This is, by far, the most interesting photograph that came up when I searched for “fairy furniture” on Flickr
This last weekend my daughter and I tried making some small objects using paper mache from shredded paper. Here’s what we did:
- Soaked 3 gallons of shredded paper in 1 gallon of water in a 5 gallon bucket for a week in a warm garage
- Each day I stirred the mixture a little – to see if the paper was absorbing the water and disintegrating
- We scooped the paper pulp out of the bucket, squeezed the water out, put the pulp into another bucket and added a liberal amount of glue – and then kneaded the glue into the pulp
- We then formed the gluey pulp into simple shapes – and left them to dry
After four days, the sculptures (a fairy sized bed, bathtub, table, two chairs, and a footstool) are mostly dried. They all have a grayish brown look with a rough texture – as if they were carved badly from hard rock. It was difficult to mold the gluey paper pulp into shapes – and it didn’t want to keep complex forms. Nonetheless, for their intended purpose – fairy sized furniture and fixtures – I think they look really nice. Once they’re fully dry, we’ll sand and paint them with some acrylic paints (which will also help seal them up).
If they come out well or if there is enough interest, I’ll put together a tutorial on how to do this all yourself. But, in case you’re interested already, the process is pretty simple and there’s not much more than what I’ve described above and in the prior post.
Shredder Means Business
A few days ago I realized that I might have an actual use for all of the shredded paper I’ve accumulated at home and at work. Basically, my thought is that I may be able to create a paper mache “clay” by soaking shredded paper in a bucket of water, draining it somewhat, mixing in some white glue (or flour), molding into some interesting form, and letting it dry into a hardened cardboard like form.
Today my daughter and I went out to the hardware store to pick up a bucket , masking tape, and a lot of glue. We dumped about three gallons of shredded paper into the bucket, added about a gallon of water, and mixed it up. I plan to let it sit out to let the paper disintegrate a little before we drain it and add some glue.
Just to see if it would work, we packed one of my daughter’s sand toys (a large fish mold) with some of the wet shredded paper and set it out to dry. I have no idea if it will hold together since we didn’t wait for the paper to disintegrate and didn’t add any glue. If it works, great. If not, I figure we can just toss it in the bucket again and let it disintegrate for good.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning some really great paper mache techniques, I can’t recommend enough Dan Reeder‘s books on paper and cloth mache. Here are the three Dan Reeder books I own:
Of the three, I think the second (Make Something Ugly) is probably the most comprehensive and interesting. However, the techniques in the others are also really great.