Introduction: Paper Clay Mask
Killer Croc on the loose, one of many characters and craft ideas using this age old method of paper palp clay.
Step 1: Making Paper Palp
(Photo1) Tear and strip newspapers into small pieces, (Photo2) don't use the folded pieces, they make knots in your artwork, "insure there's no glossy pages" either.
2. Then soak in hot water overnight, giving it a good stir with a stick to loosen any pieces stuck together.
3. Put paper palp into liquidizer or blender, with water and churn it until it's properly mashed up, a sloppy grey color. I would make about 2 - 3kgs. As it can be stored, for long periods and used when needed.
4. Using gloves and sieve strain out most of the water, not all of it, (Photo3) just so you left with wet paper palp.
Step 2: Making the Glue Paste
Bring 1litre of water to boil in a pot.
(Photo1) Take 2 heaped tablespoons of regular cake flour and stir it in, keep stirring continually and rigorously, "Don't let it burn" at bottom of pot. It will thicken quite a bit, but add a little more water and work out all the lumps, until it's a (Photo2) creamy porridge, leave it to cool but keep stirring it, so it does not form a skin on the top, also helps to cool it down. Can add water to make it more watery and thin it out a bit. Should get to about double the consistency, you originally had.
If it does get all stodgy, just add a bit of boiling water and give it a good beating.
Step 3: Making the Armature or Structure
1.) Blow up a balloon slightly bigger than the head of the person who's going to wear the mask. Tie a piece of string to its mouth piece and hang it up. (Note please keep balloon inflated until the last step)
2.) Repurpose and put the glossy pages under the balloon where it will drip.
3.) Tear strips of newspaper about 5cm wide, do this prior to working with the paste.
4.) (Photo1) Using the flour paste, take the strips and like glue lightly cover the one side of the paper and apply it to the balloon, (Photos2-4)until it is totally covered. (Photo3) Criss-Cross and overlap each strip with the others. Leave it to dry naturally in the sun, until hard, make sure you can't see any of the balloon, and you have covered over it evenly with paper, smooth, squeeze and press down on pieces that stick up.
5.) (Photo4) Then keep applying up to 4 layers allowing it to dry in between every layer. Once it is fully covered and dried you can feel by lightly pressing on it, to see if it's strong enough.
Step 4: Making the Clay
1.) Using gloves, add the remaining flour paste to the paper palp mix, therapeutically kneading it in with your hands until it is mixed in thoroughly. Any excess water can be squeezed out and drained.
2.) Now add 4 tablespoons of Crack Filler purchased at any hardware store and knead that in until all lumps and powder have been mixed in properly.
3.) Add more dry flour and Crack Filler mix it in, until its no longer gooey or glues to your gloves.
This is the clay you will use to sculpt the features of your mask. This can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks as well as what you don't use, you can freeze until needed and defrosted.
I repurpose the bread bags to keep it in. Always label your clay if storing it in the freezer, you don't want someone cooking it up for your dinner.
Step 5: Applying the Base Layer
Smear the paper clay you made with the Crack Filler, over the entire balloon armature, about 2 - 3mm thick insuring it covers all of the balloon structure. Leave this to dry naturally in the sun, until hard. Now you have the base with which to start making your mask. Please note the thicker you apply the paper palp mix, or the wetter it is, the greater the chance of the balloon structure collapsing in. So best to keep the balloon inflated for as long as possible. Atleast until most of the mask has been built and sculpted.
Step 6: Making the Mask
1.) Draw cross lines onto the balloon structure, where the eyes will go and the nose, it's better to try mark it according to the person's face, by measuring it up against their head. Draw the eyes slightly bigger than usual, so you know where they will be situated and so you don't cover over that area, with the paper clay mix.
2.) Build the nose up and mouth and around the eye socket, if your character mask has one. Leave it to dry a little. It's best to do sections at a time, otherwise you may smudge when trying to do, too much.
Step 7: Applying Features
1.) Now is the fun part, without covering the eye area sculpt your mask by working in layers, try not to apply it too thick or you may find it distorting or collapsing during this process. It's not a major issue as it can be repaired and fixed up by adding or cutting away. You just want don't want it to collapse inside where your face will be pressed against, making it uncomfortable to wear.
2.) I like to start with the nose and eye brows area just to give me a form to work from. You can make any face or character as long as you don't cover over the eye area. I chose to do a rendition of Killer Croc from Suicide Squad, maybe because he has such nice teeth and is almost never given the lime light. Great mask for Halloween as well.
3.) I also found that by adding more of the Crack Filler you can make the clay more like a putty, which can be rolled in your hand to make the teeth.
4.) Using various types of tools like a butter knife, nails and I've found creativity in that too for whatever you deem usable, you can sculpt and press into the clay to acquire the different effects.
The great thing about this paper clay is you can sculpt it, cut and carve it, sand it, lightly bake it and create with it. But like a cat, any water will destroy it. Lost many works of art from fire and water damage.
Step 8: Cutting the Mask
1.) Once everything is dry and you have checked for any flaws or changes. You can cut the mask in half and use the otherside for another mask. Be careful when cutting not to slice yourself open or crush the mask in the process.
2.) The balloon will pop and should remain glued inside, but you can tear it out and throw it away.
3.) I chose not to cut out the eye sockets, but you can do that at the same time.
Step 9: Painting the Mask
1.) Using Acrylic paint, start with the lighter colors first, then add overlays of the darker colors.
2.) I like to paint my sculptures all white as a base color, helps to allow other colors to stand out.
3.) You can dab the brush end to get a stipple effect or use a sponge for different types of effects.
4.) Once you painted on all the colors you can then define it, by adding black to creased areas or areas that would naturally be shaded.
Black helps to draw out and define the character making it look more real.
5.) Once painted poke a whole on either side near where the ears of the person will be situated, tie an elastic or string and thread it through. This will hold the mask onto the head.
Step 10: Other Stuff to Make
Once you got the hang of it, there's all types of objects you can make, using the same process.
The Killer Croc I did within a week including drying time in the sun.
In (photos 4-7) this project I've tried to do as much fine detail as possible, which takes a lot of patience, and shows how effective paper clay can be.
Always safety first, use gloves when mixing, have a bowl of water next to you to assist with smoothing of the clay as well as washing your hands and tools.
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