Figure Sculptures Made with Tissue Paper and Glue

How Wishes Goodearth, from Tasmania, creates her figure sculptures.

For her delightful figures she uses tissue paper, glue and calcium carbonate (also called powdered marble, whiting or chalk). Thanks, Wishes, for writing this guest post for us.

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©2020 Wishes Goodearth

How I make my paper mache figure sculptures:

I start by making a wire frame & cover with aluminium foil. I then attach it to a base of plywood.

I use tissue paper, the kind they wrap gifts in. I cut or tear small pieces & apply with a weak solution of Elmer’s white glue & water, as I add more paper.

I then mix some calcium carbonate into the glue & paint it on. This is a very SLOW process more like MEDITATION. You just add more paper & build up where it’s needed.

I place paper on the base plywood as well & wrap it around the feet, to keep the figure secure.

Figure sculptures made with tissue paper
Figure sculptures made with tissue paper

I use acrylic paints & clear spray paint finish. With the school girl’s bag I used some old leather pieces & for hair I crochet a small skull cap & I use Knitting wool, a very thick one, strip it into pieces small enough to go through a darning needle, sew it into the skull cap & glue onto head.

Figure sculpture after adding calcium carbonate and glue - and paint
Figure sculpture after adding calcium carbonate and glue – and paint
Girl with handbag and wool hair
Girl with handbag and wool hair

I’ve always been an artist of some sort I carved wood for along time & now I’m a potter. I have a small shop at the front of my home in Tasmania Australia, where I sell my pottery & paper mach’e…………I LOVE PAPER MACH’E & will always keep at it, I love the meditative aspect of it, as I can drift away, UNLIKE pottery where your racing the clock to beat the drying process. I am self taught, as I had kids very young.

I added 2 photo’s of the shop.  My little shop is mostly tourist, I don’t make a lot but it keeps me occupied & in contact with people – when we don’t have a season like this. Our normally very busy High St. is empty.

You can see my pottery heads, which are my best seller [their planters] I also put in a window shot of Easter Bunny & a couple of chook planters. That was just a bit of fun, in these difficult times.

Photo of my small shop
Photo of my small shop
Easter bunny and planters
Easter bunny and planters

BTW, I have put 2 young people onto your site, one of them made your wall elephant, & is hanging in the shop for sale…..Thanks once more Jonni………..if I were younger I would have gone the internet way to sell.


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7 thoughts on “Figure Sculptures Made with Tissue Paper and Glue”

  1. Your figures are awesome! I love how you do the hair. Can you upload some pictures of your pottery heads? They look great!
    Beautiful work, thank you for sharing them with us.

    • Thank you Jeannie………..Jonni just added the shop photo’s as a profile,
      I don’t it appropriate to add ceramics to a paper Mach’e site, but thanks once more………………………..Wishes…..[who was Jeannie in another life]

  2. Yes SJT you have a more flexible product with the acrylic cement, not sure how that would go on a paintbrush, I only use a brush, both to pick up paper & apply. There are a lot of different tissue papers out there, I had a beautiful one, very fine but looked like a hand made paper.
    I live in Campbell Town right in the middle of Tasmania, Pati Major.
    Good luck with your Grand daughters figure, Connie.

  3. I really like the end result with these. I have used tissue paper before but got frustrated with it because it’s so fussy. My favorite way to use the tissue is with lamps or other things which will have a light inside it. If your tissue is not too thick, and you layer patterns / colors, you can get a beautiful effect, kind of like stained glass.

    I use a similar process to this one explained in the article on some of my sculptures, except I use cotton pads (like cotton balls, but flat & rectangular).

    I stretch them out fairly thinly, then wet them with the glue / water mixture, then form around my armature (which I make from a wide variety of materials, including wire). This dries fairly strong, and provides a great textured surface which allows your final layer of medium to cling to, whether drywall paste, clay, whatever. It also prevents your final layer from cracking because it acts like a reinforcing mesh underneath.

    Once the layer of cotton pads are dry, I then use either calcium carbonate with glue & a liquid acryilc cement strengthener to cover the piece, or a thin layer of cold porcelain clay, which gives a beautifully smooth finish & really strengthens the sculpture. If using porcelain clay, it takes several days to cover the sculpture section by section, then letting it dry. Either way, I’m able to sand the piece very nicely.

    I really need to submit some photos of my process one day. I always forget to take photos as I’m working. I find it throws my workflow off a lot anyways.

  4. I love your little characters! I have all of the ingredients and I’m going to TRY making one of your little figures for my granddaughter who just turned 3 years old and has to miss out on a birthday party. I may try for a little girl with a virus mask and a party hat so she has a momento of the party that couldn’t be. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Awww….thank you for the thought. I’m raising my 6 year old granddaughter who’s birthday is in April- really g o o d idea!! Thanks.


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