Paper mache is a crafting medium which involves using recycled paper and some 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 wintergreen 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 a wallpaper adhesive/ glue or 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 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 it 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, optionally 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 strip on the mold, make sure you smooth it out, so there are not wrinkles.
3. Continue the process until the mold is completely covered.
4. You can place up to 4 layers initially on the mold 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 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 make a straight cut carefully 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 image 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 watercolor or acrylic paint after the surface has completely dried.
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