Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Saturday, 31 October 2009


Here are 3 finished masks waiting to be copied in plaster cast molds from which the 'final' wearable mask will be formed. I painted them red so the would stand out on the black background so you could see them a little better. The mask i was working on in part 1 is the mask to the first left of the picture. The mask on the furthest right is the plasticine only constructed mask (the multi-coloured one) also shown in part 1. Remember ALL these masks came from the 'same' single master copy i showed you in part 1.

I am getting ahead of myself & leaving you all in the dark a little here so let me just back track a little to show you HOW i built up the 'new' version using foil then i will come back to adding the finer features using plasticine again later.

Once you have your copied commercial mask such as this one below in paper or in pulp if you prefer that way. The fasted & cheapest way to modify it to make it your own & design & no longer break any copyright laws as i have said is with foil. Take a good look at your copied mask & decide how YOU want it to look.

Once you have done that then make up some crude segments for the features your going to change. Remember how ever you want to be able to squeeze the foil & bend it into new shapes. So when you make the facial add on's leave them loose. By that i mean DON'T crush them solid at this stage. Here i have placed all MY additional pieces of foil into a box to keep them together so there is less chance of them being crushed accidently.

Here for instance is my new jaw bone.

If you are not very good at working out the size & shapes of the additional foil sections then simply tape them in place temporarily with masking tape as you make the pieces. That way you can best judge the final look you are going for.

Keep going until you have all your required pieces. Here i have added the section of the jaw where it would join to the sides of the skull. It's the small off set 'V' shaped piece.

Then the cheek bones.

For the eye ridges above the eye's on this design i decided to go with foil balls. Once mask version when i paper strip over these they will make great upper eye ridges. Experiment with ALL your new features. The more enlarged or prominant they are the more skeleton/demon like they will be in the final mask design which is what we are going for here after all.

Now this version is almost ready for the next stage adding the paper strips. Notice i haven't made any chages to the mouth/teeth area yet. This i am going to do entirely with plasticine once the paper strip layer is dry. I just need to add one more detail to this version.

The nose ridges. For this i have cut two small sections of pizza box card stock. Again as with the other facial features try different shapes & sizes.

I never make the nose feature too large though. I like to keep these so they come no further forward than the upper eye ridges as you can see here.

Full length, short, deep, shallow. ALL these things add character to the final designs will alter each mask significantly so again experiment with designs before you commit your design to the paper strip stage. I have often rushed this only to find i liked another way. Then had to cut out sections to start over. So take your time, choose slowly what you want to do.

Okay now MY new mask (this one at least - 1 of 6 in the works) is ready for the paper strips stage. Take your time with yours.

So this mask is now ready to be stripped over. In the next post we will take one final look at building the teeth on these masks. Hopefully 'before' the Christmas break comes around.

Friday, 30 October 2009


WARNING to all Facebook users. Facebook recently announced a password change over to start using your Google sign in as your new passsword technique. Like MicroSoft, MSN, Yahoo etc these companies & services ONLY send notifications through official channels ie: ON they're home pages or through your email or private user inbox accounts ON these sites themselve's or through automatic update pluggins that are installed directly from the software you install or these companies & services.

NONE of these big companies or services send out private, personal, pathetic, badly typed, incorrectly named, no track back linked, no official titles/headered emails like the one below. Only a blind illiterate idiot would think this is real. It's 100% amature & 200% pathetically done. This IS the second i have recieved the first to some woman named Joyce!. The last time i checked i was/am 100% male & my Facebook private information/account KNOWS this. I also signed in as Jonty NOT Jonty's. An instant give away that this IS a fake email/post by some person who's first language IS NOT English.

Facebook announced the password change ON they're home page a little while ago & did NOT say THEY were changing your passsword. They said YOU had to start using YOUR Google sign in password.

So if you get the email/post as shown below (or similar). DO NOT OPEN IT!.



Spread the word copy this post if you have too. STOP this rot before someone suffers!!!.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


Before I begin this review of what has to be not only one of the most prodigious (if not THE ultimate) instructional & informative books dealing with paper mache’mixed media available to buy today. Then it most certainly ranks in the top five. I must just say I had promised Dan a video review using one of the puppets I am building. (Boney ‘D) Sadly the puppet in question is not finished indeed far from it at this stage. Since I wanted to get this review out as soon as possible (other commitments permitting) I decided to go for the box standard text & pictures review. One of the first things you will notice is that I have chosen to use a minimal amount of pictures ‘direct’ from the book. Deciding which pictures to finally use was a hard decision to make I assure you. I chose to use so few pictures for two simple reasons.

1: There is just so many excellent pictures that the choice was a hard one. Scanning & re-scanning pictures over the better part of an hour before deciding on those you will see below was most definitely NOT easy.

2: If I had let myself just scan away mindlessly I could have easily left nothing for the purchaser/reader to see & breech copyrights on what is & is not permissible as use within a review.

The decision WAS a tough one I can tell you, but I went with the few you will see in the end. Not simply as a wild ‘what the hell’ gamble as anyone who has viewed ANY of Dan’s video’s on his website or his NEW slower versions on his forum WILL know the book follows extremely closely to what Dan has shown in his video’s. So NOTHING I could do here by showing more pictures could improve what Dan has given us already. So without any further delay beyond that I have taken so far here is my personal review of this Dan Reeders latest book which as far as I am concerned is a work of art in itself.


This is not the first of Dan’s efforts in the mysterious world of book writing, indeed no. It is in fact one of six books Dan has written. Five of which are on the subject of papier mache’ & one is a short story about a little dragon: Williams Treasure. That's William in the picture above (under Dan's name bottom middle) right on the front cover of his latest book. For now I am going to concentrate on this Papier-Mache MONSTERS Turn Trinkets and Trash into Magnificent Monstrosities Dan’s latest paper creation.
To begin with it is a soft back edition that is a comfortable size to hold & have nearby when following Dan’s very detailed instructions even if you are limited for space on your work table. With one hundred & fourty four pages cram packed full of incredibly detailed & accurate pictures with just the right amount of text to accompany each image to guide even the most fresh of beginners through quite complicated looking constructions. As you can see from the contents page below you may be easily fooled into thinking the books width & the listed content to be not a lot. I assure you would be wrong if you thought that. Once you turn over from the contents page you will be delving into more information than you can take on board in a single reading.

Once the book begins proper Dan takes you on & out from the very start of the methology & tools he uses & you will need in this art form. For those of us who know our way around a sheet of paper & some glue even then Dan’s teachings are still an engrossing read.

Of course you have to remember this is a book not a video. So there WILL be ‘expected’ gaps, or minor jumps between one picture to the next. Do not be alarmed at the thought of this though each step & depicted picture in turn are very closely knit together. So what at first may seem like a great leap from one step to another, if you look carefully you WILL see the way you progress through each stage quite clearly. Because of the simplistic layout Dan brings a wonderful mix of sophisticated techniques to the reader in such a relaxed style. Indeed the section showing the wonderful pig creation is so relaxed Dan takes his injected humour to a new level even for him for those of us who have the pleasure of knowing him more closely myself included won’t/didn’t expect this seriously funny section. As I have said though the book is so well presented the pictures alone here are more than enough to work from.


As you work your way through the book be it just as a relaxing read with your favorite drink & snack or actually as you begin to delve into the world of creating with paper mache. You will quickly become acquainted with the masterful manor in which Dan reveals how so many of his & other artists works actually use some of the SAME most basic principles to create wonderful effects. Indeed as one good example during the creation of Dan’s pig (above) the methods he uses are the same as with his dragon head trophy with some obvious adjustments allowing for shape & size between each creature. Yet both creations could not be more dissimilar if they tried once completed. As seen with the dragon head trophy below.


As you become more relaxed soaking up the wealth of secrets Dan shares & then begin your first creation. You will quickly understand that it makes little to no difference whether you are making a small table top sized screamer or a one meter tall dragon head trophy of your own. Dan’s methods are so simple & as such can easily & readily be used just as effectively on something as small as a plastic doll (shown below) to create marvelous mixed media monstrosities be they for Halloween or just because you have a taste for things of a dark monster like in nature. The main thing & the simplest of all to remember with Dan’s method, my methods or any of the many hundreds of other paper mache mixed media artists/sculptors around the world today. Is NOT to try to emulate exactly what Dan is showing you, more try to emulate his ‘methods’. Very soon you will be creating art too.


Once you have read the start of Dan’s book several times & then feel confident enough to begin your own projects, which thanks to Dan’s marvelous relaxed yet very in depth teaching methods will show & you begin to create you will very quickly find once you have finished creating your first monster following the books instructions you will want to begin another project. Instead of simply leaving you to your own imaginations Dan’s book then continues on showing you some of his other wonderful works. You just know from the point in the book where the page header says ‘More Monsters’, the short introduction to this section & the simply awesome ‘creatures’ shown below. That there is even more yet still to come & believe me what Dan has to show you will blow your mind. Dan’s creations are nothing if not inspiring to look at. If you have created something using Dan’s techniques from this or any of his previous books you will quickly come to understand how everything & ANYTHING IS possible.

Simple screamers, dragon heads, trophies or otherwise, monstrous bloated beasties swinging from ropes, ladders or trapped in cages, perched on shelves even simple puppets that will turn heads as you make them dance or walk by your side. What may have once seemed unimaginable for you to be able to even think of creating before many, many creations of all kinds will be waiting to be born through your hands & thanks to the guidance of Dan’s book(s) YOU can do it too.


Once again just when you think Dan has given you all he is going to give you. Another section leaps out at you as you turn the dwindling pages thinking “No the books near the end now. There can’t be much left to see?”. Just then another section leaps out at you screaming ‘Wait until you see this’.


I didn’t want to bring this review to an end without including a ‘excerpt’ from the last page. Why? Well there were many things I could have said about this marvelous book & didn’t. Indeed there are many, many things I wanted to say but couldn’t – Spoilers & all that lol. But having read the book several times myself I felt I couldn’t do this review justice without allowing Dan to have the last say himself direct from the book. Having read the book & I guarantee you will & more than once & not just for references sake either. This book will leave you in awe of a fantastic art form that at first appeared to be way beyond your reach, but indeed thanks to Dan’s teaching methods couldn’t more in your grasp.

If this is the first book of the fantastic artist Dan Reeder that you have bought to date then you will be glad to know that his other books can be bought from several places. For FULL details of Dan’s other books, prices simply go to his website today Sadly his earliest works are no longer printed BUT, they can still be found if you look around. Of course once you buy ANY of Dan’s books you will surely want to others to add to what will be a fantastic collection of art design master pieces to adorn anyone’s book shelves. If you buy Dan’s latest books direct from his website you get the extra prize of actually having them autographed by the artist himself.

It gives me great pleasure & pride to both know Dan personally as a friend & fellow mixed media artist, but also to have been granted permission to use pictures directly from his latest book to help make this review possible.

Thank you my friend. Never stop doing what you do.


This review was written for the admiration & respect i have for my friend & fellow artist Dan Reeder & the pictures were used with consent by the copyright owner Dan Reeder. I would appreciate it if readers would respect my work by NOT simply taking anything from this review without first seeking my permission. I would ask that you would show the SAME respect to Dan Reeder too & NOT copy any of the pictures i used without Dan's permission.


Friday, 23 October 2009


This little post isn't quite paper mache related but when i came across it on another blog i had to ask for permission to use a key image from it to tie this post into it & link back to it immediately. Not only becasue it featured skeletons which i love... Well okay a LOT to do with the skeletons in it. More though because it's so simple it's just shear genious. Let me try to explain a little.

Do you remember back when you were back in your early school days messing around with various tricks & messy things paint related in art class? Did you ever do that wonderful trick drawing a picture on plain paper with a candle then paint in details such as grass & sky, a tree or two in the foreground etc? Or making a fireworks display picture on black paper & coloured wax? Low & behold where the candle had been drawn the paint would not go. I remember being able to create some wonderful effects with that. Whispy clouds where the blue paint slid off etc. I even showed it to some of my children when they were younger as the schools they attended didn't seem to teach them it in art anymore.

Now of course children can buy those 'ahem' magic water based pens that only draw or write on the special easy wipe clean sheet or magically change colours at certain places. Anyway the other day whilst trying to make time to flip through the blogs i follow & find new ones to follow i came across a wonderful blog There i saw not only some cool skeletons but also a NEW twist on that old candle trick. Being an avid white glue user since day one of taking paper mache back up a few years back, just HOW this trick even slipped past my fertile imagination i have no idea. Countless times i have made my water based paints too watery & had them not take to the glue, anyway... Rambling sorry.

A rather cool artist by the name of Gail Bartel has come up with this twist in the story. As you may have guessed, YES she uses white glue in place of the candle wax. Then paints over the glue with water based or thinned down paints. Not only does the paint slip off the white glue regions, the white glue is actually raised off the paper slightly giving it a wonderful ghostly raised image effect of the skeletons which looks brillaint. Here is one of the main images in the article.


It's not easy to see the effet in this image as this is shown flat on. Trust me there IS more both of the 'HOW TO' & the wonderful skeletons on her blog that show the effect much better. If you like skeletons or not you have to go get the lowdown on this simple but cleverly effective trick direct from Gail's blog & Gail's much better explanation of the process (I don't want to steal Gail's lime-light lol). It's a great little blog with some great little idea's that have a BIG impact.

Go, look have fun, Tell Gail I sent you... Er!, don't forget to come back here though afterwards though lol.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Ever wanted to make masks but just can't wrap your head around how to start one? Don't worry it's something a LOT of people can't grasp straight away. Not everyone knows how to do everything. The truth is you don't have to learn how to either. Yet you can STILL make fantastic customised masks that will have your freinds shocked & envious too lol. I will show you how in a few seconds but first there is something i need to explain.

I will show you how to copy & modify commercially purchased masks. Now because of copyright laws which are rightfully in place. You CAN'T just go around copying someones else's work & expect to make money out of it. I totally agree with that principle & at NO time will i ask or tell anyone to do that. NO, what i am going to show you is HOW to get around the not being able to start a mask & then create something new. Here's how.

Take any commercially purchased mask that you like the look of. By that i mean the overall shape of the mask. Since you are going to totally change the outward features you ONLY need look for masks with STRONG overall shape. Bold cheek bones, forehead, chin etc. Below is a mask i found. To look at it's more like a derranged gorilla than a demon skull which i think it's meant to be. Anyway. It has the strong features such as i just mentioned that will be perfect for this feature to show you what to do.

Now because we want to change the 'final features' of the mask design so it both no longer looks like the original & is your own creation so it does not break any copyright laws. We need to copy the mask in such a way that the copy will allow us to make the changes to it.

So with this in mind copying the front or the face of this mask is no good to us. We need to copy the INSIDE of the mask. This will give us enough of a good representation of the face 'shape' of the mask to work with later. As you can see most 'press mold' masks such as this one have as many details inside as they do outside which is perfect for what i am about to show you.

Now there are two ways we can do this. One is faster than the other. Both are as good as each other. I have used both methods to show you the results, they being: Paper strips & paper pulp copying. I prefer the paper strips. Why? I can copy this mask using paper strips using only four layers of paper & make between four to six masks a day. Doing it the paper pulp way took three days for the pulp to dry enough to remove the pulp copy from the original & then it took a lot of the original silver paint off with it. Don't worry if YOU have the same thing happen. It makes NO difference if the paint stays on the original mask or not. The plastic mask under the paint is perfectly smooth anyway which is what we used it for in the first place.

So working with 'any' white glue (PVA based for speed - faster drying) cut or tear up some none glossy news print strips of paper around two inches long by one inch wide. Plastic even painted plastic such as my example mask here WILL allow you to glue the paper DIRECTLY onto the plastic inside the mask WITHOUT ANY releasing agent at all. The ONLY thing you need do is water down the first coating of white glue, around a 50% by 50% water to glue will be fine.

Brush the glue directly into the mask. Dip the strips, which ever way works for YOU is all that matters. Remember to really work the strips INTO all the little nooks & crannies using a short haired but stiff bristled brush. Around four layers is more than sufficient since we will be building up the face features the masks WILL become much stronger before it's even finished. So don't worry trust me here. Below are copies i made using both the paper strip & the paper pulp methods. The paper pulp is the same one i showed you how to make i an earlier feature.

First the paper strip version. The paper strip version WILL 'curl' in at the sides. This is because it's so thin. Don't worry about it. Once you start to build the new features onto it you can simply either push it onto the face of the original whilst it dries after you make another copy inside. Or you can blow up a balloon or wedge something else inside until it dries to force it back into shape.

Now the paper pulp version. Notice the silvery sections on the pulp version? That's where the silver paint from the mask peeled off. Just ignore it though it will be both burried in the NEW mask you make & will not hamper the copying of more from the original in any way. It just looks terrible on the copies at first sight.

Now once you have the copies you want to work with we need to start changing that face so it both no longer looks like the original & becomes YOUR creation totally. Now again as with the copying there are a couple of ways you can do this. Since we want to build up the final features to make NEW plaster cast copies from, choose materials that you know how to work with. Are comfortable working with, but are the fastest methods. I pressume you will be wanting to make some masks for halloween even.

You can use ANY method & material you like at this stage. Clay, paper clay, polymer clay, paper strips, foil covered in paper strips etc. For ME it's a case of cost over materials. So with this is mind i am going to be using a simple child safe plasticine (Polymer clay substitute) each small packet only cost me 40p (Pence UK Sterling) some where around 60/70 Cents American or there abouts. Plasticine can be made at home easily too since it's only standard potters clay (right out the ground) mixed with oil (clean engine oil works) boiled together with colours added.

Plasticine the penny poor artists answer to Polymer clay.

Now straight away we have problems that need to be over come. Because of the oils used in it's manufacture, plasticine IS intended NOT to dry out so easily. I don't know why perhaps so it lasts longer if children don't put it away when they have finished playing with it. Or so they can play with it longer & not dry out when exposed to the air for long periods. Anyway THAT is a problem to US when we want to copy our NEW masks in plaster. Unlike all the previous material such as clay or polymer clay i mentioned we CAN'T simply oven dry it. I have tried this with both Play Doh & Plasticine. Both dry out too quickly, bloat & crack like crazy.

So HOW do we make plasticine hard enough to be able to plaster cast from it then? Very, very simply. Once you have your final design using plasticine as the sculpting material. You simply brush it over one or two times using PURE UNDILUTED white glue. Let it dry. The latex based white glue will create a thin shell over the plasticine that will be strong enough to allow us to make one or more plaster copies easily. Simple huh?

Here is one of my finished masks using ONLY plasticine to create the NEW features. This mask IS NOW ready to be plaster cast.

Here it is next to the original plastic copy. Much MORE demon skull-like & less gorilla-like.

Here is another i am currently working on. For this one i built up the heavier facial features using foil which i shaped then locked in place using paper strips. I will NOW create the finer facial features i want using plasticine again. I will show & explain how i do this as i go with this mask.

Again next to the original plastic mask.

Now i will begin to build up the teeth for my new mask with plasticine.

Because the plasticine i buy comes in these pre-made wonderful easy tear apart strips i can tear off two joined strips & make perfect split teeth once i cut it to the right lengths.

Now plasticine by it's very nature 'won't' stick to the paper strips. So it requires a little bit of help in that department. So i simply brushed on some un-diliuted glue. Then gently pressed on the plasticine shaping it as i did so.

Coming up in part two: More of this mask & some of the others i am working on at the same time. Also (hopefully) plaster casting these masks. Yes i am covering plaster casting with my dolphin which is part of a bigger project. How ever these masks because of theyre shapes will HAVE to be cast in a slightly different way. Unfortunately you CAN'T plaster cast around curved surfaces like yo can with latex molding methods. So stay tuned. I am busy but WILL get back to this as soon as i can. Until then happy mask making.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Ever wanted to make a 3D star or moon to make a cool 3D mobile? Well here is a really simple way to do it. When you come to make your own versions simply scale up or down the design. Since there is no limit to scale involved it's all down to materials & scales you have in mind. Okay lets get going on this one.

Start by using a card stock you are familiar with. Here i am using recycled serial box card. It's strong, flexible & light weight.

Depending on how many 'points' you want your star(s) to have is down to the angles of the smaller point next to my thumb. How you define this dictates just how many points your star will have when built. The angles of the smaller lines here are set at 75 degrees to make my five pointed star. An angle of 55 degrees will make a four pointed star. ALL these sections MUST ALL be identical too. The best way to make sure ALL are identical is to draw one out, cut it out, then use it as a drawing template to make more.  You will need to make 10 sections for a five pointed 3D star no matter the size (2 per every point).

When you have ALL the sections drawn out. BEFORE you cut them out this is the best time to 'score' a folding line in them that we will need later. They will curl less & be easier to hold whilst being supported by the outter edges of the card. To score them use a blunt edge. I use the back edge of my scissors & & a ruler as a guide of course.

Now cut ALL the sections out as neatly as you can. Any defects in the edges WILL alter the final shape of your star(s).

Compare ALL your pieces against the template section to make sure they are as exact as possible. Discovering an edge that is out of shape when building will make things difficult at best.

Now take each section in turn & fold along the scored line you made before you cut them out.

Now you need to tape the smaller edges together. Take five sections & lay them flat then tape them all together. Masking tape is intended not to stay in place perminantly. So using something hard & smooth rub it down as you work your way around the joins.

Turn it over & tape the other side of the joins.

Now you have one side of your 3D star completed.

Now repeat what you just did with your remaining five pieces of star points (assuming you are making a single star).

Thats the hard part finished. You are now ready to begin to create your 3D star.

Now take one of the newly completed sides of your star & turn it over so the 'scored' side is facing 'outwards'.

Now lay the second side on top of it with it's 'scored side facing outwards (opposite to the fist side).

Line up the edges then tape them together. Leave one point un-taped.

Hold the un-taped final section as close as possible to where it connects to the rest of the star. Squeeze both sides gently until it pops open.

MY star is big enough to fit my hand inside the points. If you can not then find something that WILL fit. Then ease it in. Hold another 'taped' point in the same way. Now at the same time, ease the middle of the star 'out' & squeeze the point you are holding gently. Your star should instantly & all at once 'pop' into the final 3D shape.

Now keeping the star in it's 3D configuration tape down the edges of the last point.

You should NOW be the proud owner of your first true 3D star.

Alternate your star(s) sizes & amount of points they have. If you are following this guide to make a hanging mobile this will make it more interesting to look at.

In the second & last part of this feature i will show you how to make a novel matching 3D moon to go with your stars. I will also be showing you a very 'unique' way of attaching the stars too that will add to the fun of the whole project. Until then if you found this feature was not quite as clear as it was intended you can find the link to the HOW TO video on YouTube if that will make it any easier for you to follow. The link is in my YouTube links list at the bottom of the blog. Click on '5 MINUTE QUICKIE #8'.