The Colorful Cockatoo

Made by Jon Keller

I have made a lot of birds , but this is my first cockatoo .
The armature was made with aluminum foil , cardboard and wood .
The paper mache was made with newsprint .
I made a newsprint pulp and sculpted it as if it were clay.
After it was dry I did some additional shaping with sculpting tools.
I varnished it with polyurethane before I painted it to reduce the absorption of the paint into the paper mache .
The paint job was done with acrylic paint .

Paper mache cockatoo by Jon Keller - early stages
Early Stages of Making the Cockatoo
Paper mache cockatoo by Jon Keller - the painting
Painting the Cockatoo

13 thoughts on “The Colorful Cockatoo”

    • Thanks Pat .
      I used the free local newspapers that you can get at the supermarket. The low quality of the newsprint breaks up nicely when you soak it and run it through a blender. It makes a smooth paper mache that’s easy to work with when wet , and carveable when dry.

      • I didn’t know the grocery stores had free local newspaper. Where do you ask? I really like the fact that it can be carved when dry.. Do you mix the blended newspaper with glue or just use it plain?

        • Many supermarkets around here have stacks of local newspapers ( PennySaver type of newspaper )by the exit doors . You don’t have to ask … they want you to take them as they are full of local ads.
          After the paper is blended ( in a blender ) I squeeze out as much water as possible by twisting it in a piece of cloth . Then I knead it with white glue ( I use Elmer’s school glue, which I buy by the gallon ). I store it in a plastic bag and add a little more glue just before I use it.

  1. Jon, you do stellar work. I always enjoy your creations. (I thought I left a comment, but I don’t see it.)

  2. Thank you Ali.
    I have about 30 pieces posted on Jonni’s fabulous site ,Ultimate Paper Mache.
    I think that if you click on my name , under my project, it will give you an opportunity to see all my projects.

  3. Really lovely . Not just the the construction of the bird but also the colouring. Just beautiful. I have not seen any of your work before this, but I am looking forward to seeing more, maybe in the future. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Jon, you’re always an inspiration to me because of the accuracy & beauty of your work, & your very clear, methodical photos. Thanks for sharing. Have you seen any Major Mitchell cockatoos? They’re a stunning crimson & black colour. (sorry for all the & symbols, I’m having trouble with my keyboard & it won’t type the letter after ‘C’)

    • Thank you Joan .
      I have never heard of Major Mitchell cockatoos . But I do find all birds fascinating , and have sculpted several.
      The plumage on a cockatoo is particularly interesting, and makes for a worthy sculpting project.

  5. It’s stunning, Jon. Thank you so much for showing it to us – and I love the progress photos! It’s always fun to see the different stages of a project.


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