Rhino is Done, plus Recommended Books for Surface Decorations

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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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

  1. I can’t wait to see your doll book, Jonni! I’m dying to know how you managed to attach the soft and hard elements, especially planting the ears securely in the heads. Are you using a … velveteen-type fabric?

    The rhino is truly fabulous. In all your remodeling, I think you need to be doing niches with lighting, shelves and pedestals to display all your masks and sculptures. Yes, I think so. After all, as long as you’re keeping so many of your pieces, they deserve to be showcased properly. And, think of getting in on the local studio tours that I’m sure they have in your area (right?) So, I look forward to seeing how you construct that!

    Reply
    • Hi Xan. I did make a niche where my chimpanzee bust lives. I think maybe the house is full of sculptures already, though, so my next ones either have to go outside or find new homes.

      The doll bodies are cotton velour. Soft, stretchy, and fun to hug. There is a local arts center here, and a big yearly outdoor art fair. I don’t know about studio tours. That sounds like fun, though. Maybe I’ll do one next year.

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  2. Hi, Jonni!

    Thought I would share this Santa…I am so happy with him! I used your recipe minus the linseed oil, because I don’t have any….he is so strong and light. I painted him in tinted tones, then covered him with gold brush on glitter….the glitter helped bring out his wrinkles and he looks so Christmas -y. I love him…hope you do too.

    Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth. If you added a photo of your Santa, it didn’t get through. Please edit the photo to make the file size smaller, and then try again – we’d all love to see him.

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  3. Love him, Jonni–the figure is super and the glaze is awesome. I ordered both books…just came today and I will have my nose buried in them for several days. Incredible! Thanks for telling us about them.

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    • I’m so glad you like them. Now I’m thinking about trying again to make that rhino poster, but this time with a background made like the Wabi Sabi book, and a cut-out photo of the rhino over it. Somehow-or-other. It’s on my list to try, anyway.

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  4. Hi Jonnie..I like your jobs and I want to try but whats Joint compound.? flour.? plaster of paris or both..?? thanks for the answer…

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  5. Gidday Jonni! I just want to thank you for the wonderful recipe for making the air dried clay. I live in Australia and I used a product called “Total Joint Finish” which is made by Boral. I also vitamised the toilet paper then ran it through a sieve to remove most of the water. This made the clay very easy to sand back once it was dry. I used the clay on gourds and this was terrific as I didn’t have to bake the gourd in the oven which makes the gourd very brittle. thanks once again and I love checking out your website to see what projects you have on the go.

    Reply
        • Dear Jonni…hopefully this pic will send. It is a photo of a cat I made from gourds and your clay was used to make the ears, face and feet

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            • Thanx Marilyn…I drilled fine holes into ‘Oscar’s’ cheeks<<(made outta Jonni's clay recipe) and I used the bristles from a broom and glued them in…. I got the bristles a bit curly by being impatient and drying in front of a heater!!! The eyes are also made from Jonni's clay and have been hand painted on with the help of a nail polish enamel, then a permanent black texta. Now I'm working on a gourd turtle for my great niece or nephew?< due in August. I have used Jonni's clay on the shell and also on the face and feet….and I'm happy with the way he is turning out Thanx for your comment

  6. I am so WOWED by all of this. Jim’s creations rock but Jonni….the Rhino is spectacular and I am in love with the dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can not wait for the book! Yes, please include all the puppy heads! Thank you for your generous spirit. I am grateful. I am still working on the new air dry paper clay recipe. I am sidelined with ankle surgery for the moment but will be posting my air dry feet when back in the studio. Love the air dry clay recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Hi Jonni- As usual, your work is superb! The rhino is very realistic and I do love the finishing touches. Why not have him around and a picture of him prancing in a park as well? And the dolls are darling. I can’t wait to make the mini lop for my daughter. Your work inspires the rest of us to fine tune our details, work harder on our armatures. Thanks for that.
    Doing a series on molds and cement would be interesting-that is the one complaint people give me about the paper mache- it’s not weather proof. Another tutorial that I would be interested in would be not as glamorous but would be one that addresses ways to attach a piece to a wood, stone, whatever, base. Also, a tutorial on getting a thin legged creature to stand properly.(IE: flamingo or egret)
    As far as your studio goes, I would not care if I heard cars in the background. It is a great place with all the windows and lighting. Why not poll your readers?

    Reply
  8. I saw a video of someone making molding material out of latex tub sealant (the kind in a tube) and corn starch kneaded together. It seemed to work great. Sadly, I don’t still have the link.

    Reply
    • I’ve seen people doing that, too. I think the latex made for molds is way easier to use, and I bought some on a whim so I have some on hand. I did try the tub sealant once, and I ended up with voids because the product is so thick – it couldn’t be easily brushed over the item to get a good copy. But maybe I didn’t do it right…

      Reply
      • Thanks, Jonni. I’ll try the latex made for molds if I ever do anything that needs molding materials. You are a wealth of information. I appreciated the pictures of your studio. It has such a peaceful, elegant simplicity. It looks like somewhere we would all love to be. Your studio is a lovely creation all by itself.

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  9. Jonni, the Rhino turned out great. I can hardly wait to see your new book, the bunny is so cute, and the puppy heads are as well πŸ™‚

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    • Maybe if I could figure out how to soundproof all that glass? Ah well – it will give me an excuse for fixing up the extra space in the garage as a studio, if I ever have enough money for a project that big. In the meantime, I might do some videos in the back yard – although my new neighbors might think I’m a bit crazy, standing there talking to myself! πŸ™‚

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  10. Jonni, your Rhino is absolutely gorgeous! I haven’t watched the video yet, but will as soon as I pass this note along.

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    • Just watched your video and your dolls are soooooo cute! So sorry about the noise in your studio! Maybe you’ll have to do all your videoing at night! HA HA! Can you imagine – the middle of the night and you are out in your studio doing videos?

      Reply
      • I do get up rather early, but I don’t have the lights I need for that sort of thing. And I do like a bit of quiet time with my morning coffee and a book, and I don’t think I’m willing to give that up. But I’ll think of something. πŸ™‚

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  11. I’ve always wanted to learn to work in concret. I’d love to have some pieces around my yard but they are just too heavy to bring here so I’d rather make my own. I hope you do show us how.

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    • Hi Nancy. So far, it looks like the concrete idea is getting the most votes, so I think that’s what I’ll do. Maybe for the first one, I’ll use one of the paper mache sculptures I already made, and make a mold of it so it can be made into concrete and put outside. We all have some paper mache sculptures hanging around, I’m sure.

      Reply
  12. I’ve learned that in ceramics they apply the iron oxide as a wash over the “bisque” fired clay, then paint over it with what ever color they wish to end up with. The back stain makes for great shadows and adds depth to the final color. Under stains over come the right-out-of-the-tube look. Here’s a piece I made with an undercoat black stain and acrylic layered atop it.

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  13. Was so happy to see your post in my email. The Rhino turned out fabulous. I really love how you added the different glazes on it as well as the raven.
    What a shame the nice bright room has to be near a busy street. Your video’s really inspire me.
    Looking forward to seeing your book. The little puppies are so cute.
    Artis

    Reply
    • Thanks, Artis. The book should be done within two weeks – I just have to make some kittens, get those bodies and clothes sewn, take a few hundred more photos, and arrange it all in the book. (It sounds like a lot, when I list it like that – maybe three weeks?)

      Reply
  14. The rhino is fantastic. Can she be walked on a leash? Go finish the book!

    Just finished the commission from hell: Demon Deacon mascot from Wake Forest University. He rode the SC ram onto the football field. The sculpture, automata, bucks when cranked and the, loose in the saddle, Demon Deacon rocks in the saddle. It took me forever to finish this piece. My photo file is too large to upload.

    Don’t you think that your young lady rhino would like a little brother?

    Reply
  15. Hi Jonni
    Can’t wait to see your new book!
    I have a desire to learn about casting cement sculptures. Would very much love you to do a teaching video on this subject. Hope others are as interested as I.

    Was hoping you’d work on that instruction book with your father so I could buy it.

    Reply
    • My dad and I do still intend to do that book. We just need more photos. Unfortunately, he has a hard time pouring concrete while also snapping pictures, but maybe we can talk someone into helping out. It would be a fun book. In fact, he just shipped two concrete potheads across the country this week, mostly as a favor to someone. They weigh a ton, so it makes so much more sense to make your own. Shipping costs a fortune.

      Reply
  16. The approach of iron oxide colors over acrylics is wonderful Jonni. Congratulations on achieving a museum quality piece.

    Reply

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