Scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ, Part2

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armature for scarecrow sculpture

Update: After the first rain, the brim on the scarecrow’s hat was flexible, so it absorbed water. It wasn’t sticky, like it was before the clay dried, but it wasn’t solid, either. At this point, I recommend that you read up on the two experiments shown on this site that did actually work: Julie’s mountain lion, made with Quickwall cement over paper mache clay, and Jackie’s Goddess, made with thin set tile mortar over paper mache clay.


The armature for  the scarecrow sculpture is ready for its paper mache clay. I hope to apply the pm clay in the next few days, probably in two coats. I’ll start with a base coat, and then add a few details like buttons and facial features over that.

All of the clay has to be completely dry before I can add the waterproofing sealer, so I’ll probably let it dry for at least a week before adding the sealer to the sculpture.

I should mention that this is an experiment, just in case you didn’t happen to see the previous post. I’m reasonably positive that the sealer will work, but we won’t know for sure for another week or so.

As you can see in the video, I used crumpled foil, armature wire, steel wire, and aluminum mesh to add the forms to the armature. I’ll do most of the actual sculpting with the paper mache clay. That’s why you still can’t see any features on the face.

I like the new illustration I found much better than the one I started with, because the first one had a face that was just painted onto a stuffed flour sack. The second illustration looks like the features are actually sculpted on the face, which will work much better.

I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’ve never read any of the books in the Wizard of Oz series, although I’ve watched the movie many times. I’ll head down to the library later this week to pick up a copy. One more thing on my list…

And, speaking of books, if you’d like to peek inside my new book about the paper mache dogs, click here. 🙂

17 thoughts on “Scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ, Part2”

  1. I’d love to write up a guest post on the making of my bowls. I take tons of photos of my work. I think because of all the years of teaching. I have the summer off starting Friday. I will be doing art, art art and some fun in the sun all summer. No school work for me until August. Unless an idea for something cool to do with my students is found or an idea pops into my head. 🙂

    • Great! I can’t wait to see it, but I know how busy you must be, so no hurry. When you’re ready, you can send your article and images to me by email. Be sure to put Paper Mache in the subject line so I don’t accidentally hit the delete button before opening it.

  2. Me encanta todo lo que sea en papel mache o cartapesta, pero me gustarìa que fuera en español porque no hablo el inglès. Gracias.

    Saludos desde Tampico,T. Mèxico.

  3. I was going to pop in and add the same comment as Debby – all of the Oz books are online, with others that Baum wrote as well:
    Many of them don’t have William Wallace Denslow’s artwork, so that’s the down side – for me anyway, since I found those illustrations particularly wonderful when I was little. Someday I’ll get around to finishing a childhood project of reading all 17 Oz books.

    If anyone else is considering Oz projects, Tik-Tok would fit right into any Steampunk theme.

    Oh and I want to thank you for having both paper and ebook formats for your books. I used to be very set in having only paper copies of art books, but now that I have my books temporarily in storage I find that it’s nice to have something more portable, and not to mention easier to find! (Er, I might have too many books.)

    • Thanks, Debby and K.L. I know it would be more practical to download the free versions, but I’m an old fashioned girl – I like holding the paper books in my hand. Maybe if I had a Kindle, I would grow to love it. Or, maybe not. 😉

      Unfortunately, the only book I have available in both print and ebook versions is the Make Animal Sculptures in Paper Mache Clay. Formatting illustrated books for Kindle is really hard. It essentially requires the entire book to be taken apart and rebuilt using antiquated html, and they change the rules on a regular basis – it’s hard to keep up. I do hope to get the others ready for the Kindle as well, but I don’t know when that will happen.

      And I’m glad I’m not the only one with too many books. I’m thinking about selling my house and finding a smaller one, but I’m not looking forward to packing up (and hefting) all those heavy boxes of books. And do I really need two sets of encyclopedias from the 1930’s?

      • I had read other authors write of the “fun” (not) of formatting ebooks – I should have mentioned that I’ll probably end up buying the one you do have in ebook form even though I already have the same one in paper. (For some reason I thought the mask book was in ebook format too, my mistake!) But I did want you to know that I appreciated that you had at least one out, that it is useful. I’ll totally come up with an excuse for myself to buy others in paper though! Previously I’d only buy art books in paper because I wanted to prop up a copy to refer to – it’s only now that I don’t have access to my books that I suddenly realize that it’d be easier to refer to an ebook. (In the future I may end up with paste all over my ereader and change my mind again.)

        You really do find out how many books you have when you have to pack and move them, don’t you?! Even though I’ve promised to try and stick with ebooks, there’re just so many books that aren’t offered in that format. Despite what anyone says, it’s not the obvious answer for “I’m Out of Shelf Space!” – or at least not yet.

        This had me looking over the Oz ebooks that had the illustrations in them and I discovered that the Tin Woodman of Oz has many images of the Scarecrow in it – due to his being BFFs with the Woodman I suppose. One of the things I like most about Denslow’s art is the layout for the the first page of each chapter – the layout’s kind of wonky (the heading usually frames the text, it doesn’t here):
        There’s an image of the Scarecrow lolling over the table of contents, looking particularly spineless – I can’t remember if he actually has a broom handle spine or none at all. It’s a wildly forgiving character to design – any way you end up needing to angle him will seem fine since he always looks on the verge of falling over!
        (download page for that book is here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30852)

  4. Oh forgot to tell you I just ordered your new book, looking forward to looking at that and hope that a little Jack Russell like our Tinker Bell will be on our shelf. Thanks for all the inspiration.

    • Thanks, Artis – I hope you like it! And please post a photo of your Jack Russell when he’s done. I would love to see it.

  5. Hi Jonni,
    Thought you might like this video
    I’ve started on papier maché masks using the method in this vid with a couple of changes salt etc. and I think your new mix looks great, going to make that, what is the compound I live in Ireland. And cornstarch is that the same as cornflour? Waiting for your new book.

    • I’m not sure what they call corn starch in Ireland. It’s really fine, almost like face powder or… I’m trying to think of a product that feels like our corn starch, and I’m coming up blank. I suppose it’s like cake flour, but with a silky feel. We also have “corn meal,” which is rather coarse, and it wouldn’t work for the air dry clay formula.

  6. My copy of your new book arrives today. I was going to make a paper mache Corgi anyway and would like to see how you did yours. I bought your book to say thank you for all the wonderful information you give away. Summer Break is only 2 days away then I will have tons of time to start and complete many projects.

    Can’t wait to see how the sealer works out. I want to make something for my apartment’s patio.

    • Thanks Lynn. I hope you like the book. There is a Corgi pattern in the book, but no photos of a Corgi. I wanted to use as few pages as possible so the price would be super-affordable. I can’t wait to see your Corgi when it’s done – please remember to post a photo here on the blog so we can all see it.

  7. My copy of your new book arrives today. I was going to make a paper mache Corgi anyway and would like to see how you did yours. I bought your book to say thank you for all the wonderful information you give away. Summer Break is only 2 days away then I will have tons of time to start and complete many projects.

    • And by the way – I just love your paper mache bowls. I don’t suppose you’d be interested in writing a guest post for us, sharing some of your secrets?


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