Gourmet Paper Mache

Not your third grade paper mache

Archive for ‘February, 2015’

I’ve done a lot of commissions over the years.   Most I just make and then ship off.  I don’t even get photos because it seems that I’m always on the edge of the deadline.  So no time to shoot photos.   I have to hustle to get it packed and shipped.     I want to make a couple posts about commissions because they illustrate the versatility of this medium.    I know I sound like a broken record at times, but I’ll say this again.  Paper mache is simply the ideal vehicle for artistic self-expression.  Besides, people think that all I make is dragons.  This is a chance to showcase the other kinds of project I do.

First, a commission I did for Todd McFarlane.   The former Spider Man artist developed a somewhat disturbing but wonderfully illustrated comic book called, “Spawn”.    The main, evil character in the plot is named “Violator”.  Violator is a shape shifter.  He appears as a demonic little clown (I know what some of you are thinking, “Aren’t all clowns demonic?”) that transforms into a tall, thin monster who pulls out the beating hearts of people he terrorizes.   Not the kind of story you read to your child at bedtime.   Todd saw my work in a gallery in Portland, Oregon and asked if I would make Violator for him, in both of his personas.  He wanted to take these 3D renditions to comic book conventions to help promote Spawn.   I loved this challenge!  It is a very difficult thing to do, to make a realistic versions of 2D illustrations.

I started with the clown.  Challenges?  The hair.  The eyes (glowing red orbs).   The teeth.  The clothes.   The attitude.   Here he is in cartoon form, and then my paper mache rendition.

Spawn -as clown


paper mache violator clown


I used a wig that I sprayed with glue for the hair.    I used red glass for the eyes.  And I used human teeth (I have dentist friends).  I used my own underwear.   And I used my own hair (off the top of my head!) for his chest, belly, and arm hair.   I think it turned out better than expected.


paper mache clown face close up

Next, his big Violator counterpart along with my paper mache version.  Now I apologize for the quality of the photo.    As I mentioned earlier, I finished this project the day I was supposed to deliver the piece.   I had to quickly pack up and drive to a different state.   I could kick myself for not getting better photos.  But, in my defense, this was before the days of digital photos.   Phones didn’t take photos.    You needed a film camera, with film, that you had to take someplace to develop.     I did have a camera in the car and was able to snap this one photo in his garage before I left.

Challenges?   Tall and skinny (stresses on joints).  The eyes (bigger red orbs).  Long horns.  Teeth.  Loooong jaw.


See, terrible photo.   But you can kind of make it out.   Trust me.  It was six feet tall, and cool.

paper mache violator big

Another project I made from a cartoon was something you’ve seen in other places on this site and on my blog.   A Disney fan from France wanted a rendition of “Maleficent” from the original movie, “Sleeping Beauty”, circa 1959.  He wanted just a trophy with lights in the appropriate places.   Here is the only photo he sent.  Not much to work from.

Disney "Maleficent"

Here is my paper mache version.  I used l.e.d. lights for the eyes, mouth, and nose.   While I could never match the blazing lights in the cartoon, I think the effect worked.

paper mache maleficent Dan Reeder

Of course most of the time this trophy hangs on the wall without the lights on. They are battery operated.  So the trophy needed to look good in the light of day with the lights turned off.    Here is what it looks like with the lights off.

Paper mache Maleficent- no lights

I have to say that my first “viral” experience came with the posting of this photo on my blog.   It got picked up on Reddit, then sent to other blogs, then everywhere.   I had, literally, hundreds of offers to buy her.   I was very flattered.  But I also have to say here that I don’t make duplicate projects, for lots of reasons.  The biggest is that, when I make a commission for someone, they expect it to be unique.    I sell one-of-a-kind pieces of sculpture.   Second, I couldn’t make a second project exactly like the first even if I wanted to.   It would just offer a comparison that I don’t want.  One would be a better rendition than the other.  And third, there are just too many other projects I want to make.  I have no interest in making the same thing twice.   What fun is that?  That doesn’t mean that I won’t make something along the same lines or a variation on a theme.  I did make “Son of Maleficent.”    You can see the video on Youtube (http://youtu.be/_37uwY2njss).   He is, in many ways, better than his mother.  He is bigger, badder, and has more lights.  But it isn’t Maleficent.  So it didn’t get nearly the attention she received.


Finally, here is a dog I made for a radio personality in Houston, Texas.  He has a show called “Howlin the Blues” with “The Blues Hound” (his radio moniker).   He wanted a blue dog that looked like his hound dog.   He had a  2D version for me to use and some photos of his dog.  Sorry, I can’t find those.  Don’t know where they went.

Blues hound

Here is my paper mache version.

paper mache hound on blue

Here he is with Eddie (for scale).

paper mache hound with Eddie

And without glasses.

paper mache hound on purple

And from the back

paper mache hound back view

Finally,  I decided to commission myself.  As the author of a cute little children’s book, Williams Treasure, I wanted paper mache renditions of the drawings I made in the book.    I’m not a particularly adept 2D artist, but I think the drawings I came up with worked.  They captured the personalities of the personas of William as the book progressed.   The real challenge was trying to capture that same personality using my paper mache techniques.    The book opens with a happy-go-lucky, care-free William wandering the hills and valleys of his home.

Here he is in the book along with my paper mache rendition.  Not perfect, but pretty good I think.    (I really wish I could get WordPress to put these photos side by side.  Can anyone out there tell me how to do that, without adding a plugin that works for me but not everyone else out there viewing the site.)

Little William in the woods Little Happy paper mache William DragonThe story goes that one day William sees a light over the horizon.  It turns out to be a mega-store, a mall, smack dab in the middle of paradise!  William is seduced into entering, and then, being a dragon, starts collecting “stuff”.   Over time he accumulates a small pile, which grows, and grows.  Well, if you are an American, you know what I mean.  At first it’s all really fun.

William on his pile

But over time, as the pile grows, William’s stuff becomes more of a problem than a source of joy.  Eventually the pile becomes enormous.   And William changes, on the inside,  and on the outside.   Here he is in my book, in a room full of other dragons on their piles.

Crusty William on pile

And here is my worried, greedy, unhappy, paper mache William.

Unhappy paper mache William





I love it when kids do paper mache art.   The teachers who do it with kids are saints in my book.   I know how hard  (and messy) it is to lead a class of kids through a paper mache unit.  But the kids love it, and I think the experience does wonders for their artistic self-awareness.


Kathy Nelson is an art teacher in Texas.   She had her kids making paper and cloth mache projects.  Of course she made one for herself!  We’ll start with that one (along with Kathy).  Fantastic!

Kathy Nelson's  paper mache trophy

Here’s a shot of the whole creature.

Student's paper mache dragon trophy from Kathy Nelson's art class

Here is another paper mache trophy made by one of Kathy’s students.  Dramatic!

Student's paper mache dragon trophy from Kathy Nelson's art class3

And look at these cool little creatures from Kathy’s class!  Aren’t babies cute!

Student's paper mache baby dragons from Kathy Nelson's art class

And here is a beautiful mouth from one of the kid’s projects.

Student's paper mache monster 2 from Kathy Nelson's art class


Along with a paper mache bird-like beast.  Excellent!

Student's paper mache monster from Kathy Nelson's art class

Another student in Kathy’s class made this monster on a plaque.  Check out that mouth full of teeth!

Student's paper mache monster fist trophy from Kathy Nelson's art class

And another great monster from Kathy’s class.

Student's paper mache monster trophy from Kathy Nelson's art class

Finally, a really cool paper mache snake-like beast made by one of Kathy’s high school kids.  Magnificent!

Student's paper mache snake from Kathy Nelson's art class


Andrea De Luca, a teacher at Fata Carabine Center in Geneva, Italy, had her students make these masks.  Wonderful!

andrea de luca's paper mache masks (Fata Carabina Center)


And look at these 5 and 6 year students in Hanoi Vietnam.   They are Kate’s students.  Can you find Kate? They read Sendak’s book, Wild Things, and looked at my work.  Then they made their own “Wild Things” masks.  Adorable

kids and paper mache masks

And more Wild Things

kids and paper mache masks 2

And more

more kids and paper mache masks

And more.

1st grade and paper mache masks

And more on the playground.

1st grade and paper mache masks


Another teacher friend of mine, Pat Rainey (can you find Pat?), does a paper mache “Screamer” unit with her students.   Here are here little monsters! Adorable!

pat rainey paper mache screamer project

pat rainey paper mache screamer project2

pat rainey paper mache screamer project3


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I’m always thrilled when people use my books and videos and to make something they love.   Here are more photos sent to me from people doing paper mache.  If you would like to share a paper mache project on this site, send it to me at: dan@gourmetpapermache.com.

Christine Evans was heading to a Harry Potter con.  She decided to bring a paper mache dragon.  This is what she came up with!  Excellent glowing eyes!

Christine Evan's paper mache Lily

Another shot.  Very surreal!

Christine Evan's paper mache trophy-Lily

And he is in great company!  Wonderful piece!

christine Evan's paper mache dragon trophy at con


Many people have purchased my books and made paper mache dragon trophies.  I’ve always told people that while my books may be helpful, they can make great dragons just by looking at the videos and photos.  That is what Maria did.  And she made one of the coolest paper mache dragon trophies I’ve seen.   I love it!

maria's paper mache dragon trophy2

And from another angle

maria's paper mache dragon trophy mouth


And here is one made by Chris D and Todd C.   They were kind enough to put my book in the photo.   It’s fantastic!  I feel like a grandparent!

Chris D and Todd C's paper mache dragon trophy


Noelle’s son Jasper decided to enter a local art show.   He used paper mache as a base and then added scales made with origami.  Very clever!  Great job Jasper!

Jasper's paper mache project


Check out Melissa’s children building their own paper mache dragon.  Note the photo of my “William” on the wall.   They are making a project that is loosely based upon that photo.  I think it looks great!

melissas kids paper mache dragon2

Here it is finished.   Wonderful!

melissas kids paper mache dragon3


Here is Jack’s paper mache “Heterodontosaurus” (Jack is on the left)

Jacks paper mache Heterodontosaurus

It is Jack’s first paper mache project.

paper mache Heterodontosaurus2



Here is Kenni Vliet’s paper mache bird.  This is his first paper mache project.  Excellent job!

Kenni Vliet's paper mache bird


Below is another first time paper mache project.  A great monster made by Joanne Secord.   Wonderful!

joanne secord's paper mache monster



Jerry and Lindsay Upcraft’s were asked to make a rustic  paper mache skull  based upon the Texas Longhorn logo.  This is what they came up with.  Just amazing I think!   It looks real to me.

Jerry and Lindsay Upcraft's paper mache rustic skull


Banu Yagcioglu  made this paper mache tree made with his very talented son.   Great work!

Banu Yagcioglu 's paper mache tree made wth son

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I’m always thrilled when people use my books and videos and to make something they love.   Here are more photos sent to me from people doing paper mache.  If you would like to share a paper mache project on this site, send it to me at:  dan@gourmetpapermache.com.

I just love Peter Overstreet’s paper mache “Gill” (or, aptly,  “Don’t Swim”)

I love the clipped scales and the webbing.

Peter Overstreet's paper mache "Gill" 3

From the side

peter overstreet's paper mache monster "Gill"


Here is Ryan William’s first paper mache project.   What a great mask!

Ryan's paper mache mask

Ryan has finished a couple more excellent pieces.  Here is his dragon trophy.

Ryan William's paper mache trophy

And check out Ryan’s paper mache Jaguar!  Beautiful!

Ryan William's paper mache jaguar


This Heather Hearing’s first paper mache dragon.  Fantastic job!

Heather Hearing's paper mache dragon

Check out Rose Almere’s paper mache chickens!  So fun!

Rose Almere's paper mache chickens

More chicken’s made by Rose’s students.  Fantastic!

Rose Almere's paper mache chickens 2


Here is Nat’s little paper mache dragon “Nubs.”  Very nice.

Nat's paper mache dragon "Nubs"


This is Austin Smith’s paper mache dragon.  Excellent job!

Smith's paper mache dragon


Look at Lydia Kuperus’ paper mache project.  So adorable!

Lydia Kuperus' paper mache project


Meredith made this great little paper mache monster, “Elmer”.  And what would Elmo be without his friend, “Chewie”

meredith paper mache Screamer, "Elmer"meredith paper mache Screamer, "Elmer" and Chewie

Here is a paper mache mask made by Steven Lewis.  Excellent!

steven lewis' paper mache mask 2

And below are two of Hugo Silva’s very cool paper mache dragons.

Silva's paper mache green dragon

This is the green one (obviously) and the red one is below.

hugo silva's paper mache red dragon

Here is a fun, paper mache hot air balloon made by Sue Alexander.

sue alexander's paper mache balloon.

And Craig Thompson’s paper mache dragon trophy.

Craig thompson's paper mache dragon trophy

harold hughe's paper mache monster

This is Harold Hugue’s fun little paper mache monster.  This is his first project.  Great!

harold hughe's paper mache monster2

Check out this series of paper mache horses made by Prahalad Gond.   Very nice work!

Prahalad Gond's paper mache horses1


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Anyone who knows me knows about my relationship with cats.   I like dogs too.  I have a granddog that I love dearly.  But I own cats.  I’ve always thought that there is a strong relationship between cats and dragons.  In fact, when Eddie is in a bad mood, I’m very happy he can’t spit fire.  Every so often I make a dragon with a cat in mind.   My albino dragon is a case in point.   Here he is in the very early stages with Eddie.  See the resemblance?

Eddie and paper mache Albino

Here is that project finished.

Paper Mache albino dragon-frontpaper mache albino dragon side

By the way, if you are going to argue with me about the albino coloration of this project, then look at the photo of this real, albino alligator.

albino alligator

I made another dragon with cat features in mind.   I made he forearms to match a cat’s forearms.  I think I captured that pretty well.

paper mache dragon forearms

I envisioned a cat scratching himself.  Here is the dragon in progress, before adding the head.

paper mache dragon in progress

And from the back.  Note the cat photos I was using as a guide.

paper mache dragon in progress from the back

Here she is finished, with a couple of her babies.   If you look closely, you will see a resemblance to kittens in those projects as well.

paper mache dragon mother- with babies

Eddie loves to stand on top of this project.

Eddie on top of paper mache dragon

I have two cats (I had three until recently).  Max is always around for the crumpling and tearing of paper.   Eddie shows up later in the process.  When he wants attention he will work hard to get in the way of whatever I’m trying to do.

Eddie and paper mache dragon in progress

Max loves to tear paper so much that I keep a pile of it behind my chair in my office just so that he can chew it up when he wants.

max and paper

Here is Eddie next to my dragon puppet.  He just loves dragons.

paper mache dragon with Eddie


I’m always thrilled when people use my books and videos and to make something they love.   Here are more photos sent to me from people doing paper mache.  If you would like to share a paper mache project on this site, send it to me at: dan@gourmetpapermache.com


Here is Lee’s first dragon trophy.  Excellent job!  What a great attitude.

lee's paper mache dragon trophy1

And this is Lee’s second trophy.  Equally wonderful!

Lee's new paper mache dragon2

First is Mary’s paper mache mechanical octopus.  Just amazing!

Mary's paper mache mechanical octopus


This is Davide’s paper mache dragon trophy.  Just a great job!

Davide's paper mache dragon trophy


Ben’s made two great paper mache dragons.   This little guy.   So fun!

Ben's paper mache little dragon

And Ben’s dragon trophy.   Very nice work!

Ben's paper mache dragon trophy


And here is Arin’s paper mache dragon trophy.  Look how well it matches the color scheme of the room!  Excellent job!

Arin's paper mache dragon trophy


Below is Steve’s first attempt.   Not quite ready to hang, but fantastic nonetheless.  It was his wife, Maureen, who sent me the photo because she thought I should see it.  I couldn’t agree more.  I especially love the colors on this.

steve's paper mache dragon

And Steve has just continued to work.  He has finished a few more projects.   Another dragon trophy.

steve's second paper mache dragon tropohy

And his little paper mache dragon.    Wonderful!

steve's newest paper mache dragon

Here is a baby dragon just coming out of the egg.

steve's paper mache baby dragon being born

And Steve also decided to take a radically different path for this strangely ugly, but cool head!

steve's paper mache ugly man

And Steve’s paper mache Dire Wolf

steves paper mache dire wolf

Steve has been at it again.  Check out this paper mache crab!

steve's paper mache crab

And Steve’s latest dragon head!  Fantastic as always

Steve's paper mache dragon head





Below is Kalei’s first paper mache dragon trophy.  She modeled it after my Son of Maleficent.   What a great job!  Kalei is in Kevin Griffith’s high school art class in Sandy Hook Kentucky.

Kalei's paper mache Dragon


This is Sean Moser’s first paper mache Gargoyle.  Excellent job!

sean moser's paper mache gargoyle2


And below is Vicki’s first paper mache dragon trophy.  Really nicely done Vicki!

Vicki's first paper mache dragon trophy


And here is Nathalie’s dragon trophy.  While these were all made using my book, note how different they all are!  There is just an infinite variety of dragon trophies waiting to be made.

nathalies paper mache dragonface


This is a photo that was sent to me a while back.  It is a dragon bust made by Jeannine.  Wonderful!

jeannines paper mache dragon


On a different topic, check out Annie J’s paper mache headress!   I love it.

annie J's paper mache headress

Here is Annie J in wearing the headress.   Looks fantastic!

annie J with her paper mache headress


And here is another paper mache dragon made by Chris.  Great job!

Chris' paper mache dragon


Again, if you would like me to post a photo or two of your work, send them to me at dan@gourmetpapermache.com.


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