The Making of a Papier Mache Shoulderhead

I love old papier mache dolls. They are magical to me.
So I've set out to make a papier mache inspired doll.

I used the free template pattern that I've offered before to begin this doll. I made the basic doll shape, and then added paperclay over the head and shoulders in stages. She was supposed to be an Izzy, but I decided to do a doll inspired by an early papier mache doll instead. I have given her molded hair which was made using a serrated Halloween pumpkin carving tool.

After I did 5 layers of clay additions
to her the head it seemed
way out of proportion to the body.

And her body got a little toasted
on the bottom while it was in the oven
hardening the paperclay. What to do?

I had the bright idea to cut the clay part off the body so that you would get a shoulder head. I took the stuffing from the inside and it is very much like a an old mache shoulderhead. :-)

Now I can make an appropriately sized and shaped body for her.


Anonymous said...

What a great way to think about making the clay shoulder heads of old Dixie. Love it!


I think I have to come again and read all this with time , is very interesting. Thank you

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this tutorial, Dixie. I made my first paper clay shoulderhead today. The only problem is that I'm having issues with the clay cracking as it dries. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks so much!

Dixie Redmond said...

Hi, Cynthia. The clay does crack in the beginning stages. I find it cracks much less if I bake the clay in a very low temp oven - less than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can just put more clay in the cracks and dry it again. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dixie...I will try that. How long do you leave it in the oven each time? I ended up making another shoulder head since I was "on a role" yesterday! :o) I think I'm addicted!

Dixie Redmond said...

I leave mine in the oven for a long time, until I am sure that it is drive. Sometimes up to several hours. Sculpt in several thin layers rather than putting a big thick layer on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the advice, Dixie. I will follow both suggestions. I'm sure I'll get the hang of things as I go along, and will post pics on the forum once I get my first one completed. You're help has been valuable!
~Cynthia B.

The Stitch Fiddler Bethann Scott said...

This is quite interesting and innovative of you Dixie! Love it!

Erika said...

This is such a inspiration and a joy. Thank you for sharing, dear Dixie! Hugs Erika

Dixie Redmond said...

You're welcome!

Dixie Redmond said...

Erika - I especially love that a mistake yielded my discovery. That's the stuff of life.

acorniv said...

I use paper clay quite a lot and don't dry it in the oven. This works for me basically because I allow for the wait time when I schedule the next step. often working on several projects at once. It's turned out to make me more efficient - I currently have quite a large box waiting to be finished and painted, because I'm not going back and forth from paint to clay. I mention this because I get very little cracking. Every artist has to find the method that works best for them.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden