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I came across one of my PM (pulp) projects and noticed that it had what appears to be a spot of mold.
I realize that there are various ingredients that can be included in making pulp, that averts or retards mold, like salt, bleach, cinnamon, oil of cloves etc. I know its important to dry a piece (fans, heat) ASAP to remove the conditions that foster mold. I also understand the value of sealing your completed piece to minimize the affects of humidity, moisture which lead to the growth of mold.
My question -is there anything you can do to remove mold after a piece has been crafted yet unfinished? Will mold emerge through paint and will sealing stop it from further growth altogether?
Removal is iffy. What you see is only part of what is there. It's like a loaf of bread in that respect: you may see spots of mold in one end, but it has contaminated the entire loaf.
Sealing won't work, it just keeps growing inside, like what happens inside a cracked egg -- it gets yucky. Eventually, the mold will affect the paint or sealer, distorting the color or appearance. We don't need to go into how I know this... 8-(
The only real thing you can do is prevent it.
I've never had one of my pieces go moldy on me (probably because I don't use any water at all in their construction, except for making paint washes.) The only problem I've ever had with invasive organisms are beetles devouring cat hair I've glued to my projects (and they only have a taste for one of our cat's fur in particular at that.)
Removing/replacing the visually affected areas and perhaps applying some type of fungicide to deter a repeat performance might be effective, but, as Sue said, fungi infestation can be much larger/extensive than what you see with the naked eye (a mushroom, for example, while highly visible, is only the fruiting body of the fungus, the rest of the root-like organism is buried throughout the surrounding soil.) Desiccation might also help, as fungi need moisture to survive, like most living things, although it's possible that prolonged dry conditions might only prompt it to go into a kind of dormant state rather than actually killing it.
My query might have been a bit premature, in that I am not absolutely sure that the spot is mold (its a light brown discoloration). I do try to dry my projects ASAP but I figured it would be a good question to ask in general.
Prevention seems to be the best solution.
In light that you don't use water in your PM, what is your recipe?
I don't have a special or unique recipe. I just use normal PVA glue (usually Elmer's or RoseArt brands), undiluted, straight out of the bottle, and newsprint and/or tissue paper for my papier mache projects.
Another potential solution that occured to me the other day for a mold infestation is the application of heat: I would think a heat gun or wood burner would provide a temperature high extreme enough to literally cook the fungi. Of course, one would also have to be careful not to scorch or set your PM project on fire in the process . . .
The thought also occurred to me, ignoring the potential health hazard of spores, that a systemic mold infestation could result in an interesting fungal "patina" for a PM project.
I don't think extremely high heat and PM would mix very well. If it didn't set it on fire, it would probably scorch it at the very least.
Mold means you goofed up. If you were going to use heat, low heat at the proper drying time would have been the thing to do. A heat gun afterward is too much, too late.
If I get mold, the piece goes into the wood stove. That will show it!
I've actually found that setting papier mache on fire isn't that easy. I've literally buried the shaft of my wood burner (which is 700 degrees Farenheit) INSIDE my PM projects and they've never caught on fire. Lots of eye-watering, throat-closing charring and smoke, but no blaze (small wonder I make myself sick using a woodburner, no?)
Burns aren't a big deal if you're going to paint over them anyway, if fact, I would even argue that it can strengthen your PM (Native Americans used to cook the tips of their wooden arrows in their campfires to harden them, and, likewise, I've found that scorched PM does tend to be tougher than normal.)
Last edited by Patraw (2012-12-03 19:12:44)
Interesting about scorching/heating and hardening. The very old recipes (like for furniture and such) seemed to involved baking it as well ... tho I think those were under pressure at lower heat ...
Interesting to experiment with tho.
PM arrowheads and spear points. I'll bet the folks in the Old Days never thought of that!
On the Lock-up television show, that I talked about previously in another thread, I believe I've seen inmates cook (using a burning roll of toilet paper as a stove) the tips of their rolled-up newspaper/magazine shanks to harden them as well.