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Wish You a grate year ahead!!
I am a beginner and its my first day in this forum..
few days ago I tried to make my first owl..every thing was ok till I covered my owl with paper clay ( news print pulp clay)..when it dried up it was uneven,I applied 1 coat of wall putty...sanded it ..I am not happy with the smoothness...where I went wrong?
Yes, that tends to be an issue with paper pulp. The paper swells when wet, then shrinks when it dries. I believe David mixes in some calcium carbonate (ground chalk) with his pulp, which probably gives it a bit more stability.
Before you applied the putty, I would have covered the piece with strips of torn paper with a light application of adhesive, and burnished it down with the back of my fingernail or the back of a spoon.
When dry, sand any rough spots, and coat it with several coats of something like acrylic gesso to smooth it out. Other things may work, too, but apply them with a brush, and make each coat quite thin; thick, heavy coats create their own problems. Brush on your coating, let dry, sand; apply another thin coating, sand, and repeat as needed.
I will do it as u have described..
do u think a fat layer of paper towel can be sanded really smooth (without gesso)?
No, a thick layer of paper towel is likely to be too soft and just shred. Fine layers are the answer. There is a special method, developed by Nives Cicin-Sain (she has a gallery on this website) that gets incredibly smooth results. She sells an e-book about her method but you need experience before taking it on.
Anyway, as I said, thin layers, firmly applied, burnished with the back of a spoon before finally dry, sanded, as little moisture as possible . . . . you should be able to get it smoother. Good luck.
Don't be put off by your first attempt Ananya, maybe pulp is a bit too ambitious to start with. The thicker it is, the wetter it is, and the wetter it is, the more it will distort.
Try a few basic strip layering projects to get the feel of working with Papier mache. Gradually introduce a little pulp to smooth onto the dried strips. You will soon get to know how thick you should apply it.
Looking forward to seeing your first finished owl!
thank you very much for your kind encouragements
I do all of my smoothing with some combination of burnishing (usually with metal tweezers), a wood burner (essentially heat compression), and an emery board or sandpaper. And, as always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: if you see lumps or depressions while you're modeling whatever you're working on, it's easier to fix them immediately than to have to sand them down or fill them in later (i.e., if I lay down a strip of paper and it results in a ridge or bump, I rip it off and reapply it until it lays down smooth--if you leave it there, and apply more strips over it, you're just going to amplify the problem).