Paper Mache Gargoyle


Bmaskmaker sent in her wonderful paper mache gargoyle for our Halloween Mask Party. Not a mask, I know, but definitely Halloween. In fact, with that expression on his face he’s really too sweet to hide away for the rest of the year. I’ll let her take it from here:


Here’s last year’s gargoyle. He was the ‘Trick or Treat’ part of the “Trick or Treat — Smell My Feet — Give Me Something Good To Eat” display I did last year. It’s the same theme this year, there’s just more and several items are getting upgrades.

I followed Stolloween’s (www.stolloween.com) Gargoyle tutorial mostly, so the body is 1 liter soda bottles, and the rest is built out of newspaper tubes, crumpled newspaper, cardboard and boxboard.

I followed your instructions for painting the eyes, and ended up using a paper mache balloon form for the face (which is a Dan Reeder technique).

There are a couple versions of clay on him, but I ended up with a version that I use regularly now that is based on a combination of your recipe, Scott’s recipe, but I use Methyl Cellulose instead of flour as my base.

He took a long time to make because I was learning on him, but I’ve making a second one, which will take me about 10-15 hours by the time it’s done. (Not including drying time). That’s spread over a couple of weeks, but it could be done faster if it was the only thing you were working on. I’m never only working on one thing.

Total cost is a wild guess.

Plastic bottles, newspaper, cardboard and boxboard were all free.
A batch of clay for me is about 5lbs of clay, which costs less than $5 to make.
Add in the cost of paints and a couple of coats of varnish … maybe $5 dollars, plus or minus?

So probably between $10-15 total. : )

Love Paper Mache!

Thanks for sharing, Bmaskmaker! Now, for a view of the gargoyle in progress:

Paper Mache Gargoyle in Progress
Paper Mache Gargoyle in Progress

And here he is a longer view:

Paper Mache Gargoyle Halloween Display
Paper Mache Gargoyle Halloween Display

The thing I like most about this project, aside from the great job she did, is the way she combined the techniques from so many different sources, and made them uniquely her own.

By the way, if you’d like to see more of her creations, click here.

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10 thoughts on “Paper Mache Gargoyle

  1. Thanks for the compliments. : ) As for the secrets to the eyes, I’m pretty sure I learned the technique from Jonni. There’s a little information in the pig chapter of Make Animal Sculptures, but there may also be some detail on the blog too.

    Most of what I paint with is acrylic glazes (acrylic craft paint and Behr Faux Glaze from Home Depot) … so it’s slightly or very transparent. So I first lay out where the iris will be. I paint a light wash of color. Let it dry. Then come back with a darker wash of color, but use a q-tip to remove the darker wash from a small portion (1/4?) of the iris. Then paint the pupil, and after that’s dry paint the white dot opposite the lighter area of the iris.

    I make the eyeballs separately out of a plaster/starch clay. (I make a bunch then pick some that match.) Then I warm up painting eyes on paper first. When I feel warmed up, I mark with light pencil where I want the iris on the eyeballs, then paint them as detailed above. I finish by varnishing them with a couple of coats of Shields-All.

    Then I add the eyes to the sculpture and build the eyelids around them. The eyelids are the toughest to paint … and ideally I should find a way to cover the eyes with plastic or something to protect them from the eyelid painting.

    On the first gargoyle if you look close you can see I didn’t finish the inside of the eyes. It’s just the light grayish color of the clay. : )

    — Beth

    I do practice painting eyes on paper first, to warm up. : )

  2. The gargoyle is fantastic as are the pumpkins! Gives me great ideas for next year. What is the secret for the eyes? They are wonderful….Thanks…Joan

    • I finished the new gargoyle and the rest of the display (including 11 new pumpkins, 3 new signs, and 1 firebird/chicken foot (sortof). Note to self: gargoyles take WAY longer than I think to finish. Painting gargoyles takes much longer than painting pumpkins because of all the nooks and crannies. I’ll end up redoing the eyes — too small, and not emphasized enough. But I really like the rest of the way he came out.

      Here’s the pic
      paper mache gargoyle

      But the full display was a hit. : ) Yay.

      Here’s the pics of the display:
      Left side: paper mache halloween display

      Right side: Paper mache pumpkins

      Pumpkin table: paper mache pumpkins

      Night shot: paper mache pumpkins at night

      Thanks for all your info Jonni … I get the most comments on the eyes. : )

  3. Thanks Jonni & Skwirl!

    The method combination thing is part faulty memory, part problem solving, and part a result of my passion (obsession?) with paper mache techniques. : )

  4. I loooooove his eyes! They are so expressive! Great job! And I just love that you combined all those different methods to come up with your own version, cuz I do the same! Love him and wanna hug him lol!

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