Puppetry Tech Notes


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Tuesday, April 16, 2002


Technote: Microwave Papier Mache

Microwave Papier Mache

16 Apr. 2002

Yes, you can speed up working with papier mache by using your microwave - carefully. But you can't put items with plasticene, aluminum foil, or stryofoam inside into the oven. So this method is only really useful if you're working directly with paper. To make a head, for instance.

1) If you need a hollow core, consider stuffing a long strip of fabric into a small brown paper bag with the end sticking out.

2) Use strip technique and drafting tape to make a basic skull around the bag.

3) Put on a first layer of mache using wall-paper paste or white glue. Work as dry as possible.

4) Microwave briefly to set the glue (You'll have to experiment with your particular oven.) Let cool until just warm.
***It speeds things up if you have several microwave projects going at the same time

5) Pull out the strip of cloth, slowly and carefully.

6) Apply a thin second coat of mache.

7) Microwave for a slightly longer time until head is not flexible.

8) Detail work can be added using paper-pulp, tissue paper, and even items which can stand microwaving. Dry in oven as needed while working.
***The major concern is not to cook things long enough that steam build up and expands parts of the project.
With some practice, you can produce quite a lot of finished mache wirk on a short time. Before sanding and painting however, things should be allowed to dry for a while on their own if they have to last.

Extra Thought - A thin paper mache head can be filled with the kind of expansion foam that comes in a spray can. Fill slowly to avoid "inflation" Won't add much weight; result practically crush-proof

Will Stackman

posted by will 4:56 PM

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