This instructable will help to teach you how to create and detail your own papier-mâché creations using glue and paper. In it, I make an angel, but the concepts presented should work with a variety of projects.
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Step 1: Materials and How to Prep the Paper.
Really, the only materials you need are glue (I use Elmer's Glue) and some sort of paper (I used paper grocery bags for a lot of the bulk work, white printer paper for the "cloth" and hair, parchment paper for the wings, and some lighter weight brown packaging paper for some of the detail work.)
As with other types of papier mâché, you want to really soak the material you're using. I pour a small puddle of glue onto a piece of paper, then use my fingers to spread the glue on both sides of the piece of paper I'm working with. Coating both sides will allow the paper to stick, and will allow you to smooth the paper as you lay it.
Step 2: Start With Something...hah
Hah, I guess that title is vague, but it's intentionally vague. With most projects, you just need to start somewhere. I generally start with hands and arms, and then build from there, partly because I kind of like building hands, but also because I'm intellectually afraid of the head (the head, I think, makes or breaks a piece, so I try to give myself as much time as possible to acclimate myself to the form as a whole, so I know what I'm doing when I get there).
So, 'nough about me, moving on to the actual step.
No matter where you start, you want to start general. Using my hands/arms as an example, I first cut out a simple shape that's going to define the hand, or I twist a simple shape out of paper that's going to define the arm or fingers.
Once you've got the general shape you want, wrap that shape with gluey paper so that it holds it's shape.
That's going to be the basis of basically everything else that happens.
Step 3: Adding Muscle/Facial Features/More Fluid Lines to a Piece
Once you have your basic shape where you want it, you can start adding in details to both fill out and define your sculpture. Features like muscles or facial features are under the skin, though, so you can't just tack them on, because they won't look as smooth as they are supposed to.
You can, however, stick them where you want them with a little glue, (see photos of the head) and then cover them with another piece of gluey paper, to smooth out the edges. You can then use some thin, blunt object (think pen cap, or fingernail) to recreate all of the lines and features you just added under the paper.
So once you have your basic shapes down, you can use this step to create the rest of your figure, adding stuff in, using an exacto knife to take parts out. Remember, no matter how rough it looks now, you can smooth it all with just another layer of paper.
Step 4: Cloth
Creating cloth-like material is actually fairly easy using paper and glue. Cut or tear a strip of paper the approximate width of what you want your cloth to be. Spread glue on one side of the paper, then dunk the paper in water.
The paper will become soft enough that the bends in it will look more like cloth than paper when it dries, and the glue will help it to keep it's form.
You have to be pretty gentle with the paper, as it will tear easily, but you should have quite a bit of time to work with the paper before it completely dries.
Step 5: Detail Work, Case Study: Ears and Hair
You can also add in details that you don't cover with an extra layer of paper, such as in the case of hair, or ears. These features are easier to make if you just play around with bits of paper, till you get the shape you want, then glue it onto your figure.
Step 6: Detail Work, Case Study: Wings
For wings, again, start general to specific. Most people don't really understand how wings work/fold, but if you think of a plucked chicken, and how their wings look, that's basically the shape you want to make initially. You can then cut out strips of paper that will serve as feathers.
I taper the ends of my 'feathers' and told them in half, to give them some rigidity and body.
For better looking wings, add primary feathers all along the wing, and then add a secondary, shorter layer on the inside of the wings. This is how bird wings are actually set up, and it will give more substance to the wings.
I then cover the leading edge of the wing with just some gluey paper, to hold all the feathers in place and give the impression of continuity.
So yeah, that's basically it. It takes some practice, but it's pretty straight forward. If you have any questions about this project, or how to apply these techniques to other projects, feel free to post! Thanks for viewing!
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