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Turtle shell for kid's costume

#1 2013-02-08 04:56:43

autumnstarr
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Registered: 2013-02-08
Posts: 2

Turtle shell for kid's costume

I'm trying to make a turtle shell using a sectioned party platter for a mold (like the type used for veggie & fruit trays). It needs to be really strong and sturdy though, so it won't bend or break. I also need to make quite a few of these... so I am trying to figure out what the best method of paper mache would be, to make it both strong and not take forever to dry. Suggestions??? I started by using newspaper strips and flour/water glue but I have a feeling that is going to take way too many layers to get strong. Would pulp be better, since I'm molding it into a tray and not on the surface of something? Help!

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#2 2013-02-08 07:50:15

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

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

What about using corrugated cardboard as the base?

Do you have some kind of photo of what you're trying to do?  Does Google Images have anything resembling this shell?

How many of these do you need, and what is the time frame?

Sue

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#3 2013-02-08 09:51:44

dopapier
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-12-04
Posts: 749

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

You will probably get all sorts of ideas for this.  It depends on what your drying conditions are.  I have done some similar stuff (large fish etc) by creating a shape in damp sand, covering it in clingfilm or foil,
then one of two approaches - laying pieces of cardboard over (small enough to follow the curvature), taping them before gluing on a second layer of cardboard and then laminating with paper
or - creating a layer of Modroc (plaster of paris bandage) before laminating with layers of heavy paper and using a strong paste.
If you use the Modroc method, you could use this layer as your mold for making the repetitive pieces.


I'm a PM addict

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#4 2013-02-08 16:55:40

autumnstarr
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Registered: 2013-02-08
Posts: 2

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

Here's a picture of what I'm trying to do:

http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k57 … G_2812.jpg

This is the platter and what I have so far... I can't find anything similar on google, which is the main reason I ended up here! smile It has about 4-5 layers of newspaper so far, and I rolled up newspaper to reinforce the edge of the circle shape (that is on the underside which you can't see in the picture). I think I'll try doing pulp inside it today (on the underside), and I'll probably switch to pvc glue paste.

I have to make 6-8 of these and have about 2 months to do it. They have to be lightweight too though, since they are going to be part of a costume for 6 year old boys. Which is why I need them to be strong! I have thought about using cardboard for thickness and strength, the bottom layer has to be smooth though since that is the outside of the shell that will be seen & painted. Maybe do cardboard as a middle layer?

Thanks for all the suggestions, I played around with paper mache as a kid but I've never tried to make anything "nice" as an adult!

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#5 2013-02-08 21:40:20

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

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

What about doing what you're doing, and then gluing the newspaper PM to a piece of cardboard that is cut the same shape?  The cardboard should add strength and the PM would make the design.

Are you going to keep them flat, or curve them to fit the boys?  I'm not trying to complicate things, just wondering.

To accelerate the drying, put them in front of a fan.  Even if they're lying flat, the air moving across the top will help.

Sue

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#6 2013-02-08 21:42:10

Jackie
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From: England
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 389
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Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

If I was making the shells, I would probably cut a piece of double corrugated cardboard into the overal shape of each shell. To this I would glue some cut-outs of the geometric patterns from the same cardboard. This would give definition to the shapes but in the long term be quicker and easier to do.

The whole shell could then be covered in layers of paper (brown paper for less layers). A hole punched through each shell would enable you to thread a piece of string through and suspend it from the ceiling to aid drying time. Don't forget to layer *both* sides to prevent warping.


Jackie

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#7 2013-02-09 17:24:46

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

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

I'm with Jackie on this one, I think.  I'd start with a cardboard oval or circle as my base.  Perhaps take a slice out of it on either end and tape it together to make it curve a little, if that's what you want.  Then paper mache it to get strong ... then add the shell details with more cut out cardboard shapes, strip paper mache'd on. 

For strong paper mache, and to build up layers quickly, I laminate multiple layers of pasted papers on a flat surface first, layered in opposing directions (which helps add strength).  It lets you build up 6-9 layers fairly quickly, then let the whole thing dry.   You can alternate brown paper and recycled office copy or bond paper, each offers different properties and it's easier to tell how many layers you've built up and where you've left off. 

I also add a bit of plaster to my paste mixture (a tablespoon to a pint of paste) when I want to add an additional level of strength. 

Sounds like a great project. 

Another option for a form, might be to use a trash can lid as the base.  You can make a paper mache copy, or if you're in a hurry, wrap plastic wrap around it, then use packing tape (clear or paper) to cover it, in opposing directions in 3 layers.  You can then cut this off your form, because of the plastic wrap, and tape it back together where you cut it ...  The tape should let it hold its form enough for you to mache it to strengthen.

Then when the form is strong enough, cut turtle shell sections out of cardboard and build up your shell detail that way. 

Sounds fun.

-- b

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#8 2013-02-09 20:06:30

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

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

Following David and Beth's suggestions, you can make raised designs on the shell with rope, and just PM right over it.

Sue

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#9 2013-02-11 16:20:14

Patraw
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From: Michigan, USA
Registered: 2008-09-10
Posts: 151
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Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

When I make turtle shells, I usually create the basic shape first, and then glue the raised elements/border on top of that, which is pretty much what the others have already described.  My shells are always part of a figure though, and usually miniatures at that, not stand alone pieces meant to be worn by humans.  Here's an example of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mecaturtle 2.9 cm (1.1") tall figure that I made using that technique:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/kramwartap/SotD/mecaturtle_sample_zps938758f0.jpg

The tray you're using certainly provides an appropriate turtle shell surface texture, although real turtle shells tend to be oblong, rather than a perfect circle.

If you're really concerned about strength, putting some wire inside the shell, perhaps around the circumference, might help as well.  But cardboard, and several layers of paper, as others have suggested, should be strong enough, provided the boys aren't planning on using them to stand on or something similar that would subject them to considerable structural stress.

Last edited by Patraw (2013-02-11 16:25:58)

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#10 2013-02-18 16:00:34

Patraw
Member
From: Michigan, USA
Registered: 2008-09-10
Posts: 151
Website

Re: Turtle shell for kid's costume

Playmates had these TMNT shells on display at Toy Fair, but I don't know if they're available for purchase yet.  They'd pretty much be the perfect form for you, excluding the belt.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/kramwartap/SotD/toyfair2013_turtleshells_zps1f12888f.jpg

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