Sculpt the Mad Hatter with WED Clay

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A “Just for Fun” sculpture of a favorite character.

This ‘just for fun’ sculpture took a few hours. I think it came fairly close to the original drawing of the Mad Hatter by John Tenniel, for ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ by Lewis Carroll. A few more hours would have given me time to add details like wrinkles, maybe get the eyes the same size…

But I did have other things to do. ?

You can find the pattern for the face-sculpting form that I used in the video here. And I’ve also recently made a new pattern for an easier mannequin that works really well for character sculptures.

Sculpt the Mad Hatter with WED Clay

If you’re just playing around, like I was when I sculpted the Mad Hatter, you don’t really need a form. But it is a lot faster than creating an armature out of wire, in the traditional way.

I used WED clay for this sculpture. I get mine from amazon.com, but you might be able to find it at your local pottery supply store. If they don’t have it on hand, ask them to order it for you. It’s made by the Laguna Clay Company, and it’s usually less expensive if you buy it at a local store.

If you’d like to learn more about sculpting a portrait based on an outline, try to find an affordable copy of “Sculpting Made Easy” by Catherine Barjansky. I bought a used copy years ago, when it was just a few dollars. The least expensive one ($35) I could find in a fast search today was on Etsy, but you might have better luck if you do your own search. If you have any interest in sculpting portraits, I highly recommend it.

To see a current artist using this method, check out Amelia Rowcroft’s sculpture of Robin Williams. You’ll find a link to her sculpting classes below her video. If you’ve taken any of her classes, please let us know what you thought of them in the comments below.

You can find my book “Make Animal Sculpture with Paper Mache Clay” here.

Make animal sculptures with DIY patterns and paper mache clay

And if I forgot to include a link to something I mentioned in the video, please let me know. Also, if you like videos like this and you’d like me to make more, let me know that, too. :)

13 thoughts on “Sculpt the Mad Hatter with WED Clay”

  1. I am a tad confused. Do you use the clay as formwork for the paper mache and then remove it? Or does it stay in situ? If there’s a video on using clay as the removable form, I would love to see it. I just can’t seem to find it and am totally *Smeg* at anything computers on account of being born prior to 1990. Love your work

  2. You are an amazing, talented woman!!! I love all of the projects you’ve made! I have never seen such great work! You’re not Jonni Good—You are Jonni GREAT!

  3. “I write to you from afar, from Peru. I’m absolutely fascinated by your art and your passion for what you do. It’s wonderful. I’d like to know if it’s necessary to seal paper mache. Yesterday, I made the original paper mache recipe, and I want to use it for making a doll. Is there a risk of it rotting, or should I seal it with a product before painting?
    Thank you so much!

  4. I’m amazed at your work. How do you dry pottery clay. I’ve wanted since you started and I wish I could do it.
    Thanks for sharing your art

    • Hi Claudia. I’m not sure what you mean. I only use wet clay for modeling – to keep the sculpture, you would need to make a mold and cast it, or cover it with paper mache and then remove the clay when the paper mache is dry. The only way to keep a wet clay sculpture permanently, as far as I know, is to fire it. I don’t own a kiln, and the type of clay I use can’t be fired, anyway. The best place to learn how to use wet clay for sculptures is at a community art center that has classes in pottery. They usually have kilns that the students can use, too.


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