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How to Make a Beautiful Swan Wall Sculpture

Paper Mache White Swan 

How to Make a paper mache or paper clay Swan Wall SculptureYou will learn how to use recycled newspaper, cardboard and transform it into a beautiful Swan, covered with paper mache, paper clay, paint, and protected with a shine.
This paper mache project is straightforward and great for someone wanting to learn the awesome art of paper mache. Besides your swan will be an awesome member to your home.
We hope to be a spring board to get you started and we encourage you to tweak, change the Swan up all you want.

Stuff List
Beautiful Swan Wall Sculpture armature
Recycled Newspaper
Plastic bag
Masking Tape
Paper Mache Paste
Paints and Paint Brushes
Paper Clay (Optional)
Minwax Varnish
H20 and Rags

Steps to Make Your Swan Sculpture

1 Build Your Swan Armature
Start by cutting out your swan shape onto cardboard. Loosely wade up newspaper to place onto both sides of your swan cardboard creating a 3D armature. You can glue your paper down or use masking tape to hold your swan shape. Now slide the swan armature into a plastic bag and tie the bag off and tape the extra down.

completed swan armature ready for paper mache

Draw a beak onto cardboard, cut out, and position onto your swan face.
You can make your swan as large or small as you like, it's your world here. This is your basic Swan armature; change it up to be uniquely yours and add anything you like for accents.

We use both mache and paper clay when creating in the studio but as you will see our sculpture ideals can be completed using only paper mache (not paper clay). Very few ingredients are needed for paper mache making it a more universal option.

2. Paper Mache and Paper Clay
1st Session You will start with the paper mache process and if you have never created with paper mache the here is the fabulous recipe: Quick Link to Paper Mache Paste Recipe: http://goo.gl/BH5lgM.  So ready your mache paste and your recycled paper by ripping the paper into strips of say 3 to 4 inches.

Cover the Swan armature with 3 layers of newspaper using your hands soaked in paper mache paste. Lay your newspaper strips flat onto your Swan armature and work out all air bubbles. As you continue to apply layers of paper onto the armature your Swan will begin to take shape. Never give up you can do this.

Once you have covered your Swan with paper mache they must completely dry. Lay them out in the sun if you can for faster drying, they will take at least 24 hours to dry depending on the size of your Swan.
Paper Clay or Paper Mache
You Choose

2nd Session
adding paper clay to the swan armature covered in paper mache
For this session you have two choices; paper clay or paper mache. Both mediums are wonderful and will render a perfect Swan sculpture. The 2 best benefits to using the paper clay vs. paper mache are time and toughness. Both recipes are on the channel; please do check them out.
We will walk through both paper mache and paper clay finishing process.

Paper Mache: Cover with 4 to 5 more layers of paper mache all at one time. Let it completely dry before moving on. If you're Swan does not seem tough enough add more paper mache (see step 1). After each session of paper mache your sculpture must completely dry before moving to your next step. Awesome, guys get excited to see your Swan take shape.

Paper Clay: Cover the entire Swan with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of paper clay, doing one side at a time and letting that completely dry. Apply the homemade paper clay with your hands and smooth with paper mache paste, butter knife, etc. You can let your paper clay dry for about 6 or more hours and then smooth more with paste.

The size of your Swan will determine how long it will take to dry. A giant Swan will take approximately 3 to 4 days to dry, the paper clay takes longer to dry than you think so don't rush it, wait an extra day before painting for caution.

You can use a fan, the sun, and the oven on the lowest temperature it will allow. Our oven can go as low as 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a perfect temperature for slowly drying your paper clay; we will place it in the oven for a 4 to 5 hours (as long as needed). If you heat your clay to fast it can turn dark brown in the oven which is okay because you will cover with primer paint.

Paper Clay Recipe: http://goo.gl/xoTFbJ

Question: Can I skip the paper mache and put paper clay directly onto my armature?
Answer: Yes, yes you can if your armature can support the weight of the paper clay without the support of the paper mache strips and paste.

If you need once the Swan has dried you can lightly sand with sandpaper and wipe off before painting.

3. Paint Your Swan Sculpture
Paint a white coat of primer paint on your Swan giving you a white canvas for painting. We use white flat interior house paint or gesso to prime the surface our sculptures.

Once the primer coat as dried you are ready to paint with acrylics anyway you like. I begin with the darkest color and work my way to the lightest color shade. Color is fun and you can't mess up, anything goes.

Let all you paint completely dry before sealing with varnish for protection and shine.

4. Varnishing (Protecting)
You must seal your paper mache pieces with varnish for protection against moisture. Brush on 3 to 4 coats of varnish and let it completely dry. We brush on Polycrylic Minwax at the studio to varnish all our art. The gloss enhances our paint job. Follow the instructions on your varnish to apply.

Completed Beautiful Swan Wall Sculpture

Swan Wrap Up

This is just one way to make a Swan sculpture for your home, hope you will use it to create your own Swan art and of course share with us at the studio.

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