November 17, 2012

Papier Mache

Hello there!
It's been a while since I posted, but I've been super-busy working behind the scenes on a big secret that I'll be revealing very soon... ;)

In the mean time, here's something that I've been up to my elbows in:

Papier Mache!

Have you ever tried this before? I remember learning how to papier mache back in primary school where we used a horrible gunky mix of clag paste and water, and naturally got it everywhere! Today I'm going to share with you my own recipe (which is hopefully a little more user-friendly).

All you need is this:

flour, water, newspaper

In a bowl, mix 2 cups of plain flour with enough water to form a pancake-mixture-like consistency.
I find that beating it with a small hand mixer gives a nice smooth and lump-free paste.

Next step is to put on a pair of rubber/plastic gloves. Not only is this messy work, but the newsprint will turn your hands black! Then begin tearing up your newspaper into small random pieces. At this point, if you are working outside (like me) ensure that your newspaper is deposited into a deep box or container, or the strips will be blown into your neighbour's yard before you know it.

Then make sure you're work area is well covered, because like I said before, this is messy work! Grab your chosen object to mache (this can be a wire sculpture or in my case, a simple balloon) and secure it in a box or container, so it cannot fall/blow over/away.

Now comes the fun part! Still got those gloves on? Good! Now grab a piece of newspaper, dip it into your paste, wiping the excess off on the side of the bowl as you go. Slap it on your object and smooth the paste with your hands. Repeat - making sure you overlap each piece of newspaper until the whole object is covered. As tempting as it may be - ONLY DO ONE LAYER! Then set your piece aside to dry. Depending on the weather this might take a few hours to a couple of days. Only when the object is COMPLETELY dry, can you add another layer of newspaper. Keep adding layer after layer until you achieve the level of thickness you desire*.

If you have covered a balloon, you can pop it once the paper is fully dry and hard. The paper will keep its shape and can be cut/painted/added to, etc.

Papier mache is lots of fun and a great activity for the kids, too. Just make sure they are dressed in old clothes and are somewhere free to make a mess.

If you'd like to see what this finished product will become, stay tuned and all will be revealed soon :)

*Just a tip: If you are making a pinata for a child's birthday party, do not be tempted to do too many layers. Flour-based papier mache sets very hard, and you will be faced with some much disappointed children and a rather amusing display as the dads try and beat your creation to a pulp.

Sharing this recipe with: Savvy Southern Style : 

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