Creaturiste's Laboratory

Techniques, works in progress, and everything that doesn't fit in the portfolio. Comments and questions are encouraged, custom orders are welcome!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year, Strangelings!!!

Click to Enlarge!

To all Strangelings, Misfits and Weirdos Out There, Happy New Year of 2011!

Wishes of Abundance and New Friendships to You and Yours, from Creaturiste, Poëk, Mr. Armadillo, and the rest of the ever-growing creature family!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tahini Dip / Veggie Paté

Wow. I have been snobbing tahini as a condiment for years. I was missing out!
I didn't mind it if it was part of something else, but as a main flavor, forget it, it was too bitter for me.

Until now!

I was looking for a recipe for a vegan substitute to sour cream, and found this recipe, which calls for tahini (roasted sesame seeds, ground until smooth cream) as a main ingredient. I simplified the recipe by buying pre-made tahini, and added my own proportions. Here's the result:

Tahini Dip / Veggie Paté
It's easy, healthy, almost raw, super refreshing, and super fast to make!

•1 cup of tahini
•juice of two lemons (freshly squeezed)
•one tablespoon of onion powder
•one teaspoon of minced garlic
•pinch of sea salt
•water, if necessary to dilute (though I now prefer to dilute with more lemon juice).

Mix it all together until smooth and to the consistency you need.
No need for a blender, I hand mixed it all.

It does not imitate sour cream, but the taste seems to work where sour cream would.
I already tried it in burritos, and as a veggie dip. Amazing!

I am going to mix it thicker next time, add some ground peppercorns and herbs, and use it as veggie pate, for toasts, sandwiches and crackers.

You won't believe it until you try it!
And please let me know if it already exists as a tradition under another name, so I can research it and add the info here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Green Iced Tea

One more recipe for the busy artists who appreciate good food, but don't have much time to prepare them.

My Iced Tea (sweet tea) is very appreciated by my guests.
It's an easy 10 minutes to make, takes about two hours of freezing to be ready, so I make it in advance, when I know someone is coming.

Ever since I succeeded making it to my taste, I can no longer appreciate the overly sweet chemical "drink" that is called Nestea. Real Iced Tea should be fresh made, therefore fresh-tasting, and not too sweet!

•2 big heaping tablespoons of Green Tea
Needs to be loose leaf & organic. I personally prefer Sencha, a Japanese green Tea.
Variation: for the hottest heats of summer, a blend of half green tea and half dried mint leaves is a really good combo.

•4 cups of near-boiling water.
•sugar or honey, to taste (I add about half a cup of raw organic sugar, or raw honey).
•fresh cold water to fill the rest of your pitcher
•glass or ceramic teapot that can hold 4 cups.
•fine mesh strainer, to filter the tea leaves.
•Pitcher, needs to be freezer-safe (I use a plastic pitcher for this).


1. measure 2 heaping tablespoons of green tea leaves, and put in the teapot or glass jar.

2. Bring 4 cups of cold water to an almost boiling point, using a kettle.
Using cold water to start with helps in keeping your drink unflat.

3. Pour the hot water onto the tea leave, and lest rest for 8 to ten minutes. Waiting longer will make a much more bitter tea. Some people step it for less than 8 minutes, but for me, it feels like a waste. You'll see what appears to be flakes or powder, turn into actual leaves, or big fragments.

4. pour the tea into the pitcher, using the strainer to catch the leaves.

5. Add the sweetener and blend while it's hot.
A variation: sometimes I add the juice and a bit of inner pulp of two or three lemons at this point.

6. fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water, and blend well. Tasting it now should tell you how sweet it is. If it feels a bit weak now, you should add a bit more sweetener, as a cold tea seems to taste a bit less sweet. Observe the marvelous color! It may be called green tea, but often it looks more golden, with a green tint.

7. Put in the freezer, without a lid, for about two hours, or until chilled.

8. Dispose of your surprisingly big heap of tea leaves in the outdoor compost right away. They attract insects. Who knew fruit flies were THAT fancy? If it's winter time and you don't want to dig out the compost pile, you can leave it in the freezer or in a bucket outside until you have time to do so.

9. Issue a warning to your guests: this iced tea is known as a diuretic. It affects some people more than others. If you have a very small or very nervous bladder, start with one single cup, to see how it affects you. Hey, such a natural diuretic is a good thing, it cleanses you!

10. Enjoy!

11. repeat the warning if you see that your guests are emptying the pitcher...

Why not use Tea Bags?
Why loose leaf and not tea bags? Commercial tea bags are low quality at best, and have barely any taste, in general. So "do yourselves a flaVor", and get loose leaf tea. Don't be fooled by the label at the store if it's sold by weight. Even at $10.00 a kilo, it's a bargain, since tea leaves are very lightweight. Different brands and types of green tea will taste different, because of how they are grown and processed. My most recent purchase of Sencha tastes more grassy than my usual supply, and that was a great surprise. If you like the convenience of tea bags, you can purchase empty bags and prepare your own. If I were to start using them, I would prefer the over sized tea bags, allowing me to prepare bigger batches, such as what is called for in this recipe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wheat Paste is solved!

I have just found out, by a sudden moment of strange inspiration, how to prevent delamination of the first few surface layers of paper mache strips.

The problem:
When using boiled wheat paste as a glue for paper mache strips within a negative mold, the release layer of paper towels or toilet paper and water, were always diffcult to really paste down and merge with the rest, once pulled out of the mold. Even worse, most times, some areas of the glued paper lift when applying the sealer.
I never had those problems with PVA glues.

The solution:
I now use a paper pulp (with wheat paste as a bonding agent) to make the detail coat into the molds. It takes twice as long to dry, but that time is not wasted, as I get a better definition, and a bonus texture that I love. I then add 3 or 4 layers of thick Kraft paper inside, for the strength and stiffness I need.
See the method here:

I'll repeat it here, to be clear: Wheat paste paper mache is far more stable in temperature changes than any PVA I've ever tried.

PVA-glue paper mache strips: get it cold, it becomes brittle and can break into pieces if dropped or hit; get it hot, it becomes soft and can be warped or squished out of shape.

Boiled wheat paste paper mache strips: no apparent change! I even froze a puppet head for a few hours, and then hit it violently, there was no change in strength!

Add to this that wheat paste paper mache is by far stronger than PVA-based same, and you got the best choice: stronger, non toxic, smoother results, non-lumpy, very economical, available worldwide!

This is where I got the info that made me want to try wheat paste again, at last!
Thank you Jose Chavez!

And here is the previous article I wrote about Wheat paste and my newfound love for it:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home-made Blender Slurpie

Hi all,

Whenever I need healthy refreshements, which is everyday,
I make something along these lines...
It's fast, it's amazing.

Fill half a blender pitcher with frozen fruits of your choice.
I reccomend these different variations, because they are my favorites so far...
•Berries (blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry)
•Fruit blend (watermelon, strawberries, honeydew, peaches, grapes)
•Berries+Maple Syrup
•Pickled ginger+juice of 2 lemons+sugar (this tastes like a spicy lemon pie!)

Add a little amount of sweetener (organic sugar, honey, or maple syrup are my usual)
Add a liquid of your choice (water, fruit juice, sweet tea, or even a milk or a milk replacement) to cover the fruit content completely, and add a little bit.
A pinch of salt completes it.
Some people may like, depending on the fruit choices, a tiny bit of spice, such as black pepper, which works really well with strawberries.
However, you do not want it to be overpworing, it's just there as a bonus dimension in taste.

Blend until smooth. If it doesn't move enough for your blender strength, use more liquid, stir by hand, and re-blend..

This mixture can be drunk with a big straw (like for Bubble Tea), or eaten with a spoon.

Also, it's amazing as a sherbet, but in this case I sometimes like to add a thickener, such as a raw egg, or a banana, but it is not really necessary. Use it in an ice-cream maker, or try this fantastically easy and economical method:
I modified that method a bit, I now use a larger plastic bucket to contain the ice & salt. Until I can find a proper flexible and durable container, I still use the plastic zip bag to hold my ingredients. However, a leak usually appears after one use. The slightly damaged bags can be washed and reused to store dry things that are larger than particules, such as craft supplies!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Latex Frog Puppets

I'm very excited to show the first pics of the painted frog!
There are still some painting steps left, such as coloring some more and antiquing, but this is the overall look.

After all the technical insanity that seemed to happen every step of the way, it's finally good!

I thought I'd make my life easier by making a single piece latex puppet (in a two-part mold), it was actually a technical nightmare to learn how to use my good mold.
Learned a lot in very little time.

And I am "forced" to turn the few imperfect casts into Zombie Frog puppets!
I have one almost entirely painted already. Pics coming soon.
Both series (frogs and zombie frogfs will be available on my Etsy store in the coming weeks.
Three zombie units will be for sale at first, and then, they will most likely be made to order.

Prices will go up once the cold weather sets in and I cannot work outside, as this will force me to rent studio space, as I don't cast latex in the house.
So, if you want'em, hurry and order before the end of September!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Creaturiste Paper Mache Methods

I have never been fully satisfied with PVA glue in paper mache, because of the instability of the result when confronted with extreme temperature changes. The piece become brittle when exposed to cold, and can break during that time. They become potentially saggy when exposed to extreme hot or moist weather. They return to their normal strenght when the comfortable temperatures come back, but during the time they were at risk, they may have gotten damaged!

I am currently researching and experimenting with boiled Wheat Paste to find a temperature-stable alternative. It seems to be temperature-stable so far. I'm so glad of the results that I plan to use it for all my projects instead of PVA glues.
Latest article about this:

Until I am absolutely sure that I solved all the issues, the following is the set of methods I recommend for the strongest and most durable paper mache I have ever seen.

My Definition of The Best Paper Mache:
A paper, a glue (or adhesive), a sealer and some textural and colored finishes combined to create an accurate, durable and lightweight piece of art that is strong enough to be a performance object.
Ideally, the best Paper Mache would be made with natural ingredients only, in order to be healthier, and not dependent on a highly specialized industry. So it could be made in most any situation, independant on the economical or commercial availabilities. In my personal endeavours, acrylic paint remains the most practical paint to use (fast drying, readily available). I have hopes to make it work on top of my natural paper mache approach, but also need to find a completely natural paint that will be just as water resistant, or better. Oil Paint is the next best thing to acrylics, so far, yet it takes too long to dry for the consistently rushed delivery times. I create for customers. This would be a non-issue with hobbyists or people who have no specific deadline to respect.

Best papers I've tried:
•coffee filters (thin yet very strong, applies smoothly, edges disappear like magic)
•Kraft paper (various thicknesses, great for quickly building thickness and strength
•Paper Towels (used as a smooth or textured finish)
These three papers are the best for my purposes. Your purposes may have you require other papers.

Best Glues/ adhesives I've tried
•Wheat Paste (current favorite).
It has all the properties I need for the best paper mache, except I have not found an appropriate sealer that will be compatible with it, and acrylic paints.

It is a higher quality than any other PVA adhesive I tried. It dries clear, is flexible, acid free, and scratch- resistant. It also resist water better than other PVA. It is also ideal as a base coat for acrylic paint, which never seems to separate from it (other PVA make acrylic paint crack, which is a great effect only when one wants and controls it). I use it as a sealer for my pva-glue paper mache projects, it is a great base coat for acrylic paint, contrary to all other PVA glues I tried. Added to joint compound and water, it makes Monster Bone, which is what I finish all my paper mache project with, for an infinity of textural possibilities. Added to the paint, it makes it scratch resistant, but add a bit of gloss.
Not great for building stable hollow structures, because it is too flexible, but that flex makes it ideal to cover or repair flexible materials.
PVA glues (aka white glue: Elmer's, Lepage, Mastercraft, etc)
They all work well, except for the major instability under temperature changes. They are brittle when cold, and saggy when hot. Still usable in most situations, but that extra worry must be eliminated.


Paper Mache Pulp
I very rarely use pulp nowadays. It is too much work, too much weight, and too much brittleness for my purposes. However, sometimes I use it to texture an already strong object. In this case, I usually soak small pieces of paper in water for an hour or two, then mix it by hand or drill mixing attachment, to reduce to pulp. I drain it of most of the moisture, add some PVA glue and some other fillers (usually a bit drywall compound) until I get the texture and consistency I need.

Paper mache Strips

Strongest of the two paper mache types. Process: Laminating pieces of paper by overlapping , making the fibres facing different directions, creates a very strong shell, which can be hollow or protect an already existent object or armature.
See method below.

Paper Mache Bark.
A Textural Variation of Paper Mache Strips. Larger strips of paper are pasted on both sides (or dipped and drained) with glue, then wrinkled to form a bark-like piece of paper, which is lain over the form.
Each piece overlaps with the previous, just like regular strips. The paper bark can be wrinkled linearly like a strip of clay, or uniform, by crumpling into a flat ball. The texture is controlled to look like what is intended. It can be squished down to create a semi smooth appearance (best with uniform crumple). It can be left rough for a bark-like appearance.
Full Article Here

Monster Bone.
Mixture or pva glue, drywall compound, water, and colors.
Full Article Here

My main Method, which can be used over positive forms, or within a negative mold.

1. modeling a form.
I use plastalina, which is an oil based clay. Water based clays can also be sued, and are easier to shape, but are messier, produce harmful dust, and tend to crack as they dry.
If I intend to apply paper directly to the form, I protect it with plastic wrap, which leaves no residue, contrary to oils or soaps that may soften your paper overtime.

If I intend to use a negative mold (plaster or silicone or Flexwax 120 or latex), I will make said mold, using appropriate methods. This would be the stuff of another article.

3. I choose my papers. I prefer coffee filters, because they are very thin yet VERY strong, apply smoothly and their edges disappear easily. When building larger pieces, I like to alternate between layers of coffee filters and thin Kraft paper (same grade as lunch paper bags), which I soften by soaking in water and wringing out as much water as possible. For the smoother finish once my paper mache pieces are assembled, I like to use brown paper towels (made from recycled paper).
I tear my paper strips in advance, to save time later. Smaller pieces are better to avoid wrinkles and warping, because they more readily lay flat. The more complex the shape to cover, the smaller the bits of paper. I find slimmer strips are better than the same surface area in a square.
I keep all the pieces of the same size and shape in a clean box, getting a handful at a time, so I don't risk contaminate the rest with spills of glue.

4. I prepare my glue. I just dilute some pva glue (I prefer exterior wood glue) with enough water to make it penetrate the paper. When too thick, the glue stays between layers of paper, making a weaker bond.

5.Applying strips
I use a firm hogs bristle brush to apply the glue on my form. It is faster than applying it on each individual strips. If the pieces do not lay flat, the glue may be too thick, so I dilute it more.
First layer is harder to apply, especialy on non porous surfaces. To help with this, I paint a coat of glue all over the object, and let dry fully. The strips will stick well now.
After three layers, it is thick enough to be smoothed down with a smooth hard sculpting tool, to get into all the details and gain accuracy. When using PVA glues, I find that 8 layers of coffee filters is sufficient strength for most of my projects.
However, when I feel extra strength is required, I won't be afraid to add extra layers.

5B. Detail pinch. When the paper is semi dry, it can be pinched into more accuracy, especially at the summits or edges. I also use a bit of the Paper Mache Bark to create more defined areas, such as eyelids, sharper points, and even hair or fur. Right after te bark is applied, a single layer of unwrinkled paper can be added to smoothen the effect, just like skin over muscles.

6. Drying.
There is no need to wait for each layer to dry before adding the next. I find that up to 8 layers is safe if done in one sitting, and will dry (enough to separate from form) in about 8 hours in front of a fan, at lowest setting. Without this air circulation you'd be looking at a few days of drying, and that would increase the risks of mold/mildew problems within your paper mache.
Do not use heat to dry paper mache, unless you want shrinkage and warping. I used to use an oven for this. Not anymore!

7. Freeing from form.
Some forms remain inside the paper mache shell, These are called armatures.
When you are in no need of an armature, you must free the shell from the form.
When dry enough to pull from the shape, do it. Some shapes may require cutting to free the shell from the form. Make sure that you have the time to cut and assemble the pieces in one sitting. If you leave cut pieces separate for any extended period of time, they will warp in different ways, and be less compatible when re-assembling.

8. Re-assembly.
I use masking tape to hold the pieces together temporarily. I add more of the same paper strips where there is no tape. When strips are dry, I remove tape, and add paper there.
When dry, I can shave off the bigger wrinkles, and add more paper, until the seam is invisible.
For deeper crevices, I like to use a softer version of Paper Mache Bark, which is brown paper towel and glue.
I wrinkle it in a ball or strip, and squish it into the detail to fill it. Then I immediately apply a strip of the same brown paper towel (unwrinkled) over the patch.

9. Second drying.

10. Trimming & Closing Edges.
this is when I cut the paper mache where needed. Every cut edge must be closed with more paper strips (I use two layers), otherwise the moisture can get inside, and cannot escape without causing warping.
My Paper Mache Pumpkin mask thought me that lesson, years ago. It had a wide open mouth.
No edges were sealed with paper, only with a bit of glue. The mask was worn in the rain for three evenings, and the moisture in the air was high. Next time I looked at my mask, a week or two after the event, his mouth had closed completely, the head was slightly squished, and his eyes were more squinty.
I never have had this problem again, since I now close all my cut paper mache edges by overlapping with two layres of the same paper paper.

11. Third Drying.

12. Smoothing Paper
I often cover the entire paper mache surface with an extra layer or two of paper. This paper is the brown paper towels. It gives a very smooth result, if well applied, in small pieces.
It can also be wrinkled on purpose, for a very nice organic skin-like result.

13. Fourth drying.

14. Sanding. If necessary, I use a file, or sandpaper. 150 grit is usually what works for what I do.

15. Sealing.
I use Weldbond, diluted a bit with water, to make it penetrate. I avoid touching it until fully dry.
If I have access (such as a mask), I seal the inside of the piece as well. If I don't have access (such as a puppet head), but know the moisture could get in, I close off the holes where moisture could access, let that patch dry, and then proceed to seal everything.
Two or three coats of the diluted Weldbond is more than enough. Some people use Acrylic Gesso as a sealer for their pva-based paper mache. I strongly reccommend against it. It softens the paper mache and makes it more brittle in a few days.
All other PVA glues I tried for sealing were not compatible with acrylic paint.
Weldbond is perfect as an undercoat for acrylics.

16. Monster Bone.
This is what I use to smooth or texture further. People tend to think my pieces are made of wood, or cast latex or resin. they never guess it is paper mache.
Monster bone Article, here.

17. Painting.
I use matte acrylic paints, which I make myself, by using pigments, GLOSS acrylic medium, and he occasional paint in a tube. Adding an excessive amount of dry pigments creates the truly matte finish.
No commercial matte paint I've ever tried was as matte as mine.
It is much cheaper to make your own acrylic paints, and very easy. I make them as I need them.
My supplier, which also delivers:

18. Antiquing
Every painted 3D job in my studio requires an antiquing wash. It brings out texture, and turns an otherwise "clumsy" surface texture into a positively vibrant and rich feature that I could have never done on purpose without the wash. This wash is simply a very liquid, very matte and dark acrylic paint made with a color appropriate for the effect I want. I usually go with Raw Umber, but sometimes I mix it with Burnt Umber as well. The object needs to be sprayed with a mist of water to help the paint flow without drying too quick. Then I wipe the surface quickly with a clean cotton rag, trying to remove only where I want to, leaving some of the wash into the crevices and textures. Second pass is when I go back with the rag tight on my fingers, wet with a bit of water, and wiping only the summits or areas I want to lighten up again. If the paint is too dry already to be wiped, I go back with the same tight rag, but with rubbing alcohol.

If the antiquing has darkened the work too much, some highlighting is necessary.
For this, I use dry brushing, make it dry, then lightly antique over that.

19. Varnishing
I usually go with a matte acrylic sealer in a can.
I have sometimes used shoe polish in cake form (mid-brown, light brown, neutral).
It gives a wonderfully natural warm finish, which is just like en encaustic or an oil painting.
It also makes some of my pieces look like they are made of leather or old wood.
The shoe polish is heated with a heat gun to make it liquid, then brushed on, then wiped with a clean lint-free rag until even. A re-heating of the entire form can eliminate brush or rag marks. This works best on paint jobs that are still porous, because it give grabbing power to the wax. Bare in mind that this wax finish will change over time (which is good in some cases, makes it look authentic) and will require a re-application eventually. It tends to get glossier as it rubs against people and fabrics.

20. Displaying, Travelling, or Storing
Well-Made and well sealed paper mache is stronger than many other materials.
Its enemies are:
•Water or excessive moisture (do not soak in water, or store in the bathroom or the shed outside)
•Excessive heat (if it's enough to cook an egg, it's enough to damage a lot of things)
•Sweat In the case of puppets or masks, make sure the paper mache areas that touch the sweaty skin are protected with something that is sweat-proof. I use small tabs of L200 (also known as Fun Foam or Foamies). For masks, I place Fun Foam pads that make the sweaty areas stand away from the mask, making an area for air circulation as a bonus. These need not be insanely thick to work. Th finer the better, for a better visual fit.

•Rodents and insects: Depending on what ingredients were used in the making of the paper mache, it could attract rodents or insects, as well as bacterias. Proper sealing is a big help, proper storage is even more important. Good storage means you appreciate and respect your pieces. Improper storage denotes a negligence that should mean that you don't care about what happens to them.
You can always have pest repellent storage cases (they seem to hate chewing through thick storage plastic bins with strong lids), add some bay leaves into your container (repels some insects), and make sure you are not storing your work into a basement or attic that gets too damp or too hot or too much like a pest watering hole. Good containers will protect your work in the case of moderate flooding too.

Carry your projects in storage containers that are obviously labeled, so as not to be confused with other people's possessions, luggage, or garbage.

I've heard of plenty horror stories of people losing their prized possessions because someone mistook them for garbage or recycling, especially in the puppetry field. So, do NOT carry your creations in garbage bags or non-labeled boxes, or they may be carried away by a distracted or even a well-meaning person!
Invest in a suitcase or a sturdy plastic bin with padlock, if you are going to travel with your creations.

Basically, a good paper mache project can be extremely durable, and may outlive you or your children, if well taken care of. Pieces of paper mache made hundreds of years ago are still in private collections and museums, and some were made by people who didn't know the science behind why their paper mache withstood the test of time. We live in a time of easy access to materials and information.
We'd be fools to not take the opportunities to make it all better!

This is the best set of methods I currently have, and have been using for years.
You can see the results on my portfolio. These methods are all very good indeed, but I am always working actively to find even stronger, faster, more accurate, and more natural methods. Your help would be much appreciated, and the resulting methods would be shared here.
See an article about this here.

Quest: The Best Paper Mache

QUEST: The Best Paper Mache.


•Strong against impact
•Strong against pressure (crushing)
•Strong against scratches
•Smoothness when needed
•Easy to apply
•Definition (accuracy in details, with or without using a mold)
•Stable in temperature changes (not brittle when cold, not saggy when hot)
•Dries matte
•Non Toxic

My Definition of The Best Paper Pache:
A paper, a glue (or adhesive), a sealer and some textural and colored finishes combined to create an accurate, durable and lightweight piece of art that is strong enough to be a performance object.
Ideally, the best Paper Mache would be made with natural ingredients only, in order to be healthier, and not dependent on a highly specialized industry. So it could be made in most any situation, independent on the economical or commercial availabilities.
In my personal endeavours, acrylic paint remains the most practical paint to use (fast drying, readily available). I have hopes to make it work on top of my natural paper mache approach, but also need to find a completely natural paint that will be just as water resistant, or better. Oil Paint is the best contender so far.

Best papers I've tried:
•coffee filters (thin yet very strong, applies smoothly, edges disappear like magic)
•Kraft paper (various thicknesses, great for quickly building thickness and strength
•Paper Towels (used as a smooth or textured finish)
These three papers are the best for my purposes. Your purposes may have you require other papers.

Best Glues/ adhesives I've tried
•Wheat Paste (current favorite).
It has all the properties I need for the best paper mache, except I have not found an appropriate sealer that will be compatible with it, and acrylic paints.

It is a higher quality than any other PVA adhesive I tried. It dries clear, is flexible, acid free, and scratch resistant. It also resist water better than other PVA. It is also ideal as a basecoat for acrylic paint, which never seems to separate from it (other PVA make acrylic paint crack, which is a great effect only when one wants and controls it). I use it as a sealer for my pva-glue paper mache projects, it is a great basecoat for acrylic paint, contrary to all other PVA glues I tried. Added to joint compound and water, it makes Monster Bone, which is what I finish all my paper mache project with, for an infinity of textural possibilities. Added to the paint, it makes it scratch resistant, but add a bit of gloss.
Not great for building stable hollow structures, because it is too flexible, but that flex makes it ideal to cover or repair flexible materials.
PVA glues (aka white glue: Elmer's, Lepage, Mastercraft, etc)
They all work well, except for the major instability under temperature changes. They are brittle when cold, and saggy when hot. Still usable in most situations, but that extra worry must be eliminated.

Already Amazing, but not enough.
I already have methods that work incredibly well.
After all, I can throw my paper mache puppets or masks against a wall or floor, and they will bounce back unharmed, save a few occasional scratches, depending on surfaces.
You can get most of my methods for free, on this very site, if you search a bit.
I just realized I don't have an updated article about my best methods. I shall write one soon as I have time.
In the meantime, my favorites:

Paper mache Bark
Monster Bone

These results are just not strong enough for me, because of the heat/cold instability.
They are nearly indestructible in comfortable room temperature, but become temporarily brittle in the cold, or can be warped by pressure if it gets too hot. Which is why I switched to Wheat Paste, which doesn't seem to have this issue at all. The problem is finding a sealer that will protect it from moisture, and still allow for painting with acrylics. Also, if paints made with natural products have been proven to work for a durable, water-resistant finish over paper mache, maybe with a varnish compatible with them, I'd love to know!

We Need Everyone's help
Information that is easily accessible to some, is not made available to most.
Hundreds of years of paper mache tradition, from various countries, and the techniques are not fully accessible online, in the "age of information".
I'm calling upon all Artists, Crafters, and Workers of paper mache, to check their own information and that of the people they know, to see if it is well known by all. What may seem obvious to you can often be a wonderful discovery and time saver for everyone else. If it is not well known, please make it available, by sharing it here and on the paper mache websites, such as PaperMacheArt and Paper Mache UK.
Send me your information at creaturiste @

What information would help us all tremendously:
•Fully Described Traditional Methods from China, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Germany, Russia, Italy...
because these countries seem to be the major experts, historically.

Questions to be answered by professionals:
•What is your favorite, time-tested natural paper mache approach?
•Best sealer for each paper mache+adhesive types (wheat paste, pva, acrylic medium)
•Best paints (preferably natural)
•Best Varnishes for specific paints (preferably natural or water based)
•What is best: dipping strips or applying glue with a brush?

Upcoming tests:
•Sealing with household "latex" paint (which is not really a natural product, so not a truly ideal solution, but still a good viable one).
•Sealing with Acrylic Gesso (which has always weakened my PVA-based paper mache projects in the past, maybe it won't do that to wheat-based?)

Thanks for your input. Together we can come up with the answers.
I'd like to compile them into one simple tutorial document, and publish it online for all to see.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Loving The Wheat Paste!


I've been working in paper mache on a puppet head and three different masks, all made with wheat paste instead of my usual exterior wood glue.
The result already seems so much stronger than when using any version of PVA glue (white glue, wood glue, etc), and I only used three layers of paper (coffee filters sandwiching one layer of thin kraft paper) so far. The final result will require 6 to 8 layers.

A few weeks ago, I experimented with Corn starch, and I loved it except for the sagging caused by the re-wetting when assembling parts. This problem does not occur with wheat paste, at least not on the puppet I was assembling.

So, Wheat Paste has all the advantages I noticed in Corn starch, but none of the disadvantages!

Thanks go to
•Monica J. Roxburgh (GoblinArt) who years go, was writing about it.
•Mary Robinette Kowal, who wrote about wheat paste in her blog
•Jose Chavez, who posted a very useful video on how to make wheat paste.

Why use Wheat paste?
•Non toxic
•Much much more economical
•Much stronger
•Better handling properties
•Strips stay flat when applied
•Dries faster than PVA glues
•Penetrates paper better than pva glue
•Bonds better with the paper.

Pastes made from flours or starches are very rewettable! So it is very important to seal it properly before painting, otherwise you have high risks of warping from water, moisture in the air, spoilage, insect and pest attacks.

If you plan on using oil paints to finish your paper mache, you can seal with shellac, lacquers and other oil-compatible finishes.

If on the other hand, you will paint with acrylics or latex paints, you need to seal with a waterbased sealer.
As far as I know, the only true way to seal it perfectly is with oil based or lacquer products, and paint with oils. W.T. Benda, back in the 1930s, sealed his paper mache masks (glue he used is unknown to me, might have been wheat paste, or animal hide glue perhaps) with lacquer and painted them with oils. A colleague tried some Benda Masks a few years ago, and says they are good as new.

For my purposes and required times of delivery, waterbased products, which dry very fast, are what I have to use, until I can find natrual, non toxic alternatives that work even better.
Still, the current results are more than satisfactory, and extremely durable. Precautions have to be taken against the rain and excess moisture, but those have to be taken into consideration for all puppets and masks anyways.
My current sealer of choice is Weldbond, which is a different kind of PVA, and it does a very good job. It is a perfect stable ground for acrylic paints, contrary to all other PVA I tried before for the same purpose, which make acrylic paints crack (neat effect, but only if wanted). Still, I want to find a better option, a natural product I can make or find locally.
Help in finding it is much appreciated!

To seal with Weldbond 9and probably other PVA products), I first spray some rubbing alcohol onto the paper, and quickly paint the water-diluted Weldbond onto that area.
Since the Rubbing alcohol evaporates fast, it is necessary to add more as you move on to another area. Without this step, the first and sometimes second paper layers delaminate slightly, causing some annoying surface defects.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Latex Puppet & Latex Mask

These are two of the multiple contracts I have been working on lately.

The frog is a mouth puppet cast in one piece of latex.
What you see currently is the cast inside the mold, as it appeared immediately when I opened the two-part plaster mold. I will offer copies for sale eventually, but if you want one before the weather gets cold in North America, you should order preferably before mid-September. I avoid working indoors with Latex, because of the ammonia fumes.

The Vizir (also known as the Evil Wizard) will be a latex mask (for the current customer) and will also be available as a paper mache version.

I shall post the copies in my Etsy store as they become available.

Rubber Latex: Keeping brushes CLEAN

Greetings Earthlings!

I've been unsuccessful in finding proper information online about how to REALLY keep brushes clean when using them to apply rubber latex for making molds.
All the sources mention using dish soap, but all of them are absolutely unspecific about it.
So years ago, when I first started using rubber latex, I wasted a few brushes.
I hate wasting!

This past week, I've been working with latex again, both as final product and as molds (different projects).

So I decided to solve this once and for all, after another intensive search turned no specifc methodical solution.

Today, by simple logic and remebering what went wrong before, I found a method that works, and here it is!
UPDATED August 2nd, 2010

1. choose a good quality long haired brush (I use a flat hogs bristle brush). The lenght gives it suppleness and bounce, allowing for softer and more precise application of latex.

2. Find a small narrow short jar, and fill it with liquid dish soap. It must be enough to cover all the jair on the brush, and part of the ferule (metal part).

3. dip brush into dish soap, gently press with your fingers to make sure the dish soap gets deep into the brush.
Leave brush in it for a few minutes (I prepare my model for molding during this time)
This is an added precaution to ensure that the soap really is permeating every hair on the brush.

4. pour your rubber latex into a small container, such as a small pudding cup or a glass. Plastic is best, it can be cut to size, and cleans up easily: just peel off latex when dry.
The small container makes it easier to handle the latex (compared to using the big jug or gallon container), and helps prevent dipping the brush too deep.

5. remove excess dish soap by rubbing against the mouth of the jar, therefore recuperating it.

6. Dip ONLY the end of the brush into the latex. This is important because the ferule'Ms exit for the hair is where latex and paint like to accumulate, and make the hair go wild and useless for precision work. Nearly impossible to clean once it is set there.
Brush the latex gently onto your model, either by sliding or by stippling, using the tip of the brush, without applying much pressure. This is imprtant to keep proper detailing on the first three coats at least. DO NOT squeeze the excess latex back into your latex cup. You would contaminate your latex with dish soap, which could, in theory, cause structural problems on your project.

7. If your surface is large or complex and takes a while to cover, take a break after ten or 15 minutes, to wash your bush, even if you are not finished, and when the brush is clean, just redip in dish soap, and start working again.

8. CLEANING the brush: start with a squirt of dish soap in your hand (gloved if you are allergic to latex), mix the soap into the brush (tip only again), and then wash gently with COLD tap water. to water makes latex set instantly! DO NOT srub the brush into your hand. DO NOT reverse the brush to force water near the ferule. Those are very bad abuse on any brush, but alas quite common "techniques" in the artistic and construction fields. Better to gently brush your hands directionally, as if you were painting it. Repeat rinsing and soaping until you are sure thebrush is clean. Suspend upside down to dry.
Occasionally, after a work session, it is good to treat your brush to a little bit of hair conditionner. It helps keep them alive longer. Just don't, forget to rinse toroughly, or else the conditonner would affect your next painting or moldmaking job.
Found out after three days of using this method: there may be just enough residual dish soap within the depth of the brush to be enough to wash it without needing to add any more.

9. No matter what precautions you take, you will eventually get some small beads of latex forming at the end of your brush. Use more dish soap and rub it well. Then pinch those beads out of the brush.

Here's to the health of your brushes, and more precision in your work!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Epoxy Putties

Hi there,
I've been using epoxy putty again tonight , because it was called for.
I thought the following input could help people have a better experience with this useful but "particular" category of materials. Things can go wrong real fast with epoxies.

I use it rarely, but it's great for some specific uses, such as:
•strengthening mechanics inside puppets
•gluing or merging parts of very different materials (even for glass to wood to metal!).
•Smoothing and patching an otherwise hard-to-repair material (only if paper mache is not suitable, such as for certain synthetic materials that are too slipery).
For most other things, such as a main modeling or casting material, I avoid it , because it is:
•Way too heavy
•Way Too brittle
•A nightmare to paint (scratches off too easily, no matter what primer I ever tried)
These problems have been consistent with the three different brands I tried:
•Apoxie Sculpt
•Mighty Putty

And one more epoxy-based casting product, of which I have not been told the name, seems to share these issues with the putties.

Three days ago, a heavy hollow puppet head from a colleague, cast in a supposedly flexible and lightweight epoxy material, got severely damaged when it was dropped from a table. The product had been highly recommended by another colleague of his, who got him the contract. BIG mistake. Caused a slew of technical problems for him and me, as well as puppeteering problems for the puppeteers (mostly weight and fragility, but also some air bubbles in the cast).

So tonight, to help out, I repaired the head with epoxy putty.
It's curing now.

The big problem I had with the only putty I had access to tonight, after hardware store hours was Mighty Putty, which I got at the drugstore. The price was right for a change, but that may have been because it was old stock. No mention of it anywhere, but I know from past experience that this is what happens to putty when it spends too long on the shelf: sets way too fast, gets brittle and loses adhesion properties in 5 minutes (or less).
A proerly fresh epoxy putty feels like warm bubble gum at first, is actually droopy for a minute or two. Tonight'"s stuff was already like firm modeling clay, and only sticky for two minutes or less. I wasted nearly half the package, because that's how much I mixed at once, and it set within 5 minutes, instead of the "minimum 20 minutes" advertised in the instructions. Next time, just because I obviously should not trust stores or suppliers, I shall mix a tiny amount at first, to test the batch.

I'd appreciate it if people with different experiences with epoxy puttie would come froward and share their tips, so that visitors here can benefit. Especially if you know of a good, not-too toxic primer to use on the stuff.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Store Progress + Price Reductions


I have had an Etsy store for the past few months. Sales were very very slow, but today I sold 6 of the same item. One was a repeat customer (he bought one recently, wanted 3 more), and another also got 3.

With this week's sale on the Mellow People, I may have found a product-price ratio that people want to spend. The more I make items one-by-one in a series, the faster I get.
I am trying to get to a speed that's fast enough to turn into profit, but not so fast that it sacrifices quality levels.

I might leave the Mellow people priced at 10$ after the sale.
I also adjusted the price of the Beaverlions, those furry fridge magnets, at 10$.

If you have suggestions on what you'd like to see in my store, please contact me.
I also CRAVE custom orders, as they always bring new ideas and challenges.
Don't worry, my prices are reasonable!

You can check out my store by clicking on the big orange button on this very page.

I always put the store updates on twitter:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Easy Skull Cap


A few weeks ago, I made a test to see if I could create a skull cap for a fraction of the cost of the same thing I can purchase in plastic.

"Skull cap" is a term that is nowadays applied to too many things to be of any clear meaning.
The one I am referring to here is a hard cap that is often used in Theatre to create hats and helmets.

I did it to myself!
It worked!

Step one
Cover a bald head with a thick application of aluminum foil.
The thickness becomes the extra space you will have inside the skull cap to install padding.
Which is necessary, for a paper mache skull cap, as sweat would make it uncomfortable and sticky.

Step Two
Remove from head, cover foil cap OUTSIDE with plastic wrap, using masking tape to hold in place.

Step Three:
Cover the OUTSIDE of the foil with paper mache strips.
Check this blog for previous articles about strong paper mache practices.
Basically, you use diluted white glue as a paste, and strong paper, such as thin Kraft paper, which has been softened by crumpling into a ball, soaking in water, and wringing out until no more water comes out. Tear in small pieces, apply over shape, using paste.
Let dry completely.

Step Four
Remove paper mache cast from shape, remove plastic wrap and tape leftovers.
Try it on, trim according to your needs. A skull cap should not irritate or rub against anything, including your ears, horns, or any wonderfully strange bumpŝ you or your customer may have.

Step Five
Strengthen and seal the edges, by adding strong wire on the edges, and covering with paper mache strips (same as described above).
Once dry, this cap will not warp.

Step Six
Now is a good time to sign and date your work with a permanent, preferably lightfast, marker. Make sure you sign and date where there will be no padding added, so that it will always be visible. Seal the whole thing (inside and out) with two coats of water-diluted Weldbond (or diluted white glue, but Weldbond or Sobo are better). Let dry completely.

Step Seven
Install padding. I prefer L200, which is the industry name for the colorful rubber product sold as Fun Foam (or Foamie). This material is easy to cut, glues wonderfully with hot glue, and is sweat-proof.

The pads are small rectangular strips, installed regularly all around the head, but apart from each other, to ensure air and sweat circulation.
Do not add padding where they would touch the temples of the wearer. This would cause headache-inducing pressure.

Step Eight
Install skull cap inside mask or hat, or build mask or hat around it.

I will add pictures of the skull cap one day, when this test is finished. Right now, it's only at step four, and I have no project for it.
I may need it for next Halloween.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Okse's book


I just bought this book from Okse, and I'm waiting for it with impatience!
You can preview the whole thing at the following link.

I met Okse on Blogtv, where he usually broadcasts daily, his interactive show being a wondermix of live painting, live cartoons, humour, and fun.

If I were a cool rapper, with street cred, I'd be able to say with a straight face: "He got madd skillz!"

This book was created live on blogTV, one cartoon at a time, with audience participation to choose topics. I've seen quite a few of these being drawn, and it feels extra special to think I'll have an actual book filled with these.

• Click the link.
• Click on "preview book"
• be tempted!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Paper Mache: Starch Revisited


In the past three days, I have been experimenting (finally!) with corn starch, as a glue for paper mache strips. So far, I've learned a lot about very desirable properties of starch, yet it brought more questions, as the issues showed up as I worked.

(Updated: Conclusion: I won't use it for now. See below for details)

I am hoping some alumni of tradition, and current paper mache users will come out of the woordwork to help us understand what works and what doesn't, and why.
Anyone here willing to share their insight?

Yeah silly, why switch to something so complex, when white glue and water work so well already?
REASONS: Ecology-Health-Durability-Convenience-Independance-Economy
You may wonder why am I so interested (dare I say haunted?) in moving towards more natural materials? I have always felt a bit uncomfortable about using so many synthetic materials to create my work, when at the same time I strive to be more eco-friendly and healthy in my profesionnal and personal lives. Those synthetics are usually much more damaging to the environment, from the moment they are created(transport+by-products+fumes), delivered (transported again, packaging) to the end of their use cycle (transport, waste) PVA adhesives are very sensitive to temperature changes, becomin softer in heat, and brittle in cold (albeit temporarily, it's enough to cause major damages or utter destruction). Also, synthetics are usually more expensive than raw materials, and come from specific suppliers. I prefer to buy local, to not be absolutely dependant on a single product (versatility and substitution are a must) and use supplies that will be easily available all year-round. I enjoy making my own art supplies, from relatively raw basic ingredients. So, using starch, such a common, inexpensive food ingredient, makes a whole lot of sense! Plus, it's been used by countless people, for many many years. If it's good enough for The Bread and Puppet Theatre and Ronnie Burkett, it should be good for me!

Skull and Neutral masks casts fresh out of the mold, not yet smoothed)

Skull on the left was the second test, and has better definition than the neutral mask on the right. Difference: I used only one layer of paper towel strips (release-detail layer) on the skull.

Materials so far: paper towels, coffee filters, thin kraft paper, corn starch (and of course the negative plaster mold, and water)

My current test is making two full-face masks out of paper mache strips, using negative molds made of plaster. The release layer (also serves as the "splash coar for details) is a single layer of paper towels (made from recycled paper, quite thin, stays put and works wonderfully) and water. Second and third layer, applied immediately but carefully, are brown coffee filters and corn starch (liquid, not tacky).
Fourth layer is thin kraft paper (wetted and wrung out to make soft) and corn starch paste (same liquid consistency). For my future masks, wether I use starch or not, I'll only use coffee filters for the first detail coat, as I found the brown paper towel, when properly softened prior to application, stays put and does not lift.
PHOTO at start of post: Skull on the left was the second test, and has better definition than the neutral mask on the right. Difference: I used only one layer of paper towel strips (release-detail layer) on the skull.

To keep things simple, I just used water and corn starch.
Some people use white glue in the mix, but I believe it would defeat my purpose.
Preparation: (please share your own tested-and-true recipes, what I find online is vague and speculation at best).
Option one: I added some corn starch to a small quantity of cold water. Mixed as much as possible. Added boiling water gradually while stirring, until mix was more watery than wanted. It thickened as it cooled. No lumps at all.
Option Two: same begginning with cold water, then add more, place all in a saucepan, and gently heat while whisking like crazy, to avoid lumps. I wasn't very successful with the lump- avoidance (too hot for too long, probably), but I only made one batch this way. It was still useable. I want to try that one again, because sometimes I want a very thick, tacky glue. The problem with this mix is that it gets thicker with time, constantly requiring more water to be added, and lumps are created that way.


•Natural, non toxic, inexpensive
•smell is almost undetectable, and is quite pleasant anyways.
•easy to mix to various consistencies
•dries matte and has a uniform color (I'd like to use that as a finish some time)
•applies quickly
•slick, creates no lumps on hands or brush or paper (when paste is well mixed to start with)
•dries as fast as white glue (I use a fan at l;owest settings, overnight)
•penetrates paper immediately
•seems to create a stronger result (as long as it is dry), so that less paper layers are required for a good structural strength.


•re-wettable, meaning a new layer will re-soften a previously dried layer or two.
...Meaning a paper mache session should last until at least the first TWO layers of strong paper have been applied, otherwise warping and shrinkage happen. a hollow piece, such as a puppet head or a mask, will sag until dry again. a multiple-part cast will be difficult, as the edges will sag from
...the added moisture.

•there is a limit of layers one can safely apply at once without having automatic development of mold on the outside or from within (corn starch+trapped moisture=food for micro-organisms). Information gathered online in a few place reccomends limiting to three or four layers, but that information is vague, as papers vary greatly in thickness and absorption factors. I'm thinking that since I am using a plaster mould, lots of the moisture is absorbed by the plaster. Since my casts remain in the mold for no more than 24 hours (but usually more like 16), I don't see why I should panic.

•when using thin papers, previous strips can lift quite a bit when new ones are being added (to the hands or brush), because of the rewettable factor. Mostly problematic on the first layer after the "release & detail coat" of paper and water.

•Absolutely needs to be sealed VERY well. Otherwise, the paint job itself can make it soggy and warp it. Or later: accidental spills, atmospheric conditions (even indoors), will damage it in no time at all.

•Seems to shrink a bit more than the same object made using same paper but with white glue. But that might be false, as I haven't cast a copy of either masks in five years.

the CONS are the same as when using Methyl Cellulose(also sold as Elmer's Art Paste) and its variant, Hydroxymethylcellulose. So solving it for starch might solve it for MC.

I wonder what the Bread & puppet Theatre uses to seal/protect their giant puppets made with corn starch.
The logical continuation of my process is to keep using natural materials.
One of my current test masks needs to go to a customer fast, so I'll have to go back to my usual synthetic material (Weldbond) for the sealing and finishing. At least it is non toxic, and is a good primer for acrylic paint.
The other mask can be used to keep testing.
Shellac: Seems to be the best "natural" solution that I've seen so far.
I do have a local supplier for a water-based shellac, which is used for making "permanent" ink, but it feels too expensive considering the amount I will need to properly seal a mask. It works well on paper for drawings and painting, but on an object, it might be weaker than a traditionnal solvent-based shellac.
Wax: might soften my paper mache, will become sticky under hot conditions, scratches easily, and would attract dirt over time. I'd still like to test. Not a priority, unless new information claims to the contrary.
Linseed oil: Strong smell, might make project saggy, indecently long time to cure, risk of spontaneous combustion.

If using shellac as a sealer...
• I don't know if acrylics will adhere to it (and oils take too long to dry). The logical process would have me use natural paints for this as well, but most bring their own problems, mostly of moisture and scratch resistance.
Watercolors? (nope, they would run when varnishing)
Egg tempera? (needs testing, and need a home-made varnish)
•I've tested it years ago, and I think using my own shellac-based paint (shellac+dry pigments+wood alcohol as a solvent), would ensure complete compatibility.
As with most paints I make, to ensure that the finish is no glossier than "satin", or to make it completely matte, I just add more pigment (oversaturate).
Still needs to be tested for scratch and impact resistance.
One problem remains: I usually reccomend a spray (and/or cloth) of rubbing alcohol to clean/disinfect the insides of my masks. Shellac fears alcohol, will turn white-ish. If anything runs or spills or sprays over to the outside surface of the mask, the finish will need repainting. Even if only the insides get ruined visually, it lowers the beauty and value of the mask.

: it is of the utmost importance to get a fresh shellac to work with.
Older than a year-old shellac may not set, ever, and remain sticky. Happened to me.
I solved it as best I could by using a wax paint over it. Itmasked the stickyness, and looked good. But the finish transfers to the hand over a half hour of hand heat (it's a wizard's staff prop).
Sadly, most shellac companies do not include an expiry date on their product.
You may still be able to get the date the store got the can, if you ask an employee of the store to scan it, and see in the system. I believe Zinsser was, a few years ago last time I checked, the only company that had an expiry date on the package.
When in a rush and willing to take a risk, I sometimes reach in the back of the shelf, to get the more recent product, if I know that store has good product rotation practices.
also, getting the less dusty container may be another clue that it is more recent.
Because most hardware stores don't dust every can every week.
One way to get away from that expiry risk altogether might be to get the shellac in crystal form, at a paint and pigment supplier. It's extra work (breaking, grinding, heating, mixing, bottling), that I'm not really willing or available to do, though.

Again, I would appreciate input and insight!
Emailing is better than posting comments.
Keep checking this post for updates and more pics.



The casts were more trouble than I expected, and I felt I was running out of time to finish one of the masks, so I proceeded to complete both of them using my older, tried and true methods. Which brought more insight into the process.
My usual sealer (Weldbond+water) was not reacting ideally with the starched surface. The towel layer was seprating from the first strong paper layer, no matter how much I diluted my glue to penetrate through ad stick. So I had to rip out the paper towel release-detail layer, which I never have to do normally (it becomes part of the final smoothing). This time it created a texture that is a bonus for the skull mask, yet unwanted for the neutral mask. You can see both casts, yet untrimmed and unsmoothed, with a coat of matte paint (acrylic paint, touch of glue, with a bit of drywall compound), which is a good step to reveal surface definition and imperfections.

My current tendency would be to wait for further input from colleagues with experience using starch, as for now, after my tests, I see no further direction to take that would solve the problems that starch brings.
Remaining problems:
•re-wet-ability = warping = sagging = less definition and accuracy = casts hard to re-assemble seamlessly
•Appropriate sealer: requires testing, possibly Shellac.
•If shellac is used, then acrylic paint probably not appropriate. (shellac-based paint should work)

Starch is not a viable option for me, for now.
I may change my mind in the future, but I have a feeling I will not experiment any further with this unless I get insightful information about the process. So far, no one has come forward.

At least, I don't see it viable for use to cast hollow shapes that do warp so much. White glue and water works very well, so that is what I am going back to. The starch would still work well for pieces that are only covered, and never hollowed out, but Methyl Cellulose works better for this, for my uses. One product of Methyl Cellulose: Elmer's Art Paste. But if you use a lot, some people recommend getting it from a chemical supplier (either as Methyl Cellulose, or Hydroxymethylcellulose).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mellow People

Mellow People live in a Marsh...

Approx 2,5" x 2,5 " x 1,5 " or smaller.

Lightweight non toxic material + acrylic paint, and an embedded Rare-Earth Magnet, so each of them can climb on many metallic surfaces! Appoint them guardians of your important notes!
Soon to be on sale on Etsy.
Click on the big Orange Etsy button on this page to reach the store.

Elizah, Mouse Figurine

Polymer Clay and Paper Mache over wire armature, on a wooden base, acrylic paint.

Private collection, USA

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Creepy Poupée

Rag Doll, designed from scratch around an HD Webcam, so that the doll broadcasts what it sees on a big screen for the audience. Created for a contemporary Dance Choreographer in Montreal.

She can sit really stable, at a few angles, thanks to the cylindrical sandbag inside her bottom.

Coutil (type of tightly-woven Cotton), polysester thread, sand, plastic pellets, zipper, HD webcam, unraveled twine, and a wash of acrylic paint.

I'd like to assemble another such doll, without the webcam, to keep for myself. I kept my patterns!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vampires In progress

Vampires finished!
Customer is taking care of the costume on both, and building the body (a simple stuffed fabric bag) for the fat one.

The vampires are built from original illustrations by "Sampar", who illustrated the stories by "Ben".
Heres a link to the publisher's page for this book.

Progress pics and process below:

I've been working on Vampire puppets for a storyteller who uses puppets to bring her stories in visual life.
With full authorization from writer, illustrator and publisher, I was asked to create puppets based on the illustrations in a book.

These are the first two heads I made by using a temporary and reusable wax called Flexwax 120. I like it!

Materials: paper mache (toilet paper for detail, coffee filters for structure, paper towel for skin texture), Monster Bone, acrylic paint, Wood (Fangs, and sticks).
The vampire hands (still require more work) were made with foil, popsicle sticks, tape, and paper mache(same ingredients)

The skinny one will be a rod puppet. The fat one will be a bag puppet.