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Building a cave (full size)

#1 2014-02-07 19:04:27

Imart
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Registered: 2014-02-07
Posts: 3

Building a cave (full size)

First post and already I need some advice. Ive just started planning my home cinema room, the wood framing is all in place and I want to make it a cave.
I looked at using foam, expanding foam and various other techniques but the cost is very high. So Ive started looking at papier mache.

My question is how long will papier mache last if I build it then seal it with matt varnish, ive read its liftspan wont be long and will atract insects?

The room is 20ftx18ft and will be completely covered except for one wall and a portion of ceiling.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Ive already bought enough chicken wire for fence off a small farm but now im concerned im on a hiding for nothing.

Thanks in advance.

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#2 2014-02-07 19:52:46

dopapier
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-12-04
Posts: 749

Re: Building a cave (full size)

I don't want to put you off such an interesting idea, but if you're creating the general shape with chicken wire, why not use plaster?  Nevertheless, I'm sure that papier mâché would work and be very effective.  There is no problem with insects etc providing you don't use vegetable paste (e.g. flour).  Read the articles on this site about pastes.
It will need a massive amount of paper but it's free  and friends and neighbours can help supply it.  You need to understand the different techniques of laminating and pulping.  You also need appropriate drying conditions, with humidity extraction if necessary.
Providing it is dry and well sealed, it should last for many years, if not decades.
We will hope to see picture of it in progress and on completion!!!
DavidO


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#3 2014-02-07 19:57:37

Jackie
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From: England
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 389
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Re: Building a cave (full size)

Hi,

Interesting project! Whatever you do, don't use flour paste! Add enough layers and you can make your cave pretty strong, just don't be in too much of a hurry. Wait for each layer to dry thoroughly before adding more. Make sure it is 100 % dry before adding sealer.

Follow these simple steps and you should have no problem. A little sand sprinkled on while the sealer is wet will add a bit of a rough texture.


Jackie

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#4 2014-02-07 20:17:13

Imart
Member
Registered: 2014-02-07
Posts: 3

Re: Building a cave (full size)

Thanks for the reply, ive already built one panel with modroc and that was doomed to failure. I also mixed plaster of paris and painted that over modroc and that just cracked and fell to bits.

Am I right in thinking your referring to builders plaster?(casting plaster?) I hadn't considered using that.
I might try chicken wire, papier mache and then builders plaster. The room looks like a bomb hit it so I may as well try that tomorrow before giving up lol.

I've taken lots of progress pics to this stage and will post as the 'cave walls' go up.

Last edited by Imart (2014-02-07 20:18:58)

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#5 2014-02-07 20:53:59

dopapier
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-12-04
Posts: 749

Re: Building a cave (full size)

You really need to be a specialist to work successfully with plaster.  I think you'll find that if you create your main structure with wood and chicken wire and then cover it with layers of paper, pinched and poked into shape as you go, using no more than three layers at a time, with paste made from wallpaper paste and PVA at thick cream consistency and only enough to smear the paper . . . it should work.
DavidO


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#6 2014-02-09 06:14:09

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1308

Re: Building a cave (full size)

What a fascinating idea!  My first question is:  where do you live?  High or low humidity area?  This cave is inside the house, right?

Plaster is heavy, wet or dry, and needs lots of support.

If you live in a place where the humidity is fairly low, it should work.  A problem with papier mache (PM) is that it can reabsorb moisture from the air.

One thing on my list of things to do is to try using shellac as a fast-drying, non-rehydrating glue for paper.  I don't know if it would work or not.  True shellac (from the lac bug) has an alcohol base, and once that evaporates, it's non-toxic. 

Polyurethane might work also, but it has a polymer base and may take longer to dry.

But you could try a couple of small samples and see if either of them would be suitable.  True shellac is not a long-keeper in liquid form, use the freshest you can find.

Sue

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#7 2014-02-10 10:35:33

dopapier
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-12-04
Posts: 749

Re: Building a cave (full size)

and don't forget flame retardant paint!
DavidO


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#8 2014-02-10 19:40:07

Imart
Member
Registered: 2014-02-07
Posts: 3

Re: Building a cave (full size)

Thanks for the advice, ive decided to go with carlite bonding which is a thick builders plaster. The fire risk and lifetime of papier mache had me worried as its a big area.

I will be doing small areas with the papier mache just not the entire walls. I'll post some pics once I start this weekend.

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#9 2014-02-11 06:38:01

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1308

Re: Building a cave (full size)

If you're going to use plaster, your framing must be rigid and any wire mesh you apply it to must have no flex in it.

Good luck!  It sounds like a great ManCave!

I would have some eyes staring out of dark crevices, but that's just me...

Sue

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