Cherie’s Paper Mache “Egg-Heads” Guest Post

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.

Paper Pulp Mice Made over Blown EggsToday we have a guest post by Cherie Kemp – and just in time for the holidays. When I saw her fox and bear “egg-heads” in the comment section, I just had to ask her to show us how they’re made. Can’t you just imagine an entire tree covered with these delightfully simple sculptures?

Cherie uses these techniques for the critter heads shown at the top of this post, the mice shown at right, and people faces, which she shows you how to make in the post below.

Cherie can usually be found on her own blog, where she you’ll find many more fun craft projects.

©2014 Cherie Kemp

Paper pulp covered eggs:

When working with eggs it is vitally important to wash them thoroughly before attempting to blow them. There is a number of egg blowing devices on the market but as I have never used one I shall talk you step by step through the method that I use to prepare my eggs for use.

  • Step one……..Thoroughly wash the egg in warm soapy water and then dry with a clean towel
  • Step two……… Use a large (clean) needle to poke a hole in opposite ends of the egg.  Poke the needle inside the egg and wiggle it about a bit to break the yolk.
  • Step three…… Put your lips over the hole in one end of the egg and blow the contents into a bowl.
  • Step four …….. Rinse the egg thoroughly and put it to soak for a while in water to which you have added a drop or two of bleach.
  • Step five…. Shake the water from the egg and leave it to dry

Now comes the fun part:

Tear a pile of used envelopes into small pieces and put them to soak in some warm water for an hour or two to soften the fibres.  When they are thoroughly softened, tip them into your blender, top it up to the maximum mark with warm water and whizz them up until they are a soft pulp.  DON’T be tempted to put too much paper in the blender or you will burn out the motor.

Pour this pulp into a bowl and squidge your fingers in the pulp (you don’t really need to do this but it is such fun). Tip a small amount of the pulp into a sieve and pick up a blown egg. Scoop up about a dessertspoon of the pulp and press the pulp so that it presses against the side of the sieve to squeeze some of the water out.  Don’t squeeze too much out though as you want it to be fairly damp.

Making the Paper Pulp
Making the Paper Pulp
Paper Pulp After Draining
Paper Pulp After Draining

Now start to build up a layer of pulp on the egg. Don’t worry about the appearance of any gaps as you can keep pressing small amounts of pulp onto the egg to cover them.

Adding Paper Pulp to the Egg
Adding Paper Pulp to the Egg
Egg Covered with Paper Pulp
Egg Covered with Paper Pulp

Once the egg is entirely covered with pulp wrap it in a small cloth. (I cut up old towels and keep them for this purpose) Press gently but firmly to remove as much water as possible.

Soaking up Excess Water with a Towel
Soaking up Excess Water with a Towel

Now take the egg out of the cloth and again, firmly but gently roll it about on a dry cloth until the pulp has firmly stuck to the egg. At this point you can add more pulp to cover any gaps.

Inspect the Paper Pulp for Any Gaps
Inspect the Paper Pulp for Any Gaps

At this point you can decide what you would like the end result to be.  Perhaps you would like to create a face  or maybe an animal is what you would like to do.

To create a face I simply built up layers of soggy wet pulp and sculpted a face.  Build up the nose first to give you a guideline for the other features.  When I made my very first face I rolled up small sausages of paper pulp to create the lips.  DON’T do this, it looks terrible. It is far better to pile a little bit of fairly wet pulp onto the potential mouth area and use a toothpick to poke the facial details. Do the same with the eyes.  It will take a little bit of practice but you will see the face forming in front of you.

Beginning to Add Features to the Egg-Head
Beginning to Add Features to the Egg-Head
Using a Toothpick to Define Details
Using a Toothpick to Define Details

Build up the forehead and cheekbones in the same way.  Don’t worry if it looks a little rough at this stage as it will dry a lot smoother. When you are fairly happy with how it looks, blot as much water from it as you can. Be careful not to push the pulp off the egg though.  Leave it to dry ET voila   an egg head. Paint it with acrylic paint or decoupage it with paper shapes.

Cherie Kemp

Mice Made with Colored Paper Pulp over Blown Eggs
Mice Made with Colored Paper Pulp over Blown Eggs

14 thoughts on “Cherie’s Paper Mache “Egg-Heads” Guest Post”

  1. I am looking for personal instruction . I live in Redondo Beach California but can travel. Do you know of any classes or individual instructions

  2. I am enamored with your stuff and would love to get a personal lesson. I live in Redondo Beach california but can travel. Do you teach or know of any classes?

    • Hi sue. I don’t teach personal classes, although it does sound like a lot of fun. You might call your local art council or library to see if they know anyone who does workshops. Sorry I can’t help at this time…

  3. Jonni,
    How do you do animals when their heads are turned? Also a foot up etc? Thanks!

    Also, doing my fawn my son said it should be called taper-mache.

    • Hi Teri. Posing your animal is fairly easy if you’re using a wire armature, but it can still be done if you have a cardboard pattern inside. If your inner pattern is made with plywood, of course, then changing the pose would be pretty difficult. No matter what type of armature you use, you’ll want to set the pose before adding any paper mache. If you do add paper mache and then change your mind, you’ll need to get out your saw and do some surgery – something I actually do all the time.

      If you’re using a wire armature, check out the chihuahua video which shows how to change the pose. If you’re using a cardboard pattern, the leg pattern would need to be made in the bent shape. The neck may need to be reinforced with wire, since the cardboard doesn’t really like to bend the same way a real animal would do. A few judicious cuts and some reinforcing wire will put your armature in the pose you want.

      I hope this helps. Can you upload a photo so we can see how your project is coming along?

    • Very cute…I am always looking for fresh ideas for ornaments for the neighbor children, grandchildren. We use so many eggs with all the holiday baking, why not save the egg shells to decorate? Cherie, 2 questions: how long do they take to dry, and how do you hang them? Thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you…. Drying depends on how warm your room is. In the summer I put them outdoors in the sunshine and they take a few hours. Overnight on a radiator is plenty long enough for them to dry. If I am planning to hang them I glue a loop of thread onto the egg before I build up layers of paper mache. Tie the loop and run the thread ends around the entire egg and then it won’t create a weak spot where it could easily pull away from the egg. Somewhere on my blog there are pictures of a couple of sets of marracas that I made from blown eggs.

        • Ok, so I wanted to make a few of your little mice for some neighbor kids. I went to blow out the first egg and the whole thing exploded. Luckily, I was blowing it into a baggie so I could save the egg for baking. It wasn’t too terribly messy but I did have a good laugh. I then went with some of those plastic eggs that you fill for children at easter time. Not as organic as yours but it will do the trick. Thought I would share. Merry Christmas.

          • That made me smile. The only time an egg exploded on me was when I was demonstrating in front of a group. I have found that pale coloured chicken eggs seem to be weaker than their brown cousins. Oh! and you could always just crack the egg and then keep the shell to use as material for egg shell mosaic (also somewhere on my blog)

            Have a lovely Christmas. x

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