Tag Archives: paper-mache

Bird Paper Mache Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge

Crafty Challenge 7: Paper Mache Tree with Nesting Bird

Bird Paper Mache Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge
Bird nesting in a tree.

Cheri: I find it really interesting that every project we do, I always think that it is the best one yet, but this project was one of the best. I like working with paper. It has endless possibilities and can be made into practically anything. I knew I wanted to make a tree with a nest and a bird, as this is a theme that I have been exploring lately.

To begin, I made a base for the tree with paper covered wire. To make the base, I cut about nine lengths of wire around 9 inches long. I took a longer piece of wire and wrapped it around the base and slowly coiled my way up the tree. I left some of the wire sticking out of the bottom to make the roots and some sticking out of the top to make the limbs.

I then took some pages from an old book, (Gone with the Wind), and ripped them into strips. I  paper-mached the strips onto the tree, the bird and the branches.

For the nest, I cut very thin slices of paper and formed them with glue using the bottom of a small bowl as a form. I let it dry and when I took  it out it looked amazingly like a real nest. At this point I was not really sure if I wanted to paint it or not, but after talking it over with my son, Justin, we felt that it would look nice if I did a light watercolor wash on it. This really made the text pop and was just the right touch.

I was very pleased with how it looked when it was completed and it really came out how I wanted it to look. And somehow it seems fitting to turn paper back into a tree.

Paper Mache Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge
Tree with nest removed.
Paper Mache Bird Nest Crafty Sisters Challenge
Close up of nest and bird.
Paper Mache Bird Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge
Another view.
Paper Mache Bird Nest Tree Wire Crafty Sisters Challenge
Nesting bird and tree.

Crafty Challenge 3: Paper-Mache Bowl

It must be said; better late than never. I am really (and I mean really) late getting my photos for this challenge posted. I have been really busy doing some painting (don’t worry, you’ll get to hear about and see it at a later date) and have just not had a whole lot of time to really do much else but sleep and work.

I had a hard time with this project for several reasons. First, I try to keep my hoarding down to a minimum and don’t have a whole lot of storage space right now, so my collection of incidentals was rather small. Second, for these challenges, I have been really trying to step out of my comfort zones craft wise and this has made for some uncertain outcomes. The project was to use the packaging or incidentals that come with a purchase. It must be the stuff that you would usually throw away or re-use for another packing job, not the purchase itself, in other words, free.

Paper-mache bowl
I love the slightly aged look the shellac gave the newspaper.

After all the plaster and paper-mache (or papier-mâché) work we did for our Halloween costumes, I thought this might be a good medium for this challenge. It wasn’t a bad idea, just an unknown path for me. I definitely learned a lot from this project.

I wanted to make a bowl for the little stuff that seems to get thrown on the counter. As it would be in the kitchen, I figured what better paper to use than the Kroger coupons I get every week (I do most of my grocery shopping there). This proved to be a good idea as the paper Kroger uses for its ads tears beautifully into strips. I then draped the paper-mache strips over some wooden bowls I had. I like their shape but not the material. I had covered the bowls with Vaseline to keep the strips from sticking to the bowls. Notice I am using the plural here for bowls. I managed to turn out one good bowl from the two starts. I then let this dry.

Paper-mache bowl.
I intentionally made sure that one of Kroger's logos would be visible.

I am glad I used small bowls, as larger ones would not have worked at all. The Vaseline seemed to prevent the paper-mache from drying completely (this process works just fine with plaster, but not so much with paper-mache). I managed to pry the shapes off the wooden bowls, but pretty much destroyed one of the shapes in the process. I used some of the paper strips from the destroyed shape (which were not sticking together) to fix the salvageable one and this time I used some wood glue to keep the strips down. I let this dry overnight and started shellacking the bowl the next day. I did multiple coats all over the bowl. I really liked the effect of the shellac as it gave the newspaper a lovely aged look.

At this point, it was time to present our projects and mine was really not dry. I kept it on some wax paper to present to my Crafty Sisters and it worked out fairly well. It is now a week and a half later and I have just finished taking the photos you see here and the bowl is completely set and hard. It has turned out just like I wanted it to, I just needed to be a LOT more patient. I whined a lot about this project and I apologize profusely to my Crafty Sisters who had to listen to me. I am really happy with my final project although it took over a week to get there.

Paper-mache bowl.
I did trim the top edge of the bowl with scissors to give it a clean edge.

Lessons learned: 1. be patient; 2. do not use Vaseline with paper-mache or at least put plaster on top of the Vaseline and then do the paper-mache; and 3. shellac takes a long time to dry.

Happy crafting!

Goblin Ball Halloween Costumes Pt. 1

Happy Halloween to all our readers who celebrate this weekend (and Monday)! My SO and I have a particular fondness for this particular holiday. Not for any specific reason other than we like to come up with good costumes. This year, after some serious debate and wishy-washiness, we decided to be attendees to the Goblin Ball. For those of you who are devout Brian Froud and Terry Jones fans and who love the movie Labyrinth, you should know what I am talking about. For those who don’t know what I am referring to (or who have forgotten, after all, the movie is getting a little old now), here is an excellent video of the ball scene from the movie (and yes, that is David Bowie as the Goblin King).

The most time consuming part of this was trying to decide how we would go about creating our costumes and how much of an homage we wanted to pay to the creators. We ended up doing our own versions of two guests at the ball with a little more color added as we were no longer just background scenery for Sarah and Jareth.

The masks were the first things we started discussing and working out designs. My SO based his on a raven king plastic mask found at the costume shop while mine is based on a paper-mache (papier-mâché) domino mask found at the same costume shop. Then we added lots more paper-mache and plaster to complete our goblin masks.

My goblin mask before painting.
My goblin mask before painting.
My goblin mask after painting.
My goblin mask after painting.

Front view of my goblin mask.

At this point (for my mask much more so than his) there was quite a bit of carving to do to get a sinister, craggy face. With a dremel tool and some clay carving tools I had left over from an old art class, we proceeded to make an absolute mess on our kitchen table and floor. After some agony and repairs done by my SO to my mask, we both finally had something that we really liked. My SO painted his with a tea stain and mine he painted green, then overlaid that with a darker pearlescent green. Overall, my SO finished his mask in about a day and a half, and we worked on mine for about the same amount of time in total.

If you haven’t figured our between the lines, the masks were mostly done by my SO. He is an excellent artist and crafts-person when it comes to plaster and painting. He used to make the scenery and set pieces for the table-top role-playing games he played.

His goblin mask.
His goblin mask.

Side view of his goblin mask.

Front view of his goblin mask.

Our costumes were a bit more difficult to come up with and I will dedicate a whole other post to those tomorrow. We are definitely going to have some fun tomorrow night! I will certainly post some pictures of us in our completed costumes.