How to do paper mache step by step

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Against the background of other types of needlework, papier-mâché stands out for its versatility and originality. Now you will find out what are the rules for making papier-mâché, and how to make simple but very beautiful things out of it.

The history of papier mache

Papier-mâché is a homogeneous mass created from paper waste with the addition of any adhesive. Translated from French, this name translates as “chewing paper.” This composition was first used in the 16th century in France. Even then, paper pulp dolls became incredibly popular. In Russia, papier-mâché appeared only under Peter I, and its industrial use began in the early 19th century..

A huge number of products are made from papier-mâché. Due to their composition, they are especially lightweight but durable. If initially the mass was used only to create dolls, then later it began to be used for making dishes, souvenirs, masks, toys, and decorative elements. But papier-mâché is especially irreplaceable in the theatrical art, where dummies and theatrical props are made from it.

Pulp Production Techniques

Today, there are only three ways to create papier-mâché masses:

  • The simplest is layered technology. Small pieces of paper are superimposed on a pre-prepared form of clay, gypsum or other material. In some cases, the number of layers applied can be up to one hundred. As a rule, for this, several strips are cut, superimposed on each other in a different direction.
  • It is especially important that the strip be smeared with glue on both sides, which subsequently ensures the strength of the finished product. As soon as the first layers are created in the amount of 3-4 pieces, it is necessary to carefully dry the product. Only after that they continue to work, drying every 4 layers. Further work depends on the purpose of the craft.
  • A more ancient way is the manufacture of papier-mâché from paper pulp. To do this, tear a newspaper or other paper into small pieces and soak in hot water for 8-10 hours. Next, heat the mixture so that the fibers break. Using a colander, drain the water, and grind the paper into a homogeneous mass (with a mixer or blender). Add a paste or glue to it, depending on the chosen technique. The result is a homogeneous mass, which is as easy to work with as plasticine.
  • The third method is more complex and is often used in an industrial environment. Sheets of cardboard are superimposed on each other and smeared with adhesive, and then pressed. As soon as the workpiece dries, it is sanded and painted. This technique produces flat elements that require special strength..

How to prepare material for working with papier-mâché

Any instruction on creating papier-mâché begins with preparing the necessary supplies. First of all, this is paper. Use a newspaper for the first time. It easily soaks, and the finished product is especially durable. It is equally easy to work with ordinary toilet paper or napkins. In addition to the above, egg packaging, cardboard, including corrugated, and other similar paper products are suitable.

In the form of an adhesive composition, ready-made glue is used. As a rule, this is PVA diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 1. At home, starch or flour can be used, from which paste is prepared. The density of the composition depends on the experience and type of manufactured product.

In addition, you will need a foundation or a mold for molding, vegetable oil which lubricates its surface in order to prevent the mass from sticking to the mold, acrylic paint and varnish. In the absence of a special paint, you can mix in equal frequent gouache and PVA glue. This composition is easily washed off the product when it is not completely dry, and after complete drying it does not smear even when applying subsequent layers or varnish.

Methods for making papier-mâché

Before doing paper, you need to prepare a paste. To do this, a small amount of water is boiled. In a separate bowl, 2-3 tablespoons of flour or starch are mixed with water until smooth. This composition is poured in a thin stream into boiling water and heated until thickened. The more starch or flour you put, the thicker your paste will be. Glue is much easier to prepare. To do this, the right amount of glue is poured into a separate bowl and the same amount of water is added, stirring thoroughly.

Methods for making papier-mâché

The selected material (newspaper or paper) must be crushed. This work is painstaking, but the process will depend on how finely you tear the paper. Pieces should be poured with hot water and allowed to stand for several hours. After that, we drain the water and with the help of a mixer we grind the paper into a homogeneous mass. If the mass is too liquid, just throw it in a colander and squeeze out excess water. A similar technique is used no matter what material you use..

The resulting dust must be mixed with glue to the state of plasticine and allowed to lie down. If sculpting is not planned immediately after cooking, you can store the mass in a tight bag in a cool place. For those who do not fully understand the features of mass preparation, we recommend watching a video lesson.

Separate recommendations and warnings

In order for the product to be especially durable, do not be too lazy to make more layers. This is especially true for masks and plates. During operation, gloves must be worn to prevent hand contamination, otherwise the glue and paste will dry on the skin and the product will stick to your hands.

Experiment with the materials used. Gradually, you will find something that is more convenient for you to work with. Be sure to cover the base with oil, otherwise after drying you simply will not be able to remove the workpiece from it. It is especially important not to cut the paper, but to tear it. Only in this way can you break the bond of the fibers, and the mass will be more uniform.

Important tip for coloring papier-mâché products. If you plan to create a white product, then you need to use white paper, and only for the last two layers. In other cases, you can simply paint the product in the desired color. But the varnish coating will protect the craft from moisture.

Be sure to cover the work surface, otherwise the glue will then be difficult to wash. Do not rush to apply the following layers, without waiting for the previous ones to dry. It is also necessary to paint only after all layers have thoroughly dried.

Step-by-step instructions for making papier-mâché plates

making papier-mâché plates

  1. Prepare a plate – it will be our basis. It must be lubricated with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly..
  2. If ready-made mass is used, then simply apply it to the plate with the necessary layer, carefully crushing it to the surface.
  3. When using the strips, we simply paste them in a chaotic manner onto the plate.
  4. Iron the surface with your fingers dipped in glue, creating a perfectly even surface.
  5. We leave the workpiece to dry for 2-3 days (depending on the thickness).
  6. Carefully remove the plate from the mold and dry it in this form for another day.
  7. Next, we use paints or, as an example, a mixture of gouache and PVA glue. You can also decorate the product with decoupage napkins, varnish for craquelure or use other techniques for decoration.
  8. A day after applying the last layer, you need to coat the product with varnish on both sides and dry.
  9. A hole is made with a thin drill (if it was originally planned to hang a plate on the wall).

Step-by-step production of papier-mâché carnival masks

making papier-mâché carnival masks

  1. Prepare the form. It can be a ready-made mask made of plastic. You can also mold it from plasticine. It is especially easy to make masks with cans. To do this, a contour is drawn on the bank, and a convexity of the nose and forehead is created from plasticine..
  2. After the surface is lubricated, apply the mass and dry all layers.
  3. This work continues until the mask is strong. Be sure to follow the instructions for working with layered papier-mâché, otherwise, with a lack of glue between pieces of paper, the finished product will simply crumble.
  4. Next, the previous pattern is repeated: the mask is covered with paints, decorated with feathers, beads and other elements, and also varnished.

Making papier mâché beads

making papier-mâché beads

  1. Beads can be made in any shape. We need to determine how our product will look. After that, prepare thin wire, pliers and scissors. In this case, all steps must be performed as carefully as possible, since the appearance of the entire product depends on this..
  2. From the mass of papier-mâché, make the required number of elements: balls, triangles, ovals and so on.
  3. Let them dry a little, but not completely. Using the wire we make loops and carefully insert them into the workpieces. Create the desired length and fix the lock.

In a similar way, not only beads are made with your own hands, but also bracelets, necklaces and even brooches. Take a look at the photo and choose the most attractive option for yourself. You can connect your imagination.

papier-mâché craft varieties

All of the above recommendations will help you make any product with which you can not only decorate your home, but also complement your wardrobe.

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