Carol Samford sent in a number of photos of her paper mache clay frog, elephant, and other critters, and she’s offered some instructions so you can make a frog of your own. (That’s Carol in the photo on the right, with the elephant baby. You’ll see a close-up picture of him down below.
My frog was fun to make–in fact, it seemed to make itself. This is my first attempt at a paper mache frog: it is very different than working with polymer clay.
The outer edge of the body is 16 gauge wire cut to a length that is formed into a circle about 6 inches from head to butt. We’re not building a piano here–so don’t stress over dimensions! You will need 2 lengths of wire to be the armature for the legs. Make them long enough so you can shape the ends onto toes–longer for hind legs, shorter for the front ones. I use pliers to squeeze the toe “loops” to as skinny as I think they need to be.
I made a circle of wire which I shaped into a rough oval shape. Newspaper was then wadded up into a flattened ball and tightly wrapped with masking tape. After fitting the ball into the wire, the leg wires were laid across it and they , too were fastened with the tape.
The entire frog was now wrapped in masking tape, even down to the toes! For me, it was less of a hassle to do the legs after the body was covered in clay (don’t forget the balls of clay for the eyes!), then allowed to dry over night. This allows me to use the body as support for the legs. I turned him on his back while I filled out the legs–but NOT the feet. After the legs were allowed to dry I turned him upright and did his feet. This helps me to get them into a more realistic position.
It is now time to sand him off as smooth as you want: luckily frogs are, by nature, kinda bumpy, so this was fairly quick. I next applied a coat of gesso. The top 2/3rds I painted a light brown , then added white to the paint for a much lighter shade of tan for the rest of him. Next, I rummaged around in my paint brush jar for brushes with the right sized tips–they DO make the most perfect little dots! The teeniest dots are toothpick tips. Acrylic glaze—then VOILA-a frog is born!
Here’s a few more of Carol’s recent creations: