In previous posts, I showed you how to make a pattern for a snowy owl sculpture, and how to add crumpled paper and masking tape to fill out the armature. The next step is to add the paper mache. I’m using the paper mache clay recipe with glycerin instead of linseed oil, just because the cap is easier to get off the bottle.
When a sculpture has a lot of texture or detail I like to make the first layer of clay thin and fairly smooth. I’ll add lots of feathers to the owl, in addition to her eyes and beak, when I add the second layer of paper mache clay.
You can start just about anywhere, but you will need to stop adding clay when you no longer have a dry spot for the owl to sit on. That means you’ll need to apply the clay in at least three sessions. This is not “instant” paper mache, so it will take several days for each area to dry solid enough. You don’t want to lay it down on a slightly damp area, because that would flatten the shape.
I think this project will take about 2 quarts of the paper mache clay to complete. In the photo above, the clay has been applied to the bottom of the sculpture, and it is now dry enough for the snowy owl to stand up. Then more clay was added to the upper area, until the sculpture is completely covered with a thin layer of clay, about 1/8 inch thick. I’m working on an unheated porch, so she’s taking quite a long time to dry.
In the photo above, you can see that the base layer of paper mache clay has been added to the armature, and she’s now ready for her facial features and her feathers. I hope to work on those areas this week. You can see I’ve also been working on my poor Arabian Oryx that I started back in June. One horn is now done, still no ears. Sometimes my projects just sits there, until the urge strikes to get them finished.