Picture of Totoro Papier Machecrete Garden Statue

I wanted to take a try at papercrete. Cement/Concrete with recycled paper pulp. There are a lot of examples of using it to fabricate bricks for building and for art. I guess I could have built a mini papercrete mixer but how about just jumping in and using cement mix as the glue for papier mache? I needed some decorations for the garden but I was not geared up to do concrete casting nor did I want to get into forming armatures or wireforms from rebar and wire mesh. Strolling down the home center aisle, there are many cement products to use. They had this Surface Bonding Cement/Quikwall product that is composed of cement mix and reinforcement fibers. It is supposed to cure to be water resistant to some degree too so it would be good for the final product to be outdoors. This would be perfect to experiment with. It was also about $20 bucks a bag so relatively inexpensive to see what it was capable of. It is a proprietary mix that would probably be difficult or more costly to make on your own.

CAUTION: Read the instructions that come with the cement/concrete mix. Follow directions for use and safety precautions.

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Zabzab11 months ago

It looks lovely =D

seamster11 months ago

This is great. I've wanted to make cement sculptures in the past, but never tried due to some assumed complexity of the task. I would never have even considered doing it like this. I love it!

caitlinsdad (author)  seamster11 months ago

I haven't tried but the same thing would work using drywall compound for indoor statues or figures. You could start with that.

cdawisconsin12 months ago


The Ideanator12 months ago

I too wonder how this will hold up since it's hollow and concrete sucks at spanning gaps(which is why they use so much rebar in bridges).

caitlinsdad (author)  The Ideanator12 months ago

The end product is a solid fine grained concrete shell which has dispersed random fiberglass strands which acts like steel rebar. Fiber reinforced concrete can be used in place of traditional rebar in many instances saving cost and labor to set up. I've essentially made laminated fiber reinforced concrete about 1/4 inch thick maybe.

EmiClarice12 months ago
I love this idea! If I had the time I would love to do this!
Kiteman12 months ago

I'd be interested to see how this lasts, given the alkalinity you mentioned. Alkali chemicals are used during papermaking to break down the lignins and some of the cellulose of the fibres, so papercrete may degrade with time.

caitlinsdad (author)  Kiteman12 months ago

Dang, I knew I should have made a Kiteman garden gnome instead.

I do plan on putting it in the garden, maybe coat it with concrete sealer too. It is an ongoing experiment as I was originally going to try making hypertufa patio stones- cement with peat moss. Papercrete is usually protected from the elements when used in buildings. I am expecting it to become porous but the embedded fiberglass strands should still hold up forming the supporting matrix. It may then be more conducive to grow a cool coating of moss. Maybe I will just turn it into a giant Chia Pet.

Oh, that would look awesome!

(Maybe a me-gnome would have been ready earlier, curing more quickly, thanks to my dry wit...)

caitlinsdad (author)  Kiteman12 months ago

Bobblehead Kiteman garden gnome with solar light up bowtie on the to-do list...

My dad would be proud...

caitlinsdad (author)  Kiteman12 months ago

(It looks like comment links are broken now...)

baecker0312 months ago
"hello mister gopher!"
caitlinsdad (author)  baecker0312 months ago

Howdy neighbor!

Caddy shack.. ?
caitlinsdad (author)  baecker0312 months ago

Allow me to introduce you to one of the greatest animation movies of all time

Although, Caddyshack was good too.

poofrabbit12 months ago

I love this idea! Concrete sealer is a good idea or maybe try a resin like Enviro Tex lite is has a low odor easy to mix and to use, I use it to seal stuff all the time.

caitlinsdad (author)  poofrabbit12 months ago

Seeing as how the newspaper just fell apart, maybe the use of rags or scrap fabric material would be better for the base. They do make bandage casts that way. I'll have to experiment with some of those concrete pigments for color.