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.

Sunday, 26 December 2010


I would like you to meet Mr Jingles. Like the skeleton hand featured in the previous post below, Mr Jingles was made just before Christmas. The skeleton hand around two weeks before & Mr Jingles here about a week before. In terms of true life or as I call them my ‘grunge skulls’ Mr Jingles here sits right in the middle of both classifications. He is a realistic looking skull but falls just short of so (his jaw region just under the cheek area) but is more life like than my current grunge smaller skulls.

Now if when you scroll down the pictures you will see that Mr Jingles here is slightly larger than true life in terms of a real human skull. There are two (possibly three) good reasons for this. That is to say I have two possibly three future project ideas in mind for this skull. I am not going to say what they are not quite yet because as with my grunge skulls & the new reaper hands Mr Jingles is to be mass copied from plaster molds using the same method as for the grunge skulls. That is why he has a pen line down his face (in case you were curious lol) to remind (guide) me where I want to cut him along later.

The reason I am not saying what Mr Jingles is destined for just yet is the jaw sections where it meets the cheeks ‘may’ be a little ‘snug’ when it comes to casting him in plaster & then not only removing him (the original copy) but also the actual copies too. He & this project may go all skulls up if I can’t remove him from the plaster mold, or indeed the snug fitting copies later too. I did want to show you Mr Jingles in advance though as I am proud of how he turned out initially.

Click to enlarge

As this picture shows Mr Jingles is slightly larger than the avergage human skull in true life. I painted behind the teeth to make them stand out a little more clearly for the picture as the light here is poor at the moment. This red has nothing to do with the final project(s).

The project name is also a hint to 'one' of the project ideas i have in mind for this skull by the way, just a hint/clue to what one of them may be to keep your minds ticking over while you wait for the future out come of this (these) projects future aren't i wicked lol.

More on the progress of the Mr Jingles projects soon.


I find the best way to make a skeleton hand is literally in sections how these sections can be made is entirely up to the individual creator of course ‘my’ method can be seen in my YouTube HOW TO videos showing how I made a surreal hand. The first selection of videos being: parts 1-7 (0f 9) refer to the actual skeleton section of the build. The links to these are below.


The problem is the human body (as with many things in nature) when divided down the vertical plane are not exact mirror copies of the opposite side(s). Whilst this is hard to see with the naked eye alone of course this odd feature is there. Below is a ‘new’ skeleton hand I made recently to be part of some new grim reaper builds (amongst other things) I have planned. Now two things immediately spring to mind here (if you are paying attention?) I said “a ‘new’ skeleton hand”. Surely if I am going to be making reapers then they’d require ‘two’ hands each? Okay that’s the first thing to spring to mind.

Click on image to enlarge

Now the second thing to spring to mind, (still paying attention?) is if you are making either a true to life or as close to as need be project (such as a pair of skeleton hands) the best way is to make the individual bones separately. No matter what size, method or even materials you are going to be using unless you are very skilled you are going to have some problems gauging the sizes & the shapes of individual sections etc. Not to mention it is going to get pretty tedious & very time consuming after the first pair.

Not including the ‘between joints’ sections in ‘my’ skeleton hand I have constructed this single hand from ‘thirty one’ separate pieces. I have three new reapers in mind for future project builds, so I need six hands in all. Now for me each hand is only going to take a day to make all six hands but even then I don’t want to spend the whole day making the same parts over & over all day long so would probably take say three days to make them all. Now again it’s making all these separate sections as close to the same size & shape to each corresponding hand that’s even for me going to be tricky & tedious to say the least. For those less skilled it instantly becomes a daunting task & possibly even ends up seeing the whole project going out the window in favour of something simpler.

Even those not so well skilled can still make all the skeleton hands they want however. Remember this blog is not about what I am ‘making’ nor is it about how ‘you’ can make the same projects as such (you can if you wish of course), no this blog is more about showing you more simplified methods of doing things. Having said that if you have been following each of the mass copying either by plaster or ‘other’ mould making techniques then you should (with practice of course) then be able to employ ‘those’ skills in then making as many pairs of hands as you choose once you have made the first ‘master copy’.

Once you have your master copy as I have above you then simply copy it using your chosen molding method. Once you have two copies then all you need do is turn the copied skeleton hands so the thumbs are facing each other. Then cut into the knuckles slightly (on the same facing side) to then be able to bend the fingers & glue them in the final chosen position for your project.

More on this & the reapers they are for later.

Saturday, 18 December 2010


I will be popping in just after Christmas until then...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Hi all just popping in to say Merry Christmas to everyone & to ask a quick question.

Now whilst this question is broken up into several seemingly seperate questions it's all one (big) question really. I know i have a lot of lurkers (silent visitors) to my blog here, absolutely no harm in that. However if as many people could answer this question as possible it would go a long way in helping me with a long term project i have had in mind for some years now. During my holiday break i have started some work on it again (a lot of long term design/preperation work inviolved over the years when time permits it) & i have (again) begun to question its merit.

Dragon heads (trophies) full dragons that kind of thing. How many people are interested in making dragons but don't know where to start, can't wrap their heads around a good dragon design, possibly stumped as to how to go about the actual build. Perhaps you have tried but they dont look anything like your idea in your head let alone a dragon. You have tried following blog/website instructions, videos (Dan Reeders are excellent as well as his books) but never been happy with the results. Basically these senarios & others stopping you creating them?

Before anyone asks no i am not doing or going to be doing any HOW TO videos on making dragons. Well not yet & not in relation to this question directly. I have had something all together different in mind for quite some time. Which in part explains why i have talked about dragons & my making them off & on for some time now but have never actually shown anything i have finished other than the odd WIP picture(s) now & then. I am not going to reveal 'what' this project is just yet as it will risk the idea potentially being scooped out from under me. I will say though that as many responces as possible will benifit me & a LOT of people in the end - potentially that is.

If anyone does not wish to answer through the comments section here then you can Email me directly my Email address is Thank you to all who respond & again Merry Christmas to all.

Saturday, 4 December 2010


When my youngest daughter (Megan 16 years old) saw my large 3D moon & stars mobile she asked me to make her a smaller version. I said i would eventually, but i actually started one last weekend for her. She mentioned it (the big one) to her art teacher at school who replied "Paper mache - whats paper mache?". So she took the big version to school to copy as an art project. I could not believe my ears what kind of art teacher has NOT heard of paper mache? It's been around for over two thousands years now? Anyway back to the mini version here it is so far:

Click on image to enlarge:

Whilst the original (Harvey Moon) is some 60+ cms (point to point) gave or take a few cms this one is much smaller at around a quarter that size. I will measure it another time, Of course this one is still waiting for his arms & stars but they will not take ling to make.

I also before i added the tissue skin on this version made a plaster cast copy so i can make more for my Etsy shop later. Some will have the arms & stars some will just have the stars hanging directly off the moon itself. As with the grunge skulls more on this little guy after the holidays folks.

You will find in the archived posts for the step by step build for the original large version of this project. You can also see a step by step series of videos on YouTube covering this build too. Here are the links for you if you are interested: 






Back soon have a Merry Christmas everyone.


Oops i just realised i meant to post this update before i took my traditional offline break for my birthday, Christmas & the New Year holiday. I am so sorry i hope this quick update makes up for it?

Anyway a couple of days back i decided to de-mould one of the grunge skull halves to see how well they were going to turn out in my plaster moulds. Like the Styrofoam originals they were extremely tight fitting. Unlike the Styrofoam originals however these are made from news paper & white 80gsm print paper, much much stronger. So even though the half skull i decided to de-mould was a tight fit i knew it would come out in one piece at least. The question is now HOW does it look? Did i do a good enough job making the plaster moulds in the first place? Not enough plaster & the mould is weak, Not tapping the wet plaster when pouring over the object to be copied to settle it down & into all the nooks & crannies & remove the trapped air pockets & the copy is flawed? Okay i know rambling, lets take a look shall we?

As always click on image to enlarge for a better look.

Whilst it was a 'very snug' fit this half popped out the mould nicely & i got the amount of paper layers just right producing a nice strong (half) grunge skull.

Notice that when casting like this you need to come out over the edge of the mould slightly producing that paper 'lip' or ridge? You need to do that so you have something to grip & then pull the copy out of the mould with. It also makes sure your copy went right up to your moulds edges all the way around too.

Perfect i caught the detailing of the teeth just right as well.

A quick trim to tidy this up & voila' multiple grunge skulls here i come.

Of course i have a lot of work ahead of me but now i know these plaster cast moulds are perfect the work will be worth it. I will be using some of the grunge skulls for my sons gas masks designs of course but others will be going into projects such as: sword hilts, axe heads, wizard staffs & well some projects i am keeping secret for now. Find more of how i got on with these skulls after my seasonal break.

Friday, 3 December 2010



Finally I can bring you the results of these first experiments. When you see the chart (below) you may at first think there is not much to go on thanks to the loss of the control batches (read on for full details). If this was a serious scientific controlled experiment then it would be a total failure & have to be started over completely. However these experiments are only the beginning of what can only in fair terms be deemed ‘basic but effective’ experiments for most (peoples) needs in the paper mache world. So in those terms in actual fact I did not truly require the control batches I threw those into the mix in case anyone thought it would not be fair without them being there.

So why aren’t they there then?

Well for the first part I dropped some of the un-cut pure plaster test samples on our hard tiled kitchen floor three of which landed in such a way they shattered clean through. I did of course remake the lost samples. Sadly I failed time & time again to cut these samples down into they’re final ‘test sizes’ which was to be 5cm x 16cm x 7mm as with the plaster pulp test samples. Rather than waste more time & sculpting plaster I just scrapped the control batches in the end. The fact I failed to cut them down told me they would not have held much weight in the weight strength test in the end anyway.

So to the test results & a final conclusion for ‘this’ batch of experiments so far then.



Drawn from my own set of experiments I CAN say with strong conviction that a true plaster pulp ‘hybrid’ medium IS possible. Indeed my own experiments gave me two batches that withstood a weight exceeding 7lbs (3kg+). These being batches:

This batch was made from commercially purchased white dry pulp Claycrete® & high quality sculpting plaster.

I suspect the ClayCrete® comes with some form of starch (or something with similar bonding properties) like medium added to act as a ‘bonding agent’ since the user only need add water to the dry mix in preparation for final use. I draw this conclusion solely from the fact it appears to contain a fine but course white powder which is loose within the package. This mixed with sculpting plaster produces a very lightweight plaster pulp medium that gives very high quality lightweight result when used in conjunction with a mould form. The dried mix is also extremely strong even at a thickness of well under 1mm. Of course this IS subject to ‘user’ requirements of the final mix & achieving the correct balance between the Claycrete® & the sculpting plaster. This then leaves this mix open to debate which can only truly be justified by extensive multi-user trials.

This batch was made from home made grey pulp (matt/glossy computer magazine paper & high quality sculpting plaster.

This home made batch has almost the same final qualities as my Claycrete® batch in terms of texture (cotton/lint stage of pulping). It (as well as ALL the other home made pulps) lacked that ‘bonding’ aspect the commercial pulp had & yet when it came to the weight strength test MY home made batch surpassed the commercial plaster pulp mix by some .9gms. Both mixes were measured & mixed as evenly as possible. They were both initially created in an identical mould form & finally cut down to as equal as possible test samples of again as close as possible to the same dimensions.

Given the final results from the weight strength texts I believe I can at the very minimum double the strength of my home made GREY MATTER©™ plaster pulp by finding the right ‘bonding agent to add to the final mix. This opens the doors to new experimentation in which I  hope to find this medium of course, however I have the suspicion that it needs to be a water based or water absorbent medium that will effectively bond the paper pulp whilst at the same time not retard the sculpting plasters natural bonding properties.

If anyone reading this has little to no experience making any form of paper pulp(s) or they do not have the facilities (A blender or coffee grinder) then I strongly recommend they use a commercially ready made pulp medium. Whilst I initially used Claycrete® in my experiments & CAN highly recommend this pre-made commercial pulp mix I DO suggest you try other commercial ready made pulps too. Everyone has they’re OWN idea’s, uses & needs when it comes to any art form or indeed anything else. So final ‘best results’ uses & requirements are open to self choice here.


I have found mercifully early in & without too much experimenting two potential plaster pulp mixes that whilst they are not perfect are but for a bonding agent exactly what I am searching for, for future projects. I hope too that by sharing these early experiments with you all out there that you too can find a bridge between plaster & pulp that can assist you in making even better paper mache art. Remember though EXPERIMENTATION IS THE KEY but most of all HAVE FUN doing it okay.

John Jones

Paper Mache Art Yahoo 360 Group & Darkside Creations©™ blog

John Jones

Claycrete® is a Registered trade mark of American Art Clay Company., Inc
U.S. Patent No. 3390003
Made in the U.S.A.

All original copyrights reserved.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Well it’s that time of year again (already? Oh well) as I said in a recent post for those new to my blog & who don’t know me so well yet, as a long standing tradition of mine ever since my Amstrad CPC days. Every year on my birthday the 2nd of December I officially take a break over the Christmas & New Year period. I will be checking in & responding to Emails, group posts, blog comments etc but only those that require an ‘urgent’ response or reply ‘directly’ from me. So unless it is a plea for assistance or concerning a sale, commission etc I won’t be very active online. I will pop in just before the New Year to wish everyone such but then that will be it until January I’m afraid.

I will post the final & full experiment results for my ‘current’ plaster pulp experiments I have running tomorrow sometime & possibly some additional posts for the ‘current’ running features I have but that will be pretty much it.

So for now I am off to do a last minute run through posts, groups, friends blog posts etc. Then I am off to lounge around for the day in my pj’s with my PSP & a stack of DVD’s & the latest James Paterson book Postcard Killers & hopefully some of Terry Prachetts The Fifth Elephant I am currently reading spare  time allowing that is. So I will close now by saying Merry Christmas to you all & see you soon.