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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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15,310 thoughts on “Daily Sculptors Group Page”

  1. Hi Jonni,
    Your work is amazing and inspiring! After following your site for a long time, I decided to try your lion pattern and your new recipe, it’s lovely to work with and I have one question. I missed a spot on the back of the lion’s ear and I’m wondering if I can just add more paper mache and patch it? It’s been drying for about 12 hours. I live in Denver so it is drying quickly but I wasn’t sure if I need to cover the pattern at one sitting? Also, how many batches of the new recipe would you make for the giraffe? I’m really hooked on this new medium as I’ve never sculpted anything before (lots of drawing and painting). Thank you for your thorough tutorials and your clear explanation of putting the pattern together.

    Reply
    • Hi Kathryn. Yes, you can add more. I’m not sure how many batches you’d need for a giraffe – I tend to just make up one at a time, and then make more if I run out. That way, I don’t end up with a lot left over. But I think the giraffe will need at least two – you can just double the amounts and make a double batch.

      Reply
  2. I am in charge of an especially lively group of 3rd to 6th graders in Sunday school over the summer. I’m wondering if anyone has tried making a larger sculpture over the course of a few weeks with kids. Making things is definitely the most successful thing with these kids, but I’m wondering if laying paper mâche on a premade armature would quickly get boring or maybe having supplies for them to make their own individual creations would work better? I often have grand ideas, but could use some practical input.

    Reply
    • Hi Brooke. I have never tried anything with kids that age, so I’m not the right person to give you suggestions. I hope one of our readers will help you out. I’d be interested in their answer, too. :)

      Reply
    • When I taught 6th grade I had a class project where they made a paper mache sphinx. It was very large. They loved making and painting it!

      Reply
        • We kept it in the classroom on display. We also did a pyramid.? they could work on the projects after they completed their classwork. It was a lot of fun.
          Also, I am really enjoying the giraffe sculpture! I retired from teaching 2 years ago and now get to enjoy some hobbies!

          Reply
  3. Two of the entries on this site proudly mention that they used “real claws”. Sorry, but I couldn’t read any more of them. Why does anyone that sculpts an animal think that if they use real animal parts, it makes it more authentic or beautiful? That is why we have poaching going on, People! What is wrong with putting the extra effort into making claws with polymer clay or Apoxie Clay or wood or anything else? I just don’t understand why it’s possible to buy authentic bones, teeth, pelts, claws or any other part of a living creature. Our world is in sad enough shape without adding the unnecessary deaths of beautiful, intelligent animals like wolves, coyotes, bears, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, etc. I could go on but I’m too angry!

    Reply
    • I understand your concern. If there was a way to verify that the parts came from animals that died naturally, I would consider that a way to honor that species but in real life, the purchase of these pieces drives a market for them.

      Reply
  4. Jonni. Do you think your head pattern would work as a form for a toddler’s face? Or are the overall proportions too different? I’ve read that younger faces have eyes that are larger and spaced further apart. Having used your pattern before I think I could make that work. However, my understanding is that the features are also positioned lower (eyebrows on the center line) and I’m not sure that would work. If not I’ll try winging it- knowing that I’ll likely end up with a creepy Halloween marionette instead of one with a cute baby face! Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Joanne. The proportions are a lot different. You might be able to make it work by adding some padding to the top of the head. This page has some interesting drawings (that look like they were taken from a very old book). Figure 5 on that page might be helpful. Have fun! :)

      Reply
      • What an interesting article. Thanks for taking the time to dig it up and for the information. I’ll just consider whatever I end up doing as practice!

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  5. Hi Jonni. I have been saving cannisters from hot chocolate and other food items. They are solid tubes with a tin bottom and a plastic cap. They range in height from 8-12 inches and from 4 to 6 inches in diameter. My question is: Has anyone found a use for them or does anyone have ideas for how they can be used with papier mache? They are so well made and sturdy that I hate to just throw them out. I have thought of using them to make a tree or as limbs on a robot but neither of those projects appeal to me. I am spring cleaning and I am ready to bin them but it will break my heart to do so. I once saved rectangular tissue boxes with the idea of making a faux brick fireplace but I binned them in my last move. I still regret it.

    Reply
    • Hi Ali. A lot of people use found objects, like your canisters, as the base of paper mache sculptures. If they were in my house, I’d probably start moving them around and stacking them up until I saw something that excited me.

      But if you’re not interested in using them yourself right now, you might want to contact your local grade school art teacher. They can always use ideas and free materials for their classes. Maybe they’d even make a sculpture for you.

      And then you could start saving up another batch, to use when the spirit moves you. :)

      Reply
      • Thanks for replying Jonni. The local schools are not interested. When I taught pre-school I would bring all my materials in and the children were always busy creating things. I even had a large table on which we built roads and houses and vehicles out of found materials. I had them doing a bit of woodworking on it too. They never hurt themselves even though the parents would sometimes be worried about the hammers and nails. Children at that age have such creative minds and they were my inspiration. I have stacked those cannisters and shuffled them around a few times and I am not inspired. I think my creative abilities have hit the “retirement” button.

        Reply
        • I suspect the problem is not your creativity. It sounds like the canisters are the problem. You might want to put them in a box somewhere and forget about them for awhile. I’m sure that before you know it, you’ll be inspired to make something, using other materials. (It sounds like you were the kind of teacher I wish I’d had, back in the day. Our first grade ‘art classes’ were just time for coloring pages, and it was all about staying inside the lines. I never could figure out why my teacher thought that mattered so much… :) )

          Reply
        • Hi! Go older! Try middle and high school STEM teachers or theater teachers. I teach 9th grade Engineering Design and help our drama department with theater sets. We are always looking for raw materials to repurpose!

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  6. Hi Jonni, ON RETIREMENT!

    Concerning retirement for artists. I once was thinking to retire. But I got depressed at the thought. So I spoke to a friend who is also an artist, and she said ARTISTS DONT RETIRE! They keep going, otherwise they get bored and depressed and go down hill.” This really cheered me up so I keep going: after all when you LOVE what you do and you can still do it; WHY GIVE IT UP. Okay less frequent videos to get the pressure off (I love your videos by the way) and so on, but KEEP GOING you are having fun with your art and gardening. You are a great teacher and artist. Thank you for all you do.

    Jenny May

    Reply
    • Thanks Jenny May. Yes, I agree that it would be really depressing to not make stuff anymore. I can’t imagine doing that! I think maybe I just need to be more organized, so I feel I have more time to play with other things, too. :)

      Reply
      • YES, TIME FOR OTHER THINGS…LIKE BEAUTY AND FUN AND FRIENDS!
        THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO FOR US JONNI, YOU ARE MY GO TO CHANNEL FOR CREATIVE JOY!

        Reply
      • Hi Jonni. I just recently found your website as I have just retired from my Interior Design business and I was looking for other outlets for my creativity. Paper Mache was my favorite art form as a child, and now that I have time to play again I am excited to start again on this craft! I can’t ever imagine not doing something creative. I can understand the need to slow down a little, but please keep inspiring us with your ideas!

        Reply
        • Hi Mary. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. Will you be using paper mache to make decor for your home? I hope you’ll let us see what you made with it. :)

          Reply
  7. Hi Jonni! I would like to know what is the best protection for outdoor sculptures. I tried something called low gloss sealer with urethane, recommended as a cement sealer, but it turned white and showed up on my sculptures when outdoors in the wet.
    I’m having a great time with the outdoor paper mache, and will post pics soon!
    Helen

    Reply
    • Hi Helen. I used the Rustoleum Clear Enamel spray for my outdoor sculpture, and it didn’t turn white. And I recently watched a video by a fellow who sells concrete yard art, and he says they don’t need any sealer at all. I think a lot of people disagree with him, but he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. He even says that some sealers can damage a stature – you can see it here: https://youtu.be/f_Qisp1CmTk
      He does say that the paint might need a sealer, though, and it looks like he does answer questions occasionally. (The spray he uses is not the same brand I used, but I think it’s the same thing.)

      Reply
  8. I’m making a 6 foot tall bear using PVC as a skeleton. then paper and cardboard then paper Mache then figerglass then bondo then flex seal. I’ll share photos. trying to determine how to fill the head wall statue I made (sized 2x) from Jonni.

    I’ve put a hole in the corrugated card board backing for the pvc pipe. I’ll put the pipe in the head then surround with packing peanuts and/ior spray in foam then slide the back over the pvc pipe and seal the back on with tape.

    then attach the pvc to the necks with a 90 degree connector. Then run cardboard or bamboo from the head to the shoulders before I put on more cardboard and fill the top cavity with paper before starting the paper Mache process. Love any advice. I’m a complete rookie.

    Reply
  9. Hello. I’m a HUGE fan. I followed your tips last while constructing a paper mache hot air ballon for a women’s ministry banquet “Paris”: theme. I’ll share that soon.
    But this year we are doing “Let’s Flamingle” and I am trying to make a gigantic flamingo head and legs. It will appear to be coming from the ceiling. I decided to use the inner cardboard tube from a roll of carpet for the legs. Very sturdy. But they are Long!!! What would you recommend covering the cardboard legs with before I apply the paper mache clay or do I need to?
    Also, the head!!!! I am making an armature for the head from cardboard, with chicken wire. If you were doing this, it would come out brilliantly, but I’m a little intimidated. After covering with wire, and building up areas with paper and masking tape, do I cover the whole area with masking tape? Or is there a better (and cheaper) option? The head -from crown to tip of beak is about 4-4 1/2 feet tall.

    Reply
    • Hi Dixie. Boy, you do enjoy taking on big challenges! You don’t need to cover the cardboard – both paper strips and paste, and paper mache clay will stick to cardboard, so you can use either one.

      You’ll probably want to cover the chicken wire with masking tape to make it easier to add the paper mache. I have never used chicken wire for a sculpture, but I know a lot of people do. I thought there would be some good videos on YouTube explaining how they get the paper mache to stick, but the only one I found that used paper mache over the wire covered the wire first with tape. You might be able to skimp on the tape by using large pieces of newspaper to start with, and tape them to the wire around the edges. Then your next layer of paper mache clay wouldn’t fall through the holes. Another option would be to use an armature sculpting wire, like I used for my dragon wings. The paper mache clay can go directly over it because the holes are very small.

      Remember to let us see it when it’s done! :)

      Reply
      • I have found that tin foil works to cover the chicken wire enough to get the cement on. That is using the outdoor mixture….
        Helen

        Reply
  10. Hi! I’m making the large paper Mache elephant with my daughter for a school project. I’m going to use your paper Mache clay but have a few questions. Do I put the clay directly on the tape? Also, how do I use the play and still do the finally layer of paper towels for the skin look? Do I just put the paper towels in the clay mixture when it’s wet on the elephant and it soaks up the moisture? Thanks for all the tips!

    Reply
    • Hi Stephanie. I waited until the paper mache clay layer was dry, and then added the paper towels. Use just one ply. You don’t need any special paste with the towels – the cooked flour and water paste will work just as well as the mix I used in the video.

      And yes, you can put the paper mache clay right over the tape, and it will stick. :)

      Reply
  11. Jonni, thank you for all your recent help coming up with a realistic mountain lion mascot head. I would like to leave photos to share with you as I have the cardboard/layout part of the project put together. Everyone I have shared photos with say how realistic it looks and how awesome it is. But I do not see a way to share photos here.
    If I coat it with Mod Podge (or what you might recommend) would that keep the paper from wrinkling when I spread on the paper mache clay?

    Reply
    • Hi Carolyn. We would love to see your mountain lion! Did you click on the yellow button at the top of the page that says ‘show us your artwork’? It should take you to a form where you can upload some photos, and tell us about your mascot head.
      Did you use cereal box cardboard for your mountain lion? If you did, it shouldn’t wrinkle when you add paper mache. Since it will be used at a school, I’d suggest using paper strips and Titebond III wood glue for your first layer of paper mache. It’s super-strong and dries very fast, and it will seal the cardboard underneath. You can add regular paper mache paste over it after it dries, it you want, or use some of the paper mache clay.

      Reply
      • I forgot to say that the wood glue mache will also help if you used card stock for the head instead of cereal box cardboard. You might want to support it from the inside while you add the wood glue and paper strips, so the weight of the paper mache doesn’t distort the shapes. When it dries it should be strong enough to hold up on it’s own.

        Reply
  12. Can I mix the ingredients in paper mache clay without using a hand mixer? Like just use a spatula or something to manually mix ingredients: I have an extra hand mixer that I can use just for paper mache clay but i am more worried about washing it afterwards. I read that I can’t wash joint compound in the sink bec. it can clog the sink. I am working in a project in preschool.

    Thanks for replies!
    Ara

    Reply
    • Several people have told me that it’s possible, but it will take more time. You’ll need to make sure the paper fibers are completely distributed and broken apart. The joint compound we use does not contain plaster, like the powdered kind, so I’ve never had any problems washing it in the sink. We use the wet kind that’s pre-mixed and comes in a tub. However, the mixture isn’t edible, because the joint compound is made for the construction industry, and not for pre-school kids. If the children will be using it, make sure they don’t eat it. Another thing to consider is that it takes quite a bit of eye-hand coordination to spread a thin layer of paper mache clay over an armature. Many younger children will find this difficult.

      Reply
      • Hi Jonni!
        Thank you very much for your reply. At the moment, one of the projects I am working on is a huge tree in the small playroom for the bigger kids at my dept. I will post a photo when I am done. I also have a big dinosaur which will be located in the younger kids room. I almost done with the tree, had used 2 layers of paper and wood glue. I just could not decide if I will be using the paper mache clay as a final coat . I have bought a tub of joint compound that is premixed. I guess I have to check the ingredients if there is plaster mixed in it.
        Have a great weekend!
        Ara

        Reply
        • Great projects! I hope you’ll let us see them when they’re done. And if your joint compound is the premixed kind, in a plastic tub, it doesn’t have any plaster. Have fun! :)

          Reply
  13. Hi Jonni!

    I’ve noticed that some sculptures are put on bases or stands while others are left without and was wondering if there are any rules or guidelines?

    Happy thoughts,
    Riley

    PS my cats love chewing on paper mache creations made with flour paste so I use watered down pva glue now. I assume that would stop the mice as well.

    Reply
    • Hi Riley. I use a base when I think it would look nice, and when the sculpture might fall over if it doesn’t have something heavy under it. Just a personal decision.
      I had a cat who would eat paper mache. But he would also chew on electric cords and cardboard, so your PVA idea might not have worked with him – but a ‘normal’ cat would probably not be interested in something made with glue. Thanks for the tip! :)

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for your speedy reply, Jonni! I’m participating in an art show next month and have been trying to figure out how to display my little sculptures and am glad to hear there aren’t any secret rules I need to follow.

        We have a cord eating cat too! What are they thinking? And one who licks soap bottles when he’s able to sneak into the bathroom ?

        And please accept my delayed yet enthusiastic praise and gratitude for all your gorgeous projects, the information you post, as well as your inspiring can-do attitude ?

        Reply
  14. Hi Jonni,
    Your creations are so life like and I appreciate the fact that you are so giving of all your techniques :) Quick question, I’ve tried to make the paper mache clay receipt 2x and both times it came out very rubbery and not paintable like you show in your tutorial. I bought inexpensive toilet paper from Lidle and got joint compound from Walmart, and even bought a hand mixer with the dough attachments. What am I doing wrong do you think?
    Thank you so much for your time!!
    Terry

    Reply
      • I went to my Walmart in Richmond, VA., and they carry Wurth Ready-To-Use Joint Compound. I saw an earlier post with a similar question, and you thought perhaps they had used to much paper. I added more glue and joint compound to see if that was the issue, and it made no difference in the texture and rubbery consistency. I was able to find Pro-Form joint compound, but only in 3 gallon tubs at Lowes. I’ll switch to Pro-Form as I know you have spent lots of time working with and perfecting your recipe.
        Thank you again so much for your time!!
        Terry

        Reply
        • Terry, I was able to get the Wurth joint compound to work by switching to Gorilla Wood Glue. But one of my readers tried it, and got the same results you did. They may have different formulas for different factories or areas of the country. If you have some Gorilla Wood Glue in the house, you might try mixing just a small dab of the glue and a small dab of the Wurth, and see if it gets rubbery. If not, you might be able use the amount you have left over.

          Reply
  15. My name is Hannah Humburg, I am a junior at Maur Hill – Mount Academy and am working on a project, for my English class, focused on how to make a papier mache bowl that you could eat off of. If you have any suggestions for food friendly glue or how to make a sturdy bowl that won’t break, I would love to hear from you.

    Have a great day,
    Hannah

    Reply
    • Hi Hannah. The cooked flour and water paste is non-toxic, but the paste and the paper are not waterproof. For a food-friendly finish to keep food from soaking into the bowl, you will want to ask at your local DIY store for a good finish for a wooden bowl or cutting board. I hope you have fun with your project! :)

      Reply
  16. Hello
    I am stuck, I do not know how to attach pieces 19, 20, 21 and 22 on the giraffe’s head. Is there a video to guide me?
    Thanks.
    Jesus

    Reply
  17. Anyone of you knows how to protect your paper mache art from getting eaten/destroyed by rats?mice? Thank you

    Reply
    • I’ve been asked that question before, and I don’t have an answer for you. We don’t seem to have any paper mache-eating mice where I live. I hope someone else will help us out. :)

      Reply
    • You might try adding essential oil of peppermint. It’s in many repellents, as they are supposed to hate the smell. I’ve never tried it though. I do use clove oil in my paper mache clay.

      Reply
    • Peppermint Oil. Put cottonballs with peppermint oil on them where you store your artwork or in a box dabbed with peppermint oil. Mice hate it. Another good deterrent is varnish. Anything to give it an undesirable odor. I once had mice eat soap in a cabinet until I used peppermint oil. It’s worth a try. Adopt a colony of cats but that gives you bigger problems.

      Reply
  18. Hi Jonni,

    I want to make a Frog Head mask. I like your frog pattern but I need it bigger. Kinkos can blow it up but it will be expensive. Any advice you can give me?

    Reply
  19. Jonni,

    I want to make a sculpture with my son. Do you have a pattern for an armadillo or similar animal?

    Thanks,

    Jenny

    Reply

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