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Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

#1 2012-11-04 06:05:00

kokopellime
Member
From: Washington, D.C.
Registered: 2012-10-04
Posts: 44

Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I'm considering the purchase of a heat gun to create home made crackle effects* on some of my pieces and wonder if anyone has a particular brand to recommend?

I was also wondering if it could/should be used in increasing the smoothness of the "cling" in plastic wrap when being used as a release on a mold.

I have not mastered the art of completely smoothing plastic wrap to the contours of a mold and in places the wrap gathers/wrinkles.  That may be a desired effect on some projects but at other times I want to capture a surface without any added features. Can a heat gun make cling wrap act like shrink wrap?


* I came across a couple of videos on YouTube that describe how you can do your own crackle effects using glue, covered by paint, followed by heat (hence the heat gun).

http://youtu.be/zDHb2JstQeg
http://youtu.be/wGmyHB83tOI

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#2 2012-11-04 09:10:09

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I have one, and would never consider it for use with papier mache.  Paper burns at 451F/233C, and those heat guns can go up to 750.  A cheap hair dryer can get up to 140F/60C.

I've also never heard of having to use a heat gun for crackle techniques.  That effect is usually achieved by using two disparate coatings that don't chemically agree with each other.  Googling 'homemade crackle effect' will give you instructions, as timing is part of the process.  I can't see videos on my ancient computer, but I'm kind of assuming the fellow is trying to rush things.  Excessive heating of chemicals like paint or glue may have an effect that doesn't show up right away.

Plastic wrap (cling film) always seems difficult to get smooth.  The food wrap with a light adhesive (Glad brand Press & Seal) can be cut into smaller pieces and applied right to the mold for some things, overlapping the pieces for complete coverage.  If you need to make folds with that, the pieces are probably too large.

When you really need a smooth surface, that's when you need to apply a mold release like petroleum jelly or vegetable-oil-based cooking spray.  The lightest application possible is usually the best.

If you really want to try a heat gun, try to borrow one first, and see if it gives the effects you want.

Sue

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#3 2012-11-04 12:39:40

Jackie
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From: England
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 389
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Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Interesting videos. So....."crackle paint" is simply a mixture of pva glue and acrylic?

I too, would be reluctant to use a heat gun on Papier mache, but the demonstrator in the video did say that the effect would appear over time left to air dry.

Most of these "magic" products can be made easily at home, it would seem. I soon learnt that "realistic textured paint" for the outside of dollshouses was just emulsion paint, pva glue and sand. Saved myself a lot of money making my own. The only problem is getting the proportions right!

We will all be very interested to see any results you get Kokopellime.


Jackie

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#4 2012-11-04 15:18:26

kokopellime
Member
From: Washington, D.C.
Registered: 2012-10-04
Posts: 44

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Sue & Jackie

Thanks for the replies and advice.  I'll put a hold on purchasing a heat gun for the moment and try the air dry method or eventually bite the bullet and purchase the crackle paint product. The caution about heat and paint and the possible harm that might be hidden, is valuable (similar to the recent thread on handling glue).

As I get more immersed in this art (which now includes making paper for some of my projects), I realize there is so much I want to learn.  As I browse the internet and review some of the books on paper mache and paper making, I am thrilled and inspired by the beauty and creativity of so many people out there.  I am also a little intimidated by all the technique and skill that I want to develop to execute the projects on my mental 'to do' list.  With that said, I'll just plug it along, be patient and truly appreciative of the advice offered here.

Thanx!

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#5 2012-11-04 18:34:44

bmaskmaker
Member
From: Takoma Park, MD
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 93

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I love my heat gun.  And yes, you can 'shrink' cling wrap into acting like shrink wrap.  It's also incredibly easy to burn holes in it ... so you'd want to get a lot of practice. 

I think I've mentioned this before, but I've found it easiest to copy forms with strip mache, and then do my details with pulp mache or paper mache clay. 

I've tended to use plastic wrap around big forms (like when I want to use a sonotube as a mold to create a large paper mache cylinder).  I wrap the sonotube with plastic wrap, but I don't worry much about wrinkles ... in fact, I want the plastic to be a little on the loose side.  It helps create a little give when the piece is going to be removed after it dries (because the paper is going to shrink a little when it dries).

The paper shell can be removed and re-mached to heal the place where you cut it to remove the mold, and then any details that were lost to that you want to add can be added with mache clay without needing the mold release.

The other way I've done this which is a little closer to Jonni's method, is to make a packing tape copy of the form, and then add clay on top of that.  Honestly I tend to add a copy layers of strip mache before clay, because it adds strength, but you could get a similar effect by adding a 3rd and 4th layer of tape.

Here are some skulls I created using this method. 

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4 … directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/N … directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/s … directlink

What are you molding that you want to shrink wrap?

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#6 2012-11-05 00:24:22

kokopellime
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From: Washington, D.C.
Registered: 2012-10-04
Posts: 44

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I've been experimenting with different forms of release and have had the most success in using Glade Wrap on the interior and interior of a given mold.  My use of petroleum jelly (modest application) has been touch and go and I had an instance that the pulp hardened too much on my small glass bowl.  I had to take a hacksaw to get it off but not cleanly to re-PM. 

When you cut your PM off a mold do you use a particular saw (i.e. a dremel, hacksaw, keyhole saw, etc)?

I'm doing trial and error testing to see what works best for me and today I tried coating the same mold with cooking oil.  The PM is drying but I think it will work.  Wet, un-glued paper is next.  I'm gleaning ideas from what you've shared and I appreciate it. 

On a separate note, I'll be in touch for that coffee if you are still open; thing got fairly busy in the last few weeks and I'm trying to get back on track

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#7 2012-11-05 01:54:59

kokopellime
Member
From: Washington, D.C.
Registered: 2012-10-04
Posts: 44

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I belatedly checked out your skull photos and they are great. As to my work, I'm principally doing vessels (bowls, vases, plates) and looking for unusual shapes to use as molds to give them a bit of flare. 

I just recently purchased some paper making equipment and hope to pull some paper later this week.  I'll be layering pieces of different homemade papers to construct bowls and see where things progress. 

Among my inspirations are the works in 'The Contemporary Craft of Paper Mache' by Helga Meyer and the 'Art and Craft of Paper Mache' by Juliet Bawden.

I'm just at the point of trying out things and developing basic skills.   I'm taking a page out of the art student's handbook where you copy the masters to develop skill and technique as my own muse and creativity emerges.

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#8 2012-11-05 08:42:34

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

There's nothing better for learning than just diving in as you're doing!  And that's how all of us learned. 

When I get truly frustrated with a project, I just let it dry and then toss it into the wood stove and watch it burn! *evil grin*  But if you get a heat gun, you can just blast it to death (outdoors, in a safe place, of course).

Sue

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#9 2012-11-05 15:57:04

bmaskmaker
Member
From: Takoma Park, MD
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 93

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Koko,

Coffee is totally still an option.  My life has been nuts too, no worries.

And I used to cut my paper mache off the mold with a break-away razor knife, but now I embed floral wire before I mache, and then pull up on them to rip through the mache.  (think opening a cigarette pack or a loaf of bread.) I can be more exact with my positioning, and don't harm the item I'm copying. 

But again, when I'm copying a shape I use strip mache, vs. pulp clay.  It's faster to dry, much stronger in thinner layers than the corresponding width of pulp (which makes the cutting off easier), and when I add the pulp clay on top of it ... that adds strength to the final form, as well as a layer I can detail as desired.

That said, Sue's right.  My technique is heavily influenced by Stolloween, Jonni Goode, and Monique Robert among others ... but by experimenting, I've taken what I like from each of them and tweaked it into my own system. : )

-- Beth

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#10 2012-11-05 21:04:50

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Beth, I believe you mentioned the 'zipper release' before, and I had forgotten.  Thinking about it now, it seems like a brilliant idea.

I, too, use the strip method most of the time, and even when I'm using pulp, I make the basic form from PM strips, thick enough to where it will hold it's shape, remove it from the mold (usually use a craft knife), and use more strips to put it back together, and then apply the pulp.

The problem I've had was that to make the initial strip layers strong enough to accept more dampness from additional PM, I've had to make it fairly thick, which makes harder to cut off (esp on a mold that is kind of soft or easily damaged).

So, for my next project (when I get to cleaning off a level surface enough to work on), I think I will use a thinner layer over the mold, install 'Beth's Zipper', and use/coat it with Glue Jockey's yellow wood glue.  I think this will prevent some of the problems that I've had with the original thin shells from collapsing in spots, and they should be easier to remove from the mold.  Theoretically.

This stupid problem of having to work for a living is getting in the way of other things that I want to do!  *whine*

Sue

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#11 2012-11-05 23:27:24

kokopellime
Member
From: Washington, D.C.
Registered: 2012-10-04
Posts: 44

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Great ideas, I like the idea of the 'zipper' and will try it.  Most, actually all, my recent work has been in pulp but I do plan on doing strip PM as well.  Though I mention that my primary interest is in decor items (vases, bowls, wall hangings etc),

I do plan on doing some figurative pieces in the near future.  I'd like to create some masks inspired by the Native/First Peoples (Tlingit, Haida, Salish etc) of the pacific northwest, and the techniques used by Jonni, Dan Reeder and Stolloween (they're new to me) would serve me well.

I checked out Monique Roberts website (great stuff) and saw that she has a book but it seems to be unavailable via her link and on Amazon.  Does anyone know how a copy can be had?  I plan on contacting her directly, but if you know of a source that would be welcomed.

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#12 2012-11-06 06:00:18

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I looked online, too, but couldn't find a single copy, new or used.

Her book was self-published through AuthorHouse.  I believe this is very expensive, and she may not have been able to keep doing it.

Sue

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#13 2012-11-06 15:49:47

bmaskmaker
Member
From: Takoma Park, MD
Registered: 2010-04-08
Posts: 93

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Sue,

I totally hear you about life getting in the way.   : )  I've had some issues with the pulp softening the strip mache form at times too.   For most shapes I've found that 4-5 layers is thin enough to still pull the wire through relatively easily, but stiff enough to hold its shape.  (I alternate newsprint and white copy paper). 

I don't reinforce it before putting on the pulp, but if the piece is large, sometimes it gets soft from the dampness ... I'll stop half-way through and let the pulp dry before continuing on the other side. 

I also roll out my pulp like cookie dough ... which makes the initial pulp stage go a little faster (so I can get a little more done before the piece softens.)  Once the initial piece has been covered with a thin layer of pulp and dried, I find I don't have a problem with softening anymore.

: )

-- b

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#14 2012-11-07 04:18:07

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

Beth, those are all good thoughts.  Thanks!

I haven't used pulp an awful lot, but the moisture problem pervaded what I did do.  I'm still going to try the yellow wood glue, too.

Sue

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#15 2012-11-07 04:58:38

kokopellime
Member
From: Washington, D.C.
Registered: 2012-10-04
Posts: 44

Re: Do You Have A Recommendation on Heat Guns?

I got in touch with Monique Robert via email and she is changing publishers and hopes to again offer her book via her website (Amazon had it listed too) in two to three weeks.

Her site: http://www.moniquerobertstudios.com/index.htm

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