Monday, May 17, 2010

Papier-Maché projects

I've on occasion dome some artwork and have found the craft of papier-maché to be fun. It's easy to do when you have lot of newspaper around the house.

One year for Halloween I made ghosts from paper bags. I cut out a ghost face and stuffed the bags with crumpled newspaper before applying the newspaper strips with paste. After about three or four layers of newspaper strips, I painted the ghosts. Every year since I made these I have displaying them on my kitchen window ledge, along with the plastic hanging ghosts and the orange lights.

Just recently I tried the same idea using paper bags covered in papier-maché strips with some faces. Both of these faces were just randomly done, not meant to be anything in particular. I just began pasting strips on an other paper bag and have already come up with something to put on it. I hope to get pictures of that one soon, once I've done it.

I'm not a regular artist, but if I could make enough of these things, perhaps I could sell them. I'd especially love to make more of the ghosts. These would be excellent decorations for any house on Halloween. I also think it would be fun to try making some ghosts with painted-on faces or faces cut out from black foam and glued on. Anyone who sells on Etsy or Zazzle, what do you think? And how are these two sites different?

To do papier-maché, you need paste. It's easy to make your own. Various recipes can be found on the Internet or in craft books. One that I use (from an old activity book I have had for many years):

In a small bowl mix until smooth
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 cup water
Over this mixture pour, 1 cup boiling water
Stir until it takes on a transparent look. Strain it if necessary, and thin it with cold water until it reaches the desired consistency.

FYI, I use one of those plastic bowls with snap-on lids to store the homemade paste in. And it's best to make a new supply of paste than to keep one too long. I've found each supply I've made to be good for at least two days. Also, it's best to tear, not cut, the newspaper to be used for the strips. A bucket to keep the strips in comes in very handy.

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