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Hi, I'm a newbie. This is my first post.
I wanted to create some large wall plaque sculptures using papier mache. I've been experimenting with Hydrostone but the final weights of the sculptures gets quite heavy. So I figured papier mache might be the go.
I made a base sculpture using scrunched up paper, cardboard and masking tape on a cardboard backing board. I thought it might be a nice look having a kraft paper finish to the sculpture. I started with a newsprint mache layer first, so I could alternate between kraft paper to see where I'd been when doing the newer layers. After some thought, I settled on using PVA for the glue, mixed at 4:1 with water. I wanted it non toxic, not bug food, and as mould inhibited as possible.
I've done my first layer in newsprint. Left it outside all day. Put it in the shed overnight. The next morning it was damp. I put it in the sun all day. It got nice and warm and crisp. It had a firmness when tapped. The next morning it had a wet layer all over it and was soft. It felt slimy but it may just be the wetness and the feeling of the texture of the paper or PVA, but it didn't just feet like water. I left it out in the sun all day. Next morning went to the shed and it was all wet again. It looks like its sweating out moisture or leeching out. But I wouldn't think that much moisture could still be in it? I only used one layer of newsprint which is just doubled up as it overlaps. I wiped off excess glue on the pieces and half way through ended up just painted the PVA on undiluted to reduce moisture. I'm in Sydney, Australia and its going on Autumn.
About a year ago I made a papier mache witch statue for Halloween using the same method, scrunched up paper and masking tape but used plain old flour and water glue with newsprint. That seemed to go fine and not leech water like this. She lives in the shed. Though now she looks like she's crumbling apart. So I wanted something more long-lasting.
It's been a week now. I cut the sculpture from the backing board and ripped out most of the scrunched paper volume leaving just a shell. I keep the sculpture inside now overnight instead of inside the shed and this morning it still had a wet layer over it.
Could it be that it still has moisture inside that needs to dry? Is it something to do with PVA? Is it just sucking up moisture from the air or condensation? I wanted to create something safe and durable for hanging in a child's bedroom. Perhaps I should rethink my methods. Any thoughts, advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.
I'm not going to be very helpful because I have never experienced this, despite experimenting with many types of glue and paste. It sounds like a lot of atmospheric humidity. I presume the scrunched paper on the inside was dry. Therefore the moisture could not be coming from this. PVA, when dry, as I understand it, becomes relatively waterproof, though there are different types and grades.
Do you have a fan heater that could be played on it?
I think David is right, it's the moisture in the air causing the problem.
It dries during the day, then absorbs moisture through every spot that isn't sealed and distributes it through the project.
Once it's dry, it has to stay dry until it's finished and sealed. You'll have to keep it in a drier place than the shed.
Thank you very much for the replies.
Yes it must be the water from the air. So then I'm not going crazy and unlocked some secret portal through which water continuously flows. Although it seems I have discovered the perfect product for drawing moisture from the air!
Having no real knowledge of weather and how it works, I glaze over during the weather report, I did some research into humidity in my area. Apparently Sydney has high humidity, go figure. I always thought that was more the far north tropics. I was studying the Bureau of Meteorologies website this morning and my area has had really high relative humidity during the nights. What do you know! And the dew point temperature (the temp at which the water in the air will condensate on a surface) is matching the ambient temp. I guess that moisture in the air has just been circling around, looking for a place to land. "Aha! There, look! Paper mache!"
Sheesh, now it looks like I'll become an expert on the weather or something? I've kept the piece inside my spare room for the last few nights but it's still the same story. I guess it's time I go build that dehumidifying, drying room in my shed
Here's a couple of pics of the moisture.
http://s428.beta.photobucket.com/user/a … er%20Mache
Thanks again for the help.
'I guess that moisture in the air has just been circling around, looking for a place to land. "Aha! There, look! Paper mache!"'
You've got it! New word for the day: hydrophilic: attraction or affinity to water. And PM definitely is.
Maybe you could make a simple solar dryer.
I wonder if you don't have polyvinyl alcohol- and not polyvinyl acetate; both may be abbreviated "PVA". Polyvinyl alcohol is water soluble- it is also used as a dispersion agent for polyvinyl acetate.... so, what? PV alcohol may have been a constituent in your glue; if there was separation in the package and you did not mix it thoroughly when dispensing, or if there was a mix ratio error at the factory, your glue may be comprised of high levels of PV alcohol. Maybe.
Last edited by mavigogun (2013-02-24 13:31:06)
I've looked at your pictures. Yuk!! And they say that Australia is short on water??? There's your answer. Make lots of papier mâché by your method and collect the drips! A millionaire in the making.
Thanks for the replies. Sorry for the delay as I'm not getting alerted by e-mail when a new post arrives. I'm pretty sure I'm subscribed to this topic. Oh well.
Here's the product I used.
Straight forward PVA wood glue as far as I know. But I do like your insights mavigogun. For all I know I bought PolyVinyl Aardvark sweat. It was the cheapest brand so not the best choice I suppose. No ingredients on the label. I figured just for gluing paper shouldn't matter.
I'll do another test run with the same stuff and make sure I really mix it thoroughly because I never even considered the glue separating, which could be a factor. The results from this project has put me off a bit so I haven't gone back to trial different methods yet. That and a new baby arrived.
It's taken 3 weeks to form a firm surface that doesn't look like it's just taken a jog around the neighbourhood. It was quite freaky. I've never seen anything like it. And it does make me suspicious something else chemically was going on. Anyway, all part of the fun.
That's a great idea dopapier! Maybe I can bottle the water and sell it as Pappier.