How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures

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Today’s guest post about waterproof yard art is by our friend Harry Rosen.

Harry often shares his work on the Daily Sculptors page, and they’re always a big hit. When I learned that he keeps them out in the garden I asked him to show us how he made them. He very kindly agreed.
Thanks, Harry!

My Outdoor Sculptures…

©2020 Harry Rosen

I start by deciding what I want to express and how to express it. In this case, I wanted a female enjoying the sunshine.

I start by drawing several rough sketches. I then design the armature I need.

Starting the armature.

I sketch the outlines on 1/2 inch thick insulation foam board and cut them out.

Drawing the outlines on foam board.

Then I loosely attach them to the armature with duct tape.

Adding the foam board to the armature.

I add paper between the boards to get fullness, and often some moth balls to appease the Paper-Mache Gods. 🙂

Next I add some paper, foil or inexpensive foil pans to the outside to add shape.

Adding shapes to the armature
How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures
How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures
How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures

Masking tape or hot glue works fine.

At this point arms are just cutout cardboard or foam-board taped on and the head is a modified plastic jug attached.

How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures

 I add paper to the arms and skull. I then paper-mache the whole project using shop-towels with any paste slathered on both sides.

Adding paper mache to the sculpture
How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures
How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures

This gives a little strength and allows me to better assess the shape.

I then add details with paper-clay such as facial features, fingers and breasts.

Then I repaper the entire project with shop-towels slathered on both sides with a mix of water and FlexBond (sold in Home Depot, tile department).

Mix small batches because it thickens quickly.

Once dry I lightly sand and add paper-clay to further refine features. Then again I add another layer of water/FlexBond.

Once dry I again lightly sand and touch up any minor flaws with paper-clay or drywall compound.

Paper soaked with FlexBond mortar added to sculpture

Then I paint a primer all over and later an oil base paint to seal the surface.

Then I do final esthetic painting and seal with 2 coats of exterior Urethane.

I like to use spray “stone” paint as it hides minor flaws, however, it doesn’t holdup well outdoors unless heavily sealed by a clear coating.

Note that the base had several holes drilled thru, this was to stabilize against potential wind damage. Garden spikes are driven thru at different angles once on-site.

I’ve done several figures like this but it’s too early to determine their longevity. So far (several months) all are doing great.

Starting to paint the sculptuer
The painted outdoor sculpture
The finished garden sculpture

For more posts about waterproof sculptures and pots that can stay outside, check out these tutorials:

33 thoughts on “How Harry Rosen Makes His Outdoor Sculptures”

  1. Nicely done. I’d like to know how well they hold up as well. I’m afraid they wouldn’t do too well over a Canadian winter or two.

  2. This is absolutely brilliant!
    I know this is an old post, but am curious how long she held up outside?
    Also about the mothballs – what is their purpose?


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