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by nige

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Advice needed from the Moblog artists - Papier Mache!

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I'm making some props for a halloween party that i'm planning with a few friends. We're all creating some crazy papier mache heads / skulls etc. but I need tips from the pros on technique, designing etc. At the moment i'm painfully slow.

Also, if anyone knows where to get hold of wire mesh on the cheap, i'd appreciate some steer.

; )
3rd Oct 2009, 11:47   | tags:,

beth says:

a nice sharp craft nice ftw and acrylic paint.

3rd Oct 2009, 12:00

Puddlepuff says:

I still have 15 meters left from my farm house thing :)

3rd Oct 2009, 12:20

Factotum says:

I like this as a portrait of you! The coloured newpaper makes for a nice photograph, but I'd suggest brown paper bags if you're going to paint the pieces; it's quite a bit sturdier.
There's a hint of an invitation to participate, or a challenge....

3rd Oct 2009, 12:20

Rich says:

If you're making skulls, sack off the papier mache and get yourself some modroc (I think it's called that, been a few years), plaster of paris infused bandages. Less painting and awkwardness than papier mache. You could also use it to make awesome masks, just remember to cover your face with vaseline before putting any on.

But from past experience, papier mache is a massive pain in the arse for this kind of thing.

3rd Oct 2009, 12:39

nige says:

Rich, my buddy has just got hold of some modroc for the very thing. We're just trying out some different things however, as we need to transport several props and they have to be light.

Thanks for the tips. Keep them coming, I need to know! Facto, i've seen the massive heads for carnivals structured from brown paper. I'll get hold of some.

3rd Oct 2009, 13:19

Viv says:

Enjoy :)

3rd Oct 2009, 14:00

paintist says:

there really isnt a speedy way to make papier all needs dring time.....and good old flour paste seems to still be the best glue.....acrylic seems to stay wetter longer...
Chicken wire takes a lot of paper to get the honey comb shape out of it..... screwing up balls of paper to make larger features...hold down with parcel tape ( brown paper tape) can make some quite sturdy masks using brown parcel tape too......

3rd Oct 2009, 14:14

swamprose says:

great! I love messy projects. I am making jellyfish out of tissue paper and starch..

I would go with Rich. Papier mache takes forever to dry, and ballons are not always the shape you want. But it works.

Plaster bandages look nicely bandagey, and you can stick papier mache, or more wet plaster bandage onto it for details.

To do someone's face, make sure they are relaxed and really goodped up with vaseline. Cut the bandages up before you begin. It dries fast and you don't want someone sitting there with wet plaster on their face while you cut stuff up. Make some big ones to put on first, small ones last for detail. Straws to breathe through will stop your model from dying. You can smooth it out by painting it with gesso, a white chalky paint, or seal it with white glue.

If you do go with paper, soak them in diluted white glue, work in layers, so do a couple at a time..make edges extra thicker, tape the balloon to a glass or holder of some sort, and don't let your feet stick to the floor.

I look forward to this hallowe'en party. are you going as a pirate?

3rd Oct 2009, 14:31

PrincessJun says:

You could then glaze it with PVA glue, to make it extra extra sturdy afterwards, once painted and shaped etc - look forward to seeing the final thing!

3rd Oct 2009, 14:33

nige says:

This is brilliant! I knew my Moblog family would deliver the goods! So many artists on here and all with heavyweight mache experience, lol. Thank you all so much.


Swamprose, hell no! I'm going as a corpse bride. I just need to find a dress that fits...

3rd Oct 2009, 14:44

beth says:

you realise it has to be good now ?

3rd Oct 2009, 14:56

nige says:

Yeah...I think I may have a little trouble with that! I'll show mine if everyone shows theirs. Paper Mache face off! COME ON!

3rd Oct 2009, 14:59

beth says:

Nah. i sacked off paper mache as a bad idea long long ago. It just really does take forever to dry

3rd Oct 2009, 15:00

swamprose says:

corpse BRIDE? nice. you'll be so cute.

*goes off to do things with paper and starch*

3rd Oct 2009, 15:02

nige says:

Well, for the budget we set ourselves, it's the pretty much the only thing we can do! We have enough (drying) time (I think).

swamprose, can I see?

3rd Oct 2009, 15:03

swamprose says:

okay. I'll show you mine if...

tonight is nuit blanche here. very exciting. it is also a time when artists like myself use nuit blanche as an excuse to put up small projects. Bus stops are my favourite. So I am still making a thousand butterflies, then I have to go cover the Abell St bus stop shelter with them...will blog it. I also want to go see them pumping up Jeff Koons giant bunny balloon with helium...busy busy...

3rd Oct 2009, 15:28

MaggieD says:

Some years ago I bought a lifesized glass head from a charity shop, I have used it many times to make masks and 'heads' for halloween, art projects and school plays etc ....... I cover it with tinfoil then papier mache ...... if I wasn't going to use it myself this year, you could have borrowed it :)
....... looking forward to the results of your endeavours :)

3rd Oct 2009, 15:38

MaggieD says:

If you could find an old shop mannequin head you could do the same .......

3rd Oct 2009, 15:46

Dan (monster-man) Reeder(dan-at-monster-man-dot-com) says:

Add features with crumpled paper and masking tape. For the "skin" tear up an old bedsheet and dip them into white (Elmer's) glue. Great details, very strong. Paint with latex paints. That's my advice. Good luck!
Dan (

4th Oct 2009, 16:58

FilbertFox says:

all i can think of now is nige in a dress.


4th Oct 2009, 20:39

jle says:

Nigein a dress... *smirk*

21st Oct 2009, 13:32