Friday, August 24, 2012

Paper Mache

It's not anything fancy. It's the same old stuff you used when you were a kid.

Pros of Using Paper Mache
  • Dirt cheap
  • Can make using things at home
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean up

Cons of Using Paper Mache
  • May have a lumpy finish
  • Need to have some sort of pattern ready to use on
    • Using balloons for shoulder guards, etc
  • Could possibly mold if too impatient

Typical Paper Mache Mix
There are a TON of ways to make your Paper Mache mix. Some people use a flour/water mixture, others use watered down elmers glue, and some people use wallpaper paste.  I've heard that wallpaper paste helps it become smooth. However, you can also just dip your hands in your paste and smooth over any rough edges on your finished product. Worked just fine for me.

For the flour/water mixture, I think I used about a 1:1 ratio of flour/water. I mixed it well with a whisk and, if the mixture was too thick, added a little water. This mixture can be held in a covered plastic container for a few days before molding.

When using flour/water mixture, you have to make sure that you let it dry every 3-4 layers you put on. Less, if you have the patience. Otherwise, it might mold and that would be gross. Don't let it dry someone dark and damp too...

Paper for Paper Mache
Newspaper is the standard. Use the free paper that comes in your mail and you'll be good to go. You can cut it into small squares if you have a more complex piece, but 1 inch strips should be fine for basic shapes.

I've also read that using phonebook paper is also a good option if you have extra Yellowbooks hanging around. Yellow pages and white pages have different textures as well. I heard that white pages are a little stronger and sturdier than yellow pages, so maybe finish the last few top layers with that. I haven't used a phone book for Paper Mache yet, but I'll keep you posted if I do!

You can also use more expensive options, such as computer paper or tissue paper... if you want.

Additional Reading
If you want to read up some more on paper mache specifics, here are some really good tutorials that I found.  It really is as simple as Paper Mache though. ^_^

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