Rhino is Done, plus Recommended Books for Surface Decorations

African Animals Pattern Set.
Save $10
when you buy this three-pattern set. Use the patterns to create memorable gifts, or to bring a little bit of Africa to your own home

The Indian rhino that I made last month, using plaster cloth and my new air dry clay recipe, is now finished. In this video I show you how she was coated with Sculpt Nouveau iron coating, sprayed with Tiffany Green and Darkening patinas, and then glazed with warm grey acrylic paint mixed with Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid.

I really like this sculpture. The project took a lot longer than they usually do, partly because I experimented with a process for making her hollow. I was also right in the middle of writing a book at the time, so I couldn’t work on her as many hours a day as I would have liked.

How to make animal dollsThe baby animal doll book I was writing is now finished. I know the dolls don’t look at all like this rhino, but the doll heads are also hollow. They’re made with a thin skin of plaster cloth (over a sock filled with rice) and then covered with the air dry clay.

In other words, the doll heads are made just like the rhino was, but they take just a few hours to make instead of the weeks it took to make the rhino. 🙂

I’ve used this idea of making hollow sculptures with plaster cloth and the air dry clay recipe a lot of times since the dolls and rhino were finished. It’s one of my favorite methods for sculpting light-weight animal sculptures.

In the video I mentioned two excellent books that you can use to increase the interest of the painting surface on your sculptures. You can find the books here:

Plaster Studio
Wabi Sabi

If you make anything with air dry clay, I hope you’ll come back and show it off on the Daily Sculptors page. We’d love to see how your sculpture comes out. 🙂

58 thoughts on “Rhino is Done, plus Recommended Books for Surface Decorations”

  1. Jonni, Just wanted to say I spent months making my rhino. I think one of the mistakes I made was using air dry clay for this project. I could only doing a tiny bit at a time, and I liked the way she looks, but it has been more difficult for me to get the texture (like on the pig) that I like. Anyway, I’m getting to it. Thanks again for your wonderful help here.

  2. Jonni!
    Your work is awesome. I am one of your faithful followers. I also work in concrete. Here’s an idea you maybe can start with. The leaves are cast with live ones. Let me know what you think.
    Also here’s a free form cast sanded mushroom.

    • Hi Liz. Did you try to upload a photo of your leaves? If so, the image may have been too large. Please edit it to make it smaller, and try again.

  3. Jonni!
    Your work is awesome. I am one of your faithful followers. I also work in concrete. Here’s an idea you maybe can start with. The leaves are cast with live ones. Let me know what you think.


  4. Hi there. I wanted to build an outdoor sculpture of a hipo using concrete. But after watching your video on paper macheing an elephant, I’ve since had a change of heart. My question is what should I do to make my sculpture suitable for withstanding outdoor weather ie rain etc.

    • My elephant never made it outside (except for the picture in the video) because I was never sure how to weatherproof it enough to keep it from falling apart in the rain and sun. I think your original idea of using concrete is better. Check out Julie’s concrete mountain lion tutorial. She built the armature just like I did with the elephant, and covered it with paper mache clay instead of paper strips and paste. Then she added two thin layers of fiber-reinforced cement, which can be sealed with concrete sealer and colored with concrete pigments – her lion will last forever.

      Some people do say you can seal paper mache with concrete sealer, and then give it a coat of varnish that filters the UV light, to weatherproof paper mache. I have not yet tried it, so I can’t say one way or another if it really works or not.

      Have fun with that hippo! And remember to let us see it when it’s done.


Leave a Comment