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Waterproofing Papier Mache

Waterproofing Papier Mache by Jackie Hall

Now you have made your papier mache item, would you like to place it outside? Use my experiences with sealers and paints as a guide.

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  • Date addedAdded: July 5, 2005
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Meet the Paint Blobs

I made the paint testing pieces very simple as I don't have a massive stock of these paints and didn't want to purchase loads of different colours just for this experiment. Each blob is restricted to two colours in its choice of paint - and of course, they had to have names!

Two solvent paints and one water based paint. They all had 3 coats to make sure that they were fully covered.

Gary Gloss

(solvent paint)

Gary Gloss is painted with exterior household gloss paints in red and white. Brushes must be cleaned in white spirit or brush cleaner. Gary Gloss looks like an Olympic swimmer but I don't know if he is prepared for getting wet!

Manufacturer's comments:

"Long lasting Gloss. Ideal for interior and exterior use."

How I found it:

Being quite used to household paints like most people, it was just like painting a window frame. Very fumey so I did this outside too. Took a very long time to dry.

Eric Enamel

(solvent paint)

Eric Enamel is painted in yellow and pale blue enamel paints. This paint usually comes in small tins and is available from model shops and hardware stores. Brushes must be cleaned in white spirit or brush cleaner. Eric Enamel resembles an alien and his colours don't contrast very well. I wonder if the sun will bleach the colours so that they eventually look the same?

Manufacturer's comments:

"Excellent durability. Resists steam, humidity, dirt etc."

How I found it:

Fumey and slow drying. I've used this a lot in model making. Not sure how long it will stand up outside.

Angela Acrylic

(outdoor acrylic)

Angela Acrylic is painted in blue and silver outdoor acrylic paints. Bought in a hobby/craft store, this paint was found with the usual craft acrylic paints. A little more expensive. As this paint is water based, brushes can be washed out in water. I use acrylic paints frequently but had not tried the "outdoor" acrylic before. Angela Acrylic looks rather theatrical, but what sort of performance she will put on for us?

Manufacturer's comments:

"For outdoor use: wood - metal - stone - ceramic - terrracotta - fabric. Weather resistant. Fade resistant."

How I found it:

Just like the ordinary acrylic paints to use. It dried a little on the dull side and I felt an overwhelming temptation to seal it to enhance the colour but of course I didn't. The blue looked better after the third coat but still a bit lack-lustre. The silver paint lifted it though. The dried paint was difficult to wash off my paint pallette which could be a good sign? Much more pleasant to use than the two solvent paints.

Ready to face the elements!


Just before putting all the balloon people and paint blobs out in the garden, I stuck some rubber self adhesive furniture protectors to the underside. This will hopefully prevent them from standing directly in a wet patch.

Today, Thursday 21st July 2005, all of them were placed outside. I will be giving updates on their progress from time to time, so please don't email me for the results! Hopefully at least some of them will survive for some time and all the information will be posted on this site.