a big head mask, check out Manning Leonard Krull’s site. His tips and tutorials give you a solid first step toward making your own.

    Gilda’s eye lids blink (toggle mechanism), jaw opens and closes (counter weight mechanism), and she has an articulating tail (adapted from cosplay tails). Her eyes are gessoed/painted plastic holiday ornaments, teeth crafter’s foam, and beard gold/white pompoms (purchased wholesale online). Small gold bells added weight to the pompoms to prevent them from getting entangled. The eyelashes are paper mached fiber glass screen material. A helmet attached inside the head made wearing the mask comfortable.

    Gilda’s body took 10 yards of fabric! We used 58-60” wide poly/cotton broadcloth (available online from Fabric Warehouse). The fringe is different colors of broadcloth (bought from Joann’s with coupons). The polka dots were first painted using gesso (we cut sponges into two sizes to apply gesso), then painted with acrylic paint. (The gesso ensures the acrylic paint is bright.)

    Gilda’s ribs are hula hoops, some of which collapsed during the parade. (We plan to replace the hula hoops with PVC pipe shaped using a heat gun.) Fabric “sleeves” hold the ribs in place.

    Gilda was a lot of work, but very fun, too! Members of the team plan to bring her back to life at next year’s parade.

    Have fun!

    Suzan

    P.S. Thx Joni for your help posting this!

    Reply
    • Suzan, thanks so much for sharing Gilda with us. You did a fantastic job, and it must have been the highlight of the parade. Also, thanks for giving us the link to Manning’s website – what a fantastic resource.

      Reply
    • What a triumph! It is very impressive and I’m sure you wowed the crowd! Thanks for sharing all the details as well. It was very informative.

      Reply
    • Suzan, Awesome dragon and I love the polka dots. Really have to appreciate the amount of work that went into that.

      Reply
  6. I made a paper mache seagull last December using a cardboard shape of a gull, newspaper and masking tape. Then newspaper strips, paper mache clay from Hobby Lobby, acrylic paint and sealed it when finished.
    I noticed the other day that it has very small light brown spots mostly in the wings. Does this mean it didn’t dry properly or caused from the high humidity here on the Gulf of Mexico? I plan on selling the gulls but don’t want this to happen to the buyer! Thanks for any advice. Shelley

    Reply
    • Shelley, do the spots appear to be on the outside layer, perhaps even on top of the final coat of paint? If so, it’s probably mildew. Mildew will grow on concrete and plain rocks, if there’s enough moisture in the air. If that’s the problem, it should be possible to wipe them off with a lightly damp cloth. However, if it looks like it may be deeper, there may have been moisture and mold spores captured inside the seagull’s wings before it was sealed. Do you have a small photo that you could share, so we can see the spots? (We’d like to see the seagulls, too. 🙂 )

      Reply
  7. I am working on a life size Great Dane Dog. I am having so much trouble with forming the eyes and nose its been trial and error all week, mostly all error…..LOL Can some one please help me.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Cathy, when you mentioned the eyes, do you mean the shape of the eyelids? You can make the eyes themselves with wooden “buttons” from the hardware store, or with Styrofoam balls cut in half.

      Next question – what material are you using to create your sculpture? Paper strips and paste, paper mache clay? If you’re using paper strips, I’d suggest using paper towels, torn apart so you’re only using one ply, and use them for the eyelids. The soft paper is easy to form into nice rounded shapes. You can use the paper towel with paper mache clay, too – just add some more glue to a small dab of the clay to create a paste, and put some on both sides of your paper. That might help you get the eyelids done without fighting the clay to stay in the right shape.

      For the nose on a sculpture this size, the best thing to use is Apoxie Sculpt. It gives you at least an hour of working time, and you can smooth the surface with water. It will stick tight to dry paper mache (or anything else) and dries as hard as a rock.

      We would love to see your Great Dane when it’s finished.

      Reply
  8. My chicken is finally finished! It took me twice as long or more to paint it than to form it.
    I never did anything this detailed before including legs & multiple colors.First time using clay it’s only on the wings and tail.
    Searching for my next project which I want to be fairly simple to form no feathers , or skinny legs .?

    Reply
    • I preach this all the time, but Jonni’s book on “make animal sculptures” is great. Every lesson builds on the last, and when you are finished, you can make anything.

      Reply
    • Hi j. Your photo didn’t come through. Did you make sure the file size was less than 250 KB? I hope you’ll edit the image to make it smaller and try again – we’d love to see it.

      Reply
  9. I used the paper mache clay recipe from Joni’s book as a hard coating to this giraffe for my granddaughter

    Reply
    • Hi Terry. I’m afraid your other comments, with photos, were lost way down the page because you posted them as a reply to another comment. Would it be OK if I move your comments to the top of the page? I don’t want anyone to miss seeing your giraffe.

      Reply
      • Sure. I do have process photos from this, 3 oops four years ago. Oh my, time flies. I have done other foam sculptures since but they did not have paper mache. The latest was a 12’ tall bed!

        Reply
  10. Such wonderful pieces.

    I am a new person. Could someone please tell me what might be the best medium to use for small bell shaped pieces. I want them to dry hard to paint, and how the medium be soft and malleable.Rather than making all the recipes and learning through trial and error I thought I would ask.
    Thank you
    Margaret

    Reply
    • Welcome Margaret! I would use Jonni’s smooth air dry clay for a bell shape. Make your armature, probably out of tin foil would be easiest, cover with masking tape, then make and apply the smooth clay. The regular clay would be too sticky and not get as smooth. Use as many layers as you would like with drying time between layers. Will the bells be hollow? If you want to remove the inside, you may want to cover your armature with a plastic bag or cling wrap and it will pull out quite easily . It won’t be super smooth on the inside though. If you need it smooth on the inside, you may have to apply another layer of the clay. I hope that helps and make sure you post so we can all see your finished project!

      Reply
        • Yeah, Eileen said it perfectly!

          If you have any questions as you go, please ask. I waited almost a year before getting online, and the comments are really valuable when you need help. Good luck. Would love to see them.

          Reply
  11. Thank you so much, my King. I’m a bad photographer, but the camera is great. Guess who gave it to me!?

    Reply
  12. Hi Jonni here is the picture of the unfinished tiger , it does show his eyes very well. Hope you having a great Sunday

    Reply
    • Interesting to see another masterpiece in the making. It’s coming to life. Thank you for showing us. Fascinating.

      Reply
      • Pia, I agree with Jonni and Rex. Your WIP is way better than my finished sculpts. You are an exceedingly talented, but cruel
        person : ) He is beautiful.

        Reply
        • hahahaha Mister Shelbot my dog would agree with you me being cruel , as I was cutting her white whiskers last night to use on my sculpt . My horse has a whole bunch she is next 🙂 Don’t want to cut everything off one animal : )

          Reply
          • Pia, that is hilarious and terrifying! I like/love you more every time you post, but I think we all fear you now
            : )

            Reply
  13. BTW—Whenever I try to put a smiley face in the comment it turns into a ? or square. Have no idea why. So sadly : ( I’ll have to stick with these : )

    Reply
      • I am trying to make some life-size figure works, slightly abstract, and I am having trouble with the head. I am trying to make a simple egg shape head with no features.
        Can you advise please?

        Reply
        • Hi Rone. You might be able to make a form for your heads with a plastic bag, the way Rex Winn makes his pumpkins. You don’t want pumpkin shaped heads, but you can make them head-shaped by filling the plastic bags and then using masking tape to form them into the shape you want. Then cover them with paper mache.

          Reply
            • I wouldn’t have had that idea, but it does work. Just remember if you use a plastic bag, the clay won’t dry well so you might have to cut the head open, remove the bag and its contents, and then put another layer of clay on it. Sounds like a good idea.

              Would love to see them.

    • I get little boxes with an X in them on my phone all the time. My phone only calls and texts, nothing else. Fancy people sending me whatever they are called probably don’t know I never see them!

      Reply
  14. Rex, this boy ain’t never gonna be right. I tried to paint those fine, feathery ear hairs, but just couldn’t do it. Ended up using actual feathers. You probably won’t like it, but the cat is tickled ?.
    I use fabric as “skin” on a lot of my animal (mostly head) sculpts and usually use hot glue on top of that, at least in spots. Jonni may have written: Look around you and use your imagination. Because she is very wise, as are you, my friend.

    Reply
    • Sir, this makes me laugh. If those lines aren’t painted on, can you comb them back in the same direction — away from the side of the ears. They do catch the eye, and that takes away from seeing the cat’s face, which is wonderfully whimsical.

      Really interesting about your methods. And love those teeth.

      Thunderstorms and lightning like we’ve never seen here. Laundry on the line, of course, and in a couple of minutes water was running everywhere.

      Reply
      • I hope that the new picture (if it will post) is pleasing to thine eyes, Milord. Otherwise you and Teca will have to travel to my humble abode to fix it yourself. Oh, and I made a little elephant attorney holding the scales of justice, for you to criticize : ).

        Reply
        • Sir, perfect!

          It is interesting how the features of the cat change with the camera angle. You have magic in there. Great work. Thanks.

          Reply
          • Jonni, I keep trying to post the pic of my attornephant, but keep getting blocked. Both the JPEG and PNG images are under 250 KB. I’ll try again.

            Reply
            • It worked this time. I think I have to remove the service that is causing this problem, because it’s causing too many problems. Thanks for letting me know about it – and that little elephant is adorable! I’m sure you have an entire story that explains the briefcase and scales. Share?

            • Ah! That made me laugh. Great job. Love the gray. And where did you get my briefcase? I carried it around for decades, and it looks like it. Amazing.

        • Rex, that top comment was supposed to be down here (SIGH). I wanted to tell you that while I hope that you were not too inconvenienced by the downpour, you painted a wonderful picture! I love rain and combined with laundry on the line…Magnifique!

          Reply
  15. Jonni, just tried to post a comment and it said I was blocked. I tried to post a pic before, will try without. This is a test to see if still blocked.

    Reply
    • It looks like your kitty photo went through after you were blocked. Someone else had a problem posting a photo, and got that “blocked” message. But she was trying to post a PNG photo. I think that might have been her problem. I don’t know why your comment didn’t work – but computers tend to confuse me. I think they do it on purpose, to keep me guessing.

      Reply
  16. Thank you Jonni and Mr. Shelbot for your great ideas!!! I was a bit disappointed that the flex seal did not work long term, my wolf will survive but with a great deal of repair.

    Reply

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.