The Red Eyed Tree Frog

Made by Jon Keller

I started this project by looking at lots of frog images on the internet . When I decided exactly what I wanted to make , I made an armature ,based on an image of a frog skeleton , for my reference.

The paper mache was made from newspaper , water and white glue .

The frog was sculpted as if it were clay.

The leaves were made by rolling some paper mache flat , in between two layers of plastic wrap. When it was almost dry , I cut and shaped the leaves. When fully dry I grouped them into clusters , with a short piece of wooden dowel at the base , so they could easily be attached to the “bamboo”.

The bamboo was made using the cardboard tubes that are in the center of paper towel rolls . With a little paper mache and some paint , they can be made to look a lot like bamboo.

Everything was painted with acrylic paint and then varnished. The frog was varnished with high gloss polyurethane . The bamboo ( and the leaves ) were varnished with matte finish water based varnish.

After all the individual elements were painted and varnished I assembled the finished piece.

Red eyed tree frog sculpture close-up

5 thoughts on “The Red Eyed Tree Frog”

    • Hello Eileen…
      Happy to hear that you like my frog .
      I will try to explain how it was put together .

      There are 3 main components…..
      1. The frog.
      2. The leaves.
      3. The bamboo.

      Each component was completely finished , painted and varnished before the final assembly.
      The frog was made on a wood and wire armature . I positioned the armature on one of the cardboard tubes used for the bamboo before I put the paper mache on the armature , to insure that the arms and legs would be in the right positions. I did not put the hands or the feet on him until after he was attached to the bamboo.
      For the attachment I had left about 1/2” of wire sticking out at the wrists and the ankles . I bent this extra wire to form a “V” shape , sort of like a barb. I marked dots on the bamboo where I needed to attach each appendage and poked 4 small holes in it . Using wood glue on the wrists and ankles I pushed them through the appropriate holes , one at a time , holding each one in position for a few minutes until the glue was firm enough to keep it there . When completely dry , using additional paper mache , I sculpted the hands and feet over the attached wrists and ankles . This completely covered any blemished made when I pushed the barbs into the holes .After the hands and feet were dry I painted and varnished them.

      The leaves were made individually . After I had enough leaves made , I glued them into clusters , 3 or 4 leaves to a cluster. Each cluster was then glued to a short wooden dowel . They each looked like a small feather duster .
      Each leaf cluster was painted and varnished before being attached to the bamboo . Using a rotary tool I bored holes in the bamboo where I wanted to attach the leaves . The dowel would then be covered with wood glue and placed in the hole which I chose for it , and held there until it was secure .

      The bamboo was made from two cardboard tubes ( from paper towels). I split one of the tubes open and rolled and glued it to make it a little narrower , so it could fit into the wider tube ( like a telescope ) . I did this because bamboo gets a little narrower as it nears the top . The two tubes were then glued together .With paper mache I sculpted the little ridges that give bamboo it’s distinct appearance . After it was painted , and the leaves were added , I was surprised how real it looked .

      Thank you for taking interest in my project .

      • That’s how I do birds feet so I can attach them to a base or branch. It works rather well. I have a “working block of wood” that I drill holes in so I can work on the feet away from the actual sculpture and don’t have to fear getting the clay or paint on the other parts of the permanent sculpture. Necessity is the mother of invention as they say! Thanks for sharing your process.

  1. I love this!
    The colors and details are fabulous.
    Your idea about leaf-making is something I need to experiment with. Thanks for sharing the idea for how you did it!


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