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Okay, so I'm doing a school project, and this will be my first time doing paper mache, so I have some questions before I start.
1. Before actually starting, do I have to do anything to my styrofoam ball like cover it in masking tape or can I leave it be?
2. Do I have wait for each layer to dry or can I do three at once (I'm doing 4 layers)? If yes, then how long do I have to wait for each layer (I only have a week)?
3. For the third layer, is it okay if I use a mix of newspaper and white copy paper? And if not, can I use the copy paper for my last layer?
4. About how long do I have to wait for the whole thing to dry before I can paint it? I've heard that you have to paint it with gesso or something, do I have to do that or is it optional?
One last bit:
For paste I'll be using the glue (elmer's glue all) and water recipe.
Okay that's about it. Thanks for answering.
Thank you for your very clear questions.
The best thing to do with the styrene ball is to wipe it all over with PVA (white glue) and then apply the first layer of newspaper. It would be best to use a mixture of PVA and wallpaper (starch) paste at the consistency of thick cream. You only need an even smear over the paper; don't make it wet. You could reasonably put two layers first and let it dry. How long depends on whether you have a heat source (like a radiator or hot air (hair dryer?) and how humid your atmosphere is.
When it's dry you can add one or more layers, with bond (typing) paper as the last. When that is dry you would be able to smooth it with sandpaper.
What are you making? A week is more than enough time.
SlayJaya, you sound American. While David's suggestion for wallpaper paste is good, you haven't got time to find it. I'm thinking he means methyl cellulose paste [DO, correct me if I'm wrong], and that's an order item here across the pond. All the wallpaper paste easily available here is just plain wheat flour. (Which is fine, if you don't have dogs, mice or certain types of insects.)
If you've got a warm place, set the ball to dry in front of a fan. Set it in a bowl, and keep turning it every hour or so to make sure it dries all over. Don't use too much heat or you'll either melt the foam or set the paper on fire.
The best, most easily available paint to use is regular craft acrylic. Put a base coat all over it and let it dry (you may have to use two or three coats if it's thin). Then use the colors you want.