Create a Figure Sculpture Series with Paper Mache Clay

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Figure sculpture series in Paper Mache Clay

This guest post by Deborah Whitman shows us how she created all seven of these unique figure sculptures with paper mache clay, using just one original wax model.

She also uses acrylic paint to give them a faux bronze look (in a way that looks much easier than my recent bronze experiment).

Deb has exhibited her abstract figurative sculptures in American regional and national shows since 1982. She currently participates in a co-op gallery. You can also find her on Facebook.

I’ve never seen anyone else use this technique for creating a sculpture series. In fact, I haven’t yet experimented with sculpting wax, either, so Deb’s article is a real learning opportunity for me. Now I’ll get out of the way and let Deb take it from here:

Create a Sculpture Series with One Wax Model

© 2019 Deborah Whitman

I wanted to make a series of figurative sculptures using the same face and size and Jonni’s paper clay.

Create a Figure Sculpture Series with Paper Mache Clay

Step 1: The wax model.

I melted sculpting wax that I bought from “Sculpture House” and applied it and shaped it over an armature of wadded aluminum foil. The arms on this one were built up with more aluminum foil and wrapped in masking tape and attached after the rest of the form was covered.

Create a Figure Sculpture Series with Paper Mache Clay

Step 2: Applying the paper mache clay.

Using a spatula, I applied 1/8” thick paper clay to the entire figure and let it dry 24 hours. The matchsticks are place holders for where I would attach the arms.

Paper mache clay figure sculptures cut apart to remove the wax model.

Step 3: Removing the paper mache clay from the wax.

Using a utility knife, I cut the clay in sections that would pull straight off.

Putting the paper mache clay figures back together.

Step 4: Putting the figures back together.

I then reassembled the sections with my hot glue gun and little pieces of paper as “hinges” to hold the edges together. I then applied more paper clay to the inside and outside of each edge and let that dry overnight.

Stuffing the paper mache clay figures for internal support.

Step 5: Adding internal support to the hollow figures.

Once the piece was all assembled and dry, I stuffed the inside with newsprint to give it more stability, cut and hot glued and paper clay a piece of foam core to the bottom.

Acrylic paint used to create faux bronze look on paper mache clay.

Step 6: Adding faux bronze with acrylic paint.

Since I wanted a bronze look I painted Golden Artist Acrylic Black paint and let that dry. I used Golden Artist Interference Orange Fine acrylic paint as a wash and rub off top coat followed with spray varnish. I then epoxied the finished sculpture to a maple board for a base.

Seven paper mache clay figure sculptures.

This is a picture of all 7 completed figure sculptures.

Thanks Deb …

… for sharing this technique with us. I’m definitely going to try your method of creating a bronze look – it would be a lot easier (and less expensive) than the way I recently did it with my “bronze” deer head.

And your method of creating a series of sculptures using just one positive wax model is truly unique. I can also imagine people using this technique to create a hollow sculpture, perhaps as a piggy bank.

So again – thanks for writing your guest post for us! You’ve given us some great ideas.

6 thoughts on “Create a Figure Sculpture Series with Paper Mache Clay”

  1. Hi Deborah,
    Thank you for sharing this really cool technique and the beautiful sculptures. They really do look like bronze.

  2. Hello Eileen, the wax did not need any release agent like Vaseline. The clay came up nice and easy. If it stuck anywhere I just took my time prying it off with a skinny modeling tool and if it chipped I just covered it nicely with the clay once it was glued together.

  3. Thank you for your post Deb, it was interesting and opened up a whole new vein of possibilities! I do have a question, did you need to have a release on the wax so the paper mache clay did not stick? Or is the wax enough natural release? Very cool process.

  4. I am thinking that this is quite do-able! Great work and Good post, Deb! It is a very interesting technique.


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