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.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I was going to be changing the layout for my blog this coming weekend but have decided to stay that off until next weekend. My Boney 'D puppet is screaming at me to get finished. Well actually i am the one doing the screaming as he is slowly dissapearing under a ton of unfinished WIPs & i am a little concerned for his safety. His current place of storage & unfinished state are becoming a real concern to me as he seems to dissapear a little more each time i see him poor sole.

This is Boney 'D for those of you who have not met him yet. You can see a short video of his head movements here: His jaw IS fitted but not shown in this shot. I want to get his jaw mech up & running & his arms & hands mechs on & running too if i can this weekend. Who can say i might actually get it done too... Yeah your right i might not either lol. Oh well come this weekend we will see lol.


Well sadly NO test build video to show you today folks on this project. Now before you all go getting together with pitch forks & flaming torches & come kicking at my front door i will explain why.

I got up this morning looking forward to as i am sure many of you were to getting the test build under way. There i was just having taken my tablets, insulin, T.E.N.S machine (pain relief electro-shock therapy doodah) fitted around my wreck of a body, table cleared ready to start the day building & videoing. When in walks my wife B (Barbara) as calm as you like & starts gathering up my PSP (my camera source), my PSP's mini cam attachment & my PSP to PC transfer cable. As i sat there dumb struck. I got as far as "What the?..." When she lovingly said "I told you last night Megan needed to borrow this lot for a school project today. Don't look at me like that if you can't remember." Then she scuttled off leaving me wondering just what i was going to do next.

So, i went ahead with the test build anyway. Whilst i couldn't do a video on it today i still managed to get some photographs using my trusty mobile. So without any more rambling excuses that no one is going to believe anyway here are some pics & notes from todays test build.

It became very clear to me by the time i added the third section that i need to make each section 'wider' & 'longer' to get the right giant clam look for this project. I carried on any way hoping you might still be able to see in some part how it will look when finished. It dawned on me too that i didn't add the claw like 'peek' to each section either. So i quickly popped a couple on after i put this half together. For the next templates i WILL simply draw these parts on.

As i say i need to make each section wider so that the whole shell comes around the sides more when put together. Then longer so i can make the flatter deeper back section too. These are minor corrections though. This was after all a 'test build' so little things like this are bound to show up. So here are the rest of the still shots for now. I will get to correcting the mistakes tomorrow & will (ahem!) get some video shot of the second test build then too.

I most sincerely appologise for this delay folks. Totaly my fault. Er!, i mean my wifes & daughters fault. I shall punish them most severely by pointing at them & pulling faces whilst silent mouthing "YOU, YES YOU" All night if i have to lol.

More soon i promise.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


So i got to test building a giant clam shell today though i didn't get far today (not full size obviously lol) for a mermaid/dolphin water feature i started some time back. It's a '2 reason' show & tell come how to at this stage as a fellow artist wants to know some ways to make large versions to hold actual plant pots.

So knowing a way to do it quickly & easily  i still need to know how big to make the segments for 'my' version. In the end i made 5 potential sizes. Well the sections to said anyway. For this post i am simply going to show you the pieces, how to make them including copies of the actual templates to the exact same pieces i am working with. Just in case anyone else wants to try this too. For now a quick run down of how i created the pieces.

So here are all my test pieces, well the 5 different sizes of each single clam shell segments anyway. The largest (longest) is some 24cm long. Shown below.

Which looks this big when folded. Don't worry i WILL show you how to cut & fold these shortly.

The curvature of each segment is created & controlled by the amount of 'overlap' in the folding process. Don't worry we will get there keep reading lol.

How it looks from the back, my first test pieces anyway lol.

Here are the pieces that you can print out & use to copy not only what i am showing you but also so you will be using the exact same sized sections too to make this easier to follow as it were. Just right click with your mouse on each image below. Then 'save as' to anywhere you like on your PC.

Print these image out at FULL A4 size for each set of images to get the same sizes i am using.

Cut out each section the glue them to some serial box cardstock. cut along the RED lines but NOT any further along. A typical fully grown giant clam has 5/6 curved ridges along it's open edge as you can see below.

You will need to print & cut out 5/6 'matching sections' of the templates i have given you for your clam shell.

Once you have printed, selected & cut out as well as cut 'into' your chosen sections you fold them like this. Starting at the top for the simple reason 'it makes sense' fold each section down 'onto/over' the section below. as i have shown you here: Part 1 down 'onto/over' part 2. Then part 3 down 'onto/over' onto part 4. Tack each section AS you fold it down with a small piece of tape, then move on down the segment until you have the whole thing done. Repeat for each matching section.

Don't panick if that was total nonsense to you at this stage i WILL do a mini video HOW TO to show you in real time how to do it along with the next stages too in the next post. I am feeling a litle run down today so will have to leave it there for today sorry.

I will close though by just adding to make a full sized or larger than life version simply draw out some similar shaped pieces to corrigated cardstock. Anything bigger than around 30 inches WILL need anything from 2mm pizza cardstock or large corrigated cardstock for anything larger still to maintain strength especially if you intend to use these for more than show pieces ie: funtional plant pot holders.

Anyway more soon i promise, i gotta go stretch out & unwind for the rest of the evening. More tomorrow have fun everyone lol.


Tomorrow & Wedensday i will be working on & hopefully posting the results of a giant clam test build. Then after that i still have a couple of Troll Screamers to finish painting & to start painting (the witch & Sharky) as well as some plaster cast molds to do the second stages on. Not to mention finish off my sons half mask. Next week if not by this coming weekend how ever i will throw together a quick HOW TO 'half mask' tutorial.

This will be a modyfied but 'advanced version' of my sons half mask. Lol don't worry when i say advanced i mean it looks technichal & difficult but it WILL be very very simple to do i promise you lol. I was thinking to keep it really simple i would show you how to make a half skull mask & maybe a geeky face for those who don't want to do a skull. If i have time to do both the method of construction IS very similar. Just different facial parts. Trust me you will be making masks in no time lol.

Here is an example of the skull mask i am thinking of doing:

Click on image to enlarge it. Remember ths WILL be a full 3D half face mask & this example may change a little when i come to do it lol.

The 'face' mask example:

Sunday, 28 March 2010


So with the final design specks noted time to get this mask finished or at least to the last stage prior to painting.

I altered the width of the mask 'jig' or master copy to copy/build the mask on by replacing the bamboo skewers. A simple enough task taking seconds.

Then i covered the whole thing in a single layer of foil to make the seperation of the actual mask from the master copy. I covered the foil in two layers of clear tape. Normally i would use plain masking tape for this task but my supplies are low at the moment. Clear tape will serve the task just as well. If you are intending to leave any tape within any project then masking tape IS advised here. Clear tape will not absorb the glue (any type) & therefore WILL create a 'loose layer' within your project creating a potential weak area or layer.

For THIS project however i intend to remove both the seperation layer of both foil & tape to reduce the final weight of the actual mask when finished. On most of my projects when i need to do this i would simply allow the project to 'partially' dry then remove the foil & masking tape layer. However since i want the finished mask to be as thin as possible removing the foil & tape from the mask will be - tricky. Also i have to leave the actual mask ON the 'jig' until the whole build is completed. As it is so thin (under 2mm) i need to know it has finally dried completely 'before' removal. Masking tape should i leave it as in this case to fully dry would become 'fixed' to the mask. Clear tape should release much easier dry or not.

Two layers of very fine telephone directory paper to begin the actual mask build with. I will be adding three layers of 80gsm white printer paper over these starting layers.

I added the first layer of chosen material to the two air vents before adding the three layers of white paper. Normally when i add my final layers of paper no matter the type i would brush the final layer of paper until the 'surface' of the final layer turns to a fine layer of pulp. As a rule especially with telephone directory paper & news paper this gives me a super fine coating that i can simply brush smooth with a pig hair paint brush & a final coating of 'undilluted' PVA glue.

Sadly as you can see white printer paper has idea's of it's own. For the second time with this project i am forced to do something very alien to my creation methods - Sanding it down!. Mercifully this is only a fine surface layer to be sanded so should only take a few minutes by hand.

So the next & final post for this project a look at how the finished mask turns out. from here to painting to wearing. The mask is in the warm cupboard with 'Sharky' right now for a few days to thorouhly dry out lol. More very soon on this quick project.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Last weekend i got the final approval & further requested specks for the replacement mask for one of my sons. So i can get that finished this weekend now. Making the blank or 'jig' mask to copy from (build onto/over). So since i have a few things to cast in plaster this weekend (my original dolphin mold - One half got smashed) I thought i might carry on with the mask making too.

If you remember i started some masks of my own using a commercially bought plastic mask, from which i made a few modyfied versions? Well i figured since i will be making some plaster molds i may as well kock a few mask molds out too while i was at it.

A reminder of the paper mache masks i made a while back now. I intend to copy these out into plaster from which i can make my own paper mache masks. When i have those copied out in plaster as well as making simple wearable masks from the plaster copies i have an idea for some backlit wall mounted versions too. More on that later though.


A while back now amongst the many other WIPs i simply MUST get finished soon is this dragon slayer sword. Below is the (so far) simplistic looking wall mounting bracket.

Below are a couple of angle shots of the sword hilt.

It is currently mounted for safe keeping in the hallway. Unfortunately everyone keeps bumping into it & getting bonked on the head from the ball shaped pomel, including ME lol.

I did start a blade for it but am not happy with it so may make a new one for it later.

Friday, 26 March 2010


Whilst i like Blogger even though it is missing a few options i'd ike to see implemented like a spell checker, not saving drafts every 30 seconds whilst creating a post etc. I have gotten used to it's - quirky ways. I have NEVER how ever been happy with my particular layout. I am just a die hard full page website kind of guy i suppose lol. Any way the two column thing never worked for me personally. I like to split all my catagories or as many as possible into their own segments if i can.

With this in mind instead of going to bed & catching up on sleep like i should have done, 'late' last night - early hours of this morning i went hunting & i have to tell you the hunt was a great success too. Not only did i find what i was looking for but i found a lot more besides that. I wanted to know HOW some people were getting more than two columns on their blogs, three being the genral rule. In minutes of my hunting i came across this little gem:

Not only will i be able to ditch the two column look & can do a LOT more including adding a background picture (undecided on that as yet). I have picked out a nice little layout for myself. Sadly it WILL mean a few hours editing current posts to fit the new layout. I will of course have to go back through my older posts too & fix the formatting on those or they will not look right when displaid but they can wait until following weekends - later.

So next weekend (not tomorrow) if you drop by you will know why everything suddenly looks like a road traffic accident for a day or two lol. I will work on the new look as much as i can over the weekend to get it finished as quickly a possible so things can resume some kind of normality as quickly as possible. I truely appologise for any inconviniences that will be caused i am sure during the up coming transition period.

If YOU are interested in making some radical changes to YOUR blogs layout too then you can find the link to this great blog in my list of blogs i follow in my right hand column.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Well Sharky the Troll Screamer give away prize is off into our airing cupboard (hot water tank cupboard) for some fast track drying. I still have to add a few bits & pieces to him yet such as hair & an eye patch (eye patch is removable) & his cutlass (also removable along with his hat) but he needs to dry off so i can paint him first.

Here he is safely tucked away for the next 7 days:

Mercifully Trolls (screamer or otherwise) like dark warm places & the board like shelf should remind him of a ship deck so he won't object to being in there so long & make a noise when we are all sleeping, well he didn't last night anyway lol.

I know i said i was not going to show any more sneak peeks until he was finished fully but if you really can't wait (i know i can't & i am the one making him & i know how he will look when finished lol) I have swapped out the static image of is latest WIP stage for a 2 minute sneak peek video. You can find it tagged onto the bottom of the give away rules information down the right hand info bar.

If the small video display is not for you then at the bottom of the video display simply click on the 'expand' option to see it full screen. See below:

You can expand the video FULL SCREEN by clicking here indicated by the green arrow.

So this IS definately your last sneak peek folks as once i start painting him he is going to be in & out of that cupboard every other day or so until he is fully finished. So i simply will not have time to take any more sneak peek pictures until he is done finally lol. I will be doing a more in depth video short containing ALL the details about Sharky ie: height, weight, construction etc at a later date. That video will be on YouTube when finished but i WILL notify you when that is done. Hopefully ahead of the give away start.



Okay this is not strictly a paper mache trick or tip, but it is a handy 'tip' none the less.

Blogger, or rather the editing feature for your blog has the option to add up to ten stand alone pages. Now whilst this is all well & good if you only have a few important things you want to re-cap on or make a special feature of. As your blog grows of course your going to want to have more than just ten pages.

I have noticed more & more bloggers are activating the 'LinkWithin' feature to their blogs. This marvelous little feature allows you to show ALL your previous posts 'automatically' so you do not even have to spend time updating or editing whats displaid in up to five links within your blog. They will be show at random however but that is a small thing really.

The setting up for this feature is totally automatic. Input your email addy, your blogger addy, choose Blogger as your option, state how many links you want & how many blogs to use the feature in. Click to get the code (which is installed automatically into your blog for you) then simply save on the editing option as you would whenever you have just 'customised' something on your blog. Voila' done!.

To get the LinkWithin feature yourself go here: & follow the extremely simple setup process. Or you can jump there directly from 'any' of my LinkWithin links at the bottom of 'any' of MY posts shown.

Example below:

Just click on the word 'LinkWithin' indicated here by the green arrow.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Seriously confused really!.

I have been updating the competition 'countdown' posts as i go for my Troll Screamer give away competition using the official Blogger 'dashboard' as my monitoring method. Yesterday at the time of sign out from my PC for the day it registered 154. So naturally i left the competition update information set at 154 too.

Today i logged in & NOW the dashboard information is telling me i only have 149 posts?

Now don't get me wrong i like Blogger. It is far from perfect & could use a few additional things (a spell checker woould be nice lol) here & there to make it more user friendly & look better. Things as they are i use it as it is because it doe's what i need for now.
This post count is troublesome though i have to admit to you all. As the post counter reached 150 i was geting excited myself & i am the one giving away a prize at great cost to myself here. Now i have to go & reduce the listed number of posts to to 149 in the competition rules listing.
I think the way Blogger have set up this blog sites code have it counting the 'draft' posts too. It is the only answer i can think of here myself? I come to that conclusion as i erased a back load of draft posts yesterday not long before signing out. That for ME seems to be the only answer for the sudden dashboard count for my posts. I know i have not removed any actual posts at all, only the drafts.
So with heart felt regrets & serious apologies i am reducing the last competition countdown posts from 154 to 149 as of today.

Just checked on posting this. The dashboard states 150 posts NOW yet the 'post editor' states 149. I WILL now be counting the official posts for the competition countdown from my post 'editor' listing as the dashboard as far as i am concerned is the area in the wrong here. Again i apologise for the confusion this may create.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


So i started on the new mask even though this is a rush project i am only around half way through it right now. Ordinarily this should only have been a two day project as it is only a 'half mask' but i know my son & how his masks have to be a certain way. With this in mind as with the first mask i made him i have decided to use a tried & tested method that worked the first time around.

Essentially i am making a 'dummy' or 'blank' mask to copy from 'after' i have worked on any/all adjustments to finer details he wants added to this new mask. I didn't keep the first 'blank' mask i made but i am this one so if this mask gets crushed or something else happens to it i can replace it more easily this time around.

So enough rambling from me & on with the show as they say lol.

I began by drawing 'half' of the final shape onto serial box cardstock. I then cut this out & used this template to create a perfectly shaped 'full' template. I have two printers & both need replacing otherwise i would have simply printed this whole template out.

The final result again on the same serial box cardstock.

Sorry about the odd angle for this picture. It would not size right for me in here. I cut out all the fold points, air vents & the nose notch at the same time.

A quick tack to all folds & joints with masking tape to hold it all in place. A little rough to look at especially for MY normal standard of working practice. I am not worried at this stage however as this is ONLY a template remember. I have to do some fine tuning anyway before i move to the copyng stage anyway.

To make sure the mask stayed in the shape i wanted i ran two bamboo skewers through it & then glued them in place.

With ANY projects that are rushed you WILL end up with a rough crude & ugly finish as i have here. As i say though i will have some changes to mke i am sure before my son is happy with the final design. So i have not worked to my normally high quality finish at this stage. I will simply give this a quick sanding down later. I DID work the final shape as the paper & cardstock dried out to make sure the fixed shape was even.

When making masks either a half mask like this one or a full face mask you HAVE to keep the layers of papr even, equal & evenly spread out. If you don't even on a crude mask like this one it WILL warp when it dries out no matter how good you are at PM'ing.

The only real distinguishable difference my son wanted to this mask was a flowing 'ribbed' form running down the cheeks of the mask on both sides of the mask. As with the rest of the mask i have at this stage kept these 'crude' to make things quicker to change or refine later.

So how will this mask finally look?

Will it actually look better as i said it would when finished?

My son & his girlfriend are due to call around tomorrow (Sunday) for the day. I will get final confirmations on the final look for this new mask then. The final 'actual' mask i am making will the be ready very soon after that. Stay tunned more soon.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


I was asked last night by one of my sons (late last night) to make him another retro mask to replace the one i made him but got crushed. He wants a similar design but with a few tweeks in it. The old mask shown below.

As you can just make out the mask falls short of his ears on this one which he wants corrected on the new one. He also gave me some wider mesh like cloth for the air vents this time. He has asked me if i can add a few 'defining' details into the sides of the new mask too whilst keeping the intial 'shape' of the first mask (above) i made.

Of course whilst still being a none paying commission a commission is still a commission that  draws attention to a artists work in the end. Whilst discussing the finer details of the mask i rembered i told his girlfriend i'd make her a free sculpture for a belated (late) birthday present. I had put off & put off on that commission as she asked me to make her a Jack Jack. I don't  like to do copies of copyrighted subjects as a  rule. So it is a couple of days work to do both projects, more than likely 4/7 days in all. So all MY works are on hold until mid next week unless i can work miracles lol.

I still have to make him some gas mask skulls too (pictures posted when done of course). Who knows i might just be able to get to those sometime soon too (hence the 70-100 skulls i started making & mentioined in an earlier post - See side bar WIP WATCH images). Either way i will post the result the minute i get something to photograph folks lol.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


So many projects, so many new ideas all begging for my attention. Just as many broken or 'went terribly wrong' projects too. As a rule damaged, out right broken or too badly 'to want to fix' projects thanks to my wreckless family normally just get scrapped. Every now & then how ever there is one or two that if i put my mind & a little effort to it could just possibly be saved.

So with this in mind i have decided as long as i can keep the self  inspiring thoughts going i might dedicate weekends once again (tried before failed sooo misserably lol) to salvaging some of these projects i have not yet scrapped forever. One such project is a series of vases i want to incorperate dragons onto. Now some of these vases will be simple standard run of the mill vase shapes with either dragons painted or embossed onto them. Others will have 'actual dragons' wrapped around them. Whilst others yet still will be of more unusual shapes with the same forms of dragons on them or wrapped around them.

For my first set of  vases, i was thinking of doing three per set. The first three were to be a (all large) standard 'balloon like shape, a sphere shape & a... Well thats one's a secret lol. Anyway the first one was part of a set of balloon forms i was drying mid winter just gone. For those who do not know it most of my sculptures begin life as a balloon. Which i then alter both the shape of directly or by adding cardstock shapes too or both. I use a fast & very efficient (tried & tested) drying technique for my basic balloon forms shown below.

Depending on baloon size, the two shown here are extremely large balloons. I suspend them at different heights above the kitchen radiator. Now as many of us know the winter gone was a particularly nasty one. So we had the central heating on every night & often day too. I had just suspended a collection of balloons before going to bed (not the ones shown above) thinking they'd be ready for final layering in the morning. This particular night it actually got quite warm & a family member (unknown no one addmitted doing it!) turned off the central heating. Result ALL the balloons shrank from the sudden heat change in the small kitchen.

I managed to salvage one out of five which i had made extra thick for an experiment. It had badly deformed but was salvageable with some effort. Many many weeks later (yesterday) I finally got around to finishing off the salvage opperation. This meant having to fill in the sunken areas of the balloon form with paper strips weeks before hand. When dry a LOT of sanding down followed (yesterday). Mercifully a 350watt electric hand held sander comes in handy here. This still took me a good 50 minutes to complete & another 15 minutes to get the feeling back in my hand from the vibration. I know i proffess a LOT as to how strong my PM is but this was riddiculess lol. The vase is not quite perfect but it takes close up scrutiny to spot the faults.

The salvaged vase below.

I will be making a set of three vases in this shape & approximate size. Each with a different dragon embossed on it & the Chinese word dragon emobossed on the reverse.  If popular i want to be able to re-create the same dragons over & over. So to do this rather than create the dragons 'directly' on the vase i did the following.

First of all i painted the dragon in a raised 3D form (embossed) as shown using some black dragon skin. A well as being great for coating projects to give a smooth tough finish dragon skin makes a great 3D paint. If i remember correctly this one is around six layers of dragon skin thick about 1cm deep in all.

After a coating of basic floor wax as a releasing agent i then copied the dragon in common (dry wall) plaster as shown above. I then inlaid two layers of paper into the plaster copy after again layering the inside of the plaster copy with floor wax. The first paper layer was of telephone directory strips then a layer of standard news print. The resut below.

I trimmed this off. The final result is an extremely strong for a two paper layer molded copy that is also still very flexable owing to it's long thin design. This i can then simply hot glued onto the vase side. Instant embossed dragon that can be copied to this almost identical shape everytime. I will be making the word dragon in the same way shortly.

I know how i want to finish the surface of the vases, with a tightly even cracked 'aged' look. My dragon skin 'bone' mix dried in a certain way (yes i WILL tell you HOW later in another part of this feature lol) dries to a nice even 'cracked' finish just like you would often expect to see on ancient vases & the like. The problem i have NOW is do i paint on a background theme around/behind the dragon & the word or not!. More on that & the next stages in the next post on this project soon lol.

You can see a picture of the dragon fixed to the vase in WIP WATCH down the right hand column.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


As well as getting some work done on Sharky yesterday i actually got to do some 'skinning' on my Troll Screamer witch too. As with Sharky, here the witch & ALL my Troll Screamers the skinning or 'adding the flesh layers' is a step by step process. Most glue(s) are water or oil based. The water based glues in an undilluted stage dry quickly enough. However the PVA based water glue i use CAN be watered down to as much as 80% water & 20% glue & still be a very strong gluing medium for paper mache art projects.

With this in mind & the style, the stance my Troll Screamers have when i water down the glue i use then soak some tissue sheets with it my projects become very heavy until they dry out. With my Troll Screamers having small knee & ankle joints, skinning has to be a step by step process. If i go ahead & skin the entire project with the complete two skin layers the knee & ankle joints will soften & lose the final positions i gave them. So when you look at the following pictures of my Troll Screamer witch you will now understand why she is only 'partially' skinned at this time.

When finished both my Troll Screamer witch shown here & my wizard will be dressed in long flowing dress & robes. I don't simply want to skip painting underneath these area's though so i have to skin the lower sections NOW & when these are dry i need to paint the lower sections (legs & under body) 'before' i add the clothing. This way if anyone looks up under the clothing they will see a nice painted hidden under side too. Mind you these new design of Troll Screamers ARE more anitomically correct. By that i mean they DO have all external female & male sex organs. So anyone looking up the open bottomed clothing of Troll Screamers such as my witch or wizard WILL be facing ahm! a lack of under garments & a FULL view of under parts.

As a 'general rule' how ever outer facing views of said will be covered in clothing (when required) such as the witches breasts seen here will be shown through her dress & not fully exposed as they are here in the construction stage. Only her 'cleavage' will be seen from the outside. Back to my mentioning the weak knee & ankle joints earlier. As you can see whilst i HAVE skinned her upper legs & most of her torso i still have not yet skinned her ankles. Once the upper sections have dried out (over night in a warm room) i will then skin her ankles & feet.

Unlike the Troll Screamer competition prize pirate the acute angle & size of the witches hat means it would not stay on her head easily so i elected to fix her hat perminantly to her head. Here you can see her in her final pose as far as her legs go that is. Unlike sharky the pirate she & the Troll wizard will eventually have some simplistic sandles on their feet when completed.

Okay once again thats all your getting for now lol. More soon of her & the wizard & even some pictures of the mummy too soon.