Instructables

Step 2: Paper Mâché

Picture of Paper Mâché
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The first part of this project is paper mâché, which is as simple to do as it was creating a piñata or project in those good old middle school days! Here are the steps.

1. Get an exercise ball, I got mine at target, but they sell these anywhere.  Don't get anything too expensive (the ball won't be usable after this).  I recommend an exercise ball because it won't stick to the paper mâché, making your life easier in the long run, it's cheap and easy to obtain.  Choose the size of exercise ball according to how large you want the chair.  I really wanted to create a dog bed, so I choose a smaller exercise ball.   

2. Tape line around ball to know where to stop the paper mâché. The ball usually have some lines around them already, make sure you follow one of those around so you know you are creating a straight even line, and thus you don't have a wobbly chair outline.  Make sure you tape this line a little farther than halfway on the ball.  This is a semicircle chair, but in order to create that "room inside a room" effect you need the chair to be slightly enclosing.   (Look at the picture below, everything to the right of the line is the chair, you will be able to see I taped just over halfway)

3. Make your newspaper strips.  Mine were about 1 foot long and about 1.5 inches wide.  These don't all have to be the same size, or have straight edges, or look pretty.  Just make sure they are not too big, because otherwise they won't fold over the ball correctly and you will have wrinkles, and you can't iron these out!

4.Time to make your paper mâché concoction! Mix about 2 cups of water, 1 cup of flour and a pinch of salt.  The salt is there to prevent mold growth while the project is drying.  You wouldn't want a moldy abode! So don't forget this!  You want your mixture to be the consistency of yogurt (not greek yogurt... that is too thick) so add flour and water until you reach that consistency.   This is not going to look like a lot of paper mâché goop (for lack of better technical term :) ) but you want to make it in small batches so that it doesn't get too dry as you are working.  It is really quick to make, so fresh batches during the project are necessary.

5.  Place your exercise ball in a large bowl so that it doesn't roll around as you attack it with paper mâché, how frustrating would that be! Not to mention your floor would be covered with goop... not fun to clean up!  

6.  Cover the newspaper slips evenly on both sides (do not go for soggy).  Then lay the pieces parallel to each other on the ball.  In each square patch you do on the ball you want a one layer of newspaper horizontal and another layer on top of that, in a vertical direction.  This adds stability to the ball.  It is like a cross-hatching pattern. 

7. Once the entire ball is covered with a layer of vertical strips and a layer of horizontal strips, allow it to dry for at least 12 hours.  Repeat step 6 at least five times (at minimum!) Ten layers is more ideal.  The more layers you add, the stronger your chair will be. Don't worry if your layers or goop application is slightly uneven.  You won't see this in the end.

PATIENCE. It will be rewarded.  Just keep the image of the end product in mind, if you rush this project it won't turn out right.  You need to wait 12 hours in between each paper mâché application.  Get a nice book, or series, you want to read during this project, you can get two things done at once! 
 
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