Paper Mache Butterflies




Introduction: Paper Mache Butterflies

About: I'm an MT (Medical Technologist) well-rounded in the Sciences. I like cooking and love the environment; technology is wicked but it's the only way I get to find out cool stuff happening in the World.

I created these to honor the memory of Sophie Sparks, I extend my gratitude to the GREAT community of La Vernia Texas for inspiring this project.

step 1:  Prepare Your Foundation

*** Supplies needed:   - pen                   - paperboard (avoid waxy coatings)
                                    - cardboard         - tape
                                    - scissors            - nail file
                                    - x-acto knife      

   * I found a book in the library that catalogs nearly every butterfly known!!!  It was hard to pick "the one" so I picked many.
   * After using a copy machine; I trimmed and taped my copy to a piece of thick cardboard then used the x-acto blade to cut it out. 

Note:  It can be scary to use an x-acto blade ## VERY SHARP ## so please ask mommy and daddy for permission first!

       *****  This is your template for making more of each type of butterfly.

   * On a large piece of paperboard (old boxes of laundry detergent, food packaging, used mailers, et. al.) trace the pattern to your hearts content...I wanted 40 but ended with 24 b/c of time constraints.
   * Trim and cut to let the fine details shine.    
   * Use the nail file to smooth any rough edges.

step 2:  Make Mache

*** Supplies needed:     - Plastic Resin Glue        - Water
                                      - Pot w/heat source         - Whisk
                                      - Bottles or Jars

   *  Put 4 cups of water to medium-heat 
   *  Add 1 cup of resin glue powder, a by-product from the paper manufacturing industry
   *  Increase heat (this mixture does not need to boil like the directions on about dot com say and if you do it will create a huge mess!) 
   *  Whisk and stir constantly until mixture thickens. 
   *  You can add a few drops of essential oil or food-grade oils (like peppermint, eucalyptus, orange) if the smell of wet newspaper is gross to you.
   *  Spoon paste (if you can pour it it's too thin, why not simmer it a bit longer) into wide mouth jars and cool before use

step 3:  Form Shape and Paint

*** Supplies needed:     - Tray                         - Gloves
                                      - Egg carton               - Latex or Acrylic Paint
                                      - Brushes                   - Lots of newspapers torn to shreds (about 1/2" x 4" or 1cm x 10cm)   

   *  Prepare your work surface for messy and sticky work, I put down a sheet because I like to be eco-friendly but you can use just about anything.  If you want you can wear some type of gloves (Platex, nitrile, etc.) to keep the glue off but it isn't necessary.
   *  Remove some of your glue resin with your fingers and work it into a strip of newspaper until wet.
   *  Lay the strip of newspaper over your paperboard and wrap it around edges, paying carefull attention to maintain small creases and other details of your base design.  I used a plastic ruler at first to push my wet paper into creases but ended up simply using my fingers after a while.
   *  Repeat this step until your base desing is covered with about 1 layer of solid paper-mache, place in egg carton (or other styrofoam-waxpaper container) to dry, overnight if possible. 
   *  Use sandpaper-nail file on entire surface to smooth out wrinkles and soften edges
   *  Repeat until desired thickness.  I used three layers for most of my butterflies b/c it maintained a delicate look.  
   *  Paint as desired.

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    3 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Looks great, I've not heard of the glue you spoke about but you now have me VERY excited!!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    The brand name glue resin I found on Amazon (DAP Weldwood) and was not expensive. Good luck and thank you for the comments!