Make Your Own Gargoyle

This would be a fun activity to do with your children.  Wouldn’t you love to know how to make a gargoyle at home, DIY style? spells it out for us:

Things You’ll Need:

  • Shredded paper or newspaper
  • Quart of hot water
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Mesh colander or wire strainer
  • Wallpaper paste or white glue
  • Markers, paints, granite spray, sand or other decorative finishes
  • Paper sealant spray to protect the finished art
  • Plastic coffee stirrers or craft wire for appendages (optional)
  • Sandpaper (cut to form for scales/appendages – optional)
  • Parchment paper (for wings – optional)
  • Small marbles or craft stones (for eyes – optional)


  1. Mix a large batch of papier-mâché pulp. Shred or tear paper, then fill a large bowl or basin with the shred. Slowly pour hot water over the paper as you mix the blend, turning the paper into pulp. Add more paper if the mixture feels too watery.
  2. Cook the soaked pulp in the microwave oven for about 10 minutes, then remove and let it stand for a couple of hours to cool down and marry. If you have no microwave, cook the pulp on the stove top until it begins to boil, then let it sit for a couple hours to solidify. You can also try using an old blender to make the pulp.
  3. Squeeze excess water out of the pulp by putting the mixture into a wire strainer or mesh colander. Press the mixture into the screen to remove the water. Retain a little bit of the moisture so it doesn’t dry out.4
  4. Add glue or wallpaper paste to the paper mixture (around two parts paper to one part glue or paste) and pour the sticky pulp into a plastic bag. Store the modeling material in the refrigerator until you’re ready to start shaping your gargoyle.
  5. Using an image from a book or a gargoyle from the Toscano catalog as your model, hand shape papier-mâché into the gargoyle. For a fast-drying result, cut and shape a Styrofoam or chicken wire to create a base, then layer on the papier-mâché-and-glue mix over the base. It’s a good idea to use a base if you are short on mix because a solid middle requires less pulp.
  6. Stick plastic coffee stirrers or craft wire into the body of the gargoyle to create projectiles on which wings, tails, ears, spines, a tongue, teeth and appendages can be built, then layer on sheets of paper covered by the papier-mâché-and-glue mix to fashion the details of the creature. Distinct characteristics like talons can be made of toothpicks wrapped with papier-mâché strips and a beak can be formed with sandpaper sections glued to the base before slathering it with pulp.
  7. Once the gargoyle body is finished, allow it to dry thoroughly before decorating. Take your design direction from authentic Toscano gargoyles. Give your gargoyle scaly skin using layered sandpaper scallops and a prehensile tail crafted by winding papier-mâché strips around a thick rope that’s inserted into the body and sealed with glue. Small marbles or craft stones are ideal for flashing eyes, and wings made of double sheets of shaped parchment paper with wire spines add drama. Use your imagination and your creature will be unique.
  8. Complete your gargoyle by choosing brown, gray and black markers or paint to cover the figurine. For a “sandy” texture, brush a thick layer of glue across the gargoyle and roll the piece in sand. Spray your creature with faux granite paint to make it look as though it were crafted of stone.
  9. Apply a water-based sealer to protect your Toscano-influenced gargoyle from deterioration once it is completely dry and decorated to your taste.

Extra Tip:

If you don’t want to make your own papier-mâché, buy pre-mixed pulp from a craft store to save time. It’s not expensive, so it won’t add to the cost of your project. This product may be sold under the name claycrete. Experiment with offbeat materials like sawdust or dryer lint—both will dry rock solid when used in place of paper. The sawdust-to-wallpaper paste ratio should be 2-to-1. When dry, you can even sand a sawdust gargoyle before decorating it. If you’re an experienced crafter with sculpting experience, consider substituting plaster of Paris or Sculpee clay for the papier-mâché base to create your Toscano gargoyle.
Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

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