paper mache, equanimity and a tiny gentleman sailor

Paper mache is good for my brain and spirit. It requires just enough attention – all those little pieces of paper – It’s a very effective antidote to stress and anxiety and good for percolating ideas – my hands are busy and my mind wanders gently around. It takes me a little while to settle into it but it never fails to bring a quietness and presentness – a sense of equanimity- whatever might be swirling around me. I think its meditation sneaking up on me.

paper mache ship work

I’m building ships and boats – besides the psychological benefits I miss having them around – I’m currently ship-less. The large ship above is made using this pattern with a couple modifications to the side and back templates. I’ve started the second layer of newsprint over the first of brown paper. I don’t usually wait for one layer to dry before starting the next and 2 layers should be enough for this ship.

The very mini boat below is an experiment – I wondered if the little felt boat pattern template would also work as a paper mache armature – it does! I taped it together with lots of masking tape and added two coats of paper mache. It’s so little the paper mache part was quick – about 15 minutes per layer.

little sailboat

gentleman sailor

If I was starting over I would have made the little boat 10% bigger – it shrunk a bit when it dried so t’s a tight fit for the gentleman sailor mouse I made to captain it (find the free pattern here). He’s fancy – with his lace ascot and looks pretty pleased with things.

P.S. – if you’ve never tried paper mache you can find a  free project here and another here – both are a good place to start.


  1. I love your boats so much.I bought the patterns and have had so much fun making them. It is a very meditative process and I love choosing the paper and the paint that will give each boat its character. Now I have to make some animals to sail them!

  2. Well. If that little boat and sailor gentleman isn’t just the cutest thing.

    I have learned to take meditation in whatever form I can get it. It comes easiest for me when, like you, I am in the middle of contemplative creating with repetitive motions. Quiet also helps.

    And thank you for the paper cache links!

  3. I totally agree, but then find that most crafting is for me a form of meditating. I like to lose myself in whatever my current crafting fad is. I made a few little boats following your instructions and they look amazing… But you have triggered an idea in my head this morning so I now have a project in mind

  4. of ships and dreams and angel wings! (I thought from the top photo that you were building an angel

  5. Maureen Willetts

    Thank you so much, he is lovely. A good idea for little gifts, with your name mentioned of course.
    As for the papier mache, I must agree with you, there is nothing as good as all that sticky mess and then ending with a beautiful creation. You’re a true artist.

  6. Paula Brown

    I used you tea cup pattern and was pleased with the results. Thanks you, Paula

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