Guest Post – Paper Mache Fantasy Animal

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Today’s guest post is by Jelina de Klerk. You may remember her from the Fantasy Animal that she submitted for our collaboratively-written Practical Paper Mache ebook. According to her new website, Jelina is an 18-year old student living in Belgium. She took progress photos of her latest creation, another fantasy creature, and she shows us how she put it all together with paper mache and a lot of imagination. And now I’ll turn it over to Jelina:

This is my second paper mache project in my whole life. My first one is the fantasy animal with the head of a giraffe, you can see it on the practical paper mach page and in the eBook from Jonni.

So, after my first project I realized that I really liked it so I decided to make another fantasy animal. The inspiration came from a dream from my mother, yes, really weird.

I draw the idea on paper and I started.

I started with a big balloon, the biggest I got, and I covered it with +/- 10 layers of paper, first 2 layers of white paper, because you could see the inside of the egg, and then I putted some newspaper layers on it, I think 6 or 7, and then again 3 layers of white paper.

After a few weeks my dad made a big hole in it.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Step 1
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Body

The idea was to make an egg with a door, but I changed it because I thought it was better without a door.

The next thing I did was making the duck feet, those were not easy to make.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Step 2
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Feet

They don’t really look like duck feet – I know – but they were good enough. Then I made a tail, also out of chicken wire. It’s the tail of a kangaroo.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Step 3
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Tail
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Step 4
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Tail

His head and hands were the most difficult. I made the head out of a ball of crumpled newspaper, the ears I made of wire with tape.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Step 5
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal, Head

The hands were made out of a plastic glove, filled with rolled newspaper. I added some wire to some fingers to bend them.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Hands
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Hands

I taped the hands to a piece of chicken wire that I rolled and bend like arms and taped it to the egg. I re-made this twice because the arms were too long.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Arms
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Arms

I also made the hole smaller, it was way too big.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Body
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Body

After a few days, when I had more time, I started doing the paper mache. And it looked better after it.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Adding Paper Mache
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Adding Paper Mache

And then I let it get completely dry, and a few days after that I finished it. I did 3 layers of white paper And I did those little thingies between the toes of the duck feet. I did it with a piece of cloth, dipped in the wallpaper paste and putted it around the toes, one on top and one at the other side.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Finishing the Feet
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Finishing the Feet

Then I painted it. I tried to let the colors of the parts flow into each other as you can see at the tail.

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Painting
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Painting
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Painting
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Painting
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Painting
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Painting

And these are some pictures after I varnished it, added some eyelashes and whiskers. So I made it female – if anyone thinks of a good name for her, just let me know! (on some pictures the whiskers aren’t added yet, because they were drying while I took the pictures)

Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Eye Detail
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Eye Detail
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Side View
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Side View
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal - Face Detail
Paper Mache Fantasy Animal – Face Detail

The finished project is more beautiful then I first thought and I hope you like it!

16 thoughts on “Guest Post – Paper Mache Fantasy Animal”

  1. My grandson is turning six, and he wants a Nintja Turtle piñata .
    Please advise how you make the paste ? Do you use only flour and water, or do you add some glue of sorts ?
    this will be our first paper mache project –any ideas and help will be appreciated
    thank you

    • Thanks Sudha! When doing paper mache you really have to be patient, I have a lot of free time right now, so I’m doing a lot of paper mache projects at once, I do one when the other is drying!

  2. Great project! My second paper mache project was alot worse than that… I actually think that my current paper mache projects are not as good as that 🙂
    How strong did 10 layers turn out? I’m making a really big but hollow project and i don’t want it to be brittle. Thanks!

    • Hi Billy! 10 layers is not very strong if you make a hole in it, so I suggest that if it is big and you want to make hole in it, you do 15-20 layers, than it should be strong enough, my egg was way to thin with 10 layers, but when you put some pieces on it, you do some extra layers, so it’s strong enough now. Good luck with your project!

      • Thank you! I can just imagine how long it’s going to take… 😉
        I read a post in the practical paper mache page who said strips of t-shirt fabric could be used to make strong, light projects. I’ll just have to see what works out. Good luck with your future projects! You are well on your way.

        • It takes very long, because it all has to dry very long 🙂
          You can try the fabric, I think it will work, I used fabric for the duck feet of my project, and it’s quite strong. Thanks, and good luck with you projects to!

    • To make a hollow but strong project you could use wire that can be formed easily around your mold or framed. If you go to my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitkaphotogirl and look at my Dolls sets both Barbie and Katie and live dolls you will see some fake rocks that I used a lot of Jello cups, cans, rocks, cardboard etc. I used $5.00 screen mesh that I bought at Lowes. I taped the mesh to my rocks and put my strips of paper mache around it. The one property of screen mesh is that when it dries, where there loose spots will shrink and make interestin indentation to your art piece. Chicken mesh wire will keep its shape.

  3. Jonni and everyone,
    I love all the wonderfully creative ideas and inspirations everyone is sharing. The practical paper mache e-book is brilliant! Any chance that all that creativity could be tapped for projects in the theatrical world? The variety of props and set decorations that could probably be made fairly cheaply using paper mache is almost limitless, but I have found very few step-by-step directions for anything. Currently I am searching for directions for Venetian style carnivale masks. In the past I have also searched for animal masks (if you know the musical Children of Eden this will make sense). Any help and direction would be greatly appreciated, and we could have some fun!

    • We do get a lot of questions from people who are making props and costumes for plays. A series of instructions would be great – maybe we should have that be our next collaborative project. It would probably take a lot longer to get it together, but it would be worth it.

      You might want to check out the Joker mask I made with paper mache clay (I think the basic idea would work with traditional paper strips and paste, too), and the Dogon mask I made with cardboard and paper mache. Several readers have submitted photos of their masks, which you can find using the search bar. That’s a start, anyway. Now for those other props – ideas, anyone?

  4. I love the creativity of the project. That hole in the belly can be a holder for candy, treats or nick nacks. I was envisioning putting in foam holds for artificial flowers and makes a nice room decoration. The uses are endless, but I bet the fun in the work was priceless. I should try something like that. This gives me inspiration to think outside the box.

    • Hi Christine, I really loved it to make it, it really was fun. And as you say the uses are endless, I can put flowers in it, little candy’s, maybe a stuffed animal,…
      It would be lovely that people use my creations as an inspiration, I hope you are inspired to make something your own

  5. Jelina, what a creative project! And I love the idea of using a pair of plastic gloves to make the hand shapes – hands are always the hardest part of a sculpture, and you figured out how to do it the easy way. Thanks for sharing.


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