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Paper mache anyone?

(11 Posts)
qo Thu 18-Oct-12 13:04:29

Hi I have a few projects I want to start using paper mache, I have a few questions for anyone who uses it regularly ...

What is the best paper to use?
what is the best paint to use on the dried mache?
What is the best thing to use for a final glaze?

Thanks very much in advance smile

swampster Thu 18-Oct-12 15:53:27

I had a passion for the stuff in a past life.

Newspaper is good for big things but it tends to be lumpy and clumpy and kind of brittle to use. You need a lot of PVA glue to make it easy to work.

Tissue paper was always my favourite - very workable, versatile, you can get lovely finishes with it.

Then it is everything in between - writing paper works well, toilet paper is fun to splodge around with. Combining different papers is good, as is adding things like old egg cartons.

A super-powerful liquidiser is brilliant for making pulp but the motor gets fucked quite quickly.

I do think, though, that PVA glue is the key - I tended to use the kiddie-friendly stuff. The more powerful builders' stuff makes killer papier maché but it murders your hands.

qo Thu 18-Oct-12 22:47:11

Ohh thanks swampster, I want to get kitted out tomorrow so do I use PVA for the paste or the glaze? or both?

And the tissue, is it craft tissue or toilet tissue? </paper mache virgin>

qo Thu 18-Oct-12 22:47:36

Oh and what paint, are acrylics ok?

swampster Thu 18-Oct-12 23:12:11

I used to work in an off-licence. There was a never-ending supply of the tissue paper that was used to wrap bottles up. blush

PVA - especially the builders' type - will seal really well. And makes a great clayey mush. Or you can layer your paper using it. You can dilute it quite a lot and other materials like flour, plaster of paris, polyfilla... can make a mush that's more fun to work with - though plaster tends to dry too quickly.

Any paint will do really. Acrylics are great, but you can seal water based paints with PVA - you can also add it in to powder paints.

When I was doing lots of papier maché I tended to use quite industrial materials but since having kids I have discovered Baker Ross and they do a decently-priced non-toxic! 5l bottle of PVA and their acrylic paints are brilliant.

lemontruffles Thu 18-Oct-12 23:23:44

I went to a class (!!) on how to make papier mache - almost a professional!! - and our teacher used wallpaper paste instead of pva - much cheaper option; the paste was made up to a fairly thin consistency like single cream. As most wallpaper pastes have fungicide in them, we either wore those thin 'surgical' gloves to apply the paste, or brushed it on with a small paintbrush, and you have to wash your hands very thoroughly afterwards.

We just used newspapers, but tissue paper sounds fabulous smile

lemontruffles Thu 18-Oct-12 23:26:00

Oh yes, we decorated our basic forms in various ways: I particularly liked acrylic paints, and appliqued pictures which I often cut out of pretty wrapping papers. And sealed with varnish, matt or gloss as you prefer.

qo Fri 19-Oct-12 09:42:38

oh thanks everyone!

Lemon I'm planning on trying applique as well, can't wait to get started!

swampster Fri 19-Oct-12 21:07:34

I started with wallpaper paste and made a horrible mess, PVA was a revelation to me BUT the things you make aren't really made of paper at all, they are made of plasticky glue!

lemontruffles Fri 19-Oct-12 21:27:37

Another tip: I made a few bowls using existing, rimless bowls as forms for the paper mache. You have to remove your paper mache bowl from your original bowl, so you mustn't have a rim.

Turn your rimless bowl upside down and cover it in clingfilm. Then smear this with Vaseline. Then several layers of paper mache; I would do about 3 layers, leave it to dry for 3 days, then another 3 layers. Dry again completely.

Then ease your paper mache bowl off your original bowl. You'll need to tidy up the top edge by using sharp scissors or a sharp knife to level this edge, then apply a couple or three layers of paper mache along the edge to strengthen it. Make it as neat as poss...... Of course, you might prefer a sort of arty raggedy edge. Leave to dry again.

Then decorate!

I'd forgotten how much I used to enjoy this - you've inspired me to make lots of mess create more fabby things.

And a brilliant hobby in this never ending recession. I used to be surprised at how good some of the results were!

DPotter Mon 29-Oct-12 20:39:55

I use wallpaper paste as well. suits my needs. Have you thought of / tried using fabric - natural fibres are best - cottons etc. build up layers just like with newspaper, using cling film covered bowl as mold. great fun and already coloured so don't have to worry about painting. Have fun!

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