Paper Mache Recipes and Techniques
Liquid starch is a great paper mache technique. You just pour it in a bowl and use it to dip strips of newspaper, paper towels or cloth. It makes a wonderful hard shell that is very uniform and smooth. It does take quite a while to dry though. So you have to plan for that.
The picture shows a paper mache that I did using liquid starch. I simply placed it onto a balloon to get the shell shape.
Flour and water
This is the most common way of making up paper mache. It is easy and uses around the house materials. You just mix equal amounts of white unbleached flour and water. Typically 2 cups flour, 2 cups water. Mix it up until smooth and you are ready to go.
2 cups and 2 cups makes a semi thick paper mache which is great for strength. Typically I do the first coat with this. Then after that coat dries I mix a second coat that is 2 cups flour and 3 cups water. This makes a smoother paper mache which will make your project smoother. The picture here shows a paper mache helmet that I made. You can see that project along with a video right here: The Iron Helmet from Skyrim
Celluclay is an excellent quality paper mache material. Is kind kind of like very finely whipped newspaper. You just add water to it and it becomes clay like. You can vary the amount of water to change the consistency.
This picture shows what celluclay looks like. I will add water to it and its ready to use.
Here the celluclay is being applied to the castle. I mixed it up pretty thick so it would give me a castle wall look. You can mix it in all kinds of consistencies by adjusting the amount of water to add.
This picture shows the celluclay after it has dried. You can also see how I got diffferent consistencies with it.
Tips and Techniques
Making the Flour Water Mix - I talked about this already but it is quite ok to tinker with the mixture of flour and water. You can get different consistencies and different strengths.
Adding Salt - When making flour and water you should add a tablespoon of salt to the mixture. This will prohibit mold growth. With humidity and time it is possible for your project to get moldy. This is because you are using flour. Adding salt will help prohibit that.
Spraying/sealing your project - Once your project is done, painted and dried it is a good idea to spray seal it with some kind of fixative. It will preserve it and the colors of it. There are a lot of products you can use for this.
This Crystal clear enamel is what I use. It works really well and gives a light shine to the projects. You can get it on amazon. It is also available in any hardware store. Rust-Oleum Spray, Gloss Crystal Clear
Tip: Use a fan on your paper mache. It will help it dry a whole lot faster. Rather than waiting overnight for it to dry this will speed it up to only an hour or two.
One of the biggest things about paper mache projects is making up the frame to put the mache on. You have a whole lot of options when it comes to this and here are a few pictures. I typically use strips of cereal box cardboard to make a frame. You can use all kinds of things including a balloon. Once the mache is dry just stick a pin in it to pop the balloon!
Books On Paper Mache
Papier-Mache Monsters: Turn Trinkets and Trash into Magnificent Monstrosities Celebrated monster-making master Dan Reeder is at it again in Papier-Mache Monsters, helping you create cool monsters from just a few simple materials and goof-proof steps for guaranteed success. Plus, there's more-you'll have access to all of Reeder's secrets for creating must-have monster elements, such as jaws, claws, horns, scales, webbing, tentacles, eyeballs, fingers, toes, gnarly hands and feet, and even perfect DROOL! Learn how to make a basic monster and you'll be well on your way to creating more hideous creatures, beasts, dragons, and whatever else your dark side can think of!
Papier-Mache for Kids - By experimenting and simplifying, papier mache expert Sheila McGraw has created a how-to book for kids with projects that fit the level of skill, the hand-size, and the attention span of children. Each how-to step is matched with a clear, full-color photograph and concise, simple directions. Clear symbols denote where an adult's help or supervision may be needed. 145 photographs.
Dragon-Maker's Handbook-Full Color Edition This book details the step by step making of a fantastic papier and cloth mache dragon.
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