Paper Mache Foal Sculpture – Weatherproofed with Flow Coat

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I’m really excited about today’s guest post. Margaret Salisbury’s paper mache foal sculpture absolutely adorable, and she’s found a product to make him weather proof. So many people have contacted me for ideas about weatherproofing paper mache, and Margaret may have the answer they’re all looking for.

And now, here’s Margaret (many more photos below):

For anyone who is interested in my foal that I have now finished I am sending some of the details of how and why it was made.

Last year I was asked to renovate a rocking horse – an old fiberglass one that had been dumped on the local tip. I got on the internet and by so doing came across Jonni’s website  and her information on paper mache clay. This I decided was something I needed to play with, and after looking at her details on her foal thought that as a lifelong horse lover I should attempt one as well.

Pepper started life as some scrap aluminum that I had in the shed, I stuffed it with scrunched up newspaper, covered that with paper mache, and then started with the paper mache clay, the texture of which improved with my proficiency of mixing. It took some time to build up the muscles and bone structure. After a few weeks I was happy with that, I then had to go overseas for 7 weeks to stay with my daughter so had to put everything on hold – all artists will feel for me here as it is very frustrating to have to leave work in progress.

I spent some time researching what to use to hopefully make Pepper waterproof as I would like to have him in the front yard. I have come up with ‘Flow Coat’ I am not sure if this is available outside Australia, it is a finishing product for fiberglass and goes on beautifully, it has an additive that makes it set, and it is advisable to only mix what can be used in about 20 minutes as it goes off. I have used 3 coats of this absolutely everywhere on the foal.

The mane and tail are real horsehair from a friend’s horses and are stuck in with external waterproof glue and I am hoping that this seals the holes made for insertion and that no rain will run down the hair. I plan to also paint a polyurethane varnish over the whole thing now that it is painted, but this is to help the paint from wearing off.

I have to find someone who can weld me a stand, as my original idea of incorporating stiff wire on the two raised legs did not work, I should really have made him with all four feet firmly planted on the ground, but I have to make things hard for myself!!!! He will then be placed in the front yard on a patch of artificial turf I have placed in the middle of a flower bed

Watch this space!!!

Are you all as impressed as I am? Fabulous sculpture, and he can go outside – every paper mache artist’s dream! Thanks, Margaret!
Click on the photos below to see them full sized:


17 thoughts on “Paper Mache Foal Sculpture – Weatherproofed with Flow Coat”

  1. Love your foal I’m trying to make some horses for a Cinderella carriage display and would like to know measurement details thank you

  2. Hello….how is Pepper now? Did he/she withstand the outdoors? I am working on a dinosaur exhibit and need to find a good hardening weather proof coating.
    Thank you

    • People do make furniture out of cardboard. I just did a Google search for “cardboard furniture,” and there were a lot of results. I haven’t done it myself, but only because I don’t have a good supply of cheap cardboard.

  3. Hello, good! I saw your website and I loved your work, the truth q is awesome! I wonder if there is any product or putty to go after that I have leave dry mass, it turns out I made a sculpture with q you have the recipe, but I put newspaper in place of toilet paper, and there are some imperfections, I’m too perfectionist q , try running the compound, but what happened was that q, when everything broke loose sand sculpture, some products that you use q and sand can be passed to q stay a perfect surface? Thank you very much for the tutorials, a greeting from Spain!


    • Hi Juli. Do you mean you’re trying to find a paper mache pulp recipe that will give you a smooth surface, or do you want something that will go over your clay surface to make it smooth? For my new mask book I developed two plaster-based gesso recipes that work quite well for smoothing rough paper mache. The first one Is:
      Plaster-Based Gesso
      1 tablespoon (15 ml) white glue
      2 teaspoons (10 ml) water
      2 tablespoon (30 ml) plaster of Paris
      ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) vinegar to slow down the hardening of the mix
      Small dab of white craft paint (optional)

      This mixture can be sanded when it’s dry, or you can use a slightly damp sponge to smooth it, which is much easier and less messy. The second recipe can go on over the first and leaves no brush marks, so you can get a porcelain finish if that’s what you’re after:

      Really Smooth Gesso Mix
      1 tablespoon (15 ml) white glue
      ½ teaspoon (2 ml) cold water
      ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) vinegar
      ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml) plaster of Paris

  4. For information in addition to the above I have now added a couple of coats of polyurethane floor varnish as I found the paint was marking anywhere I leaned Pepper. I am about to purchase some steel to make a stand so he can be put out in the garden, just to double check waterproofness I am gong to make a small item probably just a ball, coat that and leave it outside first, I am loath to risk Pepper getting wet if the flow coat does not do a 100% job, I will keep you informed

  5. Hi Chris,
    I am in NSW near Wagga so though I would love to take up the welding offer, it is too far unless it is in the Albury area. I got flow coat online as it was $25 cheaper including postage. It was through ebay, I can forward details if you cannot find them
    the hardware shop tried to sell me the wrong stuff, you need flow coat not gel coat. it comes with addative that makes it set. you also need acetone to clean brush
    Thanks for your lovely comments

  6. Margaret,

    Great horse! And like everyone else, I am intersested in weather/water-proofing paper mache!!! So after reading your post, I immediately Googled Flow Coat but all I found were pages that defined it as a process, not a product. Could you provide more specifics on the product, perhaps even a website? I know I would be grateful for the information along with a lot of other paper mache-ers out there around the world!


    • This is from the ebay seller on ebay.com.au I am sorry I do not know about other countries than Australia. I hope this explains the product, it is used when making fibreglass items like boats to cover the rough finish side.
      White Flow Coat Kit for Fibreglass Finishing – 5 Kg..

      White Flow Coat Kits – contain White Flowcoat which is a decorative finish coating for fibreglass. (Our Flow Coat Kit is supplied with MEKP hardener). Flowcoat is applied directly to a pre-sanded surface by brush, spray or roller. Flowcoat has excellent leveling properties and does not drain when applied to a vertical surface. Flowcoat is UV Stabalised for improved weather resistance, and has an excellent water resistance. Flowcoat will give you a high-gloss, smooth protective suface that is tack-free in less than one hour. Flowcoat can be used on pools, boats, etc.

      Directions for use: Mix resin and hardener in the ratio shown on the label and apply as directed. Cleaning up: Clean all brushes, rollers and fibreglass tools with Acetone. Acetone, Fibreglass Cloth and Chopped Strand Mat are all available separately from this site.

      Kit contains 1kg Flowcoat and MEKP Catalyst to suit.

      Dangerous goods delivered to SA, WA, TAS & NT attract a freight levy. Please add the following amounts in the invoice when purchasing this item.
      SA – $10.00
      TAS & WA – $15.00
      NT – $20.00

      When ordering more than 1 product from our store, please email your list of products, location and contact number so we can combine the freight.

      Due to the nature of our goods, we cannot always use Australia Post. As such, our cost for freight is reasonably higher as we use a Courier Service. Goods cannot be delivered to a PO Box, so a fixed address is needed. Also, please leave a phone number & a place to leave the goods if not home, as a note when paying.
      Our preferred method of payment is PayPal, but goods and freight can also be paid for by direct deposit into my account. ANZ – Belmont, NSW BSB – 012532 Account – 494008546 Consolidated Coatings. When ordering more than 1 product from our store, please email your list of products and your suburb & postcode so we can combine the freight. If in doubt about anything? simply email our office – compositesupplies@gmail.com and our staff will respond to your request.

      For technical advice on our products, please view our FAQ’s and Technical Help Page.

      When ordering more than 1 product from our store, please email your list of products, location and contact number so we can combine the freight.

  7. Oh he is lovely Margret. very well done. I am so glad you are in Australia, and the stuff you used is available here. I can see many many uses for this. ( Oh yeah and if you are in Victoria, I know of many a person who could weld you a stand.)
    You did not mention where you got the “Flow Coat” from, a hardware store? or on line somewhere.
    Again he is beautiful.

  8. The foal is just BEAUTIFUL – and this from a horse lover who knows her foals! What a great idea for the weather-proofing.


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