Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Making A 3D Papier Mache Animal Sculpture: Part 2

Catch the first post in making a 3D animal here.

After I cut out the cardboard and placed and glued the tube inside my dog, I started to cover him with crumpled up newspaper covered with masking tape to make the bulk of his body.  I like completely covering it with tape because it makes a smoother surface to apply the papier mache.  First I bulked up his body and then I taped on his legs and bulked them up with paper as well.  I tried to make him look as 3D as possible: I didn't want him to look like he was made from 2 flat pieces of cardboard, although that is totally a design decision.  

Here he is, covered with paper and tape, ready for the papier mache.  My friend Ann was creating an ox right behind him. 

Next you need paper for the papier mache.  While newspaper worked great for the bulking up part, it gets super messy when you are using the paste and the newsprint starts to get all over the place.  So we went to our local newspaper and purchased an end roll and it was only $3!  It was a big roll and we could have used it for the scrunching up part too but since I get the Sunday New York Times we are never wanting for paper in this house.

Cut the strips into manageable pieces.  I found that I could cut straight down the roll with a utility knife and it created wide strips about a foot wide.  Then I could tear them along the grain into strips and then tear the strips crosswise into easy to use pieces.  Next, you need your GH-57 Universal Wallpaper Paste.  I use it straight from the container.  I don't thin it with water at all.  Be sure to wear gloves.  I pour it into a plastic salad container I have saved and then dip my fingers into the paste and then cover the paper.  DO NOT DIP PAPER INTO PASTE.  This makes the biggest mess and you end up using way too much paste. 

Note: some people like to use flour and water and that is fine and great with kids.  Wallpaper paste has anti-fungal chemicals in it which is great when applying a couple coats at a time like I do.  Again, make sure you wear gloves!

It helps if you have a good studio assistant. 

Cover your entire piece with strips slightly overlapping and, if possible, all going in the same direction.  That way it will be easier to lay the next layer and know how much you have done.  Try to smooth the paper out flat and get out any air bubbles. It's best to do only a couple layers max at a time and let it dry before the next layers.  I did about 7 layers.  I wanted him to be very sturdy.  

Now I made him for the Chinese Moon Festival here in Tacoma so I wanted to decorate him with Chinese style patterns.  After looking at some designs, I settled on a combo of the 2 designs on the left.

I painted him with a base coat of 2 coats of exterior latex paint and then drew free hand right on the sculpture. 

Then I used artist acrylics and an angled detail brush to paint in the design. 

I love how he turned out!  All in all only about $20 worth of materials for a four foot sculpture! 

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