There are many steps involved in creating a papermache/paperclay sculpture. I begin with the base. In this case it’s an unpainted wood block purchased from the craft store. After sanding, drilling holes for the wire leg inserts and two coats of black gesso it’s ready for the wire legs to be glued in. I drill the hole a tiny bit larger than the diameter of the wire and use wood glue to attach the wire to the wood block- at this point you need to decide how tall will your sculpture be?
After the glue has dried the next step is to add styrofoam for the body and head. Then wire for the arms and ears. I do add some white glue to the ends of the wire as I push it into the styrofoam. Cover the entire sculpture with masking tape. Then I put on a layer of paper mache using torn strips of newspaper and wallpaper paste.
Then smooth a thin layer of white glue on the paper mache (after it dries) and roll out a thin layer of Creative Paper Clay (an air dry clay) and smooth it down. This step requires patience as you rub the clay onto the paper mache and get out any air bubbles trapped below. I use a toothpick to make a hole and push the air out if neccesary. Once it is completely covered you can begin to sculpt the features- giving it eyes, nose, mouth, and texture just as you would if you were using any clay.
After it is completely dry (it will appear very white) -2 days usually, lightly sand any rough places with fine sandpaper. If there are any cracks in the clay, wet it with water and rub in some more paper clay. Smooth it with a wet finger and allow to dry.
I use black gesso as a primer and allow it to dry overnight. Then the fun part! Paint with a dry brush technique over the black gesso, leaving some black showing. Several layers may be needed to get the depth of color you prefer. After allowing the paint to dry I add a wash of black watered down acrylic paint or sometimes burnt sienna if I want it to look antique- this has to be done quickly- painting it on and then immediately wiping it off with a damp paper towel. The wash will add depth as it stays in the recesses and texture in the clay.
Don’t be afraid to add the wash, because this gives the piece added character and makes it look professional and not so raw. The final step is to add several layers of a final varnish- in matte or semi gloss to seal the sculpture.
So- there’s a fast tutorial on how I made this little bunny! Questions? Comments? let em rip!
xox, calamity kim