Daily Sculptors Page

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

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14,954 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. Hi Jonni from Houston, Texas! ? I’ve been a subscriber for a few months now, and am so grateful that you share your kind and gentle creativity!
    I’ve been trying variations of your paper clay recipes and tricks to achieve different textures and results! A few textures I’ve accomplished: a super smooth leathery finish, tree bark, white cold porcelain, stone, and even glow in the dark air dry paper clay. I love to play with black lights with my 3 year old son…fluorescent clay with UV is mesmerizing!
    I will never stop playing with glowy colors, and glitzy glitter loaded stuff… but I have completely stumped myself on making custom *non messy* glitter clays. Agh! I’m wondering if anyone in this community had reported success with making transparent air dry clay as the base for the glitter (which I assume would be mixed in the pulp steps.
    Any ideas anyone?
    You’d save my kitchen a heck of a lot of glitter litter ?

    Reply
    • Hi Blair. I don’t have any idea how to make a non-messy glitter clay, but I’m very interested in those other textures you mentioned. Would you have any interest in writing a guest tutorial for this site and show us how you do it? If that sounds fun, just let me know. 🙂

      Reply
      • Goodmorning!
        I could probably talk all day about paper sculptures if I wasn’t stopped! And I would love to try my hand at writing a post!

        Reply
    • Hi! Brand new to the site and have no experience with paper mache,(hopefully that is set to change In the very near future!)
      Just wanted to add that Mod Podge has a product called Extreme Glitter. Their glue with shiny glitter already mixed in. Not sure if this is useful!
      Cheers!

      Reply
  2. Hi Jonni,
    I’ve collected so much bubble wrap and soda bottles, I need to start my baby elephant, just to clear the area. The link to the video doesn’t work from the pattern I downloaded, I think last year.
    I have found another way to the video but though I would let you know. The video looks very clear and understandable, so I think I can do it. Will keep y’all posted.
    Vicki

    Reply
    • Hi Vicki. Thanks for letting me know there was a problem with that link. I think I fixed it, but I have no idea why it disappeared in the first place!

      I hope you have a lot of fun making your baby elephant. With all that bubble wrap, he’s going to be a lot lighter than mine! That’s a great idea. I hope you’ll show it off when it’s done. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hi Jonni,
    Thanks for the fantastic patterns you have made! I purchased the giraffe pattern and I am at the painting stage. I am wondering why you painted the giraffe spots black before you painted them the tan colour? I will forward a photo of my finished giraffe once completed.
    Thanks Jonni
    From Pauline in a snowy Teeside, England.

    Reply
    • Hi Pauline. It’s been so long since I painted those spots that I had to go look at them to remember why I started with black. There’s just a faint halo of black around the spots, which is nice, but I used many layers of the orange over it, with each layer a slightly different color. If I did it over, I’m not sure I would start with black. I’m not a professional painter, so every time I paint a new sculpture I have to figure it out from scratch, and keep adding paint until I like the way it looks.

      In other words, I have no good excuse for putting the black on first. 🙂

      Be sure to share your giraffe on the Daily Sculptors page so we can all see how it comes out. I can’t wait to see it.

      Reply
  4. If I used one kind of paste (cooked flour) can I do additional layers with different paste? (Wood glue) And then what do you suggest for a third layer? I am trying to make a huge easter egg (4 feet) that is strong enough for a child to sit on. I’ve made it on a giant balloon… 2 layers so far, but not strong enough… what should I add next to make it stronger? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Naomi, it would take a lot of layers to make it strong enough to not tear when a child sits on it. You can use wood glue over dried paper mache made with flour and water paste, but you’ll still need a lot of layers. Paper mache has about the same strength as plywood the same thickness. To make something strong enough to hold someone up safely, you need some fairly thick plywood. Even to get a 1/4″ layer of paper strips and paste, you’ll need a lot of layers, and it will take a lot of time. Have you seen my post that shows how I used plaster cloth under paper mache to make an egg (Humpty Dumpty) over a balloon? The plaster cloth replaces much of the paper layers, and it adds reinforcement with the fibers in the gauze. However, if the egg is completely hollow, there’s a chance that a child could break through the egg. Will you have anything inside it to add some structural support?

      Reply
      • Thanks for your reply, Jonni! I hadn’t seen the Humpty Dumpty video, so I just watched that and now I know what to put over top to make it smooth and white, which would have been my next issue to solve!

        What is plaster cloth? I haven’t heard of that. (I’m in Canada if that makes a difference)

        To clarify, once the egg is made, I will cut it open and the child will sit on it from the inside, like they are “hatching” from the egg (for my photography idea!) so it just has to be strong enough that it doesn’t buckle or break when they sit on the bottom piece.

        Reply
        • Hi Naomi. Plaster cloth, or plaster gauze, is the stuff that doctors once used to set broken bones. It’s a fabric that has plaster dust on it. You dip it in water, the plaster gets wet, and then hardens in any shape you put the cloth over.

          I hope you’ll show us your eggs when they’re done. This sounds like a fun project.

          Reply
            • I got the plaster cloth and my egg is finally stiff now! Thanks for the tip!

              Which recipe for Gesso do you recommend if I want it to look smooth? (it’s very wrinkled from the first layer which contracted) and it would also be great if it were lightly waterproof incase the grass is a bit wet when I use it outside. I know, I’m asking for a lot! lol

            • Hi Naomi. To make your egg really smooth, I’d recommend using a paper-thin layer of drywall joint compound first, without glue. Then use a lightly damp sponge to “sand” it when the joint compound is dry, and use an acrylic gesso to help seal it before it’s painted. Marine varnish from the hardware store will protect if from damp, at least for a few hours. It isn’t entirely waterproof, but if you don’t leave the egg sitting out on wet grass for long, it should work. I’d also recommend using some latex exterior paint over the gesso and under the varnish, just to add one more layer of protection. You can see how to use the joint compound to make your egg smooth here. It’s important to use a very thin layer – if it’s apply too thick it will crack.

  5. I have a question on how you can make this moisture proof for out door use. I am trying to make a Arkansas Razorback pig head. Do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • I don’t personally recommend using a paper-based product to create outdoor sculptures. Some people do have good luck with a product called Flex Seal, but one of our readers also tried it, and almost lost her sculpture the first time it rained. But you can use the same techniques that I use for creating a sculpture, but without the paper. To see how to do that, read my two-part Garden Gnome series, starting here.

      Reply
  6. Hi everyone,
    I sent this question to Jonni on one of her comment areas and she suggested trying here to see if anyone has any ideas. My brother is making giant paper mache easter eggs for his two children. He has made the eggs but is a little stumped about how to deal with decorating them.
    He wants to add hand drawn pencil drawings every year to the eggs but also wants them to be water proof and durable in the meantime. Does anyone have any suggestions about a potential medium he could use that will cover and protect the eggs and existing drawings but also allow him to add drawings over time?
    Thanks, Kristen

    Reply
      • He used simple flour and water with newspaper but he also thought it was too flimsy so he used self-adhesive mesh drywall joint tape instead of newspaper for the second coat and then newspaper again for the third coat. The eggs he made are very strong once they dried. Good luck!

        Reply
  7. Hey there!!! I’m just a mom trying to make a Mardi Gras float for my son’s prom. Do you think I could make a larger lions head and use as a panther head to scale?? I need it HUGE! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Yes, you can do that. Someone printed the elephant head at 200% and used it as part of a costume for a play. Another reader printed the elephant pattern at 250% and created the head out of foam sheets. If it worked with the elephant it will work with the lion, too. Just make sure you print it at the same percentage for each page. The pages fit a standard letter-sized sheet, so it can be printed on larger paper at a print shop, or you can use settings on your printer to print each page of the PDF on multiple pages – I don’t know how that’s done, but I don’t think it’s difficult.

      Have fun with it. And if you make it, I really hope you’ll come back to this page and show it off. We would really love to see how it comes out. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Morning Jonni,
    I’m trying to upload my photos on the daily sculptures page and it keeps rejecting my upload. I’ve given a brief description, it says it’s too long. Also could not email you through ultimate papier-mâché.com. Thank you this is Starlene Richardson

    Reply
    • H Starlene. I think your photo is probably too large to upload. All sites built on WordPress, like this one, have an automatic limit on file sizes, and won’t allow anyone, even me, to upload an image that’s 256 MB or bigger. If your file is bigger than that, please make it smaller and try again. There’s no size limitation on the text area of the form, just the photos. You can find my email address on my contact page. Be sure to copy the address correctly, or it won’t go through.

      Reply
  9. I have made a paper mache clay bowl, 3-5mm thick, and I would like to break it and then repair it in a faux Japanese gold repair style. Has anyone tried breaking paper mache and was it possible to reassemble the pieces? Any information would be gratefully received before I bash a good bowl.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • What an interesting question! I haven’t tried it, and I don’t know if it will break cleanly, like a ceramic bowl would, or it will shatter into tiny bits held together, sort of, by the paper fibers. I do hope you get an answer from someone who’s tested it.

      In fact, this is particularly interesting to me because people have asked me if they can use the paper mache clay for a pinata. I recommend against it because I can easily imagine tiny hard pointy pieces of paper mache clay flying through the air. Your experiments might tell me if that’s really true or not. Maybe the pinata would just politely crack in half and let the candy spill out. 🙂

      Reply
      • I made a paper mache Pinata for my nephews birthday and in my attempt to make it not disintegrate too quickly I put 4 layers of paper on. In short it was fairly indestructible took a baseball bat to make a hole and then I had to use a knife to cut it open all the way. Proved how strong paper mache can be 🙂

        Reply
      • I have made a piñata out of the strips of newspapers and the flour paste. That broke just fine. I do agree with you about the clay though. I think it wouldn’t break clean. Perhaps she should just saw it up in random pieces. Interesting project.

        Reply
  10. Oh my goodness! There have been so many lovely posts on the daily sculptors page, one can not comment on every one! What a talented group of followers that Jonni has! Well done all!

    Reply
  11. Hi Joni
    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful fun and informative videos, and books that I have to say I found whilst in the middle of my first and very large cardboard sculpture of our Staffordshire bull terrier Jenny, I kind of ploughed straight in and cut and glued and hacked and bodged and and ended up with a dog shape but without a head and then I found you!! isn’t google a wonderful thing and YouTube you saved the day in so many ways and now I am such a fan of ‘Joni clay’ and your gesso formula and I am happy to say my sculpture has a head although I am still going at it backwards in so many ways and I know for the next project what my starting point should be and how to bulk out and the much needed pattern. I promise to upload a picture when Jenny dog is finished but I fear it may be some time as I am working throughout lockdown here in the UK and do as much as I can after dinner and days off. With much fan love and appreciation for the amazing and talented lady you are xxx Fiona

    Reply
    • I’m glad you found us! And I can’t wait to see how Jenny turns out. You reminded me that I once started to sculpt a Clydesdale horse and it ended up being a bully dog, instead. He looked just like Henry J, the mutt I grew up with, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. At least your sculpture is still a dog, after all your hacking. 🙂 My dog’s hind leg isn’t bent in the right place, but don’t tell my dad. The sculpture is in his living room.

      Reply
      • Hi Jonni,
        I will try and upload a picture of my sculpture of Jenny dog as she is now finished. The finished colour leaves a lot to be desired, although as I mentioned I am totally new to sculpting with paper Mache clay and all things cardboard related and painting too. (I think the varnish I used was maybe too old and her final colour was darkened too much by the varnish and she resemble a shiny ginger biscuit) I am however quite please with her eyes and I remembered from your lovely rustic chicken video how to add a white dot to represent a dash of light, so here goes with posting a picture I hope it comes out ok x much love Fiona from Margate Kent UK

        Reply
        • Hi Fiona. What a great sculpture! It really shows off the personality of your dog. Was the lighter version, the one on the bottom of your post, the color you had intended her to be? If so, it’s quite a mystery. I’ve never seen varnish darken the paint that way. I’m sure one of our visitors will be able to explain it. I can’t wait to see what you make next! 🙂

          Reply
  12. I tried the air dry recipe. I wasn’t sure if I needed to add all the cornstarch while mixing or just after to take away stickiness. Either way it was light sticky bread dough or soft smooth bread dough. Can get paper effect at all

    Reply
  13. Hi all. First of all, thanks for this wonderful cultural space. I am making a life-size gorilla. The skelton was made using a cardboard pattern. I sorrounded it with paper and tape. At this point, I have to cover it all with paper mache clay and I have a question about the fur. I’m not sure if I have to cover everything with a first layer of paper mache clay and make the coat with this clay. Instead, I make a second layer using Air Dry clay to make fur.
    I am too concerned when the gesso filled in the strokes of fur and it took a lot of the detail away. I will use dry clay for the face. My main question has to do with the gorilla’s fur. A single main layer? A second layer for details?
    Many thanks! It has been weeks of work on the armature and I would not want to waste all the work done.
    A warm greeting from Spain!

    Reply
    • Hi Elena. You can do it either way, but I usually start with a thin layer of paper mache clay to give me a solid base, and then do the texture with a second layer. You’ll get crisper details with the air dry clay recipe, and a more textured surface with the paper mache clay. Do some small experiments to see which one you like best. If you’re using the DIY gesso recipe made with the drywall joint compound and glue, and it’s filling in the fur texture, switch to an acrylic gesso, instead. It’s just a thick paint, so you shouldn’t lose any details at all.

      We all want to see that gorilla when it’s done. I really hope you’ll come back to this page and show it off so we can see how it comes out! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Hi all. I haven’t been around for a while because of health problems, but I wanted to tell you about my last attempt at paper mache.. I made the chicken following your instructions, but because of how it turned out I named it Rustic Chicken. My chicken has found a new home and now lives in the Yukon Territory. One of my grandsons, a filmmaker, lives there, but every so often he has to come to Toronto on business and it’s only a few days so sometimes we don’t even get to see him, but this time he was here for six weeks and we had a couple of visits. He fell in love with my chicken and took it home to put in a baby’s room, a little boy expected in April. I was so pleased because the imperfections didn’t matter to him. I did many paintings of Shaun when he was small, but because of the distance between us, I didn’t see him often when he was growing up.

    I am not too physically active, but I am still writing poems and would love to post a few if that is okay. I was planning to make a poetry book with artwork on the pages and I had planned to ask you about how set up a page and what font I should use, etc, but that plan is on the back burner.
    I loved the three wise men and liked how you combined the foil, PMC, and polymer clay j found that very interesting and made me itch to get back to clay, but can’t do it right now.

    Love your Apple, Rex and all the wonderful sculptures.

    Joyce

    Reply
    • Hi Joyce. It’s good to hear from you again. I’m glad your chicken found a good home. If you can talk your grandson into taking a photo of it, we’d love to see it. He can post it on the Daily Sculptors page. 🙂
      And of course we would love to read your poems, too. It’s wonderful that you’re staying creative in spite of all your health challenges.

      Reply
  15. Jonni,
    I am half way through making the Begging Dacshund out of your ‘Make Animal Sculptures’ book that I have just purchased. I’m feeling SO creative and enthusiastic! I will post her on here when finished!
    I would like to make a little person with clothes on and am wondering how to make for example a skirt or pants that would look like fabric…would I use fabric and stiffen/glue it with PVA ( Australia) to stiffen it, or use the aluminium mesh (that I will use on my dacshund ears)? Or maybe the air dry clay as it would be a thinner coat?
    Thank you in advance Jonni.

    Reply
  16. Thanks Joni, this is really helpful, and you were somehow able to intuit exactly what I was making, the giraffe is exactly the sort of low-relief look I’m going for.

    I’m not sure I can build up layers that are thin or delicate enough with the foil and paper, so now I’m going to look into how to carve EPS foam.

    The adventure continues. I’ll post the finished product if I can crack the code
    🙂

    Reply
  17. Thanks for your generous sharing here, Joni!

    I’ve cut a shape in foam core that’s about 24″ x 24″. I want to layer paper mache clay on it to give it depth and form (probably about 1.5″ at the thickest).

    I have two questions:

    Which clay recipe(s) should I use? I want a very smooth surface, so I’m thinking of one clumpy clay to create the main bulk and then another thinner one to smooth on the top. Or is there a better idea?

    What about shrinkage? The foam core is not rigid, will the clay shrink and bow the backing? Is there a way to avoid this?

    Many thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah. The clay does shrink a little, and it will cause cardboard to warp. However, I would not suggest that you apply either the paper mache clay or the air dry clay in a clump that’s 1.5″ thick. Air would only reach one side and it would take forever to dry. It would probably also crack, because it will dry on the outside first. Terry’s giraffe was made using the paper mache clay over Styrofoam, and it didn’t warp, but the Styrofoam was glued to a heavy piece of cardboard first. I would suggest building up your shapes with crumpled foil and either masking tape or hot glue. Test the glue before using it, because I don’t know if it will melt the foam or not. After the shapes are on, you could then add a very thin layer, first with the paper mache clay, and then another one with the air dry clay. You would only need very thin layers, of 1/8″ or even less.

      Some of my readers might have more suggestions for you. Have fun with it! 🙂

      Reply

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