Paper Mache “Beast”

We have a guest post today that I know you’ll enjoy. Theodore Carter created a paper mache sculpture that he titled “The Beast,” and he agreed to show us how it was made. There’s even a video at the bottom of the article. Thank you, Theodore!

You can find more of his work on his Facebook page. You have to love his artistic sense of humor. Be sure to like and share his page when you visit. 🙂

Making “The Beast”

©2018 Theodore Carter

I’ve created several no-impact, removable street art projects with the intention of disrupting public spaces around Washington, D.C. Some of my favorite targets are the traffic boxes around town.

Street art by Theodore Carter
More street art by Theodore Carter

I began a new paper mâché project with the intention of creating a gargoyle-type creature to place on top of a traffic box. I started with a square base and measured the back of my car to make sure I didn’t build too big. Next, I built the armature out of things I had around the house like cardboard, wood scraps, and old campaign yard signs. I built out with plastic bags, newspapers, and tape.

Starting to build the armature.
More work on the Beast armature.
Filling out the forms on the armature.

Next, I applied several layers of newspaper using a flour and water mixture. Then, I applied packing paper using a glue and water mixture.

Adding newspaper with flour and water paste.
Adding bro red motif.wn paper to the Beast.

I decided the piece wasn’t durable enough to pack sideways into the back of the car and that I wanted a harder exterior for transport. I tried out Jonni’s paper mache clay recipe!

Because the piece is about four-feet tall, I doubled the recipe and made plenty of batches. I never quite got the smooth consistency I see in Jonni’s videos, but with each batch, I got better at mixing up something right for me.

Putting paper mache clay on the Beast
Beast covered with paper mache clay.

The recipe gave me a nice, sturdy exterior. I decided to paint it using a black, white, and red motif.

I’m pleased with the result, however the piece is large and heavy. While I do think it could fit in my car, I’m not willing to risk damaging the piece. For now, I’ve decided to let the traffic boxes be. That could change if I find someone with a pickup truck and a penchant for adventure. I’ve been invited to show work outdoors at D.C.’s Art All Night this coming fall. It’s an event for which I’d be willing to rent a truck. I’m thinking this might be a good opportunity for the public to interact with “The Beast.”

8 thoughts on “Paper Mache “Beast””

  1. Thanks, all! You have me thinking I need to get this guy out there! This risk is, once out, I might never see it again. : ( I may make something more expendable for the traffic boxes later.

  2. Oh, my. That is an awesome beast. He would look great on a traffic box and liven things up for anyone who passes by. Thanks.

  3. Seeing the construction of the infrastructure of the beast reminded me of watching a beaver build a dam. Amazing that a pile of sticks, (or in your case a pile of “Stuff”) can be turned into an striking structure. Great work!! That handsome fellow deserves to be where he can be adored by the public..

  4. Can you use a hand truck in the back of it? Then that should hold the weight of the metal thing a ma jig, if it is mostly flat. If not, lay some pillows to cushion it. Then find a truck with a lift to load it onto more cushions. This is an old woman thinking outside her rocking chair. LOL

    • Patricia, when I read your comment I had a mental image of Theodore transporting the Beast down the sidewalk all the way through town on his hand truck, waving to the startled folks who drive by. Since I wouldn’t be the one doing it, I think it’s a great idea! 🙂

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