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I am making 10 dinosaur eggs for my son's birthday which is this Sunday so I need them dried by Friday so I can paint. I live in a humid area (Philadelphia in July, whew!).
I have made 4 so far and need to finish the remaining 6 today. I used a balloon as the base and used 2 layers of newspaper. The mixture was 2 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon of salt. I applied the newspaper strips one right over the other because the other tutorial I saw said nothing about letting it dry in between layers. I'm thinking perhaps that is one area I went wrong.
They have been drying for about 12 hours and are still completely tacky and wet. I'm freaking out because I don't see how they will dry in time. I would appreciate someone telling me the fastest recipe to use to increase drying time. Do I have any chance of the 4 I already made drying by tomorrow morning (Friday) so I can still stuff and paint them, or should I start from scratch? Do I need to let it dry in between layers? Also, I heard that using plain white paper as the second layer makes painting easier and requires less paint.
I know this was long, but as a mom I am begging for help here. I don't want to let my son down and can't afford to go out and buy something in its place. Thank you so much in advance!
I'll do whatever it takes, I just need to know.
Yes, you need to dry the paper mache in between layers but not each individual layer. There shouldn't be a problem with doing 3 layers at one time and then drying and adding more layers. You have to be careful not to goop it up too much.
It sounds like you only have 2 layers? If so, you must have used too much paste. Dip, then scrape the glue off by running the strip through your fingers, down the entire length of the paper.
After 12 hours they shouldn't still be tacky. You may have to start over. (sorry)
Do you have a dehumidifier? That can help with drying.
Oh gee. A major part of your problem is that you are using flour paste . . even worse that it is in a humid area. Flour paste is deliquescent (it absorbs moisture). And only two layers? It won't be anywhere near strong enough.
What to do in a hurry? Can you get hold of Modroc? This is the plaster impregnated bandage that is used to protect bone fractures. If you can (a hospital might help?), cut it into squares (about 1"), dip them in water and lay about three layers. That should do it in the short term.
If you want to make them more sophisticated (it won't be by Sunday), you can apply six layers of newspaper, drying and sanding after each two, before finally painting.
The paste is best as Carboxy methylated cellulose (read the article 'What paste to use") mixed with about 30% PVA (white glue), applied VERY thinly.
I use white glue, undiluted, and only on one side of the paper strips (use just enough to coat the strip, don't glop it on there). It dries much, much faster and it's a lot less messy. That said, on a larger scale project, it'll also be more expensive, as you'd have to use quite a bit of glue.
However, using that method, you could theoretically make, dry, and paint an egg, even a fairly large one, all on the same day. I routinely model, paint, and finish projects over short time periods with that technique. For example, the Water Well Key I just added to the site's gallery was fabricated/modeled, painted, and sealed, all in one afternoon.
I've never used it on a balloon form, and I expect that it might pop if you did, as the heat would probably compromise the integrity of the rubber/latex that they're made out of, especially with only two layers of newsprint as a barrier, but running the side of a woodburner over wet papier mache will also cook/dry it in a hurry.
Last edited by Patraw (2014-07-11 16:00:57)
Well, I certainly wasn't of any use here, was I? My internet modem crashed and died.
But I'll comment, just in case anyone else looks in here with a similar problem.
David is correct about flour paste. I don't use it for anything, anymore. Well, except making gravy. Flour paste is heavy, wet, slow to dry, and absorbs moisture from the air, even after drying, and it grows mold if it isn't well sealed. And insects like it. Many people think that the thicker the paste is, the stronger it will be -- which is wrong -- and the thick goop takes forever to dry. The only advantage of flour paste is that it's safe for young children to eat, or if you don't have anything else, and if you have time to dry it.
If a person could get methyl cellulose powder from a craft shop, paint store or place that sells wallpaper, it is the fastest-drying adhesive that I have found. David likes to use white glue with it, but I don't.
Some things you can dry in an oven on the very lowest setting, but not if they're built on balloons or plastics. If they dry too fast or unevenly, they can warp and twist.
I tried drying a large papier mache mask in the oven once, years ago in college, and it fell apart on me. I let it air dry for a couple of days or so first, but it was still pretty wet (I used flour and water on that particular piece, due to its size).