You are not logged in.
G'day from Oz!
My son and I tried to make a paper mache face mask - or the beginnings of one. I had vaseline on my face, we used flour and water for the glue and 4 layers of ripped up newspaper, fan dried between each layer. All up it took about 2 hours. It came off pretty easy and seemed okay - more or less touch dry. I left it overnight to dry out.
Today when I went to have a look at it and try it on, it has shrunk/curled up a bit. The sides of the mask press in against each side of my face, the forehead part of the mask has curled in a bit too. To get it to fit snugly I have to push it against my face which I would rather not do.
Can this shrinking/curling be avoided?
Do other glues not cause this?
Any advice would be very much welcome!!!
Soaking the paper is one cause: the wetter you get the paper, the more the fibers swell, so the more they shrink when the water evaporates. Flour paste tends to require quite a bit of water.
Try this instead: Use regular white craft (PVA*) glue diluted with 'some' water just until it's easy to spread (the really cheap stuff may be thin enough w/o diluting), paint the glue fairly lightly onto the paper, and press firmly into place. Don't coat the top of it. You just want it to stick, you don't want to saturate it. Paint another piece of paper, and press it on. Repeat. With most papers, three layers should be the limit before drying. You need enough paper to hold the shape while drying, but not so much that it's difficult to dry.
Once it's dry, check the fit, and if you need to add more layers for strength or to build up certain features, go ahead. Just don't make it so thick all at once that it doesn't dry completely. Dried PVA glue resists becoming saturated all the way through when you add additional layers to a dry foundation. Using flour, the moisture tends to wick into the previously dried layers.
If you're starting again, rather than using vaseline on your face, you might try a couple of layers of cooking foil, pressed well down and held at the edges with masking tape. You could probably sustain the heat of a hair dryer and then lift the whole mask off, foil and paper together. For the glue, I would make a mix with about 30% PVA and 70% methylated cellulose (or wallpaper paste if you can't find any MC). Have a mix like thick cream. Just smear the paper with your fingers, squeezing off any excess before laying it in place. For the paper, if you can find a thicker, softer paper (what we used to call 'sugar' paper) it will dry quicker and stronger.
That's an interesting idea, David! I wonder if the foil would stick to the face with Vasoline?
For people in the U.S., 'sugar paper' is called construction paper.