Paper Mache: Monster Tooth Maker

Next technique to develop is creating the teeth. In Wilburine, I worked out an approach of bending wet wood coffee stir sticks. For Pottie Mouth, I need much larger teeth. Coffee stirs would be too thin.

I decided to use 3/4" x 6" tongue depressors. A box of 500 unsterilized sticks was $9. They are hard wood, and when, soaked in water become pliable. Using nails on wood, I could bend them, but this still creates a flat tooth. I call my next idea a "Monster Tooth Maker."

Monster tooth maker from the side and head on

Monster tooth maker from the side and head on

I modified the jig setup from Wilburine. First, I used finishing nails and drilled holes just a tiny bit smaller with a drill press and then pressed in the nails. This gave me perfectly vertical nails. I put some tubing over them, as finishing nails are steel and leave a rust spot on the depressor.

As I tried making teeth, it became apparent that the end needed to be rounded. To create the round effect, I bought some 1/2" copper plumbing fittings and 1" hose clamps. Then I found some 1/2" dowel. Now instead of the copper fitting, I used a short length of dowel as the core with two host clamps. I also cut up some split vinyl tubing to use as shims to tune the bending. Be sure to towel dry the tongue depressor where you are adding glue for the dowel to avoid thinning the glue. My intent is to paper mache over the base of the tooth once formed to give a solid shape.

Once dry, the ends can be cut into a point for the tooth top. It is better to cut the bottom before drying, as the curved wood tends to split when cut curved and dry.

Vinyl hose Splints were added to increase the curve as well as a dowel at the centre of the tooth

Vinyl hose splints were added to increase the curve, as well as a dowel at the bottom of the tooth

Close-up of the dowel and clamps

Close-up of the dowel and clamps

With 1/2" dowel, the depressor is splitting

With 1/2" dowel the depressor is splitting

Cut dry tooth with wet one in the jig

Cut dry tooth with wet one in the jig


This image is of a dried tongue depressor, glued to the dowel, bent into shape and cut to form the point. The surface is raw, but a thin layer of paper towel paper mache will fill in the back, as well as smooth the surface.

The top image is of the jig with a finished tooth, including a thin layer of kraft paper towel mache to smooth out the transition.

Max size tooth sitting on the lower jaw

Max size tooth sitting on the lower jaw


This is the maximum full-sized tongue depressor sitting on the lower jaw of the toilet seat. This would be suitable for the fangs, but most will be shorter. Once I have several formed teeth, I will work on the paper mache layer.

Paper Mache: Gullet / Throat

The past two weeks have been consumed with attempting a repair on my computer, ordering a new one, waiting then rebuilding from backup and getting everything to work again. Fun wow!

Today I got back to “Pottie Mouth.” I did some cleanup on the bracing and removed the bottom seat to install the gullet. A trip to a used clothing store yielded a little girls red stretch tube top. This will be turned inside out and installed as the gullet/throat. This first required building a template to mount the top on then glue to the bottom of the seat.

The seat was removed, a tracing of the seat inside made on the cardboard and the frame cut out.

The seat was removed, a tracing of the seat inside made on the cardboard and then cut out.

The tube top was stretched over the cardboard frame then placed on the seat bottom and glued in place. I rested heavy books on it to press it in place.

The gullet (red tube top) is glued in place. The bottom will be secured to create a more direct path.

The gullet (red tube top) is glued in place. The bottom will be secured to create a more direct path.

Paper Mache – Be Afraid to go to the Bathroom

Now that Wilburine is done it is time to start working on my next fish. On Facebook a after seeing my work, a friend shared a video of a shark toilet seat.

This is the video that inspired me to create my toilet seat fish.

While I am not an air brush person, I loved the idea. Off to the store to buy a wood toilet seat.

Head on view

Head on view

Side Angle

Side Angle


Akin Vong

Here is the original image from Akin Vong that was one of my inspirations for Wilburine. I took photos of the toilet seat and played with photoshop.

Today I bought a 2x4' wood panel, braced the back and mounted the seat. The braces will be hidden in the head. One change from the original idea was to place the seat in the normal orientation with the hole on the bottom. I am not sure exactly what fish I will base this on but many have the entrance to the gullet on the lower jaw.

It became apparent that handling a 2x4' panel with a six pound toilet seat is a challenge. I found an old student grade easel and mounted the panel to it. The bottom tray is removable once completed. The panel is screwed on but could be removed. The funny part is the panel costs more than the easel.

Front view - looking down the throat.

Front view - looking down the throat.

Panel mounted on the easel showing the hardware details.

Panel mounted on the easel showing the hardware details.

Articles About my Paper Mache Fish – Wilburine

Two of my favourite websites for information on how to paper mache have included Wilburine.

Gourmet Paper Mache

Rich Helms Wilburine Page 30

Click to view the post

Dan (the monster-man) Reeder is a premier maker of paper mache dragons. Dan has written several books and his blog is one of the go-to places on the web for ideas and techniques. In Your Paper Mache page 30, Dan includes Wilburine.

Ultimate Paper Mache

Another favourite is Ultimate Paper Mache by Jonni Good. This is a source of recipes and tip on other approaches to paper mache. This site is where I got the idea to mix egg carton pulp with acrylic paint to make a rough filler for the edge of the mount inside. I wrote a guest post for Jonni on the making of Wilburine.

Click the image to view the article

Click to view the article

They are both rich sources of ideas and techniques. Thanks Dan and Jonni.

Paper Mache Angler Fish – Wilburine is Finished

After just over two months work, Wilburine is finished. The past week has been very busy for me so she had to wait. Angler fish are not visually very exciting so the paint job is basic. I used Naples Yellow for the base with touches of yellow and red oxide. The inside of the mouth is several reds. I added titanium white to the spines to make them stand out as more dangerous. The story on the braces is funny. After creating the top teeth, a friend on Facebook commented that she needed braces. I thought support she (actually he at the time but that is another story) was a teenager and needed braces, not to straighten but to make them more crooked. Adding the braces was an interesting challenge.

I learned so much creating her. Now on to the next model. Not sure what it will be. I have been studying several fish including frogfish.

There were two websites that inspired me.

What surprised me was the variety of materials and glues available as well a paper mache clay.

List of the posts about constructing Wilburine.

Here are the final shots of Wilburine.

Wilburine Finished 3

Wilburine Finished 3

Wilburine Finished 4

Wilburine Finished 4

Wilburine Finished 6

Wilburine Finished 6

Wilburine Finished 2

Wilburine Finished 2