A French Bulldog is like a miniature bulldog with one distinctive difference, their large bat shaped ears. The Frenchie has the typical bulldog face with a compressed nose and wrinkles. They have a short neck and strong short, legs. Its wide-set eyes are like black buttons and all so cute.
Collect a number of French Bulldog images for inspiration, one that gives a good view of the dog's side view. You can enlarge the size of your image by using a factor of your choice. If the dog is 4 inches long in the photo, multiply that by 2 to make the dog 8 inches in your drawing, and so on.
Before you begin your paper mache clay sculpture watch the "How 2 Frenchie YouTube video" showing you exactly how I created the French Bulldog you see here. This is not an easy first piece, although you may find that you are a natural, so go for it.
Here is a quick list of materials.
Utility Knife or scissors
Paints and Paint Brushes
Poly acrylic Varnish
H20 and Rags
1 Creating Your Armature
In sculpture, an armature is a framework around which the sculpture is built.
Let's Get Started
To create a armature you will draw your image onto a salvaged card board box and cut out the basic shape of your French Bulldog. Use scissors or a utility knife, but the knife needs to be sharp to cut through, be careful.
Your cardboard cutout is the basic shape and material that you will build around.
By crumpling up and stuffing newspaper in a bag you will fill out both sides of your cardboard slowly creating the dog shape. This will be a process of adding stuffing where it is needed, such as building up the muscles in the dogs legs. The muzzle and the paws will also help define your dog.
Please watch the video for a complete demonstration.
I have worked at least an hour shaping and crumpling newspaper at this stage to get the exact look and feel I want, I work as long as it takes.
The first steps you take to create your armature will determine how much work you will have later so take as long as you need.
2 PaPer MaChe Your Armature
Now you are ready to cover your armature with paper mache strips dipped in our homemade paper mache paste. You will need to apply four layers of newspaper strips over the armature. After applying the strips you will set your armature aside and let it dry over night. We will be apply many more layers in the morning.
You have two options; add more newspaper strips or use paper mache clay.
In the How2video I covered my Frenchie armature in the clay and demonstrate that. You can find those links above for the clay recipe, you'll love them for their simplicity.
If you choose to continue with the newspaper strips, I would add 25 or more layers to the armature for a rock solid dog. However many layers you have your armature must completely, I'll say it again, completely dry before applying any paint.
Drying all those layers of newsprint strips will probably take more than 24 hours, just depends on your weather.
3 Sanding and Priming Your Armature
You can sand paper mache clay as you do wood, just not so rough. I use different grades of sand paper to get the degree of smoothness I want.
After sanding your dog wipe him clean and free of your sanding dust with an old rag. Oh, I should say here to work outside or in a ventilated room when sanding your paper mache armature.
Just remember safety first in all you do.
I now paint two or three coats of flat latex white interior paint, as a primer, over the entire sculpture and let the primer dry completely. If need I will lightly sand the dog and I always do.
4 Painting and Varnishing Your Armature
This has to be the best part, choosing your colors. You can go with a realistic look or go abstract. Express yourself with the color and all the facial characteristics that you add, like puppy dog eyes.
To paint the fur I layer the colors that I want, here I applied my black spots, then slowly added grey, white, and black lines with a flare. To give some spots a hazy white look I lightly added water to my paint brush and dipped it into white acrylic, I lightly brushed this onto my spot, waited just a sec. and then wiped it off. Those are just a few painting ideals.
So you're going to paint that dog and set it aside to dry, overnight works well for me and he is there wagging his tail in the morning.
After it is dry you will now add the finishing protective coat of Poly Acrylic. You can pick up Poly Acrylic in gloss or satin finish. I pick my poly finish up at my local Wal-Mart paint department.
5 Show Off Your French Bulldog Pet
There are a couple of ways that you can show off your art sculpture. The very best way to show off your new dog is posting a picture here at WhimsyPaperMach.com where we send virtual hugs. Here is an easy link to post your paper mache Dog Art, we look forward to seeing your masterpiece.
Art Wrap Up
If you have any questions or comments concerning the steps I used to create my French Bulldog, post them here or our Facebook page, where we all share suggestions, tips, tricks and virtual hugs.
My finished Frenchie is an intermediate level of paper mache, I use clay and several hours have been given to the paint of fur and features. This is something you can totally do and don't limit yourself to a French Bulldog create whatever your heart desires just....
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22" Tall (Floor to tip of big bat ears)
23" Long (Nose to furry tail)