Pulp Method

Pulp is a lump of wet paper and glue that you can mold or apply in layers to the surface of a piece or an armature. It is dense so it can take a long time to dry and you may want to apply it in fairly small stages or design your project so the air can get at the centre of the piece for drying purposes. It is stronger than the stips of paper approach and I like to combine the two methods to give my projects solidity.

If you look for commercially prepared paper maché in a craft supply outlet, you will notice it looks like powdered paper. This would be ideal for working as if you were manipulating clay. There are various ways to approach that pulpy texture. One is to use tissue grade paper (kleenex, paper towel etc) dipped in your regular paste. This is good for a quick fix or small area. Making your own pulp on a larger scale is not difficult.

Start with shredded paper or paper torn into small pieces and soak in water. How fine a texture do you want? If your project will tolerate lumpy pulp you can proceed from here. If you want it very fine begin with the smallest pieces you can manage, you may even use an egg beater or blender to further break down the paper. Newsprint grade instead of bond grade paper might work better in this instance. Once it has soaked, drain the water off, squeezing out the excess.

Mix in white glue, and wallpaper paste. My recipe calls for a little linseed or stand oil and a few drops of oil of cloves. I'm not sure if these are essential - they may act as preservatives and they give it an interesting smell.

You will notice I am not giving you proportions or measures here - experiment to get the mix which works for you. I have used directions which only use water soaked newspaper and no glues which did work but I think the glues help bind the material together better.

Knead this all together until you have the texture and consistancy you want. Wrap in plastic to keep it air tight until you are actually using it. I wouldn't recommend trying to keep it for too long - I try to use it up over the course of a couple of days to avoid having it go off.

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