Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clay Mache

Today we're going to talk about clay mache by art minds. There's a picture of the package on the right so you know what you're looking for next time you're at the arts and crafts store.

Inside the package, there's a little tray of clay mache, which as it turns out, is not quite a liquid and not quite solid. As you work it, it gets less like clay and more like paste. You can also mix it with water, although it's quite a chore. It took me about half an hour to get it decently blended, but when you're done you can paint it on with a large brush or even pour it on.

Clay mache bonds extremely well on stretched canvas. Originally, I just smeared the paper mache on the canvas, making ridges and different textures. Since it's just paper mache, there's enough glue in it to hold trinkets and embellishments, like the beads and polymer clay and mini canvas on my project here on the right.

It was even strong enough to hold on the watch near the bottom left and a wooden sun underneath the mache sun on the right.

This material isn't dense enough to sculpt in the way you can polymer clay, it will hold a shape to about the same extent as wet sand when you pull it straight from the package.

One aspect of paper mache that can either be a blessing or a curse is the fact that, if you wet it, you can rework it, indefinitely. This means, though, that if you want to protect it from practically melting off the canvas, you'll need to seal it somehow.

You can use any kind of acrylic sealer or varnish to protect it from moisture, but I prefer to spray my projects, so that I can ensure a nice even coat and to save time, energy, and money, as I tend to use an entire jar of sealer when I use the liquid.
If you use a spray varnish or sealer, however, be sure to protect any surfaces around where you're working and either open a window or go outside.

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