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Papier Mache from a modelled original
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Papier Mache from a modelled original Reply with quote

Dear All

I am working on a pet project called Micro Mr Punch. This is an attempt to create a Punch and Judy show in miniature, and document the entire process. There is a blog which I use to record new bits of work.

As part of it I have been videoing the technical processes. the first video is modelling a head in Plasticine, with a second, that is casting it in dental plaster.

The urls are below in the signature.

Please feel free to make use of these if they are of any help to anyone here.

regards Andrew
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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Chris
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Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 209
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a bit dubious about the value of your video as an example to others. There are several places where I find your technique suspect. It amused me to see you keeping the Plasticine in the fridge, and then having to heat up the knife in order to cut it.

But actually slicing a head in half isn't a good technique for puppet heads. It works with some symmetrical objects but assumes that all the undercut peaks lie in a single plane running through the poles of the head.

You can get away with it in a tiny head, and using papie mache which is flexible when damp - but any larger head, or with using a more rigid casting material and you would have to break the mold to retrieve the casting. Just think of the ears.

Many puppet heads are going to require a 3 piece mold, sometimes I need 5, and building clay walls is preferable to chopping up the head. In which case the cold head is an advantage when you are applying the plasticine walls.

When you come to mixing and applying the plaster I would suggest that you mix the plaster very thin, then instead of waiting for it to begin to set as you appeared to do, that you splash it vigorously onto the whole surface of the head while it is still at the milk stage - making sure the whole head section is covered with a very thin layer. Vibrate it, bang the table, blow hard on the surface of the plaster - to drive the plaster into every nick and cranny and also to avoid those air bubbles which spoil the surface.
By the this time your plaster will be beginning to cream. Work quickly with spoon and slap the plaster on - don't pour it. This is all to avoid air bubbles. I'm not suggesting you need to do what sculptors do - hurl the plaster across the room - but you can apply the same principle albeit in a less dramatic manner.

Also it is quite important the way you mix your plaster, again the aim being to avoid air bubbles. I don't know if they still are available but Tiranti used to do very helpful leaflets detailing the technique for making plaster casts for sculptors.

By the way the cheapest source for dental plaster used to be Boots the chemists. You had to order it and it came in a large tin - very useful for storage. But the last I bought was about five years ago, and things change in five years! Does anyone know if Boots is Icelandic owned?

You can upload pictures of your finished characters very easily on this message board if you want to show your prowess.

Hope these remarks are helpful.
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

thanks. It is interesting to hear how other people approach it.

Micro Mr Punch project is mainly about documenting a creative process, and I decided to video parts because I like it when other people have posted video of their technique onto the web. Personally I find it much easier to watch people on video than read a description of what they did, so I thought I would video some of mine, and put it out there

As for how good it is, fair enough. You were quite kind, but yes its not likely to win any awards. Its only really for documenting it. Its dubious quality is part of its charm!

I agree that the undercutting issue really depends upon the complexity of the model. In this case a vertical slice was required because of Mr Punch's hooked nose. It could be necessary to have several. You don't have to cut the model. You can insert planes of thin card to make mould areas. (this would need a video to explain!!) This allows you to pour (or flick!) plaster into separate areas, which make mould sections that fit together
It is also possible to ignore very mild undercutting if you take the papier mache out semi-dry, so its a call one has to make oneself I think.

The freezing is to minimise ditstortion of the model when you cut it. Cutting small plasticene models when they are warm can easily bend them. It probably isn't that important for full size glove puppet heads.

Your tips on plaster techniques are useful. I especially like the idea of chucking it about, mainly because it would be good fun.

No idea about plaster from Boots. They used to do great winemaking equipment, but I am not sure they do any more, and Woolworths used to sell their own brand fishing reels, but we all know what happened to them!

regards Andrew
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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Chris
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Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 209
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand that Woolworths are to reopen as a web store. Perhaps they will stock phishing reels.
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Heads from moulds Reply with quote

Dear All

I have some images of intitial raw casts from the moulds. There are videos of the methods (lo-fi quality of course!)

See the micromrpunch-youtube link for latest vids and micromrpunch-flikr link for photos

Comments welcome, and you can do so here, directly on the blog, on pictures in Flickr or videos on YouTube

Hope they are of some interest

Andrew
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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Timbo



Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Posts: 58
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi great to see different people making things their own way,
I see you are experimenting using different papers for your papier mache.
I always understood brown paper was not great for papier mache because it has a sheen to one side which protects it slightly so you have to crease it up and flatten it out to make it work more successfully.
Have you tried paper hand towels, usually a blue folded version is available easily, though I have found beige etc. They readily soak the glue into its fibres making it stronger and if you use a glue other than PVA, such as a starch based glue, you will find adding the layers reactivates the dryer glue and bonds with it. The PVA tends to form a skin and does not like to be reactivated once dried. I think your method using a spot of PVA to a flour and water mix is much better.
I usually use the rabbit skin glue which when heated in the microwave is much easier to use these days than it used to be.
I know of a maker who uses PVA and leather to make their heads though they usually build onto a mold rather than cast into it, so PVA is useful for some layered work.

You don't say which you found the best to use and if you encountered problems along the way. I think a bit of commentary along the way about why you chose to cut your head the way you did and other choices/ideas/tips would help anyone using the video to make their own
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:04 pm    Post subject: completed model is out Reply with quote

Hi

I have now completed the basic head in brown paper. You can see a picture on the blog.

I really like brown paper, because it is so strong. I have always liked it. It has great fibres at the edges when torn, but also has good grain , is very strong and doesn't fall apart when wet. I think the best way to think of it is like plywood. Each layer has its own strength, and by laminating them it gets stronger. It is probably strongest if you vary the direction of the grain. Because of its sheen, it does have to be ripped into very small pieces on any corners, or you will get creases.

By comparison tissue based papier mache is more like fibreboard, I think. Its strong, but not as strong weight for weight.

I take your point about PVA glue. Although you are right that it doesn't really reactivate the glue (it does if you use craft grade, but barely) when adding subsequent layers, this can be an advantage. It helps for example when you are sticking two mould shells together. You can put new strips of PVA glued paper over the joint and smooth over the halves, without them softening the set papier mache, so they keep their shape.

Its all fascinating!
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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Chris
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Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 209
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon that Kraft paper (ie brown wrapping paper is usually this) is quite the best for papie mache work so far as strength is concerned. It is no good for the surface layers which should best be tissue paper. The old style "hard" toilet paper is better than the very inferior wrapping tissue paper generally available. Good tissue paper is quite strong.
One problem with Kraft paper is that it does add weight. The same is true for rabbit glue or similar. My violinist is made entirely of kraft paper and I was experimenting with hot melt woodworking glue - double boiler job. The puppet is immensely strong - but very heavy.
For puppet work I still think it hard to beat newspaper and starch paste for the bulk, and tissue for the surface layers. You can get as high a finish as you want, the materials are forgiving, easily obtainable, and cheap. A drop of oil of cloves in the paste is useful.

If you can still buy Butterfly Brand gummed tape (it is brown kraft) then this can be used for large areas - I used for reinforcing bodies - it saves a bit of time. It was still around a year or so ago, but will probably disappear in favour of pvc tape and similar. Most of the nice cloth repair tapes have now vanished, apart from gaffer tapes and a rather inferior carpet tape.
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Timbo



Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Posts: 58
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris wrote:
I reckon that Kraft paper (ie brown wrapping paper is usually this) is quite the best for papie mache work so far as strength is concerned. It is no good for the surface layers which should best be tissue paper. The old style "hard" toilet paper is better than the very inferior wrapping tissue paper generally available. Good tissue paper is quite strong.
One problem with Kraft paper is that it does add weight. The same is true for rabbit glue or similar. My violinist is made entirely of kraft paper and I was experimenting with hot melt woodworking glue - double boiler job. The puppet is immensely strong - but very heavy.
For puppet work I still think it hard to beat newspaper and starch paste for the bulk, and tissue for the surface layers. You can get as high a finish as you want, the materials are forgiving, easily obtainable, and cheap. A drop of oil of cloves in the paste is useful.

If you can still buy Butterfly Brand gummed tape (it is brown kraft) then this can be used for large areas - I used for reinforcing bodies - it saves a bit of time. It was still around a year or so ago, but will probably disappear in favour of pvc tape and similar. Most of the nice cloth repair tapes have now vanished, apart from gaffer tapes and a rather inferior carpet tape.


Hi Chris, what does the oil of cloves help with? you're right about the weight issue. As per usual the simplest options such as flour, water and newspaper are usually the best.
The brown gumstrip paper is still available and i have used it for quick jobs but personally i'm not keen on the hard edges so try to tear these off on top layers, sometimes it can dry leaving ridges which is annoying as well.

I hear what your saying Andrew about the hard edges which the pva gives you, like most things it is what you are happiest using, each has its own benefits etc Some people have to carve a head, yes it has its various issues but it is what they are happiest with. I used to use Eric B's eggbox mixture for awhile when they were plentiful, I mustn't use as many eggs to cook with these days though because I only ever seem to have one or two!!

FYI the good cloth based carpet tape can be sourced but not easily as the plastic alternative is stocked in the mass DIY shops and the fabric tapes (not gaffa but the closer weave version) can also be found as film camera depts use all sorts of different colours still. I think Brian Joseph Hardware and Flints both stock the fabric and carpet tapes if not then the stores at Pinewood studios certainly do.
Hope this is of help.
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Chris
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't talking about camera tape, and carpet tape isn't very good for my purposes although doubtless perfect for its intended purpose. There used to be readily available from stationers a cloth mending tape in a variety of good colours but it had a great advantage that the adhesive did not ooze, even over time. Both camera tape and carpet tape have an adhesive that does tend to ooze.

Oil of cloves acts as a preservative and extends the time before flour paste "goes off". This is particularly useful if you use my papié maché clay mixture as you can make a batch. Although I tended to keep the crumbed paper separate and only add the paste and whiting sufficent to make enough for the head I was working on.
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: gummy paper and dental tools Reply with quote

Hi,

The gummed paper tape is still available. Its still used in schools, and you can get it from large hobby stores like HobbyCraft. I believe picture-framers still use it too. Its great in a hurry for hassle-free creations as you don't need to sort out glues, but as someone mentioned it can cause creases, so it is OK for big things, but not as good for small thngs.

Although people have mainly been mentioning glue and paper, I am also interested in tools and technique. I have just bought a few stainless steel modelling tools, and they are awesome. Good old Tiranti's - marvellous!

One of these is a ball-ended dental tool which is great for applying paper mache into moulds. You can smooth out the paper by burnishing it with the ball ends. It really gets into mouldings where a finger cannot, or can but sticks to the paper. well recommended! It can press the edge fibres out against the underlying layers, much closer than a finger can.
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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Chris
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Posts: 209
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For all your modelling and papié maché manipulation try the back end of a teaspoon. It does nearly everything.
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:58 pm    Post subject: simple is good Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

Good idea, I like simple methods.
I knew a printer who did monprints off glass using an old spoon. She swore by them.

Alas, too big for my current project. Mr Punch's nasal cavities are only about 3 mm across!

Perhaps a doll's teaspoon?!

regards
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here is a raw moulding from a plaster cast of a policeman from Micro Mr Punch project
[img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosemarybeetle/3304783814/[/img]

I think it looks OK. Captured the scowl well!
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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rosemarybeetle



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear All,

realised that I have not updated this thread for ages, but have actually moved on a fair way. Here are some images:
All were made using torn, laminated brown paper with diluted PVA glue, from plaster moulds of Plasticine models.
All are painted by building up layers of emulsion paint (stained in some cases), acrylic and Promarker felt pens.


Mr Punch. indicating 2-fingered control due to small size (total height approx 25cm)


Judy, part painted. (height approx. 10cm)


Crocodile, part painted. (length approx. 12cm)


Policeman. (height approx 10cm)


Scientist, part painted. (height approx. 10cm)


Salesman, part painted. (height approx. 12cm)


Loads more images are here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosemarybeetle/sets/72157612895551373/
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rosemarybeetle

Micro Mr Punch Blog
http://micromrpunch.blogspot.com/
Micro Mr Punch videos
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-youtube
MIcro Mr Punch pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/micromrpunch-flickr
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