Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Papier Mache Experiment!!!

A couple years ago I decided that I wanted to create my own Woodbaby. What is a Woodbaby? may wonder! A Woodbaby is the brand name of handcrafted puppets that sit on one's shoulder and are, kind of, animatronic. They are usually sold at Renaissance Festivals since they are usually fantasy figures, often times, part dragon and part something else. The person who came up with the idea of using bicycle brake line to make the head movable has patented the idea and has a great business and a great following. See his website for examples

I had removed the brake line from my own bike because I was impatient to understand how this would work. Drastic I know but I figured I can either buy a new brake line for a puppet or buy a new one for my bike!! I believe that Woodbabies are made with Sculpey which I love. So, initially Sculpey was my choice of medium for this project. Later on, however, I stumbled upon some Youtube videos about papier mache. I quickly became a big fan of papier mache artist Dan Reeder. See his wonderful work here...
or click on his blog from the list of people I follow! After looking at many papier mache galleries and tutorials especially Dan's, I was inspired that papier mache was something I HAD to try! So I did just that for this project and I LOVED it!!!

Anyway, I wanted to share the beginning shots of, what was supposed to be, my version of a Woodbaby. As it stands right now, the body has been made to stand alone and not lie on one's shoulder as Woodbaies do. And the limbs, altho they WERE movable at one point as you will see by the pictures, are now stiff. These changes came from the advisement of others and the fact that the size of my puppet sort of excluded him from sitting on one's shoulder! His head DOES move, however, which WAS my ultimate goal!!! You will see from the slideshow the progression of the skin and the shape of head and body. The brown speckles in the initial stages were from me not mixing my papier mache well enuff. You may also note that one of the horns becomes crooked as he progresses. This is because one of them had fallen off and had to be reattached. When I reattached the horn...evidently, I didn't get it straight and although I could have fixed it I thought it added character so I left it crooked. The horns, spikes and claws were made from Scupley.

I will post the beginning photos and the latest one's I currently have in my computer right now and the "almost finished" one's later tonight or tommorrrow! Currently, he is painted and his wings, which were attached last night, are hopefully dried and ready to paint. I also created a pedastel for him to stand on! Enjoy and let me know what you think!!!


  1. Hey Julie,
    I LOVE your piece! It's fantastic! I always say that when it looks good at this stage, it will be spectacular when it's finished. You are a natural sculptor.
    PS. Thank you for your very nice remarks. I'm really flattered.

  2. Thanx, Dan....that means so much coming from a wonderful artist such as yourself!!!! I am a big fan!!! I really enjoy your videos and tutorials. I also REALLY loved that virtual picture of your studio....KEWL....all that eye candy!!! Thanx for leaving me a comment!

  3. Julz...
    This is SO much better than what I was picturing in my head when you described it. It looks like a dragon that I would actually want to talk to! Very cool--now I gotta go to those websites and see exactly how you do this. Oh, the possibilities! As usual--YOU ROCK!

  4. Thanx Seester! Mom had a problem commenting...I will have to tell her that YOU were able to do it!!!!...;)I hope to have more current pics tommorrow...;)

  5. Okay, 2nd try. The horn dip makes your wood baby look like a doggie that is listening intently and so cute. Looking forward to the final as well as the painting you posted first part on You Tube.
    Amazing how you get an idea and run with it. You are an inspiration!
    BTW love the music playing here.

  6. Thanx, Mamma! Yeah, I have been eye ballin that painting that I need to finish...sometimes I run NOWHERE with my ideas...;) Glad u like the muzak! I look forward to u getting back to ur blog n such cuz u inspire me!!!