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.

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Once again things got in the way for me (life!) & delayed this weekends gone feature. In fact i ended up with only about 2 hours on Sunday to do anything. It so happens things are still getting in the way of this what was in reality a 2 day project. So i have decided to keep at it anyway & post it as the weekend feature it was meant to be (gone) just in stages this time round. So without any more rambling here is where i am up to for the custom  foot stool project:

Using some serial box card stock i added a full flat surface to the inner top of the box as you can see here covering up the holes from where the desert tubs where held in place. I then covered that in 8 layers of large 3 inch wide news paper strips. As you can see i have not yet done anything with the outside of the box including the raised corner sections. Remember if you can't get a similar style box then an ordinary box will do simply cut it out as per the measurements given in the previous post. You can change the 'style' of the corner sections for your foot stool, or even not include them using the natural depth of the box to hold your foam in place later but wait until you see where 'my' design is going first for a better idea of where & what to do with yours.

Next i cut a 1 inch slot in one end of all the four tubes i am using for the legs. Again you can use a different shape of leg a long rectangular box from kitchen foil, cling film etc. Again how ever wait until you see where my design is going before you decide.

Next i turned the box over. As you can see i haven't gotten around to covering up the bottom of the box yet, but that's no problem i can do that later.

Now by adding a small amount of hot glue to the edges of the slots i cut out i can fix the legs to my box corners. By cutting this slot out of the tubes i have created a small but strong ridge for the corners of the box to sit in/on inside each tube. This adds no visual design to my foot stool as you will see as it develops. How ever if you intend to go with a sleek metal box & metal tube leg finished look this will be a good look/finish too. For my design as i say this is simply a strong fixing method that will be buried later in the final design.

Simply press each leg into place as you go. Give the hot glue a few seconds to cool & bond properly. By turning the box upside down as i fix each leg in place i know they will be in the right position & height when i turn it back the Right way up again.

Voila'. Now at this stage you can simply cover the whole thing in a few layers of news print strips then paint in a full metal finish or a nice wood like finish the choice is yours. I am going to go further with my final design though & add a touch of fun to the final design.

Here i have cut out a foot like shape from some of my favourite card stock 'pizza box'. When making foil forms such as i am about to this is actually a lot stronger tan simple corrugated card stock believe it or not. It WILL warp if you get it too wet with glue etc, but not as badly as corrugated card stock. Also unlike corrugated card stock it will not simply crumble away when wet. As you can see i have not added any toes at this stage. I will explain why in a moment.

Here you can see i have using simple kitchen  foil created two toe-less feet both a left & right foot to be exact.. By 'loosely crumpling the foil to 'bulk' out the initial shape i then added the final layers of foil in sheets to get a nice smooth finish.

I then rolled out 5 foil toe like sausages. To make them a little more toe like i then simply squashed them flat slightly with my hand.

I will make the other 15 toes later. I am not going to make anymore 'feet' however. To save foil & make sure i get the feet as close as possible to the same size & shape i am going to cover these two toe-less feet in a couple of layers of white printer paper, then foil copy 4 'new' matching feet out.

Hopefully by this coming weekend things might have settled down here so i can then get this project finished. As it happens believe me or not my wife B (Barbara) who  am making this custom foot stool for IS actually using it right NOW!. I inserted the foam i cut out for the project & then gave her it to check the height etc & she wouldn't give me it back!

More soon.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


So life being life, & this piece of it being my life did what it likes to do - Mess with me.
Yesterday being Saturday nothing went right but everything sure went wrong. By the time i got to doing anythng i had somethIng like two hours before my normal quiting time for the day, so i got nothing prepared yesterday for the main work on my custom novelty foot stool HOW TO. So i rose early today to rush to get the project up to where i would have normaly been up to by today.

I prepared everything, cut all the bits out to shape, & covered up/tidied up the exsisting box i am using then set it to one side to dry under my nice new drying chamber lol. Whilst that was drying i thought i'd do a quick 5 MINUTE QUICKY 'VIDEO' on using normal spray paints & also the stone finish spray paints i use from time to time (see my previous post on salvaging failed bowl projects further down the blog). I had no sooner shot the spray paint video footage & was going to go get the modyfied box to start the remaining part of the foot stool build when the family started pilling into the dinning room & shoving presents in my arms?

I was totally baffled by this as it's not my birthday until December 02. I looked at them all asking what was going on. They looked at me like i had five heads or had something wierd dribbling out my ears & exclaimed "It's fathers day you fool". So i downed tools, packed things away & went to put my feet up & see what they got me. More on that another time.

Sudenly having nothing to do became a little tedious so i have popped back into the PC/Craft room (dinning room lol) to edit the quick paint video footage to post here.

The spray paint video footage i was going to turn into a 'quick' 5 MINUTE QUICKY 'video' post has gone down the pan. I just checked the footage & it's all too dark to use!. I think i was just NOT meant to do anything this weekend!!. Normal services (well normal for me) will resume as soon as possible everyone. I'm outta here before who knows what else goes wrong.

My foot stool HOW TO project will resume tomorrow & i will post the whole thing as soon as possible. Sorry about the delay.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Okay it's been a little while since i have done any kind of serious & worth while 'HOW TO', especially since i moved over to doing them in video format & posting them on YouTube. Everything, well vertully everything i have done before has been either strictly art or art related. I think it's time i did a HOW TO that was also 'useable' this time. Let me explain this a little...

Through my blog here by way of keeping something random but interesting going to post on a regular basis i started documenting 'what i did this weekend'. Generally it involved finishing up old projects i started ages ago many of which i showed here, starting projects i wanted to get on with ages ago, tricks & tips etc. This weekend though there is something i need to be doing that is, well, needed. Something my wife B (Barbara) desperately needs. Now i could easiy just go & buy this thing. It would probably cost a small fortune, not match anything in the living room where it would be situated perminantly & more than likely be too big for 'where' it would need to be placed ie: right in front of the 'main' living room door (of two) litterally only a couple of feet away er!, no pun intended there. Then of course where would be the PM side of it never mind the fun side of it?

So this IS something i can make in a weekend (not including painting) & so can YOU over a two day period. As i say it IS something my wife needs as i am sure many of us would find useful too. Knowing how many of us are, well falling apart at the seems myself included lol.

Okay enough rambling what is it?


As i say this needs to be small/compact as it needs to sit right in front of the main door of two for our living room. Lets face it just how many people could use a foot stool now & then but don't have the ready cash to buy one that wouldn't be too big for a small living room & probably NOT fit in with your rooms decorations anyway? When all this said & done a foot stool does not need to be huge anyway like most furniture stores sell these days so i am going to make one around 40cmsx30cms (surface area) big. I will post the main 'key' materials your going to need as well as the step by step pictures of the build. This will be a 'picture only' HOW TO not a video one. I promise you this WILL be an easy project that most 'anyone' can do even if they have NEVER tried doing anything paper mache or even construction wise before.

The key items required, well many of you will have them laying around anyway if not a quick trip to your local stores will get you the bigger items required for free & the 'other' items can be sourced fairly cheaply or made relatively easily.

Okay i am going to go & grab the 'key componants' for this build then photograph them for you to see what your going to need. I will post the detailed HOW TO this coming Monday/Tuesday after this weekend to allow me time to edit & post the feature fully.

I promise you this WILL be an easy to follow & extremely easy to do fun project. Lets face it afterward you get not only a novelty & unique piece of art but a useful piece of art too that you can actually use lol.

Now lets take a better look at that red box i will be using.

To save time cutting & shaping if you can try to get one of those small yoghurt or pudding type boxes like this one above. Why? well as you can see it comes with ready built in inner support. Where the plastic tubs used to be held for delivery & then ready to display on the store shelves this is a strong factory made boxing. Ignore the large holes where the tubs used to be for now as i will be covering over those once i start the build. This will give me a superb inbuilt strong base to my foot stool later & means i don't have to make any radical changes to the exsisting weight of the build either.

As you will also notice from the picture of the box i will be using you will see the box also has some perfect ready made corner raised sections . Again thanks to the ready made & unique design of this box i can & am going to use this unique corner features to my advantage. These raised corner sections are a perfectly shaped & sized to hold the foam cushion i will be using later for feet to rest on. Because they are nice & neatly confined to the corners like this it means the user will not have to suffer resting their feet on a hard cardboard edge or rim.

If you can't find a similar type of box then just get a normal 'rectangular'' box of roughly 40cms x 30cms x 11+cms big. You can easily & quickly draw & cut out a similar shape to MY box here or even design your own unique corner sections. To add some needed strength to the inside base of your foot stool simply cut out 2 or 3 corrigated cardstock rectangles to fit 'inside' your box. Glue them in place all at once but also stand some moderate weight on them too to make sure they glue together 'firmly'. Don't soak these inserts but DO coat them in your glue so they become more rigid once they are fully dry.

The 'other' items your going to need if you are a paper mahe artist you will more than likely have laying around. If not then they are relativey cheap items i assure you. Okay you will also require:


Other items include the basic tools such a scissors, craft knife, pens, pencils etc.

So i am now going to go off & start my project. You if you want to learn how to make a custom foot stool of your own for yourself as a present for a family member,  friend, or even start your own unique custom foot stool business you will have the next 2 days to get the 'key' items for this build lol. More on this project in 2 days.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


As you will notice i am currently changing the layout of my blog right now & will be taking a couple of days to complete the changes with the active pages. I will need more time to adjust the archives but will get things here back to some kind of normality as quickly as i can. I hope this temporary transition does not ruin your visit too much.

Yours Scincerely


Sometimes you may end up with a finish to a project that at first glance may mean you can't finish it off in a smooth finish as planned, one that you intended to paint on some floral or fruit design in the case of a bowl for instance. Don't be too quick to scrap the project however as there is a quick & easy method to salvaging the project. It may not be the original finish you wanted but it can be enough to both save the project & still allow it to be sold too.

For instance here are two of my 'early' 1mm thick bowl experiments i came across yesterday I joined them together for this example. As you can see they are unfinished, rough (even though the picture shows them pretty smooth) unevenly finished. It does not show up in this picture very welll but there are even small gaps, some small hole like mistakes in the 'outter' white bowl surface. Even the top edge of the large white bowl has 'gaps' in the strip layers seen on the top right of the edge of the bowl. You will see it more clearly by clicking on the image to enlarge it.

Now as i said these were simply 'experimental' projects. I never intended to do anythng with them unless they came up perfect - Which these two didn't. Yet i CAN still save them & make them look like a pretty good finished project.

This is a very special paint from the brand of spray paint i prefer to use called Stone Touch. I don't know about other countries or stores but my local art supply store only carried this colour finish & a much lighter colour finish. This will serve both my eample here & to finish off the 'experimental' failure as a good finished project that i would (AM) very confident enough to sell later.

This paint requires no special pre-treatment of the surface area to be painted other than being dry & dust free as with any paints. It IS a little tricky to use & can be a little more expensive than normal spray paints. With normal spray paints be they high gloss, silk or matt you need to shake often & depress the nozzle hard & steady to get a nice even smooth finish. With this stone finish spray paint it IS quite the opposite.

With this paint you have to shake well but then only depress the nozzle 'gently' & stop pressing any further once the paint begins to spray out the nozzle. Also you need to spray in only 'small bursts' as you go. The stone finish paint because of the type of thick paint inside the tin has to come out at a higher pressure than standard smooth paint so that it fragments & creates the rough stone like finish. You will find when using this paint that as the paint sprays out it does so at increadable high pressure that can be overwhelming at first. You will quickly get used to this though.

The first thing you will notice is that if you use constant bursts the paint will both cover he project in a smooth'ish finish none stone like as it builds up really fast. Also because of the nature of this much thicker paint it remains 'wet' for quite some time where as standard spray paints will dry on the surface almost instantly to the touch. add to the fact the paint comes out thick & fast the high pressure at which it does so you will find if you don't use small gentle  bursts that the spray paint WILL blast any paint you have built up too quickly away leaving pock marks right down to the projects original surface.

You HAVE to spray gently & intermitantly, shake well as you go & try not to build up too thick a layer of paint as you go. Less IS more in this case.

As you can see here even those crude unfinished top edges have been covered nicely. The bowl is still wet here after having just been sprayed minutes before & will take a few hours to dry to be able to be touched gently, over night to be able to be handled properly.

If you don't want to spend anything from around £5.00 (UK Sterling) upwards for a tin of spray paint you don't feel confident in using there are two ther methods to creating a rough stone finish like i have shown here.
Coat small sections at a time in PVA glue or any white glue such as Elmers etc or any contact or even wood glue you have or prefer to use. Now as  you glue add a thin sprinkle of either sand or small or fine wood chips like the type used in small animal cages. If you can't get very small or fine wood chips then simply purchase the smallest you can find & then run it rhough a blender briefly to break it down a little.

Once the whole surface is coated & fully dried either spray paint or brush paint on the fnal colour you want it to have. As a small bonus if you use the sand option this WILL add some weight to the finished project enhancing the illusion that you have an extremely thin stone bowl.

Remember my large ornimental dishes? I was going to paint these in a black & white (seperately) marble like finish. Time is as always not on my side for doing this though. Whilst unlike most of my other finished projects that my family tends to break, sometimes before i even get them finished these two semi-finished dishes have proven to be the toughest projects i have made to date along with my dragon vase WIPs & remain unbroken.

I do have plans to finish off my dragon vases with a super fine dragon skin bone mix (see previous posts on this subject) so they dry & 'crack' to make them look ancient. These large ornimental dishes however I am no longer going to paint i a marble finish. Instead i am simply going to coat them in the stone finish spray paint i showed you at the start of this post. One in the darker stone finish shown above & the other in the lighter shade i have.

Rather than simply do this then show you the finshed dishes which will be a short & rather boring post. I am going to show you not only HOW i made these large dishes but also two methods of creating vertually ANY sized dish & bowl as thin as 1mm thick. One of the methods i will show you WILL even allow you to make TWO IDENTICAL bowls or large dishes at THE SAME TIME!. Literally a few minutes extra in the time it would take you to make one dish or bowl you can make two!!.

I need to clear some projects i am working on right now as well as finish shooting & editing the Sharky competition launch video so give me a couple of days then i WILL get right on it for you.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


As the first free give away competition of mine draws ever closer (only 9 posts to go after this one) I thought you might like a final sneek peek of Sharky before his debute show case video that will mark the official start of the competition. I thought i might add some information about HOW i seal my project too for those who might have questions about the best (or some of the best) ways to do this. Everyone has different methods for sealing & drying theyre projects at the final stages. In most cases there is no problems. I have two types of sealer i prefer to use. For my most likely not to be handled too often or roughly projects i use a spray on sealer such as a clear gloss finish. When it comes to larger projects that are more likely to be handled a lot more often & roughly. I prefer to use a good branded brush on water based varnish. Note i only use water based varnish as it tends to be cheaper & i can wash my brushes also saving money too.

This is in fact how i will be sealing ALL my Troll  Screamers with a brush on water based varnish finish. Of course there is another reason i use a brush on varnish on my Troll Screamers too. I use water based paints on my projects simply because they mix better with my dragon skin which is a PVA & flour mix & still give the same look when dried as when they are used alone, a nice soft dusty look. If i want a super high gloss look to my paint finish i add some undilluted PVA glue to the paints & then either seal with a clear gloss spray or brush on varnish. In the case of my Troll Screamers  how ever if i DON'T add any PVA to the paint while painting. When i come to brush on the varnish sealer the paint is slightly re-activated then the different colours gently blend into each other where they overlap. Giving the finished look a nice soft toned natural finish.

Now i did say there is normally no prblems when sealing earlier. What i meant by this is in the case of free standing figures such as 'most' of my Troll Screamers (some will have clothing etc to aid standing) where the figures have thin or weak legs & are supporting a large upper body mass. Even when that upper body mass is hollow & as light weight as possible (as in ALL my work) 'some' weight issues can arise when painting & then finally sealing the project(s). Nine times out of ten even the slightest increase in weight CAN & WILL push down on the projects legs etc & alter the final pose you created & want. Again in 'most' cases either hanging or aiding drying with some kind of 'resting' support may not be an option since string, hooks or other support will obviously damage the sealing finish.

In the case of my Troll Screamers ALL the above mentioned factors ARE an issue. So how then do i get around this final sealing stage?

(Click on image to see full size)

Sharky shown here hanging upside down by 'both'  his feet on string loops & ceiling hooks has just had the soles of his feet painted. Once this new paint dries fully i can then sign one sole then add the brush on varnish to both the soles of his feet the also his lower legs too. By adding the varnish seal finish to his legs at the same time as his feet 'before' sealing his upper body i can make his legs slightly stronger than they already are. When i come to varnish his upper torso i should have little to no worries about his pose being altered too radically if at all.

So the next time you see Sharky here it will be his debute show case video in which i will  show you a more in depth look at him of course also sporting his cutlass & removable hat lol. Remember only 9 posts to go folks. Are you ready to try to win him?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

FAN AIR DRYING CHAMBER (c)05/06/10 J Jones

As much as 'how' to make & work with the the perfect paper mache be it pulps or strips or both is & always will be an on going debate but just HOW many artists then go on to dry their projects can be as much as a debate too. I have used as many drying methods myself as anyone else may have such as: radiator drying on & suspended above or in front of. Air drying by standing in a corner at floor level or suspended in a corner of a warm or cool room. Even simply standing smaller items in front of my small 6" desk fan as i worked. ALL of these methods & any others many artists have tried work perfectly fine either for the artist or the materials (glues & papers etc) used in projects or the climates they live in. The real debate at hand in ALL cases is just how fast any artist can get a project to dry & do so without being troubled by warpping along the way.

Warpping in some cases is simply unavoidable especially with thin or large & thin projects even more so when using ANY external heat source. Using an external heat source alone is not the whole problem how ever uneven layers of strips or pulps (thicknesses over a wide surface) combine to  increasing the chances of warpping during the drying period. Slow steady controlled air drying ie; Standing a project to be dried in an open space (indoors or outdoors) at first seems like the perfect soloution & in the natural scheme of things it more than likely is too. How ever indoor & outdoor temperatures can change radically through out the day. add to this a cold or damp climate can slow down or even change both drying times & the results on the project too. In the end it all comes down to chance!.

The need then is to get a project dried as quickly as possible without using heat to attempt to restrict as much warpping whilst achieving as much drying as possible in the shortest possible time along the way. I thnik i may have a very simple soloution to this age old problem & debate. A soloution that CAN be cheaply constructed since 'most' artists will have 90% of the required materials at hand at any given time. Also this method i am about to show you CAN be easily employed by vertually anyone with little to no technical skills, not loosing or altering the original function or the asthetic appearance of equipment used too radically either after use. The whole drying chamber construction i am about to show you is based on & around an every day simple house hold oscillating 16 inch fan. 

1] A  16 INCH STAND FAN (or as large as you have or can afford).
6] 4 SCREWS (Same width as the larger sheet of wood).
8] 1 LARGE PLASTIC BAG (wheelie bin/trash can size).


Start by removing the upper 'fan unit' from the stand then remove the 2 metal cross over feet & plastic shroud (screw cover at the base of the stand) covering the feet.

Using the existing four pilot holes in the metal base of the stands column use your replacement screws (the same length as the wooden board is deep) to fasten your fan stand 'base' to one edge of the wooden sheet. Fix the fan stand base to one of the thinner 'ends' of your wooden sheet so it becomes a long foot. If you want you can paint the wood to clean it up or simply cover it in coloured plastic etc to suit it's future surroundings.

To make a 90 degree bracket cut your smaller piece of wood diagnally into two even triangles. For this section i did not have a spare piece of wood to make it. Instead i used two 20cm x 22cm  x 2cm polistyrene triangles which i then shaped & glued togther using pure unilluted PVA glue. To give my bracket some needed strength i then covered this in 2 layers of 140gsm layers of paper. Once dried i then covered that in 2 layers of news print.

Next measure & cut your two cardboard foil inner tubes to the right length to match both the 'straight' edges of your triangular bracket. These will be where you will insert the 'chrome' fan stand tubes later. If your cardboard inner tubes are too big allowing the chromed metal tubes from the fan to move around loosely then simply cut down the length of each cardboard inner tube & remove a small section of tubing. Tape the tubing closed along it's length to form two NEW thinner tubes.

Now fix the cardboard foil inner tubes to the flat sides of your triangular bracket. Hot glue will make a strong enough bond for now. Be careful if you have never used a hot glue gun befor they CAN give nasty burns.

Next i covered the tubes & the bracket completly in 8 layers of 80gsm white printer paper & left it to dry FULLY. I will be sanding it down at a later point & spray painting it to match the white paint finish on the original fan parts.

Now using either an old spare chromed tube from an old broken fan or a new length of chromed tubing build up your fan  as shown below.

Now  switch on the fan on it's  highest setting to check your fans stability. If you have the NEW wooden 'foot'  around 60cms+ long stability should not be an issue. If you are using a larger fan than 16 inches then you will need to fit a bigger (longer) foot to the base.

Now i have not shown the drying 'chamber' here as black on black does not show up on camera too well lol. Now take your large plastic bag & cut off the sealed end (the bottom of the bag). Fit 2/3 of your elastic bands  around the rim of the fans protective wire guard (where the two halves clip together). You may need help with the next bit. Feed around 3/4  cms of one of the open ends of the plastic bag 'over' the rim of the fans guard then pull the elastic bands over the edge of the plastic bag to 'pin' it in place.

Next cut the plastic bag around 3/4cms 'short' of touching the ground. As much as you require the open 'back' of the fans wire guard to draw in the air you also require the plastic bag to have a space from the ground to allow for the forced air from the fan to escape at a controlled rate too & as evenly as possible. This way a 'constant' & 'even' air flow will be maintaind' as it flows over your drying project(s).

Once you have made the triangular bracket the whole process of converting the fan into the drying chamber takes only minutes. As too once you have finished drying a project or projects for the day returning the fan from a fixed drying chamber back into a standard fully functioning oscillating fan unit only takes minutes again. Pull off the elastics & the plastic bag, take the 'upper' chromed tubbing out the upper fan unit, pull off the triangular bracket, fasten the upper fan unit to the original chromed tubbing in the stand base - voila' your drying chamber becomes a standard room fan again!. Apart from the new wooden foot you added once this has been suitably decorated along with the triangular bracket the drying chamber in it's original fan form can stand in the corner of virtually any room, be functional & not look too out of place.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Still here working too hard as per the norm for me folks. Just posted this to let you know i should have some 'sneek peek' pictures for you all very soon ahead of things being finished. I am always here to reply to posts, questions & visting my listed blogs i follow too. Remember if i don't leave a comment that is only because i am too busy to do so at the time, but i am still dropping by. More soon i promise.