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Need help making wall shelf...

#1 2002-04-08 08:12:22


Need help making wall shelf...

Hi all!

A wealth of information here, however I cant find anything that pertains to what I am doing.

This is a first project for me...so bear with me pleeeez.lol

I have thus far crafted a wall shelf, actually it is like a mini book case that has three shelves and one mini shelf and it will hang on the wall.  (I need something to house all of my nail polishes!!  haha)

I made the form out of cardboard and tape and have put two layers of newsprint strips on it.

How many layers am I supposed to do?  How can I make it smooth?  I dont want it super smooth, I like texture, but I seem to get a lot of chunks of paper that dry sticking straight out! 

Once my final layer is on can I sand it?  I dont know if that will help because there is A LOT of bumpiness!

I was thinking that perhaps I could use some sort of clay over top of it to assist in evening out the surface a little bit, but I am afraid that it would only crack on top of the paper mache surface because it is not solid.

Any help would be appreciated!!



#2 2002-04-08 23:35:59


Re: Need help making wall shelf...

Hi Mandalyn:
Have you ever heard of WOOD?smile
If you insist on making the shelf outta P.M., you'll probably want to make it at least 6 layers thick. The trick will be keeping the cardboard from warping. Try to find thin papers to paste on for the last layer help make it smooth. Use enough glue and rub the thing down with your hands (don't break a nail, now) to ensure a good adhesion. It shouldn't "stick up"...Then(when dry) paint it with a thick primer or gesso as a base coat before you do the "color" coat...After you're done you'll want to mutter the words of many a papier mache' artist: "I'll never do THAT again!"
Good luck.


#3 2002-04-09 01:43:45


Re: Need help making wall shelf...

Hi Mandalyn,

Regarding your shelf....When I use cardboard as base for something and warp isn't desireable I wrap it in that wide silver tape. If I'm making something that is to be somewhat functional I use as many as 15, 20 layer of paper.  Letting every fifth layer dry.  I paint a layer or two of gesso when all the layers have dryed then sand, gesso again and sand until I have the effect I want.  But sanding doesn't do much for big bumps.  For the cracks you might give paperclay a shot and you don't want that to dry quickly.

good luck...
and enjoy


#4 2002-04-09 02:29:39


Re: Need help making wall shelf...

hi mandalyn,

i think steve is right about the wood. lol
what about spackeling compound? i make paper macher masks, and did not like the finish even when i sanded. after paper is thoroughly dry, i put a layer of spackling, let dry, then sand. you also have the option to texturize. let dry throughly. then i use about 3 layers of regular water based wall paint. let dry. then i paint the desired color, perhaps 2 or 3 more coats of acrylic paint. then i use laquer to finish. what a lot of work!!!! but it is worth it in the end.
however, i do believe that there is a better product to use other than spackling compound, and i will next experiment will sheet rock joint compound.
good luk to you


#5 2002-04-14 14:35:14


Re: Need help making wall shelf...


JW etc's Wood Filler is better than spacking IMHO.
You can check out their products at



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