Coming Soon – Panda Tutorial. Plus, Jackrabbits now in Progress

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I recently received a request for instructions showing how to make a paper mache panda. I love the idea, and I’ve already picked out the spot where I’ll be putting my bear when he’s finished.

I haven’t started the panda yet, but there should be some progress in my studio this afternoon.

(Note – the panda tutorial is now finished. You can see it here.)

Meanwhile, I’m working on a pair of paper mache jackrabbits, and I’ll continue working on them as time allows. This is my first attempt to make a matching set. One jackrabbit is now ready for his ears and the final layer of brown paper and paste. The other one still needs to be filled out with crumpled newspaper and the first layer of paper mache.

I’m using patterns made from particle board, as you can see above. The patterns are helping a lot – I can make a sketch or two, use the sketches to make patterns, and then know that the finished paper mache sculpture will come very close to looking the way I originally imagined it.

Check back soon to see if I’ve got that panda tutorial finished. And if you have any suggestions of your own for future projects, be sure to let me know. I’m always open to new ideas.

14 thoughts on “Coming Soon – Panda Tutorial. Plus, Jackrabbits now in Progress”

  1. Jonni, I thought I remembered a jack rabbit. I’m going to steal your design. (Okay?) I love this jack rabbit. Teca has missed chasing them because the snow is too deep and now too muddy.

    • Rex, I forgot all about these jackrabbits until I mentioned to someone this week that I sold them and one of the ears broke when it was shipped. I have no idea why I used the particle board for the patterns. Cardboard would work just fine. So would the MDF you mentioned. They really didn’t need wooden armatures, though. I was just starting to use patterns, you see, and I got a bit carried away. And yes, of course – grab the design. They turned out nice. But if you ship them, pack those ears really good!

      Muddy? Really? We had a blizzard this morning, and six new inches of snow – my Australian shepherd, Banjo, hates the snow because it makes his feet hurt. But I much prefer snow to mud. It’s supposed to get down to -25 Thursday night. I’ll stay inside, thank you very much – and so will the pups unless nature calls. Brrr…

      • Okay, cardboard it will be. Thanks. I like the jack rabbit, and I’ll be careful with the ears. Maybe I’ll use the aluminum screen (whatever it is called). It is going to be shipped across country, so . . . (I have a friend I’ve never met with the name of Rex Winn. He also has min pins. I’ve known about him for six years or so. We think so much alike. I thought it was time I made him something.)

        It went from never getting to freezing to 40 degrees and a lot of rain. I hate mud. Your dogs are right.

        • Rex, you have a doppelgänger! What fun! I don’t suppose he happens to look like you, too?

          The ear on my jackrabbit cracked right at the base, the way tails and legs do when a sculpture is dropped. That’s the most difficult place to reinforce. I know I’m going to run into problems with the ears on my goat – I’m kicking myself for not choosing a breed with short ears, but the long ears are so adorable. If it sells, I might need to get an expert at the UPS store to pack it for me. I’ll try to have at least part of the hanging ears touch the neck, like you suggested for the tails in another comment. That certainly should help. And then there are those horns. Sigh …

          Are you making just one jackrabbit, or a pair?

          • Jonni, yes. As you probably know, I work on tails and ears last because I break them often. When I shipped the giraffe to England (it was probably 9″ tall), I took Styrofoam and covered the bottom of the box and then carved in holes for the feet. I filled the sides with Styrofoam and peanut Styrofoam. On the top I placed another piece that was the size of the box and carved a hole for the head and horns. It arrived safely. I don’t know if that helps. I know some UPS centers will pack things for you. Thanks for the heads up on the ears. When I do them, I will try to extend the wire for the ears into the piece. It’s one thing to crack, it’s another thing to fall off. Thanks so much.

      • Good Eve ing a costumer friend of mine pointed me towards paper mache,as an alternative to fabric,for a costume project.this one would be really involved,id like to build a dragon fly costume and she got frustrated attempting to design it in fabric.this would be a wearable costume w 2 sets of wing,a very long body and a very insecty head.is this a project t that you might be interested in ,or should I look elsewhere

  2. I also just looooooooooove your rabbits. Any chance of getting the paper patterns for these adorables? I am now the proud owner (since Xmas this year) of a new table top scroll saw on which I can cut the wood or as you used pressboard – is this found in the lumber of hardware stores? I believe it is a material which many artists used as a painting ground – correct? Anyway this is one of your really great jobs.!!..

    • Thanks, Joanne. I didn’t keep the rabbit patterns – sorry. And I can’t remember why I used the particle board, which is quite heavy. I probably just had some lying around, and needed an excuse to use it. For something this size I normally use cardboard. But you’re right – a scroll saw would work really well to cut out the pressboard. I do think some artists use a similar product to paint on, but I’m not sure if they can use the ordinary stuff from the lumber store. Does anyone else know?

  3. Your jack rabbits are FAB! I can’t believe you do this with strips. I’m so inspired to try out your methods. Great job!

    • Thanks, Aimee. Actually, I put on one layer of paper strips and then did most of the detail modelling with a mixture of joint compound and the ground paper from cellulose insulation. That’s what you see in the photo of the jackrabbit above. This mixture is easier to work with, for me, than the paper mache pulp, but it does need to be protected with the final layer of strips. I’ll be doing some experimentation to see if I can use the ground paper with flour and water paste to make a pulp that can be used alone. The problem with the cellulose is that it isn’t really a safe art medium for kids, since you really should use a face mask when working with it, until it’s damp enough to stop the powder from getting in the lungs. And I know that most people think of paper mache as a kid’s art form. (I think that means I’m in my second childhood…)


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