Mumbreeze from Etsy makes the most amazing paper mache creatures. Mumbreeze is actually two married folks - Kinya and Kao Hanada. "We make artwork on both sides of the Pacific ocean" they explain (they have homes in both Oregon and Japan). They also sell blank white PIY (paint it yourself) paper mache for as low as 10 dollars! I am constantly amazed at the artistic ingenuity of Etsy sellers.
Update: So I asked Mumbreeze a question about how they actually make their paper mache. I know they're probably really busy and wasn't really expecting a response, but I got one - and a really great one at that.
Me: Hi,I'm just curious - what kind of armature do you use for your paper mache? Wire, cardboard, etc... In other words, what's under there? I'm just getting into paper mache and I'm trying to learn the ropes.I absolutely adore the things you make!!- Jackie
Mumbreeze: Hi, Thanks for writing us. The way we do paper mache is something we came up mostly on our own and isn't really the traditional way of doing it, but I think they have qualities different from traditional paper mache. We try and use material that we just end up having, but can't be recycled like plastic containers, bags, styrofoam, etc. We clean it thoroughly so there's no residue of other material. We then cut them up and piece them together with masking tape to make the basic shape. plastic bags can be rolled up and taped makes a fairly solid base. Then we paper mache, let it dry and apply paper clay to make it smoother. you can repeat the process after painting it with gesso of sand papering and paper clay to get it really smooth almost like plaster if you want. The thing about our process is that the end product will contain things that would otherwise might be considered trash, but if you look at them just as material and consider that having them inside these works instead of in the landfill might be a better use, then maybe it won't seem so strange. If you want to keep the material more pure, I think using any kind of solid material that could be cut and put together easily should work. cardboard and other paper is really easy to make shape with, but it does tend to deform a bit after getting wet with paper mache. Using paper clay to smooth out imperfection works really well if the shape doesn't look like what you had in mind after first layer of paper mache. Does that answer your question? It's kind of an involved process, so it takes a bit to explain, but I hope that made sense. If you have any other questions, feel free to write us anytime. Thanks!Kinya (&Kao) / Mumbreeze