What material do I use to put a "skin" on outdoor wire sculpture?

Diane Lloyd
by Diane Lloyd
The previous owner of our 6 acres left behind a lot of almost life-size sculptures of animals, made out of heavy-duty chicken wire. There are several deer, a small horse, a little giraffe, LOTS of 3' birds, a ram, a LION, etc. I want to complete the sculptures by covering them with something that can stand up to being outdoors year-round. I need ideas re: materials to use. The photo is of the lion with snow on it; the only way you can actually see these sculptures.
q what material do i use to put a skin on outdoor wire sculpture
Stalking lion, gravemarker for my Lion Dog (Pekingese). Lion is 8 feet long and 3 feet high.
  11 answers
  • Pauline Musson Pauline Musson on Jul 25, 2017
    Rather than cover the frames I would try growing some type of vine/shrub and keep it trimmed. I am sure you will get better suggestions though...

    • Diane Lloyd Diane Lloyd on Jul 26, 2017
      Great suggestion. I'll have to check with local nurseries to see what plants would survive. I actually have ONE sculpture that has a bush growing up through it and I've been a bit hesitant to prune it, mostly 'cause I don't even like the sculpture...it's a Porky Pig standing on its hind legs and it's kind of stupid looking.

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Jul 25, 2017
    Diane, Let your imagination be your guide: realistic? folksy? odds&ends type of quilt style? whimsical? sending a message? Whatever it is I suggest you use PAVERPOL to treat the fabric you decide to use. NOrmally I would not suggest a particular product without giving you at least one other option to choose from, but there really is nothing better on the market that you can use and it IS waterproof. Below is a link about it . Beautiful work, by the way! Thank you so much for asking Homtalk for a solution. I'm honored to be of help any way I can (I love artwork and the artists who create it. I have a few serious ones in my family). Good Luck and keep creating! :)

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    • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Jul 26, 2017
      You're welcome, Diane.

  • Lyn15291588 Lyn15291588 on Jul 25, 2017
    You can use mortor.

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Jul 25, 2017
    by the way, Diane, IF you choose to try Paverpol, do NOT EVER pour it down your drain ... "... IMPORTANT: DO NOT pour Paverpol down your drain – keep a bucket of water at your workstation and rinse hands and brushes frequently. While Paverpol is water-based and non-toxic, it is made to cure rock-hard, and you don’t want it stuck in your plumbing. Periodically clean the bucket; let the material in the water settled, pour off the water into flower garden, etc. The solids that have collected at the bottom of the bucket can be disposed of in any trash receptacle. ..." :

  • Sunny C Sunny C on Jul 25, 2017
    Hello Diane; These sculpture's are absolutely wild!!! I Love them!!
    There are several different things that you could use for them.
    Boxwoods would be so nice, (Like at Disney) But, I do not think they would survive in the snow!!!
    On that note, plastic boxwoods might just be the ticket. They are a new item, and are quite popular in decorating.
    You could also consider covering them with a light coating of concrete.
    Heavy duty Fabrics might work well.
    Is there any kind of opening under the animals??
    I hope that this helps you decide how to care for your Lovely Animals!!!
    Take Care!

    • Diane Lloyd Diane Lloyd on Jul 26, 2017
      The sculptures are portable, not fixed into the ground at all. I moved the horse to my garden and the morning glories are covering it, although not as much as I had hoped. Wondering how a light coat of concrete would work? A bit hesitant to make them heavier.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jul 25, 2017
    your location was not revealed.plants would be awesome,however if weather is a issue weave outdoor lights in your sculptures for all year interest to light up your landscape

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    • Charlee Hunter Charlee Hunter on Jul 26, 2017
      Ooooohhh I like the lights idea! You could also paint them before lighting them. The paint color could make them more 'visible'.

  • Sandy Sandy on Jul 25, 2017
    i would talk to a local garden shop and see what type of plants world work well on them for your area. If you are into decorating outside for Christmas, put lights on them and incorporate them into your display

    • Diane Lloyd Diane Lloyd on Jul 26, 2017
      Thank you for your ideas! I'll check with the local nurseries to see what might be able to grow year-round here. We don't have snow every year, thank goodness. We're at 2700' in the Sierras and don't always get snow but it's very quirky. We had snow ONE year that arrived on June 17th! I was hoping to add something to the sculptures that wouldn't involve me pruning them, though.

  • Jean Raley Sims Jean Raley Sims on Jul 25, 2017
    How about gardening moss or succulents. Good luck

    • Diane Lloyd Diane Lloyd on Jul 26, 2017
      Maybe gardening moss would work? We have lots of moss on the pine and oak trees on the property, so perhaps I could weave it into the structures? Not sure how they would receive sustenance though. Thinking...you've given me some ideas, thank you!!!

  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 26, 2017
    Love it. We did these a 100 years ago when I was in art school. You can use plaster cloth, burlap and plaster, or paper mache.

    • Diane Lloyd Diane Lloyd on Jul 26, 2017
      Thanks for the awesome links, Sharon! I didn't know where to start with my research and this really helps. I'm thinking burlap and plaster might be the way to go with these beasties since they're all fairly large. Thanks again!

  • DP DP on Jul 26, 2017
    what about painting them so they show up more then as someone else mentioned use lights to make them really pop. The paint would also protect the sculptures from the weather.

  • Sunny C Sunny C on Jul 26, 2017
    Hello Diane; How Wonderful!! You are indeed so lucky to have these!!
    I bet that the Morning glories are Lovely on the horse! Perhaps, you could add more morning glories to it, to fill it in?
    You could always do a test on one, using a light amount of concrete, and see how it does turn out.
    I was also going to mention to you that one of them might look really nice covered. By this I was thinking about using thin muslin cut into small strips, and using a heavy amount of glue placing the strips all over the figure. After this has dried, you could add paint.
    It would not be water proof, and you would have to use a heavy duty clear coat.
    What about taking one of them to say Ace Hardware or Home Depot, and see what those Folks recommend, as they might know of something else that would work better, for outdoor usage?
    No matter what you are so Lucky to have them!!! I hope that this helps you!!
    Take Care!