Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Create Your Own Papier Mache Sculpture

Making a huge papier mache sculpture like Niki de Saint Phalle is not easy, but making a smaller one is very simple. Follow the directions below to create one of your own.

Supplies Needed:

Newspaper, torn into strips
Acrylic Craft Paint
Cup for rinsing paintbrush
Craft Sealant
Coated Craft Wire (Optional)

Cover your work space with sheets of newspaper to make clean up easy. Gather your supplies.
In a bowl, mix one cup of flour, two tablespoons of salt, and two cups of water and stir until the mixture is smooth. You’ll know you’ve stirred it enough when it looks like thick glue. In the picture you can see that my mixture still has a few lumps left but it worked fine. Keep you wooden spoon handy for stirring later because the floor tends to settle at the bottom of the bowl .
I find it’s easier to create a sculpture if you make a frame out of wire and then attach the papier mache to the frame. This is what Edgar Degas did when he created Little Dancer, Age Fourteen. You don’t have to do this, though. Be careful when twisting the wire—the ends can be sharp.
Dip a strip of newspaper into the papier mache mixture and wet both sides. Try to wipe off any extra mixture. This will allow your sculpture will dry faster. I find it’s easiest to run the strip through your fingers to wipe off the excess. Then add the strip to your sculpture. Keep adding strips until the sculpture looks the way you want it.
Let your sculpture dry. This could take as long as two days depending on how much papier mache you used.

When the sculpture has dried, use your acrylic craft paint to decorate it. Let the paint dry and then brush on some craft sealant like Mod Podge to protect your sculpture and to make it shiny.

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