Barnacle Sculptures--and an Experiment With 2 Kinds of Homemade Paper Mache Clay

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Introduction: Barnacle Sculptures--and an Experiment With 2 Kinds of Homemade Paper Mache Clay

About: Livin' and lovin' life to the fullest 😁

I like paper mache, but I hate the mess. I've been wanting to try out the paper mache clay recipes that I've seen online, but I wasn't sure which one to go with. I decided to compare two recipes from the Ultimate Paper Mache website while creating these cute barnacle sculptures for my "beach" room. I'll be using the recipes for the paper mache clay with gram measurements and the silky-smooth air dry clay. Come on in and join the experiment!

This is an entry in the Paper Contest! If u like what u see, please vote for me 😁

Step 1: Supplies

Digital kitchen scale if you have one
Measuring cups and spoons
Large bowl
Rubber spatula
Plastic wrap--to wrap finished clay
Container-for clay storage
Sheet of plastic, such as one side of a plastic grocery bag or tall kitchen trash bag--used for shaping the barnacles
Balloons--I used 2 sizes
Toilet paper
Hot tap water
White glue--like Elmer's
Pre-mixed drywall joint compound--NOT DAP BRAND!
White flour
Cornstarch
Baby oil
Hand mixer
Rolling pin
Tray lined with parchment paper to put barnacles on to dry
Scissors

Step 2: Make Paper Mache Clay With Gram Measurements

If you don't have a scale, use this version of the clay:
https://www.ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay

This is the standard clay
Toilet paper--72 grams dry; 330 grams wet
White glue (like Elmer's)-195 grams
Pre-mixed drywall joint compound but NOT DAP BRAND!--440 grams
White flour--70 grams
Mineral/Baby oil--2 Tablespoons (optional, but improves the texture)

Turn on the scale and put your empty bowl on it. Make sure it's set for gram measurements. Push the Tare button so the scale resets to zero.

Put dry toilet paper in the bowl until you have 72 grams. Add hot tap water until the scale reads 330 grams. Make sure all the paper is wet, then tear it into smaller pieces.

Reset the scale to zero and add 195 grams of white glue.

Reset the scale to zero and add 440 grams of the pre-mixed joint compound.

Add the oil.

Mix on HIGH for several minutes until all the paper is torn apart into tiny fibers.

Add 70 grams of flour and mix until all is combined.

Remove the clay from the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in a container until your ready to use it.

Step 3: Make the Silky-Smooth Air Dry Clay

This clay is less sticky, has a smoother finish, and is made to be used as a thin layer over a form. It isn't as strong because it has less paper.

Turn on the scale and put your empty bowl on it. Make sure it's set for gram measurements. Push the Tare button so the scale resets to zero.

Put dry toilet paper in the bowl until you have 24 grams. Add hot tap water until the scale reads 110 grams (approximately 1/2 cup wet toilet paper). Make sure all the paper is wet, then tear it into smaller pieces.

Reset the scale to zero and add 130 grams (1/2 cup) of white glue.

Reset the scale to zero and add 200 grams (1/2 cup) of the pre-mixed joint compound.

Reset the scale to zero and add 70 grams (1/2 cup) of cornstarch.

Add the oil.

Reset the scale to zero and add 35 grams (1/4 cup) of flour.

Mix on HIGH for several minutes until all the paper is torn apart into tiny fibers.

Weigh out 65 grams (1/2 cup) more of the flour, add it to the bowl and mix it in by hand or use dough hooks. The clay will be very stiff.

If the clay is real sticky, you can mix in some more cornstarch, a little at a time. Don't make it too dry. You'll be using cornstarch on you fingers, rolling pin, and rolling surfaces while you work it anyways.

Remove the clay from the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in a container until your ready to use it.

Step 4: Blow Up Some Balloons

That says it all! Start out with a few. You can always do more!

Step 5: Form the Barnacles

FOR BOTH CLAYS: Use cornstarch on your fingers, your tools, and your rolling surfaces. I got a little carried away with it, but it still turned out fine. Keep the clay covered when not in use so it doesn't dry out.

When using the standard clay: Form it into a thin pancake with your fingers and apply it directly to the balloon, smoothing as you go. Apply more as needed, covering approximately half of the balloon. Don't make an even edge, you want it natural. Proceed to the shaping. You want to completely finish one balloon at a time so the clay doesn't start to dry.

When using the silky-smooth clay:
Use the rolling pin to roll a piece of clay out to 1/4" thickness, then form it around the balloon as stated previously. Proceed in the same manner as the standard clay.

Step 6: Shaping the Barnacles

Place the balloon in the middle of the sheet of plastic, bring the edges up closely around it, and twist the plastic until the balloon rounds out, and you can see crease marks forming in the clay. Gently press the plastic into the clay to help define the creases, but don't smooth them out. Untwist the plastic and remove the balloon by it's stem. It'll stick a little but no biggie. Place it on the parchment lined tray. When they're all done, put them in a warm place with good air circulation to dry for at least 24 hours. I use a fan.

Step 7: Finishing Up

When the clay feels dry enough to hold it's shape, snip a hole in the end of the balloon so it can deflate. Remove the balloon and let the barnacles continue to dry completely. It can take a couple days depending on their thickness and the humidity.

Step 8: Now What?

Put a LED tea light inside, display a potted plant, use as a trinket box, glue several together in a sculpture with shells, driftwood, and other beach finds... Paint the inside, paint the outside, leave them natural. Use your imagination. I will be using mine as part of a lighted sculpture featuring my big sea urchin in the near future. Watch for it! 😁

Step 9: Results of My Experiment

I now understand the differences in these 2 clay recipes, and I enjoyed using them both. The standard recipe gave me the results I was looking for in the larger pieces: a rougher, more sea-washed finish that made my barnacles look more genuine. The smaller barnacles made from the other clay have a smoother, almost ceramic-like finish, very delicate and pretty. When I put a LED tea light in them, they glow a little. They also dried quicker. And since I put the baby oil in that clay, they smell nice 😁 I will continue to use both recipes in the future, with a better knowledge of which one to chose for which project.

I hope you enjoyed my Instructable! Now show me your creations 😁 Don't forget to vote!

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    2 Comments

    0
    NirL
    NirL

    1 year ago

    I like the trick you used with the trash bag :) well done:)