Papié Maché

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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 17 Apr 2011, 11:19

Each time I work with the mix I find I have more control with the modelling.

I've got 2 smallish 'wodge' heads left, so I'll try one using flour and water next, mixing just a small mount, as I go, as I've no oil of cloves in stock.

Any ideas what alternative I could use to stop it 'going off'?
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Chris » 17 Apr 2011, 19:32

Well it doesn't go off instantly, it'll keep for a couple of days, or weeks in the fridge. Anyway oil of cloves won't break the bank will it, and always useful to have in for toothache.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 17 Apr 2011, 19:45

Didn't think of using the fridge, I suppose one could even freeze it.

I don't have many 'exotic' ingredients/remedies in stock, and what I do have are often lost in the clutter.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby CvdC » 17 Apr 2011, 21:39

Try adding


Fillet of a fenny snake (boiled)
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog (back of the cupboard on the left)
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting (from hardware shop, ask at the paint section)
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing( you may have trouble tracking this down, but google and see what pops up.)
Let it bubble a bit and when cold mix with paper mulch.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 05 May 2011, 17:15

One little point to make is that repetitively tearing up a bulk load of newsprint, and then working it by hand into a smooth porridge - takes a fair bit of effort, and Richard mentions using a blender.

I found it a strain on my (small sized) hands, so ended up using a metal 'paint/plaster? stirrer', driven by a fairly powerful electric drill. Used on soaked paper it tears it up and then breaks it down well, producing a pleasantly smooth pulp. Pic attached.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Chris » 05 May 2011, 18:16

Good idea - but just take care with electric drill where water is around.
I remember I used to use a ribbed glass rubbing board - the thing used for washing clothes (before electric washing machines were invented) - and weren't they also used by skiffle groups with thimbles on their fingers?
Some may be old enough to remember skiffle.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 05 May 2011, 18:34

Yes, I hope anyone 'having a go' takes proper care.
The drill I use is 110 volt, so potentially still shocking, but in theory anyway, unlikely to be lethal.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Trevek » 08 May 2011, 09:35

Les said: One little point to make is that repetitively tearing up a bulk load of newsprint, and then working it by hand into a smooth porridge - takes a fair bit of effort, and Richard mentions using a blender.

Genuine question, would a paper shredder do the tearing job quickly or would it be too thin?
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Chris » 09 May 2011, 15:47

Paper shredders cut. The paper must be torn.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Trevek » 09 May 2011, 20:33

Thanks Chris, definitely worth remembering.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 14 Jun 2011, 18:26

I mentioned that I preferred using PVA as my adhesive in the mix, and was very happy with it.
Up until a week or so ago it was working well, but a change to warmer weather has meant it does thicken up far more quickly, so I end up mixing small amounts 'as I go along'. It slows things down, and it becomes harder to judge how much PVA to put in the mix - too much means it looks fine, but there's more shrinkage once dried.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Chris » 14 Jun 2011, 21:11

Follow my advice Les, use flour paste or wallpaper paste for papie mache. PVA adhesive just isn't suitable. Quite apart from becoming tacky almost instantly it also coats the fibres rather than amalgamating. This is very obvious if using the paper layer method since the edges of paper on paper don't blend in as readily.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 04 Jul 2011, 13:31

Had a go with flour and water last week. It was probably my bad experiences of trying to mix flour into sauces etc that had been putting me off, but by being patient I got a good sticky paste. It does make the pm pulp more manageable.

The head at foot of this post is for a 'mild-mannered' PC character, and is modelled around a pm core, there is one layer of fine pm pulp, including whiting, and this was reasonably smooth, the face detail has then been further covered by a thin second layer of extra fine pm pulp with a higher whiting content.


Not a big head at 14cms as shown, the weight of 105g is very reasonable, but starting with a sturdy pm core the weight can start to creep up, and the Judy head (at bottom,) bit smaller at 12.5cms has reached 160g

To keep the weight down as the heads get larger, a polystyrene ball or balls or egg can be used, the ghost below is taller at 17cms but weighs 135g

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Re: Papié Maché

Postby Chris » 04 Jul 2011, 14:07

They look very nice Les.

I wouldn't have thought a paper core was that much heavier than a poly-ball. I don't use any adhesive or filler with the core. It is simply newspaper tightly squeezed. There is enough starch in the paper to make it self adhere.
It is the whiting and paste in the outer layer which add weight.
Remember also that while the whiting gives a smoothness and ease of modelling it does also weaken the mache. With plenty of whiting you can get an almost porcelain finish - but relatively fragile. With Punch figures I would use an absolute minimum of whiting. I would also, when all was dry, surface the finished head with at least two layers of torn tissue pieces as additional protection. Also (again only needed for punch figures) I would have inserted dowels in chins and noses.
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Re: Papié Maché

Postby lesclarke » 04 Jul 2011, 16:54

Let's have a look...
A 10cm poly egg and a card tube weighs 22g, add a bit of pm to join together gives about 30g.
For the same size of head, one of the (very sturdy) pm cores, plus card tube is about 80g for a 10 cm head shape plus 4 cm neck.

So there is a saving, but I take your point that it's the whiting and paste that adds much of the weight, the Judy head is very 3D, rounded in it's modelling, at present it sits on the finger a bit uncomfortably as the neck is yet to be shortened, as with any head it's not just about the weight, but also the balance.

The weight would I feel only start to be a problem with more of a 'full-sized' Punch head, but even then will be no more than a wooden head. With a poly core shape I reckon one could achieve around half the weight of a wooden Punch. I've started a few Punch heads with 'reinforcements' for nose and chins, and if they ever get finished I suppose I should try them out on a 'Punishment Rig' to determine their robustness.
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