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I'm totally new to making papier mache (clay/pulp method)... I had used the layering of papers method few years back to make a mask and it turned out good.
My question is, how do you make out whether your pulp has dried completely?? Does it become "very" hard? Or is it a little bit squishy?
My current layer is about 5mm thick.. And I'm trying to dry it with a blow drier.. [I'm in India and its raining heavily here; so there is no way I could dry it fast with all the humidity in the air!]
Two days back I had made beads out of papier mache pulp. They dried up naturally and are hard enough to throw them against the wall .. They are around 7mm thick. But still I'm not sure whether it has dried "completely" from the inside.
How to make that out?
How long is a piece of string??? lol
Seriously, you are not dealing with much thickness here so if the outside is really dry, the inside is also likely to be. Moisture from the inside would seep outwards.
If it is humid, you can have a problem and it might be a good idea to finish off the drying in an oven on a low heat for an hour or so.
Pulp, when dry, will certainly not be 'squishy'. It may have a slight resilience, allowing you to dent it with a finger nail. If you add ground chalk to your mix it can seem almost as hard as concrete when fully dry.
And you can feel that the weight gets lighter, too.
But your high humidity can be a problem. Just a suggestion: if you have access to a wood or cardboard box and some heavier clear plastic, make a very simple solar dryer. Have one side covered with the plastic that faces the sun, a row of holes along the top of at least two sides (to vent the moist air), and access from front or back. The heat comes in through the clear plastic, warms the air around the object, the heat rises and exits the box through the holes near the top.
Just remember that when your piece is fully dried, you'll have to seal it right away, or it will re-absorb moisture and get damp and soft.
Oh thank you so much for the helpful replies!!!
I just didn't want to proceed with further layers without being absolutely sure. I want my structure to last at least a year, so thought I would better ask you all..
Thanks a lot.. I'm relieved:)
CatPerson, that's a pretty cool idea! I'm definitely gonna make that!
Jackie, I use old newspapers.. so the reverse works for me;) It turns darker as it dries (coz of the ink ofcourse).. And I had read your article "waterproofing paper mache" last year.. You really helped many people like me to decide what to buy without wasting money and time..
Dopapier, I'm glad you mentioned "denting with finger nail"!! I was doing that with a dried up piece and was wondering whether it was really dry or not