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Daily Sculptors Page

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

No artwork to share today? That’s OK, too… We’d love to hear from you. Just scroll down to the bottom of this page and use the comment form. 🙂

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15,270 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. Hello! I just assembled the skull/bust form and intend to use it one time and not bother cutting the sculpture off. I’ve started the bust with paper mache but I’m unsure what to use to sculpt the face. What would stick to the paper and tape of the skull best? I want a very smooth, controlled finish for the face. Should I prep the form first or just apply something like paper mache clay directly and let it dry? Or is WED clay best? Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica. If you use a wet clay, like WED clay, you won’t be able to remove it after the final ‘skin’ is added to the sculpture. You could remove the final paper mache and leave the sculpture hollow, but if you don’t want to cut it, you need to use something else for the basic forms. The easiest thing to use is crumpled foil and hot glue. When you have the shapes very close to the way you want them, you can burnish the foil smooth with a flat tool. Then you can add the paper mache clay for the final details and to make it permanent. I hope this helps – let me know if you have more questions. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I found a really good stand on which to display or work on masks.

    Dreamlover Wig Stand, Wig Head Stand, Travel Plastic Wig Stand, 2 Pack $8.99 on Amazon.

    Reply
  3. Hi,
    I’m making two giraffe heads for a production of Lion King. I’m thinking that I’ll attach the head to a helmet. Any suggestions on how to secure the giraffe neck to the helmet?

    Reply
  4. Hi all! General question about a project. I want to make a giant version of candy hearts (not edible of course) for wall decorations. I made the armature (a big 3D heart with flat heart-shaped faces) out of cardboard, with tape to hold it together. I now want to make it smooth and paint it.

    My first attempt: I tried paper mache, with flour, water, and newspaper. Then I didn’t like how it wasn’t smooth. I mixed DAP plaster of paris and water and spread it over the heart. The plaster or paris cracked :'( and then I gave up because the heart looked ugly.

    I’m starting again and this time I’ve already done the paper mache stage.
    What would you recommend I do next? Plaster of paris + glue? Joint compound + glue? None of the above?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Alice. The joint compound won’t usually crack if it’s applied thinly, over a completely dry paper mache sculpture. However, it will crack if the underlying paper mache is flexible, because it doesn’t have any structural strength or reinforcement. I have used a mixture of plaster of Paris and glue for paste, combined with thick absorbent paper strips. Author James Cochrane, author of Paper Sculpture, uses a mixture of plaster of Paris, water, PVA Glue and acrylic paint as a top coat for the projects in his (out of print and currently over-priced) book. So yes, you can use plaster, but I don’t think you can make it smooth with a damp sponge after it dries. The easiest option would be the drywall joint compound, but for your next batch of candy hearts you could use the smooth air dry clay recipe instead of paper strips and paste.

      Reply
  5. Hello As a teen I went to school for sculpting figures but could not afford to keep it up, nor did I have a way to build molds or fire my things in a kiln Now I am 73 years old and I I live in a rest home.
    In order to try making outdoor sculptures I have devised this recipe according to my ingredient restrictions. I am overwhelmed by too many combinations of ingredients. Do you think that this recipe would be worth trying?

    1/2 cup PVA glue and 1/2 cup damp toilet paper mixed together. Gradually add 2/3 cups Plaster of Paris. Boil and add 2 TB cornstarch or rice flour in one cup water for one minute to make a paste. Mix it all together . Add a small amount of lotion on your hands before kneading the sticky mixture on a corn starched surface. Knead in some acrylic paint as desired. Try to blend it in (about 1/2 cup.) Make your piece. Cure till completely dry. Seal with acrylic varnish or Thompson’s Sealer.

    If you see any glaring errors or have some advice, please let me know. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. So much talent here. I am excited to find this site!
    I am making a Milky White cow for Into The Woods. I want to make it a bobble head tho. Even hinged legs if I can figure it out. I would like her to have more personality. Has anyone ever built a pc that “moves”?

    Reply
    • Try looking at tutorials for making wooden marionettes. There are lots of them on u-tube that go into great detail about things like how to make jointed knees and moving mouths. Also Czech Marionettes (marionettes.cz) sells lots of DIY parts that might give you ideas.

      Reply
  7. Jonni,
    I really need your help. I absolutely have NO artistic skills and I’m trying to make this. I can cut the wood and paint it, but I don’t even know where to begin to make the nose for our church Fall Festival. Not sure how to send you the picture-

    Reply
  8. I’ve never made a paper mache project, but very interested/nervous to try to make the giraffe head for a production of The Lion King Jr.

    Any suggestions on how to attach the head to a helmet? Or make it wearable in some way?

    Reply
  9. Hi Jonni,

    I’ve followed you on YouTube for many many years – love your work creativity. Question for you. I’m a youth services librarian in Michigan and we have a paper mache giraffe that has been the library’s mascot since 1972. Stretch is in need of some TLC at this point in her life but I sorta need a little guidance in restoring her. Can you point me in the direction of any info related to restoration? Or would you be comfortable looking at a few pictures of her for your thoughts? I plan on making this into a library program were kids 8-12 can come help me fix her (obviously one that will go for a few months, as she’s quite big). Any insight you are willing to offer would be amazing. I appreciate your time!

    Reply
    • Hi Kim. I’ve never done any restoration myself, other than fixing my raven’s leg after I dropped him on the floor. That really doesn’t qualify me as an expert. But we’d love to see your giraffe. If you post some photos, some of our readers might have some good ideas for you. Repairing cracked or broken places on paper mache isn’t usually the hard part – paper strips and paste will usually cover areas that haven’t been damaged too much. Making the new parts blend in with the old surface and matching the paint colors can be a little more challenging. We received some photos of a horse that was repaired after extensive damage, but Kim, the artist who repaired it, is not responding to comments on her post. You might want to look at it, though, for a bit of encouragement – I’m sure your giraffe looks a lot better than her ‘before’ photos already. 🙂

      Reply
      • You are right! Stretch is in way better condition than Thunder Hoofs – the repair work is really outstanding and inspirational! I also think you are correct that the color matching on a 51 year old giraffe is going to be a challenge… I guess is the wear damage bad enough to be repaired or should we hang on for a few more years?

        Reply
    • Ola eu quero trabalhar com papel Machê
      Estou precisando de mais informações e colocar na minha escuta pra deixar fora meu
      Jardim

      Reply
    • Hi Sam – I did receive your post, and your giraffe is gorgeous! But I’m way behind on everything this week, so it probably won’t be up until tomorrow. Thanks for reminding me, though. And thanks for sharing it with us! I’ll let you know as soon as it’s online. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Good morning! So excited to find your website, thank you so much. Please can you help me with this? I’m in the UK and have found the joining compound you used, but Elmer’s glue is *wildly* expensive here – maybe it’s an import – so …. can I use *any* PVA glue (I’m guessing this is what Elmer’s is) or does it have to be Elmer’s? Thank you in advance from the UK!

    Reply
  11. Hi Joni and all. Trying to problem solve why the cement paper mache has air bubbles rising after I spread mixture on my armature?

    Reply
      • Hi!

        I’m the daughter, lol

        So, it is the actual structure (the structure is 3 cardboard boxes covered in aluminum foil – I work at a library and for Halloween we decorate outside and I wanted a stack of books that we could leave out for the season).

        For the recipe I am going strictly by the book (your book, lol) and the only difference is that I am hand mixing rather than using a mixer. My mom did a little research and found that over mixing can cause air bubbles, so I am off to try mixing much slower.

        Reply
        • To make sure I understand what you’re working with, are you making your sculpture with the original paper mache clay recipe, or the new one that includes the cement? I’ve never seen bubbles in the original paper mache clay, and I always mix it for a long time with an electric mixer. And my dad made lots of things with the traditional type of concrete that includes cement and sand and gravel, and he mixed with a machine without getting bubbles – so I’m still not sure what happened. I hope a cement expert can help explain it to us.

          Reply
          • Yes, I am using the cement mixture. I just did a second layer, and haven’t noticed the bubbles….yet. I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks so much for sharing all of your knowledge with us, Jonni!

            Megan

            Reply
        • It looks as if your clay has bubbles because it has been overmixed, same as a cake. Pancake batter has to sit awhile before you fry it or it gets bubbly as well. Are you sure you didn’t use cake flour? That has baking powder mixed in with it.

          Reply
  12. Has anyone ever used wallpaper sizing/adhesive for Paper Máchê before? I’m teaching a class to upper elementary and middle school kids and thought I might use it in place of flour and water or glue and water for our first project (a pumpkin). After that, I want to use Jonni’s paper mache recipe for our second project so that they get a feel for both.
    Did you like using wallpaper sizing/adhesive and did it dry strong?Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Hi,

    Your work is beautiful! I am looking for a downloadable pattern for a bird mask for my daughter who’s 7. Do you have one you recommend? She wants to be a raven for halloween this year.

    Thanks! Alexis

    Reply
    • Hi Alexis. I only have three bird mask patterns, and none of them are ravens. It’s a great idea, though, and now that you mentioned it, I wish I did. 🙂 You might be able to find a papercraft pattern on etsy.com that would work.

      Reply
  14. HELP
    Need to pick your brains
    Hi all! I’ve got myself in a bit of a pickle. I put together a proposal for an ambitious sculpture project, and lo and behold I have got the funding. Or some of it at least.
    The project is a giant human sized egg, 6ft in diameter using a weather balloon as the base. It needs to be outside for 2 days and people will be getting in and out of it.
    I am a little overwhelmed with recipes and options weighing durability against weight and cost. I think I’m going to use drywall tape for a mesh to reinforce. I considered trying to make a paste version of the weather proof papercrete clay. thought about using plaster strips….
    What would you do?

    Reply
    • Hi Elspeth. Will there be any weight on the egg when people are inside? In other words, will people be walking on the ground but surrounded by the egg, or will they actually be rolling around inside it? The engineering would be different in those two cases…

      Reply
      • I should also say that I asked about how it will be used because the coating will only be the ‘skin’ on your egg, no matter which recipe you decide to use. It needs to be put on something that is strong enough for the purpose, even before the coating is added. Do you have a sketch you could share so we can see how the egg will look, with human inside, when it’s done?

        Reply
        • I would be concerned about the structure and people inside without a significant steel rod armature to support the weight of the sculptural coating. and specifically having arches incorperated on a round structure to support the overhead curves and top sections.

          Reply
  15. Hi Jonni,
    is it okay for me to teach my after-school teens art class using the pattern I have bought from you?
    There are 12 kids in my group aged 13 to 17.
    regards – Shirley in Victoria, Australia.
    Go the Matildas!

    Reply
    • Yes, of course you can. That would be great! In fact, we’d love to see how their sculptures come out, and you can show them off on this page – with their permission, of course. 🙂

      Reply
      • Oh that’s so generous of you. Thank you. Our school year runs from early February to mid-December so I may do it in the new year as I have a program for the rest of the year (which includes some steampunk submarines which should be awesome – we did steampunk seahorses and angler fish last year using foam-core board so they were more ‘2D’. The subs will be 3D). We are half-way through Term 3 of 4.
        I’ll definitely send pictures of their work – I’m pretty sure that they would be stoked to have their work displayed on a USA site.
        Thanks again. Regards – Shirley. Go the Matildas!

        Reply
  16. Jonni, please help. I followed your recipe for smooth paper Mache but my Mache will not loose its stickiness. I’m using flour and cornstarch but I’m afraid to use more. Should I just go ahead and see what happens?
    We talked about making gargoyles. Have you given it anymore thought?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia. It sounds like you might have too much water in your mix. Did you use the gram measurements from the recipe, to make sure you were squeezing out enough water? If you can spread the mixture, it will still dry hard – but it might be difficult to make any small details.

      Reply
      • Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, Jonni. Don’t you sleep? I was afraid the bills I shredded were way too dry. but then I added water and that may have messed up everything. I also didn’t use a whole lot of flour. Do you suppose I could add more flour or more shredded paper? Right now the Mache is really sticky.

        Reply

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