Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Progress on the Paper Maché Trout...

Here's an update on my paper maché trout.  It's going well, and moving along quickly, thanks to the dehumidifier in my basement!  It's just about 48" long from nose to tail.  I'm still finishing the Bounty paper towel layer (the back side of what you see is still just covered in the craft paper.  The front portion is impressively sturdy - almost like thick plastic.  I'm not going to strive for absolute smooth perfection, although I think I WILL sand it a bit when the paper towel layer is finished and dry.  I think the slight bumps and valleys will contribute to the hand-done look.  I'm anticipating being at the painting stage by the weekend.  My spouse better deem this "Den Worthy" or I may have to put it on Ebay.

I can't wait to try more shapes!  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Revisiting the Paper Maché Fish Idea

I've had a hankering for some paper maché…  baking, although it involves squishy flour and water mixtures, is just not cutting it.  But how does one decide what one wants to make?  I keep picturing a very large fish hanging up like someone just caught it - but this one is very colorful - a joy to look at, so that's what I decided to make. Plus, this reminds me of summer!

My last attempt at a paper maché fish was not coming out the way I wanted.  It's still in the basement, unfinished. (I guess eventually I'll finish it…) With that fish, I was trying to make an armature I could use again and again, and I wanted the fish to be very light - paper maché ONLY - nothing inside.  With this one, I decided the armature would remain in the fish - so much easier and sturdier that way.

I started with a fish shape I liked.  I wanted the shape to be realistic, so I settled on this picture of a rainbow trout:

I found it with a quick google search.  It's the kind of fish shape a fisherman might get - you don't usually see fisherman with giant angelfish on their hooks.  

I bought a roll of poultry wire with 1" holes from Home Depot, cut a piece the length of my fish including the tail.

I folded the piece in half lengthwise, and sewed it closed with some floral wire.  This does not require any advance sewing skills - just loop the sides together with your wire.

 I stuffed the middle with a few bunched up pieces of wire to keep it from flattening.  

At this point, I had a tube with a tail.  Next I squished together the front end and tightened up the bulky, pointy sections by grabbing sections of wire with my needle nose pliers and twisting them slightly.  I tried not to do TOO much cutting, since experience has shown me that cut pieces of poultry wire are a pain - literally!  I wore my gloves whenever possible, and my fingers are very happy!

Then I consulted my picture and added some necessary fins where appropriate. 

Once I had the shape finished, I ripped by craft paper (from a package we received that used this as the packing material - recycling at its best!) into long strips and circled it around the fish.  I attached it by taping the ends and/or side edges with double-sided tape (LOVE my scrapbooking ATG gun!).  Where I couldn't attach to another piece of craft paper, I tucked the paper through the wire and taped it back into itself inside the fish.  It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it saved me loads of time by 1. giving my first layer of paper maché something to stick to, and 2. providing a separation between the goo and the table, making clean up SO much easier!

First I covered one side with a layer of paper maché, then I put it downstairs near the dehumidifier, and about 8 hours later, it was dry enough for me to cover the second side.  

Going to cover the remaining holes now, then look into my options.  I AM going to finish this fish, I promise!!  

If anyone has any ideas, techniques or questions, post away!

Later, friends!