Make Baby Animal Dolls with Home-Made Air-Dry Clay

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 mache kitten dolls

I realized this week (about 18 months late!) that I never got around to making a video showing how I made the heads for the baby animal dolls. I worked on the doll book for months, and by the time it was finished I probably just needed to move on to something else. (You wouldn’t believe how long it took to come up with a method for making the doll heads that worked right, every single time.)

So, I put together this little video to show how easy it is to make the baby animal doll heads. The images in the video are taken directly from the book. I didn’t make a new doll for the video, because I didn’t feel very good yesterday. I still don’t, to be honest. I hardly ever get sick, so when I do come down with something I tend to whine a lot.

Click here for the recipe for the silky-smooth air-dry clay mentioned in the video.

And click here for the video showing how those cute little toes are made.

If you have any questions about the process shown in the video, be sure to ask. And if you already bought the book and you’ve made some baby animal dolls of your own, we would love to see them!

And now, just as soon as I hit the “publish” button, I’m going to grab my down comforter and a good book, and curl up on the couch. I have to admit it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to be totally lazy!


13 thoughts on “Make Baby Animal Dolls with Home-Made Air-Dry Clay”

  1. Hi Jonni, I have never worked with paper clay and stumbled upon your video and it looks so much simpler than some of the others I have seen. Quick questions though, the plaster cloth..? is that something you make or buy and what do you use to wet it with? and also I read another recipe on here and I am not sure if it is the air dry recipe but you mentioned you used one roll of 2ply angel soft toilet paper, so for the recipe link above, would you use the same? if not is there any way you could tell me how many rolls you would use for this recipe? thanks sooo much. You are so very talented!

    • Hi Natasha. The plaster cloth is something that you can get in a hobby store, or you can buy it online. The cloth has powdered plaster on it. You dip it in water, lay it over the form, and it gets hard in just a few minutes. The air dry clay can be made with any brand of toilet paper, but the amount is different from the video you saw. The recipe is on this page. Have fun!

  2. Hi Jonni
    Thank you for your wonderful videos. I am making a doll ( like the Blythe dolls ) but 3′ tall not only 12 ” tall. They have very large heads. I have started making the head with paper strips over a balloon. Once l have it stronger and more to shape l was wondering if I could use your paper clay over the top of to get a smoother more detailed finish? I wanted to end up with a super smooth surface but am not sure how to achieve this. I would be so grateful for any help you could offer me.
    Many thanks
    Wendy Melbourne Australia

    • Hi Wendy. Yes, you can add a thin layer of the air dry clay over your paper mache. The clay isn’t very sticky, so use white glue diluted with water to brush over the paper mache, to make sure the clay sticks. You can also dampen your finger with the diluted glue and lightly glide it over the clay after it has been applied, to make the surface even smoother. Once it dries, you can use fine sandpaper, if you need to. If you do sand, be sure to use a mask to keep the dust out of your lungs.

      Good luck with your project. And be sure to show us your doll when it’s done.

  3. I am new to your work and to doing paper mache. I love your website and the beautiful work you do!! I am interested in the concrete/outdoor developments so would appreciate any videos etc you may like to make. You have a great teaching style and the website is so full of information-thank-you so much Jonni.

    • Thanks, Sue. The concrete experiments will have to wait until the weather warms up again. This summer, every time I thought up a project, it started to rain. I tried working in my studio, but the cement dust ended up everywhere. Next year I hope to turn the garage into an outdoor studio, so I can get back into it.

  4. Jonni, get well soon. This is the season for all ailments so be extra vigilant. Thank you for the video on how to make your baby animal dolls. Your instructions are so well done.

    • Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts. I’m already getting better, and I should be back to normal tomorrow. I think I picked up a bug when I went to the production of Frogz at the university. Hundreds of kids, of course, so one of them was bound to be harboring germs.

      Speaking of Frogz, does anyone know why they called the scene with the giant iguanas “Alligators” in the program? I saw the production days ago, and it’s still bugging me. (Probably a symptom of mild brain fuzziness, which is, I hope, temporary.)

  5. I love your books, videos and website inspiration. Most of all though I appreciate your generosity and sharing. You are a bright light in todays troubled world. Thank you and feel better soon.

  6. Hi Jonni, Many thanks for this video. It has encouraged me get on and order your book, which has been on my wish-list for a long, long time! I do hope you feel better soon. Have a quiet, lazy weekend. Cheers!

  7. Jonni, I hope you are feeling well soon. You should curl up with a good book, a cup of tea, and a comforter even when you are feeling good. It isn’t lazy. It is re-charge time.

    Take good care!

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