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!

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