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Making A Posh Paper Mache Big Bird

Updated: Jun 28

I'm still on a learning curve with regard to making videos to help you understand how I make things and pretty soon I'm going to have to invest in some better equipment., but here's a short video to show you how I go about making my oversized birds.

I use scrap wood to create the template or skeletons for my paper mache sculptures for strength (which may have random holes or chips in it). I usually build out or fill in any dings in with either glue from my glue gun or some paper mache mix, both of which can be sanded into shape. If you don't have any wood to hand or the ability to cut it (I have a scroll saw, but you could use a jigsaw), then you can use stiff card such as mount board or corrugated card. Obviously this won't be as strong as using wood, but if you glue together a few layers of it then you can achieve a decent strength to your sculpture. You will need to do this for the feet in particular as they support the whole body. You will need a sharp craft knife or Stanley knife to cut your card. Be mindful of health and safety whichever method you use to cut things!

I use metal rod for the legs, which is one of the only materials I buy new - I need to make things durable as I am selling my work to the public, shops and galleries, but you could use an old coathanger, thick twigs from the garden, bamboo canes, some wooden dowel or you could twist several lengths of strong garden wire together - make sure whatever you use is strong enough to support some weight.

The body is sculpted using twists of newspaper built up a bit like a clay coil pot which is then covered with paper mache, this method and the particular paper mache mix that I use is unique to my work and allows me to make virtually any size or shape of sculpture that I wish! Instructions for making a traditional paper mache mix or the mix that I use for my own work can be found in my Blog with more demonstrations and tips how to make things.

Your paper mache will take about a week to dry - you can speed up the process by leaving it on a radiator, but beware, excessive heat may make it crack. After this you can, sand it, paint it and add decoupage to make it bright and colourful. A coat of ordinary yacht varnish to finish will protect it and make it quite waterproof.

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