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People that build props using papier mache as their primary medium know that it is economic, strong, and suitable for creating most anything imaginable. They love their mache and don’t understand why everyone doesn’t work with paper and glue.
People that have never used papier mache tend to view the medium as something shrouded in mystery, strange voodoo made with glue and paper. They read the tutorials and see the pictures but are still hesitant to put their hands in the paste.
Papier mache is simply paper and glue, no mystery, no voodoo, this is the reason it is a staple in elementary school art rooms. With a little knowledge and creativity it can be taken to new levels resulting in some truly fabulous creations. Papier mache is a medium that costs little money and brings those ideas lurking in the dark recesses of your mind to life.
Confusion and mystery stems from the multiple terminologies used and the fact that it’s not an exact science. Unlike mixing a batch of silicone it doesn’t require exact measurements or controlled temperatures. Papier mache is very open to interpretation and experimentation.
People that may have at one time dismissed papier mache as a child’s medium are now discovering its economic and versatile strong points. This article will provide a brief introduction to papier mache and point you in the right directions for more information.
There are basically two different papier mache techniques.
The first is strip mache meaning that you dip strips of paper into a glue or paste and layer them onto some form. Strip mache is also sometimes referred to as layering or laminating.
The second technique is paper pulp. This technique is unfamiliar to most people and involves taking paper fibers, mixing it with some form of glue and using it in the same manner as clay. This technique is also referred to as papier mache clay, papier clay, pulp mache or pulp clay. In some cases it is called by the commercial brand names of Celluclay, PaperClay or Instant Papier Mache.
This first thing to figure out is what kind of paste or glue to use. An internet search for papier mache paste recipes will yield many results. Recipes range in complexity and call for combinations of such ingredients as flour, white glue, corn starch, liquid starch, wallpaper paste and the list goes on.