Ron Graham
Puppets and other papier mache creations.
Fine art with paper as medium or support.

Fact Sheet 3
Creating a puppet head from cast paper pulp parts


Puppet parts made of paper pulp are generally hollow. They must be designed and cast so that their joints will form interior ribs and walls to provide structural support. The following examples illustrate the principle...

The basic structure

The cellular inner structure of a puppet head (or body) does not have to be regular, just so long as the interior is sufficiently supported in a roughly cellular manner. Here is a simple structure for a puppet head, all parts being made of cast paper pulp. These are joined with a paste made of one part paper pulp to one part of white glue and used sparingly. As each part is added to the structure, let the joint set overnight.

Adding features.

Winking eyes, waggling ears, moving parts

Occasionally a glove puppet is enhanced if one of its features moves or lights up. You can certainly contrive this. However to avoid rust, add mechanisms only when papier mache is dry. For the same reason use copper wire, brass rods and washers, and spray painted springs. Use extra glue for strength when mixing pulp for casting parts in which mechanisms are to be inserted. Epoxy resin is helpful in fixing mechanisms to puppet parts.

How to join parts, fill gaps, modify shapes

Smoothing, burnishing, and coating with gesso

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