How to sculpt animals with chicken wire

Written by patricia murray
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How to sculpt animals with chicken wire
Chicken wire ready for moulding into all kinds of shapes (roll of mesh image by jimcox40 from

Many sculpting projects require an initial mould to help give structure to the final project. Normally used as fencing, chicken wire is a mesh made of thin metal that is also an excellent mould-making tool as it is very pliable, cheap and easy to obtain. There are several thicknesses available depending on your needs. You can find rolls of chicken wire at hardware stores, often in the gardening section.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Animal images
  • Roll of chicken wire
  • Wire cutters or tin snips
  • Work gloves
  • Pliers

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  1. 1

    Find images from books or on the Internet of the animal you wish to sculpt to use as reference. Try and find clear pictures from several angles. This will give you an idea of the proportions of the animal from all sides.

  2. 2

    Unroll the chicken wire and start building your animal model in parts before attaching them together. Using the wire cutters or tin snips, cut a piece that is big enough to make the body part of your choice.

  3. 3

    Bend and mould your cut piece of chicken wire into the desired shape. Using your fingers or a pair of pliers, wrap the ends of the wire around other sections of the mesh to hold them together. The wire is very bendable so you can shape it easily into the correct proportions, even when attached together.

  4. 4

    Repeat these steps until all body parts are complete. Make sure you have cut ends where you want to attach one part to another.

  5. 5

    Attach the body parts together by folding the cut ends around the mesh, with your fingers or a pair of pliers, and position them as desired. Tuck all cut ends inside the animal model to avoid accidental poking. Your model can now either be kept as is or covered with a material such as papier-mache to finish it off.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a thicker gauge of chicken wire if you are planning to put paper-mache or plaster over your mould or it may cave in from the weight.
  • Wear work gloves when working with the chicken wire as the cut ends of the wire can be very sharp.

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