Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A paper mache REVELATION!!!

     With all due respect to the great master, I am the Michaelangelo of paper mache.  I am the QUEEN of paper mache... 

     But seriously, I really do love to make things out of paper mache, so when I signed up to be the set designer for Alice In Wonderland Jr., the play at my school, I thought, EXCELLENT, I'll make some giant mushrooms out of paper mache.  Any excuse to sculpt out of newspaper, flour and water.  I love messy crafts. 

     Then I realized (thank goodness!) how utterly time consuming a 6 foot mushroom made of paper mache would be, and I altered my plans. I had never realized that all the props on the set had to be unbreakable just in case the kids accidentally dropped something, so that meant that the Mad Hatter's tea set had to be plastic or...

paper mache.

     I started with ballons, as you may have seen in a previous post of mine, but to make really STRONG paper mache, you need countless layers, each dried seperately (cause you can't risk stinky, moldy sculptures).  In that previous picture, you can see that I made my first layer the usual way - newspaper strips dipped in a flour and water mixture.  Nice and round, but delicate, and loaded with newsprint that shows through your first layer of paint.

     But then, something that one of the art teachers told me came to mind... "I use paper towels when I have my classes make the face masks"  Paper towels... huuuuuummmmmmmmmm.....

     So the other day I got out a roll of Bounty, and ripped that into strips for my second layer.

     Can I say OH MY!!!!

     The layers were really heavy and caved in the sagging balloon a bit but when it dried, HOLY COW, if I throw that sucker across the room, I could knock someone out, it's so hard.  It's amazing!  Not only does the Bounty make the layer super strong, but it's somewhat flexible when wet, so you don't get those annoying corners that are impossible to flatten on round surfaces.  The stuff STRETCHES a bit. Round surfaces can be rounder... you can use larger pieces and so, finish faster. And the surface is just perfect for paint of any color.  Again, I just have to say it... AMAZING!!

     I realize most of you don't give a doodle about this, but hey, I was so excited about it I just had to share.  

     Oh, and you're probably wondering, "What the heck IS that in the picture....?" 

     It's the spout for the Mad Hatter's tea pot.

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