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Papier mache and chicken wire

#1 2017-11-19 12:56:49

Jimbob91
Member
Registered: 2017-11-19
Posts: 3

Papier mache and chicken wire

I've seen several posts on making papier mache figures using chicken wire, but mine is different. I am in the process of making a large 3 tier round cake out of wood, etc for a young lady to burst out of during the show 'Singing in the Rain' I have completed the structure for the base (diameter 1.46 metres) and figure I will wrap it with hardboard. Could I then add layers of mache to this to give some texture - would it stick to the hardboard (that is if it will bend enough) The alternative is papier mache and chicken wire. I noted someone speaking about using masking tape over the wire but that would be a lot of tape, as in addition to to being 1.46 metres across, it is around .5 meter tall. Would it be better (and possibly cheaper) to put the wire between a couple of layer then build up the outside layer as needed. Also do the same on the other two layers?

I might add that the cake will be in three pieces for ease of transport and will be used extensively in rehearsal for the next three months before the show goes on.

Any ideas would help. I need to know in the next few days as I am being pushed to get this finished.

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#2 2017-11-19 12:58:30

Jimbob91
Member
Registered: 2017-11-19
Posts: 3

Re: Papier mache and chicken wire

One other thing - what glue would be best if I decide that thsi is the route to follow?

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#3 2017-11-19 18:42:55

CatPerson
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From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Papier mache and chicken wire

I am assuming that you are in N. America, so I will use 'AmeriSpeak' and terms. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

Yes, papier mache would stick to the hardboard just fine, unless it's treated with something slippery or repellent; if it is, it's probably not on both sides, so use the rough side for the outside that will have papier mache applied to it. 

Use white PVC glue like Elmer's, diluted half and half with water.  If you've already got Elmer's Wood Glue, that will do just as well.

If you've got the framing done, I would consider using sheets of luan paneling, that thin, flexible, manufactured stuff that used to be used for walls in mobile homes.  They still sell it at Home Depot, etc.  That will help to keep the weight down, and it's relatively inexpensive.

You could use chicken wire over the framing, but if you're going to use any wire (and can afford the difference in price), I would go with hardware cloth mesh. It's stiffer and lies flat, but fits most curves very nicely.

Since you're working on a large project, I would suggest that you cover the hardware cloth with fairly thin cardboard that won't make ripples and waves when it gets damp. Something a little heavier than cereal-box cardboard.

Corrugated cardboard flexes in one direction, so if you have to use that, use the thinnest you can find, and then roll it to get it to curve smoothly before you try to apply it.  Just roll it like you were going to make a post out of it, and try to avoid putting ridges in it.  There is also a corrugated cardboard that only has one facing on it, and it comes in rolls, but you would want the smooth side out, and I don't know how well the rippled side would stick to wire (unless you tied it with thin wire). It looks like this: https://www.staples.com/Singleface-Corr … uct_948855

If you end up applying sheets of papier mache, use heavier paper, like the rolls of brown packaging paper.  This won't wrinkle as badly as thin paper, and you shouldn't have to apply as many layers. Apply your diluted glue with a brush on one side of the paper, and don't saturate it. Enough to do the job is all you need.

For papier mache 'icing' (like the trim around the edges here: http://cradlerockingmama.com/wp-content … ngMama.jpg), use thin paper, maybe even tissue paper. Apply glue, and then crumple it lightly and press it onto the cake where you have already applied a strip of full-strength glue.

Good luck!

Sue

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#4 2017-11-20 08:08:02

Jimbob91
Member
Registered: 2017-11-19
Posts: 3

Re: Papier mache and chicken wire

Thanks Sue. I'm in the UK and not sure where to get some of the,stuff you mentioned. Glad to see that I can use hard board at least for the bottom tier. I had intended to. Use the rough side as I figured the material will bend more easily that way. I have some sheets used on " the props so no expense there. I also have chicken left over from another show so that is also good. I intend to use that on the upper layers. I will look around for brown paper but had intended to use old newspapers as certainly over here they are quite strong and thick. As for the glue, I will go to a craft supermarket we have called Craft World and get their equivalent and also look at their brown paper and possibly cardboard. Anything that makes the top layers light and strong will be good. First time I've tried to do papier Mac he so should be interesting!

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#5 2017-11-20 10:30:31

Jackie
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From: England
Registered: 2002-09-14
Posts: 389
Website

Re: Papier mache and chicken wire

Hi Jimbob, As a fellow Brit, I would recommend getting a big tub of pva glue from a builders merchant. It will be stronger (and cheaper) than craft glue. Good luck with your project.


Jackie

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#6 2017-11-20 15:35:01

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

Re: Papier mache and chicken wire

You can make a good paste with a fairly thick mix of wallpaper paste together with the PVA.  Since you're in UK, a great paper is the stuff used in Amazon packaging.  Get your friends to save it for you. You can brush the paste thinly on the paper and then press it into place.


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#7 2017-11-20 18:03:25

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1307

Re: Papier mache and chicken wire

Sorry about that! I heard you typing with an American accent! ;-)

If you're using chicken wire, using two layers with the holes offset will make it less flexible and easier to apply the paper. Tying them together occasionally with thin wire should keep them from shifting.

Sue

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