Sculpt a Dragon with Paper Mache Clay, Part 2

This is a reader-supported site. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂

In this video I let you watch over my shoulder as I add paper mache clay to the dragon armature I made for a previous episode.

Note: I don’t know why, but I never finished this dragon. If I had finished it, it might have looked a bit like this one. I did, however, make a really big dragon – it took a long time, but I did finish it. You can see how it came out here. There’s a list on that post of all the video tutorials I made when I made that dragon, if you’d like to make one of your own. Our friend Patricia made one – she named her dragon Arthur, and you can see it here.

The paper mache clay on this little dragon came out a little bumpier than usual, just because I was trying to hurry. The process of applying the paper mache clay is usually a nice slow, almost meditative process. However, when you know a few hundred people are watching, you tend to hurry things up — and now I’ll need to go back and do some sanding and carving to clean her up.

14 thoughts on “Sculpt a Dragon with Paper Mache Clay, Part 2”

  1. Hi Jonni!

    I thought that your dragon was Fab! we are going to try to make it and we will send you a finished photo. we are in England and don’t have joint compound what is it?

    From Elena

    • Hi Elena. Other readers from the UK have been able to find the product under the name “joint filler.” Tell the clerk at the hardware store that you need the “mud” that is used to fill the cracks between pieces of plasterboard on new walls. They should be able to find the right department.

      We’d love to see your dragon when it’s done!

  2. If houses were made of paper mache, trees would never have to be cut, and bricks could stay in the ground as a part of the earth they were made of.

    • Um – Even if we use recycled paper, a tree does have to die in order to create the paper in the first place. Using recycled bales of paper might be an alternative to straw bale houses (has anyone tried this, I wonder?). That would put the dead trees in our walls instead of our landfills, and would make a nice warm house, too. Hmmm. If we allowed paper to be made from hemp in this country, we could stop the slaughter of trees completely, and then our imaginary paper houses would be completely tree-free.

  3. Hi Jonnie,

    Great video! thanks for sharing your knowledge of PM with all of us. Its possible to sculpt features when using paper clay…..but if using strips with PM paste how can one get the same effect……can you throw some light on it?
    Great idea to have an eye painting video…..we would really appreciate it.

    • Hi Payal,

      Most of the tutorials on this site were made using traditional paper strips and paste, so check the tutorial page. I’ve used a wide variety of methods to get details the way I want them using the paper and paste method, so you’ll see a different method on almost all of the tutorials. In fact, the first dragon I made, on my very first post, is quite detailed, and you can see how it was done here.

  4. Jonni-
    I havent seen one of your videos including this, and i know its not “Paper mache” but i would LOVE to see a video like the dragon, but showing you painting it, painting details like eyes, and other details that you manage to get so much life out of in your art. also any patina that you use or glazes.


    • Hi Mike. I’m still getting the hang of the video camera, and so far I have not been able to focus it very well. This is a good idea, though, so maybe I’ll try to make something bigger, and do an “eye painting” video. Just to see how it comes out.

      I use Golden Glazing Liquid mixed with a bit of Burnt Umber on many of my sculptures as the final glaze. I brush it on, then wipe it off. It brings out all the details very nicely.

  5. This is wonderful, Jonni! I can’t wait to see the finished piece. The video tended to run ahead on the audio portion, but I could be my internet connection, too.

    I have a question. Can you put on subsequent layers of clay on your project, say if you wanted to build up an area after your initial lay down of material? Or does it not adhere well to the dried layer? I work a lot in sculpted ceramics, and that is always a concern, working too many layers. I have to get myself in the paper mache’ mindset before I start building my own masterpieces, I guess!

    Thank you so much for the wonderful website, the great tutorials, and TONS of inspiration!!! Happy week.

    • Hi Ann. The audio issue is probably my fault. I’m still learning. It may be a very long time before I figure out this whole video thing.

      You can definitely add more layers. One of the main ingredients in the clay is glue, so it sticks to itself very well. You can also make certain areas of a layer thicker than others, as long as you give everything plenty of time to dry. That way, you can even out any dips in the armature, or build up details, like noses.

      Have fun with it.


Leave a Comment