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Some tips on how to work with paper mache

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December 13, 2017 in Street Art

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Paper mache is a crafting medium which involves using recycled paper and some type of glue. The recycled paper is torn into strips and dipped in the glue and then applied to a structure or mold allowed to dry and then painted. Paper mache is used in crafting projects to make ornaments, decorations, figures and things of that nature.

A basic paper mache recipe involves using flour water and then the recycled paper. It is recommended that oil of wintergeen is added to the basic recipe so it has a longer shelf life. Another suggestion if you want your project to last instead of using flour you would use an wall paper adhesive/ glue or a paste. This is because flour paste can become moldy in a humid environment.

Regardless of the recipe you use to make paper mache they all require using torn pieces of some sort of recycled paper. You should tear not cut the paper because tearing allows for better absorption and adhering. The paper has to be thoroughly saturated with the gluing substance so i, can stick to the model or structure you are working on. Finally you need to make sure that the paper mache completely dries before adding another layer on top of that one. This ensures the best hold and consistency for your project. Paper mache has a strong smell and some people add cinnamon to the recipe just to reduce it. That is of course optional based on your tolerance level to the smell.

When covering your paper mache project you want to:

1. Dip the newspaper strips in the paste one at a time. Make sure the strip is well coated but squeeze off any excess paste to avoid dripping.

2. When you place the coated stip on the mould make sure you smooth it out so there are not wrinkles.

3. Continue the process until the mould is completely covered.

4. You can place up to 4 layers initially on the mould and then set it aside to dry completely.

5. Allow the project to dry totally

You may repeat the steps above until you have the desired thickness you want for your projects completion. This can actually take up to a couple of days.

Once you feel that your project is ready you can now:

1. Use a sharp box cutter or scissors to carefully make a straight cut down the middle of your paper mache.

2. Separate slowly the two sections from the mold.

3. Join back the two sections (now with the mold removed) using strips of white paper and paste. Repeat until the separation lines are not evident. Allow to dry.

4. Paint your paper mache project with water color or acrylic paint after the surface has completely dried.

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