You can make just about anything out of paper mache. The paper mache pulp is what gives all those fantastic projects their detail and dimention. We all know how to make something out of simple paper mache (glue and water and some strips of newspaper). You make you're general form out of that stuff (as enjoyable as that stuff still is) but where do you go from there? Where are all the details and the protrusions that define a face or an animal or a halloween monster or WHATEVER!? It's basically modeling clay for paper mache. And it's the cheapest and easiest thing to make in the world!
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Step 1: Prepare Your Materials
Before you begin make sure that you have all of the following things:
1. a strainer spoon
2. a closed spoon (which isn't shown below)
3. one pot that is good for boiling and that you might not mind being a little gross, although this project isn't particularly messy.... but just in case (you never know).
4. LOTS and LOTS of Elmer's white glue. It doesn't necessarily have to be Elmer's, any white PVA glue will do. Just make sure that you don't come short of it.
5. And of course toilet paper!
Believe it or not with this project I have actually experimented with about 3 different types/brands of toilet paper and haven't come up with MUCH of difference. But after you read through this knock yourself out and see what you can come up with.
Step 2: Start to Boil
Fill your pot with water, don't be concerned with how much right now, and set it to a high boil. Wait until it gets simmering and tear off a long ribbon of toilet paper and start to tear it into tiny tiny tiny shreds. Mine in the picture below probably weren't tiny enough. A good size would be about as big as your thumb. It's a long process, yeah. Now after it's started to bubble a little bit and boil a little start to throw the little pieces in and just let them sit and soon some will start to tear apart because of the heat and the boiling and the wetness. DON'T put them all in at once! You'll get much better results if you slowly feed the tiny bits into the boiling water little by little and then slowly let them sit little by little and then this process also gives you time to tear up more pieces. Keep in mind that a little bit of paper mache pulp goes a long long way. If you're making something small like a mask then you may only want to use not even half of a roll of toilet paper depending on what embellishments you plan on making.
After you have thrown in the boiling water all that you want to throw in ... keep stirring and keep it in a hard boil for a while yet. The only advice I have for this is that just take it off when it looks right to YOU. When you think it seems the right consistency (not enormous clumps of toilet paper and most of it has torn apart into even tinier bits and it looks smooth) then take it off the stove.
WARNING!: while the pot is getting full and is boiling away it really likes to spit at you! You may want to take a step back while stirring.
Step 3: Drain Out the Pulp
Most of the times that I have made pulp this way I end up with a ton of water left over in the pot!! So there's a few ways that you can take care of this. I usually end up doing this the long long way with a two spoons. Scoop out a little bit at a time in your strainy spoon, let some of the water drain out, then take the back of your closed spoon and squeeze even more water out. Now put the now drained pulp into whatever container that you've chosen to keep the concoction in. Keep in mind this takes quite a while.
....and there are several other ways of doing... I, for whatever reason, just choose to do it the hard way. Other ways include:
1. Take a very large unused rag or towel and (after getting rid as much of the excess water yourself) just dump the entire mess in the middle. Now squeeze as much of the water out as you can and hang it up somewhere until the excess drips away.
2. Wait until it cools, (again get rid as much of the excess water yourself as you can) squeeze out in your hands!
Step 4: Put the Glue In!
After you have everything drained and it's in your container put your white glue in! Contrary to what I have pictured, it's a lot easier if you just completely take the top off and just POUR the glue on because you're going to need a lot of it! For just that little amount that I had there I used more than half the bottle of glue!
Again, it's hard to really tell you how MUCH glue to really put in, except to say "a lot", but all you can really do is just judge for yourself. What I do is just feel it out.
After you put the glue in, it's time to get your hands dirty!! Just dig right in! Start kneading the pulp just like you would dough. Get all the glue worked into it. And if it isn't enough glue then put some more in. The way I usually work it is when I'm kneading the pulp, I start to add more glue when there are still dry feeling areas of pulp.
Step 5: Make a Masterpiece!
Well that's it!! You're all done! So go make something! Paper mache pulp shouldn't be applied all at once because it does take a little while to dry. Apply it just as you would regular paper mache: layer by layer. And don't make the layers too thick and gooey either. Wait until each layer dries and then apply another. It's kind of a long process, but it always gets the best results and this way you don't run the risk of ruining or warping your mold underneath.
Oh! ..And one last thing you might want to do is to put salt into the mixture.. just regular table salt. Paper mache pulp takes a bit to dry and if it takes too long to dry it run the risks of molding (don't worry, I've never had this take longer than a day or two dry so no worries) But adding salt to the mixture will drive away mold or mildew.
There are several other recipes but I have a few problem with these other recipes:
1. They just don't seem to work out as well
2. They involve wheat or flour and that will eventually make your piece of art attract bugs like moths that will eat at your project (oh nooooo!!!)
3. They do store in the refrigerator but they have to be used in about 2-4 days (there abouts)
Speaking of refrigerators that is another great thing about this recipe: You can use it right away, then store it in the fridge and it stores for a long long time. I once left some in there for 3 weeks and it was still good (I don't recommend that to anyone though)
So I hope everyone enjoys and none of your roommates mistake it for mashed potatoes.