About my Paper Mache Blog
When I first jumped onto the internet in 2008, you could make a website, or a blog. Websites were static; blogs were dynamic. So I made one of each. I built my site, GourmetPaperMache.com (this site) where I put information about my art. I also made a blog, PaperMacheBlog.com, to feature my current projects (see the photo at the top of the page) and allow people to comment. Of course now I can have them both on WordPress. I’m not sure what to do about this. For now, I’m going to keep my other blog (now called Gourmet Paper Mache Blog), mostly because so many people have signed up to follow it. A bit convoluted I know.
Feel free to comment on this page, or visit my blog, PaperMacheBlog.com. Thank you!
258 Responses to “Blog”
¡Hola! Me encanta su trabajo, realmente lo felicito. Quiero intentar realizar uno de sus tutoriales pero tengo dos dudas con respecto a una de sus obras. Del siguiente video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7owR_XE4DaE me gustaría saber si lo que envuelve los cuernos ¿es papel o tela?, y ¿Cómo crea el pegamento que utiliza en todo el dragón? Agradecería mucho su respuesto. Reciba un saludo desde Veracruz, México.
Hola Isa. Estos cuernos estaban cubiertas con un paño mojado en cola blanca. ¡Buena suerte!
Hallo awesome work I wanted to know how much would it cost for you to make a mask I’ll sent you a video
Hi Joaquin. I don’t like making masks for other people because it would be very hard to make it fit. But you could use the methods I show in my video series to make a custom mask that would fit your face. Sorry
Je suis fan de vos réalisations.
J’ai essayé de faire également un dragon (qui pour un premier etait pas trop mal) beaucoup trop lourd.
J’ai utilisé du papier mâché et du plâtre….. et la est mon erreur. J’ai vu que vous utilisiez du tissu. Je voudrais en faire un pour dehors mais je ne sais pas comment faire . Avez vous déjà réalisé ?
Hello Dan, what type of taxidermy eyes did you use for your Vampire. They are perfect. Went to visit Seattle ( Bainbridge Island ) last week. We loved it, already have a real estate agent working with us. Thanks, Mike Kelly
Hello Mike. Those were some kind of cat eye. But I can’t remember which one. Sorry. Yes, Seattle is a very nice place, except for traffic. The San Juan Islands offer a nice haven close to the city. Good luck!
Dan…..This is Gary from Buffalo, NY . I need to find a paper mache artist to build a photo backdrop. Could you recommend anyone from this area?
Hello Gary. I only know a few paper mache artists, but we only communicate online. I have no idea where they live. Sorry.
Hello can you please tell me what kind of cloth you are using? I can’t seem to find where or if you stated the type thank you so much your work is incredible and inspiring
Hello Karen. I use old bed sheets that I buy from second hand stores. Nothing special.
Oh okay awesome !! And soak it in paper mache liquid? Thank you so much for your response
No no. For the cloth I use white glue, usually Elmer’s. I don’t dilute with water. I use flour and water paste for the paper mache pieces, but white glue for the cloth. Good luck!
When creating texture like the scales for the dragon, can you use the famous Duck Tape to cut out the squares and attach? Would that give you texture you need or would it mess up the character. Getting ready for Halloween
Hi Nicole. I just have never tried to makes scales with Duck tape. You are talking about the green masking tape, right? The blue and green masking tape is not very sticky. I prefer the 3M beige masking tape. You might as well experiment. See what happens.
lol she means duct tape… common mistake. masking tape is more malleable
Thank you for doing what you do and making it available to the rest of us! Very inspiring as well as instructional. I’m a home grown multi media artist living in south Pierce County. Paper mache is on the to-do list and the dragons — Oh My! A heart’s delight! Can’t wait to get started but am embroiled in current project landscape fairy houses to keep flower beds interesting through the winter), and some miscellaneous. Am now gathering materials for dragons and other … Thank you again! (PS, ordered your dragon book)
Hello Leslie. Nice to meet you! It sounds like you have some very nice projects in the works! I hope you enjoy the paper mache work. Good luck to you! And thank you for the kind remarks.
Hola! Lo felicito por su arte, es muy hermoso, me gustaría algún día hacer un dragón porque me gustan mucho, tengo una pregunta, he visto que envuelve las alas y otras partes con una tela o papel blanco, que utiliza? Es papel o tela? Muchas gracias y muchos éxitos!
Hola. Sí, eso es una “piel” de tela. Es sábanas viejas sumergido en pegamento blanco.
Wow, they’re amazing. so cool. Nice. I am from China. My english is poor. I can’t express more. They’re nice. Very like them. Wow. i think it’s very difficult to make it.
Hello Guanalice. Thank you for the comments. I am very happy that you like my work. I really appreciate your comment.
Hey Dan, nice name! 🙂 Love your dragon vids on You Tube, and am using them as inspiration for my Halloween costume. Such incredible detail out of almost nothing! I was so relieved to stumble upon your work as I was drawing lots of blanks until that point. I have a feeling that I may just like this craft… never had the opportunity to do in in school.
One question: what do you use for inside the bottom jaw of your dragons, is that cheesecloth or old t-shirts? I am amazed at the breadth of paper and cloth materials that you can use for paper mache!
Hello Dan. Thanks for the nice note. I use old bed sheets dipped in white glue (I like Elmer’s) for the “skin”. That’s what you see in the jaws as well. Good luck with your costume!
Hola! Quiero preguntarte qué pintura utilizas para pintar los dragones? Gracias!
Hola Yina. Utilizo toda la pintura propósito. Cualquier pintura a base de agua funcionará.
wher do you got the eyes from
I buy them from taxidermists. You can find them all online.
thank you very mutch
Love your work!
Thank you Sandy! That is nice of you to say.
Let me first say your work is nothing short of amazing! I have been working with Halloween props for years and am looking to really challenge myself. The idea of making the dragon trophy currently has me excited enough to keep me up at night! I have studied your blogs and watched your videos in hopes of gleaning some ideas from your amazing work. I am pretty familiar with paper clay and have used that for quite some time on some of my props but your techniques are really refreshing and I couldn’t be more excited to try something new. I have already assembled my armature and have my horns and teeth ready. I have a four day break coming up and am looking to start the process. I plan to purchase your books after the holidays when im not as broke 🙂
I have one question if you dont mind sharing…how do you do your scaling. I see the large plates look like the cloth mache folded over in pieces but the pointed scale sections are those made from cardboard or tape and than glued to the model?
Thanks again for your time and again I cant begin to state how much respect I have for your art!
HI Robert. Glad you find this blog useful! I’m sorry but I couldn’t tell which trophy you were looking at. This comment is on a comment I made about the blog. I have several kinds of scales. Generally you are right, they are just folded pieces of cloth (that have been dipped in glue). I usually make them triangular in shape and apply them like bricks. Hope that helps. Good luck!
Hi there, I’m all the way in South Africa, do you have an ebook version that I can buy?
Hello Christo. There are Kindle versions of my books. But nothing more. Sorry.
Great work!! Love seeing other paper mache artists creations! Really well done!
Thank you for the nice comment!
No problem! Your work is great! Was fun to take a look at all your work! Keep it up!
Hola, me gustaria saber como haces los ojos y si los compras como los debo pedir, haces un excelente trabajo.
Disculpa pero se me olvido preguntarte como haces los dientes y cuernos de que material estan elaborados, saludos.
Hola Cesar. Sí, yo los compro en línea de empresas de taxidermia.
Great models, really amazed at what can be achieved with paper mache.
Just ordered your dragons book and giving it a go as my daughter loves dragons and is her birthday in may.
Been getting some suplies together to make a start when the book arrives and just wanted to know if you use acrilic paint. As i might start the jaw if book hasnt arrived by the weekend.
Once again great work and great videos. Just watching those have given me the insentive and motivation to do this. I must admit i like making things but the painting part for me is going to be the scariest 🙂
Hello Joe. If you follow the instructions I give in the book then painting should not be intimidating. Any paint will work although I prefer water based paints. I buy mine at Home Depot. I use the “all purpose” paint. Most paints these days are acrylic based although some have some latex in it as well. I would not use the tubes of acrylic paint that you find in the art stores. That would be too expensive for anything large. Good luck!
Hi Mr. Reeder,
You were my math teacher in the early 1980’s. I now have a senior in high school who has spent the end of her graduation year in quarantine. She’s been drawing and making monsters in her free time out of clay. I told her about my monster making math teacher and she found you online. She’s very inspired and impressed by you work. I hope you are well. Thank you for continuing to inspire the young and young at heart.
Hello Suzanne. Thank you so much for your remarks! I am very flattered that you remember your old teachers! It always amazes me to hear of my former students with kids that are older than they were when they were in my classes. Ahhh the mystery of time! I hope all is well with you. And I’m certainly happy to answer questions if your daughter decides to try paper mache! Take care
PS. I know you probably didn’t want to put a last name on a public site. That’s why I’m speaking in generalities. I’ve taught more than a few Suzannes in my life.
Thanks for your reply Dan,
I have recieved the book today and read the full instructions for the dragon, Excitment is building already.
I thought i had more wire coat hangers than i have, so no quick start on the project for me :(. Im also waiting for a couple of other things to come through the post.
Great instructions and end result in the book (hope mine looks as good).
Just hope the other half doesnt moan if im spending more time with my dragon than her. Ill tell her that she is my dragon too, she has a sense of humour.
Once again many thanks
Good luck Joe. Hope you enjoy yourself!
muy bonitos diseños excelente tus diseños un favor de que material realizas las alas y los dientes y q tipo d pegamento utilizas y muchas gracias x la ayuda d antemano
Hola Angel. Utilizo tela (ropa de cama) sumergido en pegamento blanco para las alas y Fimo para los dientes.
gracias x tu ayuda y una consulta mas xfavor q utilizas prara acer las escamas del dragon y como realizas la parte d la boca en una explicacion detallada t lo ruego xfavor
Utilizo un traductor. Lo sentimos, no entiendo su pregunta.
Dan, escamas means “Scales” in spanish.
Thank you Atahualpa. I use a translator and it never understood that word. I’m glad I know now.
Disculpa, de que material realizas las escamas del dragon y como armas la boca del dragon, y muchas gracias x tu ayuda.
Gracias por la aclaración. Yo uso tela (ropa de cama) sumergido en pegamento blanco para la “piel” de los proyectos, Eso es lo que he usado para hacer las escalas.
I was greatly inspired by your site. It makes me appreciate your work even more.
I’m not clear as to the best way to fix the dragon head to the wood plaque. Can you explain?
Hello Phillip. I drill holes in the wood and put pieces of wire clothes hangers through them. Then I connect the wire to the neck and to the back of the plaque. You can see the wires in a couple of my videos. Good luck!
Hi Mr. Reeder,
I actually just emailed you yesterday, but couldn’t help myself from commenting again. Just ordered a couple of your books. Am really excited to get them in! Been enjoying your videos all morning. We are doing a youth room at our church. There’s a slightly different kind of group in our church. The idea is to have images with meaning coming off the walls, a tree, owl, phoenix, lion…do you have any advice on getting them attached to walls? Should we make first and then somehow staple them to wall? Or make them directly on the wall?
Hello Michelle. That’s strange. I didn’t see an email from you. Glad you wrote again. You have to have a way of attaching them whether you do it before you sculpt or after. I can only tell you the way I hang trophies (without plaques). I start with a piece of wood, like plywood that is cut into the shape of the footprint that will be on the wall. I then drill a hole in it that eventually can be used to put over a screw (or something thicker) coming out of the wall for hanging. You can start the sculpture first, then put it on the plywood and trace the outline of art. Then attach the sculpt with screws or glue. That’s what I did with all the heads of my Tiamat dragon. Hope that helps. Good luck!
I just watched your video on how to make a really interesting dragon mask. I am new to paper mache projects and plan to make a somewhat large animal as a toy for kids. It would need to be someone light weight and weather worthy,,,any ideas on how to make a paper mache project that can hold-up to weather conditions? I noticed you have a dragon in you tree outdoors,,,love it! Your work is AMAZING!
Hello Lanthe. I’m glad you like my work. It isn’t super light when finished. I pull out most of the wadded paper after I add cloth. Everything I know about trying to make something for outdoors is described in that blog post about my outdoor dragon. It has done well over a number of years now, but eventually it will deteriorate. I’m not sure you can make paper mache last indefinitely outdoors without changing the medium entirely. But you can make it last for quite a while. Good luck!
Hello, I remember doing paper mâché when I was in school which was 100 years ago (just kidding) but have never tried doing paper mâché on my own till now. I’m trying to do a Chinese dragon head but I do not have newspaper and was wondering if regular construction paper would work the same way, can you please help?
Hi Suzette. I’ve never used construction paper so I don’t know how well it would work. It would be very hard to make strips I would think. There is no grain in the paper that allows you to tear it. And it is very thick. You will just have to experiment. Phone book paper works well. Good luck
Thats odd ! as newspaper is every were ! unless your at the North pole ? I dont have any newspaper myself ,but it is a very common material found almost anywhere for free , construction paper will work! but it needs longer soaking , better glue , and is more difficult to use in general ,as well as a cost factor . Toilet paper works very well as a substitute for news paper , But I just have to ask ! why is newspaper so difficult to obtain ?
Hello Dan I love all your videos. How do you make a pig mask out of Paper Mâché. By the way I Emailed you.
Hello Allie. You can see the way I make masks on my tutorials on Youtube. You can use that process to make any kind of mask. I would check those out.
Ok I will check it out.
i am in 5th grade can you please help my dragon looks horrible please tell me what to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Heyo Dan! I have some questions about a piece in working on. I bought your Paper Mache Dragons book about 2 years ago and have made some lovely pieces, but this year I’ve decided to go big (real big) and I was wondering if you knew and tricks on making a long curved neck (like a dinosaur, because that’s what I’m making 😅)
Hi Josephine. Glad you are having fun. Of course the bigger you get the more “engineering” that needs to be done. I would run lots of wire (clothes hangers or something else, like aluminum bars) inside the neck. The long the neck the more torque that is created. So it will carry a lot of stress at the point where the neck is connected to the body. That spot will need to get reinforced. Most of that is just putting quite a few layers of paper mache and drying completely. Good luck!
Sounds very big ? a trick they use in museums with the skeletons woks ok and that is a support ( usually painted black ) going from the ground or roof in plain sight . But if thats not what your after some crafty construction needs to take place to support such a thing with out it failing and breaking ! this really depends on how big your dinosaur is going to be , life size one are usually made with concrete or fiberglass which helps in the support . If your dino was made on a base of some sort ( timber ) then your support system could anchor to that using the legs etc and supporting from some frame work attaching the neck and head support you really need to look at a chair using that as your support skeleton adding what ever extra bits you need , so what ever scale its going to be your chair size will increase .( think of it as a custom made chair no matter what size ! then add wire to give it shape and form ( chicken wire ) and you know the rest . using the handyman’s saw horse that consists of 4 legs in a V shape that are attached to a solid timber working surface might be a ideal supporting frame to then attach one single timber piece as the neck support , this would have to be attached to the saw horse at many places ( brackets ,screws and even additional timber bits cut and used for bracing ) once you have this solid and balanced adding the mache etc is all standard .
Hi Dan!I’m a Student from Ukraine and I really admire your works they are wonderful!!I take for example your work and I want to ask of paint do you use? and what fabric you choose???
HI I’m Eric and I love your videos and really admire your dragons! I’m 7 years old and I have made a crocodile, a golden dragon, a golden goose (for a class play), and we (my grandma n I) are working on an ice dragon’s head! I can sen you pictures if you like. Eric
Hello Eric. Wow, sounds like you’ve made more art than I have lately! Yes, I’d love to see photos. I’d be happy to publish some on my website if you wish. You can send the photos to email@example.com.
Good luck on your next projects!
Wow that’s awsom!. HI Dan I have a ? . what kind of paper do I use. Does it have to be news paper?
Hell Ginai. Newspaper (or newsprint) is used because it is very absorbent. I have used phone book paper before. It is not quite as good as newspaper but it works. You can’t really use printer paper glossy magazine paper. I’m not sure what other kind of paper would work.
Hi, I’ve seen your videos and I’d like to try paper mache. I know I need newspapers and glue, but I do not know for scales and wings. Can you tell me what material I will need please. You’re awsome !!!
Hi. I am beginning to tinker with paper mache. I have some great ideas and think this is a medium I can really work with. But I haven’t done any paper mache since grade school. I have been reading tips and looking at works by other artists who do paper mache. Some swear by using wood glue, others white glue and various sorts of paste. I am wondering how you decided on using your mixture vs. other types.
Hello Nancy. I use cheap white flour and water paste with newspaper for my paper mache pieces. After I’ve finished sculpting with those pieces I add a skin of cloth dipped in white glue. I prefer Elmer’s Glue All. Every so often I use the Elmer’s instead of the flour and water paste as well. That can be pretty expensive if you make a lot of pieces. I’ve never felt the need to experiment with other formulas since mine work well.
I was lucky enough to find your book from 1984 “Simple Screamer” and I love it ! I have the Dragons and Monster books also, but kind of like the quirky monsters with the buggy eyes too. I was having a little difficulty with my first dragon with the neck being strong enough to hold the head. Have you ever considered using the cone shaped wire tomato cages for the garden as a neck for a dragon mount? I am going to try it.
Thanks Patti. I’m glad you have found my books useful over the years! I’ve never had an issue with the neck strength. Maybe you need to add a few more layers of paper. About the wire cone, I would worry that it would be a little heavy. That’s very thick wire. And you’ll undoubtedly have to cut and shape it. Using a full cone would be a very big dragon. Nevertheless, give it a try. It never hurts to experiment. Good luck!
Hello Dan, I am Sebastian from Chile your work is awesome!! So, I want to make a dragon but I don´t know where to start, can you tell wich materials apart from newspaper do you use? the eyes and teeth for example of what are they made of?
Hello Sebastian. I use flour and water paste with newspaper strips to start. I sculpt using the paper mache pieces using masking tape. I add a “skin” of cloth (bed sheets) dipped in white, all purpose glue. I buy eyes from taxidermy companies online. I make teeth and claws out of Fimo or Sculpy, polymer clay. I paint with all-purpose paints.
Any water based paints will work. Good luck!
Hey. I am 10, and I would like to know several things about how you make your dragons … 1. What materials do you use? 2. How much time does one of projects take( on average)? 3. What is a tip that really makes a difference in your projects? 4. Where can I buy your books?
Also, I love your dragons!!!!( : ( ;
Hello ten year old dragon lover. I use flour and water paste and newspaper strips, masking tape, cloth (bed sheets) and white glue. I buy eyes from taxidermy companies and make teeth and claws using Fimo. I paint with all-purpose paints. It can take a month or three months depending upon the detail and how hard I push it. The tip is to have patience for the drying periods, and tenacity for the parts that are just plain laborious. You can get my books from my website here, https://gourmetpapermache.com/about-my-books/, or from Amazon.com. Glad you like my dragons.
Hi Dan when you say old bed sheets it seems a bit vague because bed sheets can be made of anything. Does it matter what kind? Will it work if it’s synthetic fibers all the same as cotton etc? I wanted to make sure before I embark on your cloth mache technique. I haven’t tried papier mache since I was a kid but I love the finishing look on your dragons thanks to the bed sheets (after watching your videos). I just want to be sure before I rip up my old synthetic fibers sheets. Also if I didn’t have old bed sheets would a drop cloth for painting work all the same? I have your dragon book but all it says is bed sheets no detail on the type so I figured it didn’t matter the type, but knowing how I tend to screw things up often I figured it was also safer to double check with you first lol. Also have you ever tried making your own clay for the scales? Do you think this might work? https://www.happinessishomemade.net/diy-air-dry-polymer-clay-fall-leaf-imprints/
Hello Sunnie. I think the only qualification I’ve made about bed sheets is that I like old, worn sheets. To tell you the truth I never look at the labels. I don’t know what blend they are of cotton vs synthetic. My guess is that cotton will be a bit softer which tends to be a bit more wrinkled when dry. Synthetic will be more smooth but a little harder to get detail. But honestly, those are just guesses. I buy my sheets at Thrift (second hand) stores. If it’s under $5 it will probably work great.
Sorry, I just don’t have any more to offer there. About the clay, I think air dry clay is a bit less tough. I prefer Fimo. But experiment. Anything you can mold will work for teeth and claws I think. Good luck!
Wonder if you’ve made a Dragon’s head that was noble and regal like Draco from Dragonheart…No mouth opened or snarling or protruding tongue…And how much would it cost for you to make one??
Hello Jessie. I haven’t made a Draco per se. Not sure if I’ve made anything you would consider regal. I charge $2000 plus shipping for dragon trophies, however I’ve decided not to do any commissions for a while. There are a couple projects I’ve been waiting to make, so I’m working on those. Every so often I put something up for sale. You can find them here, https://gourmetpapermache.com/art-for-sale/. Thanks for your interest.
I’m slowly putting together my 1st paper mache monster.
Big question: What to do with the waste paste?
How do I even get it off of my hands?
Hello Barry. If you are using flour and water paste you cannot save it. It will stink to high heaven if you do. I try to use what I make (will just continue adding mache to saved balls of wadded paper). But if there is any extra I flush it down the toilet. The best way to clean your hands is with a course wash rag. Good luck!
Down the toilet it will be!
My kids didn’t believe me when I told them about my celebrity 5th grade teacher until I stumbled upon your website. I have fond memories of that year, sitting on the rug while you read the Hobbit with all the dragons flying around the room. I think you jump started many imaginations and want to thank you for your alternative yet effective teaching methods.
Hello John! What a nice surprise! I remember those days with great fondness. I bumped into a photo a while back of you and Rich (can’t remember his last name) holding your Screamers. Sounds like you are living a pretty rich life. Congratulations with your kids! I retired after teaching 40 years in order to do only art. Life is good. Thanks for the contact!
Hi Dan, I purchased your dragon book and have had sticky hands ever since. Nothings makes me happier than sitting down and creating something. Any chance you could give me some information on the lights you use to illuminate your trophies? I made a full dragon that turned out ok (I sent you pictures a while back) and now it’s time for a trophy. My armature is almost finished but I would love to incorporate the LED lights. Can you tell me where to get them?
Hey Dianne. I think you can get the lights from several places if you google “led christmas lights.” I think I got the last ones from a company called PaperLantern.
Are they the battery powered Fairy lights?
No, it’s just the led string.
Hello Dan, my 10 yr old and I watched your wall street banker mask video last night and were inspired as he wants to be The Fly (1958) version for Halloween. We are now hoping we will have enough time to orchestrate the wire mesh/cloth method you used and build on that with the aluminum foil to make the big eyes/feelers. Being primarily black and with a less significant amount of detail, do you think 2 weeks is enough time given we only have 2 weekends to work. What type of wire mesh should we use to make the mold? I think this will be a fun project for us but maybe should’ve done more research in May when he suggested it.. YIKES! I tend to procrastinate and work best under pressure.
Hello Debra. Overall, I think just two weekends might not give you enough time to finish a mask that elaborate. Sorry to say. It is just really time consuming to do detail work. Then you have to consider drying time. Now take that with a grain of salt. It’s probably not impossible. Managing the drying time between phases will be the hardest thing to manage. If you are making tentacles you can twist aluminum foil around pieces of wire clothes hangers. Then wrap cloth dipped in glue around them. You would pretty much have to do all the sculpting in one weekend along with a lot of the cloth mache. Painting would take a couple days, one day for the base paint, and another for blackwashing and/or dry brushing highlights.
I used “diamond” mesh. I got mine at Home Depot but have heard that they don’t carry it any more. I did provide a link to get some online in the description of the first mask video.
Don’t let what I said stop you. Good luck!
Hi Dan, I really enjoy all the details you put into your dragons,the one question I have is what type of clear resin should I look for to use in the mouth and on the teeth? thanks Bill
Hey Bill. Hope you saw me response to your email.
I’m working on a rather large black dragon head for the wall in my game room. I’ve got most of his parts ready for the next step and his teeth are made, But I’m just still not happy with the two large horns. I keep looking at the way they’ve drawn the black dragon horns in various books and on posters and after several attempts I just can’t figure out an effective method for giving themthat rather triangular appearance. I saw that you did a splendid job on your Tiamet mount and wondered if you might have some suggestions or advice. If nothing else I may resort to adding a spiraling ridge from one end to the other .. Not what I’m wanting but i think I can pull that off. I currently have nice twisty horns that are ready for this raised area .. If I can find a way to add it.
Hello Joyce. I assume you are talking about the Tiamat black dragon. I’m not sure what you mean about them being triangular. Mine were actually four sided. I made all of the Tiamat horns using aluminum foil and Fimo. Compressed the heavy duty foil into the general shape of the horns. Then I flattened the Fimo using a rolling pin and then stretched it over the foil substructure. I started at the bottom and worked my way to the tip overlapping the layers a little as I went. I baked in in the oven of course.
Sorry, I don’t know what you mean about the “raised area”. But it sounds like you have that under control. Good luck to you!
hello mr. Dan, I’m Hoang Dung (you can say me is Jim). Sorry all the wrong about vocabulary and grammar, because i’m live in asia, I a vietnamese boy. I very love you dragons by paper. so, can you make a chinese dragon?
Hello Jim. I have made some dragons that look like Chinese dragons. But not for a while. I’ll consider it. Thanks!
Hi Dan I am working with Nancy Arsenault (her owl is on Your Paper Mache page 16), she lives in Canada and has decided to retire and do her art full time, do you have any tips for people who are taking the art and now tying to sell it. Anything will help from recommended sites to advertise to shipping information.
Hello Shawn. I am sorry to say but I don’t have much advice to offer on this subject. Virtually all of the “art money” I make is on the sale of my books. I make time-lapse videos which I put on Youtube and Facebook. Those drive the sales of my books. Afterwards I do sell the sculptures shown in the videos. And I do make commissions every so often. But I can say without hesitation that if I calculated an hourly wage based upon the prices my pieces command compared to the number of hours I put into the projects that wage would be pretty low. Still, I can’t keep all of my projects so I go ahead and put most of them up for sale. But because my pieces are so labor intensive I know that I couldn’t make a living on just the sale of the art. In fact there are many times when I know that I have put much more time into a particular project than I can recover at any kind of decent hourly wage by selling it. Those projects I usually just keep. It’s just the nature of doing art that involves a lot of detail. I’m sure that Nancy understands what I’m saying when she considers how long it takes her to add the dillion feathers to her magnificent birds!
You also asked me about shipping. There is nothing good to say on that front. It is my bane. I have to make custom shipping containers for all of my sculptures. Because they are unique in size and shape they require a lot of bracing inside as well enough reinforcement to suffer the stacking and jostling of ground shipping. I get my shipping materials by going to a large appliance store and getting the cartons that the appliances were shipped in. It would be massively expensive to buy those large pieces of cardboard and the bracing needed at a retail company. My projects always require a fairly large crate, much larger than you expect. But I keep the size of my projects so that, when boxed up, they are within the limits set by UPS, FedEx, and USPS for their standard shipping. Any bigger and they become “freight” which gets much more expensive. Shipping by ground (the cheapest) can cost between $250-$500 when shipping within the US (two to three times that to ship by air). Shipping outside the US is simply out of the question for me. Most people won’t pay $1000+ for shipping. And if you try to insure the sculptures for what they are really worth, it can double the shipping costs. So I ship with the standard $100 insurance and then build my containers strong enough to guarantee they won’t break while traveling. But it is always nerve wracking when the art is being shipped. To fix a piece that gets broken during shipping can cost more than the price of the piece (when considering flying to the place to fix it).
I don’t advertise. And the only site I know where people try to sell art is on Etsy.com, but that site is really not the place where you can command decent money. It’s more for small, crafty kinds of things. I have an “art for sale” page on my website. That is the only place where I post pieces for sale. I should also say that I have sold in galleries and art fairs in the distant past. To get into a decent gallery usually requires an agent (who will charge you at least 20% of the gallery price) and then the gallery will take 50-60% of the proceeds from a sale. After you pay taxes you will be left will only a small percentage of what the sculpture sold for. It just wasn’t worth it for me to continue selling in that way.
I’m sorry if this sounds discouraging. I’m just being honest. It’s the reality of trying to sell unique pieces of sculpture. Of course there are some artists who are able to command prices that allow them to make a decent living. Somehow they are able to get the notoriety necessary to sell pieces at prices that make it all worth while. I don’t know any of these people personally.
I do wish Nancy well. I love her work. She deserves much success.
Dan thank you for taking the time to respond, your honesty and true passion for the art really shows, I think your art and everything you are doing is just awesome. This will really give Nancy something to think about.
Greetings Mr. Reeder,
I ordered and received your book over a year ago. I wasn’t able to try crafting a dragon because of being sole caregiver for my mom who had dementia.
I lost my Mom this past March and just now feeling like maybe a really fun project would help keep my mind busy, so this is an awesome project for me to delve into! I’m 60 years old and never done anything like this, so this is going to be a blast, though I’m sure it won’t turn out anywhere near as gorgeous as yours.
I am very excited to try the head on a trophy mount first. I read through your instructions and materials list in your book, but I didn’t see the size of the mount board that would be appropriate for the size you show how to make. Please could you suggest a trophy board size?
Thank you so very much. I hope all is well with you and your family.
Hello Alison. I’m sorry to hear about your mother. That’s a very hard thing to go through. I did it with my own mother for the last year of her life. And yes, art will help with the stress. Good for you to get going on a dragon! There is no perfect formula for the plaques. Sometimes I have too big a plaque and sometimes too small. I generally like the biggest size whatever that is on the site I’m buying from. That can be about 20 inches wide by about 24 inches tall. But I must say, sometimes a smaller plaque looks better even on a big head because less of the board is showing on the final project. Hope that helps. Good luck to you!
Hi Dan, I love your art and am working on my 1st dragon, I have done a couple of projects before but nothing like a dragon, Ive noticed you have not posted any new material in about a year I hope you are doing well and will continue to create these Awesome creations, also love your cats I have 2 myself Thomas and Jethro, a fan from Kentucky
Hello Norma. Yes, life seemed to conspire against my doing art for a while. But things have changed and I’m back to work. Should have something soon. Thanks for your concern and good luck with your dragon! (And your kitties of course!)
I still check this site every few months, after finding out about you 20 years ago. I found one little book of yours in a library in Utah in 2001 as a wee lil’ 11-year-old. You’re still one of my greatest artist inspirations and just going through your old work fills me with inspiration and nostalgia. Especially love seeing you try new things. Hope you and your family are doing well with all this COVID madness.
Hello Borscht. What a wonderful note! Just what I needed. It seemed with the start of Covid that life got in the way of art. I had many house projects of my own (and to help my daughters) that took all of my time. Then I started a project I’ve been wanting to do for many years. But it got so complicated and time consuming that I had to put it aside once again. I have started a new project but it has also turned into a much more labor intensive project than I expected. It is a more complicated piece than usual. I am happy with how it’s turning out but it is just taking forever to get the level of detail I want. All this to say that it’s all of a sudden been a year and a half since I’ve completed any art. That is shocking to me. It’s never happened that I’ve had so much time in between pieces. But your note has inspired me to move more quickly on this new piece. ‘s a shot in the arm. So thank you so much! I couldn’t be more flattered! I hope all is well with you. Take care
Dear Mr. Reeder,
I wanted to say how wonderful it is to see that you have continued with this incredible work that you do, and to see how far the art work has come!
I first saw your work, and had the pleasure of meeting you, in 1983 at NorWesCon in Seattle. Every year since for many years, I attended your panel on the Simple Scresmer.
I recently pulled out my simple screamer book to maybe get back into doing something more physically creative ( as opposed to my writing and music endeavours), which led me to look you up on the internet, leading me here.
So I guess, basically, this is a long and roundabout way of saying hello.
I’ll just add that for as much as I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the full body of your work, my favorite remains the interpretation of our Statue Of Liberty, “Send me Your Twisted, and Demented…”
Have a good one and keep on rockin’ bro!
Sean Brown (a.k.a. Rif Addams) Roy, WA
Hello Sean. What a nice note! Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s too funny that you remember my presentations at Norwescon! Do you remember the very nice young man who assisted me? His name is Damon Bard. He used that Screamer book to make a few monsters himself. He continued sculpting in several mediums and became a famous special effects artist in Hollywood. Massively talented. Check out his website if you want to see what he’s up to. https://bardstudio.com He is not the only student of the Screamer era who got hooked on art and became a professional artist. I say this only to confirm what I always knew, that everyone needs and deserves a creative outlet. Sounds like you found yours with music! You are the one who keeps on rocking! 🙂 I always used to say that if I knew how to play the guitar I wouldn’t have made monsters.
You made my day. I very much appreciate you taking the time to write. I’m really flattered. Thank you again Sean and good luck to you!
I do remember Damon Bard, and think it to be wonderful how he followed his inspirations to be able to work at something he loves!
Hello, just found your website for the first time and I am very impressed. I am curious about some things though. For example I don’t see a date on your posts, so I don’t know how long ago they were made. Was the outdoor dragon recent, or was it years ago? And if it was years ago I am wondering if it is still intact? I am also curious about your ‘cloth mache’. You say that you use old bedsheets, yet you’ve made so many projects. How do you keep getting bedsheets? How do you source them? Personally I’m curious about such a thing wanting to try myself but I’m not sure where I would get cheap cloth I don’t feel bad about ruining…
Additionally I noticed that in the video of the smaug ‘trophy’ head you painted the eyes yourself. What is that blank dome you used for it? How can I get them? I am more interested in painting my own eyes than purchasing pre-made ones.
Have you ever had issues with mold? I’ve heard flour mixtures are susceptible to it, and I imagine damp cloth also may be an issue in regards to this. Does the cloth take more drying time than regular paper mache? Do you do anything to minimize the possibility of mold?
Thank you if you decide to answer my questions.
Hello Spottyleopar. When you go to the button on my website homepage, “My Paper Mache,” it lists the day the post was written. The page about my outdoor dragon was posted on Jan 13, 2015. The dragon was about 4 years old when I made the post so it has held up very well for more than 11 years. That’s a lot longer than I expected particularly for Seattle weather. It is still in good shape although I did touch up the paint last Spring. I get my old bed sheets at “thrift” stores like Goodwill. Most cities will have a second-hand store like the ones I use. I can usually get an old sheet for less than $5. That’s partly because I prefer the older, more worn sheets. The older the sheet the better. I don’t like new sheets. They are too stiff (and expensive). Everyone sleeps on sheets so I don’t think there will ever be a supply problem with those. Also, my friends and family know what I do and they offer me their old sheets. The eyes I painted were “blanks.” That is, they are the glass with or without the black lens painted. I get my eyes from taxidermy companies online. Not all of them offer blanks. I think I got my blanks at glasseyes.com. About drying time…the initial paper mache stage takes a number of days to dry thoroughly. It depends upon where they are placed and the humidity etc.. I have a forced air gas furnace in my house. It is in my studio and provides a very nice heat to dry the pieces. The “cloth mache” skin dries overnight. Which brings up mold. Mold can only live in the presence of moisture. Sometimes a little mold will form on some of the pieces if they take too long to dry. But it is harmless and goes away as the pieces dry. Once they are completely dry there is no problem with mold. The glue soaked cloth dries quickly. I’ve never seen any mold on that.
Good luck to you! It’s a great medium.