Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paper Mache Fish - Step 3 - Attaching Front to Back

In this step, I'm attaching the front pieces of the fish body and tail to the back pieces of the fish body and tail.  I've been lax in posting this because I realized my fish has a design flaw, and I'm worried I won't be able to compensate for it.  You see, I should have made the body and tail as one piece - i.e., body/tail front, body/tail back.  By making the tail separately from the body, I'm most likely making the area that connects the body to the tail a weak point.  I've come up with a few ideas for  remedying this situation, but if you're just reading and contemplating making a fish, do what I didn't do and connect the tail to the body right from the start.

So to begin this step, I assembled my basic pieces - I also used a few very large rubber bands and a small cardboard box to aid in the assembly that are not pictured here - you'll see how I use them later on.

First, trim the rough edges so they more closely resemble the shape you want.  This is not a precise operation, you just want to make sure they will fit together as nicely as possible.  Do this for both the tail pieces and the body pieces (or, if you are the type that reads directions BEFORE assembly, you will have just one front piece and one back piece - hurray for you, you overachiever!)

This is where my extra large rubber band came in SO handy...  you don't want your two pieces slipping and sliding around after you begin putting the gluey paper mache strips on them...  that would be a great, big YIKES.

 I put a wadded paper napkin in between the two pieces where I wanted there to be some separation - in this case, where the tail will attach to the fish.  You can use the same idea in any location where the pieces aren't laying flush with each other, or if you need to elevate a section.  

Now, begin adding connecting strips of paper mache around the edges...

Make them as smooth as you can to avoid fixing the bumps later on.

I worked for as long as possible with the rubber band on - it helped to keep everything in place.

I kept this end open so that I could slide this over one end of the fish, but as you know, on any future fish, I would make it all one piece...

Walla.....  time to dry.

For the fish body, after trimming excess paper off the edge, I bent the wires around the edges to attach the front to the back.   I added this craft wire with another layer of paper mache after the first layer had dried.  I'm not really sure this was necessary, but what the heck.

This time I found an appropriately sized box that I could stand my fish in while I was working on it.  I didn't have a rubber band large enough for this piece.

It was a little difficult to get the wire bent extremely flat, but I think it will still help make it stronger in the end.

Next stage of fish production:  attaching the tail to the body.

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