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This little paper mache mouse was easy and fast to make.
My little mouse gave me an excuse to use the “bun foot” that I found in the closet. It’s also a great project for showing you how to use a cardboard pattern inside a really small sculpture.
I think it may be faster to make an armature with a pattern inside, like I did this time, instead of with wire. Try making it this way and let me know what you think. (I used wire armatures inside all the tiny dogs in my tiny dog book, so that method works, too. 🙂 )
Links mentioned in the video:
- My daughter’s online oil painting classes – JessieRasche.com/jonni
- Folk Art Bunny tutorial
- Recipe for raw flour and water paste.
- Adding Paper Strips and Paste
Instructions for making your paper mache mouse:
Step 1 – the pattern:
I drew a little mouse and then copied it so I can have two mice the same size. I printed them on full sheet labels, and stuck them on some cereal box cardboard.
The mouse is made up up fairly simple shapes, so it would be just as easy to draw a mouse right on the cardboard, cut it out, turn it upside down and draw around the outside edges. Then cut out the second mouse and you’ll have your two-part pattern.
Step 1.2 – the ear:
I only cut out the big ear on the pattern. Now I’m cutting down into the head along the line of the ear to make it a little easier to curve it more naturally. It may actually be easier to cut separat ears and tape them on after the padding has been added to the head, but I wanted to try it this way first.
Step 2: the padding:
I’ve been using foil and hot glue for a lot of my recent armatures, but this time I thought I’d use the paper and masking tape instead. With something this small I’m sure the glue gun would burn me with such a small sculpture to work with.
- Use normal masking tape, not frog tape. I’m just using some of the green stuff that’s left over from painting my living room a couple of years ago.
I crumpled some paper about the thickness of his tummy and chest and taped to the inside of one of the pattern pieces. It needs to taper to a point at the tail and nose.
I put the second pattern piece over the crumpled paper, and taped it on right at the tail. The two pieces look like a V when seen from the bottom.
Then I taped the two tail pieces together to make them stronger. I didn’t want to tear the tail while I worked on the rest of the mouse.
I also taped the nose together so the very tip of both pattern pieces come together.
Any gaps are filled in so the tummy and chest will be reasonably well-rounded. I put more tape all across the padding and pattern pieces, keeping the legs apart. Then I added more crumpled paper to the outside to fill in the rounded curves.
There will slightly more padding within the dotted line areas, where he has his hips and shoulders.
Step 3 – the paper mache:
Then I mixed up some raw flour and water paste and tore some paper strips, really narrow strips. I have a video, five tips for applying paper strips and paste, and I’ll put a link to it below.
The last thing I did was to roll up some very thin noodles of paper and paste to put around the edges of the ears. Then I held them on with more strips of paper.
I wanted the tail to curve so I propped up a sculpting tool to hold it in place while the paste dried, and left it over night. It’s really hot right now. so it didn’t take long. There’s only one layer of paper mache on the mouse.
Step 4 – painting the mouse:
When the paper mache was dry I covered it with a coat of acrylic gesso. That seals the paper and covers up the writing and pictures on the newspaper, so you have a nice white ground to work on when painting.
When that was dry I mixed white, black and burnt sienna acrylic paint to make a soft warm grey, and painted the entire mouse.
I then mixed some white with a small amount of water and painted it over the mouse’s tummy to make it lighter,
I added two round black eyes and a black nose, and painted the cheese orange.
I added two tiny dots of white in the eyes for reflections. Then I knocked over my light stand and the mouse ended up on the floor – but the only damage was some of the black on his nose got rubbed off. I put it back on, and he’s done.
I will now give him a coat of DecoArt Ultra Matte varnish, but I still haven’t decided if the ‘bun foot’ stand should be left plain or if I should paint it. Let me know in the comment area below. 🙂