Friday 28 January 2011

Papier Mache (how the cool kids do it)

The idea of using papier mache was not mine, Andrew Downie from the Edinburgh University Physics Department raised this idea and he therefore deserves full credit for it.

I followed the recipe I found here. There are some more tips there, so if you want to do it yourself, go look there as well.

Here are a few photos of the papier-mache production process:

Making pulp: anyone who ever managed to cook pasta should have the skills for this step. Tear up newspaper, put it into any kind of pot, pan or beaker and cook it. Whisk it with a standard whisk every 30 minutes to turn the newspaper into mush.

Once it has all come apart, you have to drain the water out of this disgusting soup. A standard kitchen sieve will do, but you will have to use your hands to squeeze the remaining water out of the paper, just dumping it in the sieve won't do by itself.

Once you got most of the water out, you need to scrunch it up (I rolled it between my hands) and dry it. An electric fan can do wonders if you don't have much time.

This stage is rather crucial. Get a cheap blender (I got this one from Argos for £20) and blend the dry newspaper, only small amounts at a time. The difference is huge, you end up with very fluffy and slightly dusty pulp, perfect for papier mache!

Next step: mix it up!

Mixing in the other ingredients is very straightforward, but I made some pictures anyway:
Here is the rest of the party: Sawdust (on the far left, being pushed out of the picture by the pulp), wallpaper paste, boiled linseed oil, PVA, whitening and some water (ignore the huge bottle filled with a dangerous fluid, this is a research facility after all)

essentially what you do is to throw it all together and mix it well. In the original recipe they mix it with a T-shaped mixing bit attached to a drill. If you do that I think you'll end up with a smoother paste.

1 comment:

  1. Hey I just love your idea ! maybe you can check out my blog about papier mache ! :