Like quite a few Bark readers, Jessi Hull of New Boston, N.H., was inspired by our article on how to make papier-mâché dog sculptures. (See a gallery of reader creations.) But, she took it further than most. She made 15 canine papier-mâché vases, which she used as centerpieces for her May 21, 2011 wedding. (About the time our story on dogs in weddings came out in Bark.) How’d she do it? Jessi breaks it down:
Big idea: Our wedding was in our backyard and was children- and dog-friendly. Dogs were specifically invited, and our dogs were our wedding party. When I told my fiancé and friends of my plans to make the vases into papier-mâché dogs—no one believed I could do it. So I made three examples by myself—at which point everyone came on board.
Papier-mâché party: My girlfriends threw a bridal shower party for me, during which we made all 15 dog vases and one cat vase by my now sister-in-law. The party was filled with laughter and very messy! Our hands were covered in papier-mâché, so we had to drink wine with straws! I painted them all myself and another friend helped put on the collars and wedding-sticker dog tags.
Wedding day: It was especially fun for those guests who helped shape the dogs to see the finished products at our wedding. The vases became the centerpieces on each picnic table. We filled them with lilacs, which another friend gathered for us. Everyone loved them! Now they are proudly displayed in our kitchen, atop our kitchen cabinets.
Technique: I used a mason jar as the body of the dog, built the shape out with newspaper, and used newspaper and toilet paper rolls to form the head, legs and tail. Then I covered all with masking tape, as your article suggested, papier-mâché and painted. I used our wedding sticker as the tag for the collars on all the dogs. Total hours to make—probably about 24 actual hours of work on five different days (needed time for drying at various stages), with a total of 10 people involved.
Inspiration: Jessi and her husband are vegans, and they regularly foster dogs for a rescue group called WOOFFUN (Waiting for Our Forever Homes Up North). But they also have four dogs of their own, who served as models for several of the vases (see photos). Their brown and white Chihuahua, Pidgewidgeon (like in Harry Potter), is 8-years-old and came from the Anderson County South Carolina shelter, where she was a backyard breeder discard once she was too old to have puppies. Diego is a three-year-old tricolor mutt from a private rescue person in Manchester, N.H. Cisco, black with a grey muzzle, is 12 years old. He is being treated for and in remission from Leukemia, Jessi found him as a stray wandering the back roads of upstate N.Y. Finally, her six-month-old Beagle mix, Jeter, is their our most recent foster from Georgia. "We fell in love and decided to adopt him as a wedding present to ourselves," Jessi says.