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.

14,310 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. I know I saw it somewhere along the way, but not sure enough to find it…

    I have completed “parts” that I have covered with paper mache that I now want to put together (glue?). What’s the best way to do do that to insure they don’t come un-stuck?? Should I use like Gorilla Glue or and then do a layer or two of paper mache prior to painting??

    P.S. FINALLY finishing my Wonderland Caterpillar! These are the arms/legs I want to attach to the main body segments… Will upload photos when completed.

    • Alan, I think your idea of using a strong glue will work well. A layer of paper mache would cover the joint and add some reinforcement. As for the arms and legs, the joint where they’re connected to the body is always the first place a sculpture will crack. Just the weight of an extended arm can pull it away from the body. Do you have a way to insert a strong wire or rod through the body, so the legs can have some extra support?

      • I got some construction adhesive tonight – thinking that will do the trick. With all the arms, I’ll position them so that they’re supported against the body…think that will distribute weight. The legs (and shoes, of course!) are VERY light; angles may be tricky for weight distribution. In hindsite, I would have built the arms/legs into the structure instead of all piecemeal, but this was a HUGE first project, so I’m pleased overall.

        Question: is paper mache clay/air dry clay pliable enough that I could form his eyes/eyelids and “roll” some lengths into eyebrows??? I think it would do more justice than just drawing them on since everything else has 3-D structure (except his hands…I’m going to have to resort to painted cardboard; I hate that, but he has to be done and moveable by Sunday to get him to the party site with the other decor).

        • Hi Alan. You should be able to roll some eyebrows with the air dry clay. If it doesn’t want to stick after rolling, just brush some glue onto the eyebrow area first. Another option is to use crumpled foil to create the shapes, use hot glue to attache the foil to the head, and cover with a thin layer of paper mache or paper mache clay. That’s probably how I would do it, because a thick piece of wet air dry clay will take longer to dry than a thin layer of paper mache. You could also add a bit of shape to the cardboard hands the same way, if you have some extra time – but the painted cardboard will work well, too.

  2. I am wondering if there is a recipe for Paper Mache that is flammable or burnable. I need to make a Viking ship that will be burned in a fireplace for a group event. I need to make sure it is not toxic or gives off toxic smoke.

    Thanks,

    Larry

  3. just wondering how to make papier mache waterproof ? using your technique for a scarecrow ‘s head so it will be outside for a few weeks Thank you

    • If you don’t leave it out too long in the rain, you can usually get away with giving it a few coats of good exterior varnish. Even the best varnish is not completely waterproof, though, and the paper mache will get damp, even with the coating. If you expect rain, you might want to bring it back inside. If you want to keep it for next year, let it dry off completely, all the way through.

      • Thankyou! Can I ask please what acrylic glaze you use, as in, Matt , gloss or satin? I have two of your books, Animal sculptures & paper mache but I can’t see which glaze it is you use. Many thanks.

        • Hi Felicity. It’s really up to you. I like to use the Golden acrylic glaze in matte finish because I don’t want my animal sculptures to be shiny. But for some sculptures the gloss or satin would be more appropriate. The final varnish you put over the paint will also affect the final look. Varnish comes in all those options, too.

  4. I’ve been tasked making 6 of these newspaper bull skulls. What would be the best method of duplicating the original?

    • Hi Mary. Did you try to send an image with your comment? It didn’t come through – probably because it was too big. Images need to be less then 250 KB to upload. If you don’t have image editing software, you can use this free online tool to make it smaller.

      Do you need to reproduce them exactly, with a mold of the original? Or do you just need to create six more bull heads, sculpted by hand? I haven’t seen the original yet, but would the cow pattern help?

      • Hi Jonni! I had sent you an email with ‘Paper Mache Question’ in the subject line, but knowing you get so many emails you may have missed it!

        We are two artists and designers launching a fashion brand in Chicago with the focus of using second hand textiles and transforming them into high end fashion pieces/wearable art. For our brand we’ll be using our spirit animals, a black-capped chickadee and a hummingbird in our logo and want to create matching bird head masks for our photoshoots.

        We saw that you offer patterns for your previously made pieces and were wondering if you take custom orders to create patterns? We would then make them/embellish paint them. Let us know if that’s something you’d be interested in or offer and look forward to hearing from you!

        Kristine & Amie

        • Hi Kristine and Amie. I did receive your email, but Gmail must have hidden my reply (or deleted it entirely). If you don’t get the automated reply by email, perhaps you’ll check this page and find it.

          Here’s what I said:

          I haven’t made any custom patterns, and I don’t have time to complete any custom work at this time. But thank you for asking!

          I wrote a book about making masks, and one of the projects in the book is a helmet-style duck mask. If you show it to a local artist, they would be able to use the techniques to create your bird headdresses for you. It would not be at all difficult to do. You can find it at http://amzn.to/2obUDmq

          Good luck with your new venture. I hope it’s a huge success!

    • Hi Jonni,

      Thanks, yes, I was trying to upload an image. Here it is again. The skulls should be pretty identical so that’s
      why I was thinking of using a mold. I suppose just using a pattern might work too. Im also thinking of doing paper strips and paste over a clay mold, but I don’t like that the clay gets destroyed each time so I can’t reuse it.

  5. Would the paper mache clay be suitable to use in molds for making multiples of the same object? Does it shrink when it dries? Thanks for any info – I usually make designs in eps foam but am searching for more biodegradable choices.

    • The paper mache clay recipe has a lot of texture, so it doesn’t work well in molds. However, a lot of people do use the smooth air dry clay recipe in small silicone molds, and they say it works really well. You would want to test it on something small. And yes, both recipes will shrink a little as they dry.

      Another option is Li Qua Che, a commercial product that can be used in plaster molds. I really like using it, because it can be poured into a mold instead of pressed, which gives a perfect thin-walled casting. The product is more expensive than the DIY recipes, but the cost of the molds is much lower. It also shrinks as it dries.

  6. I have a question that I want to call “dumb” but I won’t lol…suppose you were a paper mache“purist” …do you remove the armature stuff or let it be?..

    • I’m not quite what you mean. Is there such a thing as a paper mache purist? 🙂

      If you want something to be hollow you can remove the armature after the paper mache is dry. I rarely need a sculpture to be hollow, and the armature adds a lot of support so the sculptures aren’t so fragile. But it’s up to you.

    • I love you already. In my heart of heart I am a paper mache “purist” and so you will understand when I say I’m painting glass eyes. It’s a big step.

      To answer your question, I only remove the armature stuff when I’m making a piggy bank.

      You give me hope!

      • I’m still laughing because I’m painting glass eyes too AND planning to use them I’m my raven. In my heart I think art is do whatever you love and love it asking about purist thing for a friend haha

        • I loved your raven. Wish I could get mine back in the works from three years ago! Thanks.

          Maybe we’re making progress and thinking outside the box.

  7. I am looking for a way to make a full milk cow for a school project to help our ffa program. Wanted to see if you had anything that you might help. Thank you

    • Hi Coby. We don’t have a life-sized adult cow on the site, but Rex made a small calf. He used the method in my book to create his own pattern. If you don’t have the book, the same method is shown in this video. You can use a photo of a cow to create a pattern.

      Then you should watch the video that I made for the life-sized baby elephant, to see how to put your cow together. Your cow will be a lot bigger, though, so instead of using crumpled paper to fill in all the forms, try to find some foam or bubble wrap, or even some empty plastic milk jugs to fill out the thickness of the cow. Then fill in crumpled aluminum foil, held onto your light-weight stuffing material with either masking tape or hot glue.

      Have fun with it. I really hope you’ll let us see your cow when it’s done. 🙂

    • Oh my gosh Trudie, what an impressive sculpture! The beagle is perfect in every way and I especially love that soulful look in the eyes. Just perfect! I hope you are proud.

    • Trudie, That is so wonderful I suggest you move on to your next career! Just kidding, of course. I am jealous and envious all at the same time. Ditto what Eileen said. That is really great. Love it.

      That mouth, and nose, and teeth, and eyes. Wow.

      Perfect. Can’t wait to see your deer.

      • Thanks for the awesome feedback Rex ; ). And thank you for the ear inspiration. They were a little experimental, I did try the aluminium foil first – but they didn’t quite work-out (which was more my process than the actual idea itself that failed). Then I tried the tape covered mesh that you suggested – and it worked a treat! Loved how you could manipulate the shape and it would hold. Also (I think it was?) Eileens suggestion of attaching the ears to the head to hold them in place was super helpful. Have been scrolling back through the posts, and am very impressed with your stained glass work… beautiful! Very much enjoying the community vibe here.

    • Trudie, I second Eileen’s, Rex’s and Jonni’s comments, and I have to warn you: Do not leave that beagle unattended or I am taking it! I am obsessed with his teeth/mouth, but also his nose, his eyes…he is all perfect. Just amazing work.

  8. Hi Jonni, here is my MPI Beagle. A NZ Hero who keeps a keen eye (and nose) on biosecurity risks at our borders. Had fun with this one. Again used your eye tutorial – feel like I have a good handle on that now. Not 100% happy with his coat, probably should have used actual fabric, but instead I used a wire mesh covered in masking tape. So it doesn’t have that textural fabric look/feel. I have made everything bar the greenery. I couldn’t think of a way to produce such a fine and detailed frilly plant look with paper? Any suggestions/ideas – would be appreciated.

    • I’m totally in love with it, Trudie. He’s perfect – and even his ears have that nice Beagle-like droop. But no, I don’t have any idea how to make carrot greens with paper – if it was even possible to cut out all those tiny leaves it would take forever. One of those laser cutter things, maybe? If you wanted to make them look more hand-made, you might be able to spray them with a primer that bonds to plastic, and then paint them. That way you couldn’t tell what kind of material was hiding under the paint. Or leave them just as they are – it’s wonderful just the way it is.

      • Thanks for the awesome feedback Jonni! You have made my day. The painting of the plastic is a great idea, will help to matt it down a bit and get rid of that plastic look. On to my deer now.

  9. Hello,
    I’m new to the paper mache world. I am in charge of a masquerade ball with the theme of Venice. I also teach an art class, so put your hands together and have the art students make masks for the masquerade.
    The question, that I’m sure you’ve had a million times, is how do you keep the recipe for paper mache clay from being sticky. I’ve tried it twice now and have used it, but it definitely doesn’t look like your videos. I’ve used the gram recipe to be as precise as possible and tried adding more and more flour – to no avail. If you can direct me to answers you have previously given, great!

    • Hi Jean. Part of the problem is simply that the paper mache clay was designed to be sticky. But there is another recipe that I think you would like much better. Try the smooth air dry clay, instead. It has almost exactly the same ingredients but in different proportions, plus the addition of corn starch. In fact, you might be able to make your batch of paper mache clay less sticky by adding corn starch to it. But give the air dry clay a try – I do think you’ll like it better.

    • Yes, listen to Jonni! I spent a year struggling with your problem. The pm clay is sticky, and the minute you put water on it, it curdles! I put it on with a knife, by that I mean you can’t use your fingers because the clay sticks. The air-dry clay is not as sticky, and as you knead it, you can get it to the consistency you want. It will hold its shape. You get the added fun of pushing clay around with your wet fingers!

      Good luck, and please let us see your creations. Thanks.

  10. Hi! I have been watching your video’s and they have given me a lot of confidence to tackle a project for a halloween party. I am a total beginner (never even did paper mache in elementary school). I want to make an angler fish (a big one), I was wondering if doing paper mache over a balloon would be a good start for the body and then using the clay recipe to sculpt the fins and jaw? Do you think this would be a good start? Are there any other tips or tricks you (or your followers) would like to add? Thanks so much! I love your work.

    • Hi Shannon. We actually have three guest posts showing us how different artists make fish, and one of them is an angler fish! You can see them here, here and here. The three methods are very different, but they all work. The one thing I would recommend against, though, is using a balloon. I know they use them in grade school, but they are really difficult to work. It’s much easier to stuff a plastic bag with foam peanuts or rice, tie it off so the stuffing can’t get out, and then shape the bag with masking tape. When it’s time to remove the form, just open the bag and pour out the rice or foam pellets. Good luck with it – and please come back to show off your fish when it’s done! 🙂

      • Great advice! I will try the stuffed bag as a base form. I plan to start this weekend, I have all the materials together. I promise to show it off if I end up with any success 🙂
        Thank you so much for all your videos and for creating a space for this community.

    • Shannon, I really want to go back and create about 20 fish. It made me homesick looking at the fish projects.

      In Jonni’s book, “Make Animal Sculptures,” her second lesson is how to make fish. I would highly suggest you take a look at it. Her approach is clear and works. I have made dozens of fish, from small to large. (They have all swam away!) I would use cereal cardboard or garden wire for the fins. I wouldn’t sculpt the fins and jaw using just the clay. And I definitely wouldn’t use a balloon. ALL my paper mache projects at the beginning were using a balloon, and it was a relief to get rid of them. One of the problems, besides being round and without form, is that they heat and cool, which impacts the “amount” of air in them. I threw out half the projects because the balloon collapsed or grew.

      One of my challenges was getting them to stand on their fins, but it was a fun challenge. It is something to keep in mind when designing your fish.

      I would love to see your BIG fish! Please!

    • Shannon, I told my sister about the fish, and now she wants a bowl full of them. She said, “I have an antique fish bowl and it needs fish in it.”

      How are you doing? Is it coming along?

      • Thank you so much for your advice! I will be starting this weekend, it took me some time to gather the supplies (different types of paper, fillers, wire/toothpicks etc) and I will get a start this weekend. You have filled me with confidence! I will update when I have something I am proud of.

        I also love the idea of filling an antique fishbowl with PM fish!

      • Ok. I got started. I am a bit timid when it comes to art projects so I am “practicing” on small projects to get the hang of it. I created an armature for a starfish (will paper mache today) and I followed your technique to try a yellow tang (will paper mache clay one side today). Here are my pictures so far!

        • Shannon, your image didn’t come through – probably because it was too big. Images need to be less then 250 KB to upload. If you don’t have image editing software, you can use this free online tool to make it smaller. I really hope you’ll try again – we want to see your fish! 🙂

  11. Your sharing of skills and content is amazing. Is it ok to put papier mache clay directly into tin/aluminium foil?

      • Yes, using foil armature. I started putting paper tape over it (as you do in your dogs book) but it doesn’t seem to stick very well so thought I’d try not using tape and put paper mache directly onto the foil, but had visions of the paper mache falling off in clumps.

    • I am doing more and more sculptures using aluminum foil with nothing over it. The clay goes on fine right over the foil.

  12. Ive used a little of this recipe before but tgis is the first time i really used it for a big sculpt. Its a huge creepy caterpillar for a haunted house. I made the form out of cardboard ,he separates into four sections ,and coated it with the mache. Thanks for the recipe

  13. Ive used a little of this recipe before but this is the first time i really used it for a big sculpt. Its a huge creepy caterpillar for a haunted house. I made the form out of cardboard ,he separates into four sections ,and coated it with the mache. im going to coat it in yacht varnish for weatherproofing. Thanks for the recipe

  14. PAPER MACHE QUESTION
    I was wondering if I could use your paper mache recipe on the walls of an indoor doll house I am making? I would need to apply the paper mache to cardboard walls and want something I can create some texture with.
    Thank you! Also, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and all recipes and other information with us all!

    • Hi Kathie. I haven’t done it myself, but I think it would work. The only thing to watch out for is that your flat cardboard walls might tend to warp. Use very thin layers of the paper mache clay or smooth air dry clay, and try to do both sides of each wall at the same time, if that’s possible. And do a test on a spare piece of cardboard to get a feel for the material before you jump in and do the whole dollhouse.

      We would love to see it when it’s done, by the way. I hope you’ll post a photo so we can see how it comes out.

    • That’s actually a great idea but I think you could get the texture with joint compound alone. It would save the step of making the clay. I have a doll house that has wooden walls and the worries of warping would be less. Is the dollhouse wired for lights? You may need the thicker clay for the texture to cover the wiring. Very interesting thought. Let us know how it turns out….you could even do a different type of flooring.

    • Hi Cheryl. Your image didn’t come through because it was too large. If you don’t have image editing software to make the file size less than 250 KB, you can use this free online tool to make it smaller. I really hope you’ll try again – we want to see your giraffe! 🙂

      • Hey, Jonni.
        My name’s Jack. I love your videos on YouTube. I’ve been doing paper mâché off and on since I was a kid and’ve gotten away from it as late (I do a lot of cut paper and sheet metal now) but I want to get back to it. Your stuff is inspiring!
        I had a technical question for you regarding the use of internal and external molds. You don’t seen in the habit of using molds (judging from the expertise exhibited in your videos, at least,) so if you don’t know about this, it’s fine.
        I’m wondering about a release for paper mâché on plaster, clay, wood, or other rigid but porous molds to which I am concerned the paper and glue or the ingenious paper clay you’ve invented would stick.
        I’d love to hear your opinions on this, if you have any.
        Fond regards,
        Jack

        • Hi Jack. You’re right – I don’t use molds very often, and when I do use them they’re almost always made with silicone, which doesn’t need a release. I would be very interested to see if anyone has a good reply for you. The biggest problem, aside from making sure the paper mache doesn’t stick, is finding a release that doesn’t leave a greasy film on the final paper mache casting. That would make it difficult to paint later. Any ideas, anyone>

  15. Hi Jonni,
    I am brand new to paper mache. I am making 4 venetian masks for an upcoming trip to Italy. I found your 3 videos on making a Pantalone mask invaluable. I would like to try making the masks very smooth. You mention a recipe for “really smooth gesso”. I have been unable to find it. Where might I look?
    Thank you,
    Adrienne Adams

  16. Have used many of your recipes and just love them! Odd question. I have some very old holiday molds and often see people use them using a paper mache composition to recreate those lovely Christmas Santa figures. They look very similar to the vintage Belsnickles of years gone by. I have yet to come across a video showing the actual technique on how it is done (except for a very very old Martha Stewart video where they discussed the pieces but never actually shared the process….the pieces often have a smooth finish with a “hollow” smooth middle….my guess is they are pouring layers until they get the right thickness???….but not sure. I thought chalkware at first bit it is definitely a paper mache composition. I would love to try something like this as well and wondering if you have any hints on where I might find a great tutorial video.

    • Cynthia, do you happen to have a link to a page that shows what the molds look like? I know a lot of my readers will know what they are, but I don’t, so a photo would really help. And do you have a link to a site that shows how they look after people are done with the paper mache? I’m sure we can put our heads together and figure out how to use them. I don’t know of a video, but maybe one of my readers do.

      • Thank you for responding soooo quickly. I have been searching for some time and hope that a reader may have a good source for info. I sculpt my own designs, usually making one or two only. I like offering one of a kind pieces as they make them extra special. But lately I have been considering making a mold to make several of one design but I hate the look of resin. I see wonderful reproductions of vintage paper mache pieces – Paul Turner is most notable.
        https://www.pinterest.com/pin/646759196465074329/
        From what I have found, most reproduction piece are made from a fiber paper mache composition that is poured into a mold…..often a concrete or rubber mold made from a vintage original…..or some use old chocolate molds. The piece is hollow, light weight and have a smooth velvety look. I have found instructions on filling a mold with chalkware or completely filling an entire mold with paper mache but I can’t for the life of me see the process of pouring a paper mache compostion into a mold to create reproductions. Yet, I see reproductions for both Christmas, Easter and Halloween all having that paper pulp process. I think this would be a perfect process for my original paper mache pieces if I could find out more details on what type of mold works best and how, how the pouring process works, and what recipes are good to start with. I think this process will have that same “feel” of my originals. Hope someone can help! 🙂

        • Cynthia, I would recommend making plaster molds, and use them to make castings with Activa Li-Qua-Che. It’s the only pourable paper pulp product I’ve ever found. (I’ve tried many times to create a recipe that works the same way, but I can’t figure it out.) It works just like ceramic slip, so you pour it into the plaster mold, allow the plaster to pull the water out of the product to create a thin shell, and then pour out the liquid in the middle. The casting will capture all of the detail in the mold. You can see how I made my Lodge Brother wall sculpture here.

          A lot of people object to the price of the product, but if you’re making these to sell the material cost will be offset by the amount of time you save trying to create a DIY recipe that works as well.

          Activa Li-Qua-Che won’t work in a plastic or metal mold, though. You might be able to press the smooth air dry clay (recipe here) into that type of mold, but I doubt that you would get a clear casting because it isn’t liquid. Some people use that recipe in small candy-sized silicone molds, though, and they say it works.

  17. Hi yesterday I had a question and I posted resize picture With it ,
    So today I don’t see my question or my picture. I did make sure it was posted on this page before leaving.

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