Papier Mâché

Let their imaginations run wild!


In the modern climate of responsibility to shrinking budgets and the environment of today, very few things can be more satisfactory than discovering a project that earns you lots of recycling ‘brownie points’ and costs next to nothing.

Papier mâché (French for ‘mashed paper’) is the craft of producing objects from layers of pasted paper or from pulped paper. Its lightweight quality has made it perfect for circuses, carnivals and theatres through the world creating large, lavish temporary constructions to improve sets and screens. Its toughness and durability are illustrated by the survival of Chinese warrior masks, hardened with lacquer, dating from the second century. Papier mâché also has been used to create interior architectural moldings. Actually, in seventeenth century Norway, it was used to assemble a complete church, which stood for 37 years before being demolished!

The paper

You can use any paper, since it is often free, abundantly available and absorbent but powerful but I prefer to use newspaper. Sugar paper can also be used, as can brown craft paper. An alternative to painting your closing piece is the usage of patterned or decorative paper for the last layer. Wrapping paper that is recycled is ideal. Considerable paper should be ripped before layering commences if using the layering technique. Trying to tear paper with sticky fingers is frustrating enough to place students (and teachers!) Away for life. The finish will undoubtedly be much smoother than it would with larger pieces of paper, which will crinkle and crease as they’re layered although smaller pieces of paper take more time to layer.

Pulped paper

This is bought from many of the most popular catalogues and goes by the item name of ‘Art Mâche’. It’s fundamentally glue and paper blended and processed into a dry, powdered form. The powder is combined at a powder: water ratio of 3:1. with water It is excellent for adding details to fundamental kinds, it might be moulded like clay and sticks on to the foundation form with no need for added pasting because. It’s quite powerful when dry, so lends itself well to things like hands for spikes, puppets and other fine elements. You can make paper pulp yourself by soaking paper instantaneously and then mulching it with your hands or putting it in a blender. Squeeze out the surplus water before including a binding agent for example PVA or cellulose paste. As they’re drying, solid paper pulp shapes are inclined to shrink out of shape, so it’s best to utilize this for adding embellishments and details to layers, rather than for making the structure itself.

The adhesive or binding agent

A safe non-toxic adhesive can be made allowing it to cool and by cooking water and flour mixture. This is the binding agent that is traditional. The edge of this is that it’s not so tacky to work with, as it will go moldy, but it does require some previous preparation and once made it cannot be stored for long. To create the mixture boil five cups of water in a saucepan. In a bowl, combine of a cup of sieved flour using a cup of cold water. Gradually boil, stirring constantly for two or three minutes, until the mixture thickens. (Should you desire paste of a heavier consistency, utilize a full cup of flour to three cups of water.)

Wallpaper paste is also good, as well as the added advantage is that it frequently comprises mould inhibitors, so lasts for more in its made up state. Do make certain that the brand you use is non toxic, or it won’t be suitable for younger kids. (If at all in doubt use cellulose paste accessible from most educational suppliers.) PVA adhesive is my favorite choice, partly because it requires no previous preparation aside from blending with water 50/50, but also because it makes very a really powerful version. hence strong layers and The apparent drawback is that it can be quite cluttered and is really sticky. It may be utilized without diluting, developing a solid kind after around three layers, but it is very tacky, which might put some individuals off.

The Foundation

Papier mâché is traditionally created over a mould like a balloon, box or a base assembled from card and masking tape. It’s also possible to make bowls by layering papier mâché inside an existing bowl, but it’s worth remembering that if the closing kind would be to be discharged from its mould, then you should need to cover the original bowl in cling film, or petroleum jelly otherwise the brand new bowl will stick so securely that you just won’t be able to remove it. Balloons work nicely for the base of a fish or a traditional piggy bank, leaving a hollow, but afterward a good basic shape might be made using crunched up paper and masking tape if your desired contour is more organic. Once a fundamental form has been made over a base with two or three layers of papier mâché, afterward details like fins or wings could be added by cutting shapes out of card and adhering them to the dry basic shape with masking tape, then using another couple of layers of papier mâché. Switching layers of printed newspaper with newsprint, if it’s accessible, helps pupils to keep track of how many layers they have, and helps to prevent them from using many layers to the ‘simple’ regions and ignoring any ‘fiddly’ areas, as it is simple to see where they’ve employed the brand new layer and where not. Once the sculpture was completed, before applying a layer of white PVA paint to seal it and produce a neutral base on which to paint, it needs to be allowed to dry fully. If this is not practical, then it is helpful to use white paper, perhaps newsprint, for the closing layer, as it’s astonishingly hard to obliterate the print on newspaper and it might reveal through on the last product.

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