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!