Wednesday, June 27, 2018

creating with Jules: paper mache leopard

I love paper mache. You don’t need expensive or fancy equipment and you can basically make any shape you like by simply building up out of wire, glue and paper.

I was doing some paper mache one day when looking for my masking tape, but realized my two girls had once again taken it from my studio and used it all up on a game they were playing. (Apparently it makes great plaster casts for their toys in a game of hospitals.) So, I just started using tissue paper and I loved the texture it gave. It gave a more delicate surface finish than the thick masking tape, so this is what I use now. Out of frustration came a new discovery!

I have made a leopard for this tutorial. I love the shape of leopards, and their contrasting black spots make for a fun sculpture.

You will need:

-Wire in two gauges. Thicker wire that’s easy to bend but holds it’s shape well, and thin garden wire for tying.
-Tissue paper
-PVA glue
-Acrylic paints
-Black pencil
-Acrylic sealer
-Pliers, paint brushes

First, I studied the shape of a leopard. Their tails are quite long and they get thicker at the tip. They have small heads and ears, long bodies and legs, with rounded feet. They also have short necks, but my leopard didn’t end up with a short neck!

Don’t worry about getting proportions too correct, as a naive quality to this project will make it all the more charming.

First, cut your thicker wire using the measurements in the diagram, and use the thinner wire to tie it all together. Copy the shape of the wire when making the bends in the body and the legs.

Mix a bit of water into some PVA glue to make it more fluid, and brush or dip strips of tissue paper into the mix and start building up some form by wrapping the paper around the structure. I like to dip my fingers intro the glue, slop it onto the paper and scrunch it up to build up thicker parts where needed.

Keep building using my finished photos as your guide. Where you have used scrunched tissue paper, paste some flat tissue paper over the top to smooth it out. Finally add two to three layers of tissue paper over the top. I like to paste using a brush onto the paper first, stick it on, then brush more glue over the top.

Your sculpture won't be hard, but it will have a soft leathery feel to it when done. Leave to dry for around 24 hours.

Coat with gesso, and when that’s dry paint with light orange. I added some extra pale orange to the tummy, the feet, the nose area, and the tip of the tail.

I then used a black pencil to draw in the face details and the spots, and I then went over these with black paint. Add stripes to the feet for toes.

Finish with a coat of acrylic gloss sealer, and you’re done

You can find more of Jules here:


iHanna said...

I love papier marche too, but rarely take the time to play with it. This little sculpture is just so darling cute!

HollyM said...

Very cool! I look forward to trying something like this when my toddler grandson is old enough.

HollyM said...

Very cool! I look forward to trying something like this when my toddler grandson is old enough.

Mary said...

This is so neat! It's definitely stirring my creativity. I've always loved doing papier-mache but haven't for a while. Thanks for the tutorial.


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