Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

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Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby maryanimal » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:59 pm

So I haven't seen a thread of this kind and I thought I'd put my question out to all the talented people here.

I want to make an almost life-sized "statue" of a person, of sorts. Is there an easier way to construct such a statue, than using chicken coop wire and paper mache? Possibly plaster and molds? Any and all help will be mucho appreciado!
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:39 am

Paper mache is a lot lighter than plaster. If you're planning to transport it to the burn, that's a consideration. Both are somewhat fragile--a consideration if they are going to be outside your camp/supervision.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Drawingablank » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:01 am

Paper mache would probably be superior to plaster because it is much lighter, much less brittle, and less likely to moop.

The slightest impact on the plaster will chip it or shatter it depending on the plaster type, thickness, and what hits it. Paper mache over wire will usually just get a dent.

If you do decide to use plaster I suggest using hydrocal or ultracal which are much more durable since they are partially portland cement (among other things, hydrocal is used to make casts to set broken arms).

Paper mache can be made much more durable by including white glue in the mix.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Bob » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:20 am

Might help to state whether you're making this at home, in the desert, whether you expect it to burn, needs to be light or heavy, climbable, mounted on a moving vehicle, paintable, opaque or gauzy, or what the fuck.

Off the top of my head -- cotton or burlap dipped in dilute paint or white glue; fabric or paper dipped in flour & water; plaster is annoying but makes a potentially smoother and more detailed surface, and if you do it on the playa you might want to work at night or early morning. Could add sawdust, sand, shredded paper or other junk for bulk.

The Burning Man Opera made stage set figures using metal lath over a rebar frame, coated with layers of mud out of the local hot springs. Lath works better for figures much larger than life, though.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby delle » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:24 am

Oooooooooh. A project!!!! Yay!!! :D

I used to use a product called Papydur. Dries durable and hard as a rock, but is unfortunately WAY too expensive for making anything of any size at all. I've tried and tried to recreate it, but never came across the actual recipe.


....then today, thanks to you, I found this: Carton Pierre. Basically French for Rock-Cardboard, it was used in the way-back-whens for interior ornamental decorations. The recipe sounds about right.... And would allow you to use it in a mould, if you should so wish, because it's a pulp rather than strips.

http://www.papiermache.co.uk/articles/p ... aper-clay/ <-- definitely in my favorites now, I'll be trying it out myself as soon as possible!

So again: Yay!!!! :D
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby some seeing eye » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:08 am

Some great suggestions above. Another option is aluminum window screen, on an armature of steel wire. Inexpensive, wind permeable, and recyclable.

If you don't need it to be lifelike, split bamboo shade material as the frame, with paper mache is completely burnable.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby shykat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:06 pm

We made giant puppet heads , news paper method held up fine.

You can also use drier lint instead of paper . Dries rock hard .
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby maryanimal » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:32 pm

Wow! great ideas! Keep them coming!!
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby maryanimal » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:40 pm

Bob wrote:Might help to state whether you're making this at home, in the desert, whether you expect it to burn, needs to be light or heavy, climbable, mounted on a moving vehicle, paintable, opaque or gauzy, or what the fuck.

Off the top of my head -- cotton or burlap dipped in dilute paint or white glue; fabric or paper dipped in flour & water; plaster is annoying but makes a potentially smoother and more detailed surface, and if you do it on the playa you might want to work at night or early morning. Could add sawdust, sand, shredded paper or other junk for bulk.

The Burning Man Opera made stage set figures using metal lath over a rebar frame, coated with layers of mud out of the local hot springs. Lath works better for figures much larger than life, though.


Hi Bob! Did I ever tell you you're my favorite couch!! More than likely I'll be making most of it at home and detailing it on the playa. it won't be burned and I'm thinking of having it planted to the ground. I could be a great photo op too! After getting the body built (head to toe) I'll be bringing it with me. I had this idea though and maybe you could advise me. There is this liquid latex stuff you can dip the handles of tools etc.in...I'd like to use that as the "skin". Any thoughts?
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby gyre » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:47 pm

Hardware cloth may help if you need more strength.

The heavier welded stainless can be shaped and used without a frame.

Fibreglas may be useful, depending on how much lifespan you want.
Structural foam is often used undeneath as a frame.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Ugly Dougly » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:01 pm

Throw some fiberglass over it to make it durable, but not burnable.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby maryanimal » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:10 pm

What type of fiberglass Dougly? I've really never tackled a project like this...
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Elliot » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:47 pm

Several of the Kinetic Sculpture Racers use paper mache over chicken wire -- over a framework of 1/4 inch rod or 1/2 inch conduit. They use a combination of newspaper and paper towels -- I forget which they lay down first. They buy the glue in buckets at the hardware store -- "yellow glue" comes to mind but I'm not sure. Finally seal with paint.

But the same folks there at the Arcata Kinetic Lab -- who include Duane Flatmo of El Pulpo Mechanico -- also use plastic foam insulation board which they glue together (with the correct glue for the material) into essentially unlimited size and then whittle to desired shape. I think they call that foam board "pink foam", but I would have to ask.
This may work better for you than chickenwire and paper mache, since the foam can be intricately carved and sanded to shape.

For a fragile shape, I believe they glue up the foam block around a "skeleton" of conduit or some such.

I believe they also use expanding foam in rattle-cans, to fill gaps and such.

Finally seal with paint -- making sure you use paint that will not harm the foam. That usually means using common latex house paint rather than any fancier solvent-based paints.

Of course, the plastic foam must NOT be burned.

You could try looking on kineticlab.com. Even if they don't have anything about this on the site, there is other fun stuff to see.

Fiberglass is rather nasty stuff to work with. I like it, but it's "not for everyone".
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby gyre » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:08 pm

maryanimal wrote:What type of fiberglass Dougly? I've really never tackled a project like this...

Aircraft Spruce has some great intro material about all the choices and benefits.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Bob » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:31 pm

Just start with stuff in your garage on a small scale and see what works. Don't worry about the finish coat until you build a few prototypes.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby maryanimal » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:51 pm

gyre wrote:
maryanimal wrote:What type of fiberglass Dougly? I've really never tackled a project like this...

Aircraft Spruce has some great intro material about all the choices and benefits.


thanks gyre!! I'm taking notes on alll the products suggested! *hugs*

Elliot; I like the idea of the carveable foam. That way I can make pieces that fit together instead of one solid frame! Thank you!!
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Elliot » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:03 pm

Here you go:

http://kineticsculpturelab.com/ken.htm

I said "kineticlab", but it's "kineticsculpturelab.com". This page shows construction of a hippo head with glued up layers of foam. And other Stuff.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby maryanimal » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:06 pm

Bob wrote:Just start with stuff in your garage on a small scale and see what works. Don't worry about the finish coat until you build a few prototypes.


I don't have much of a garage Bob, but that does sound like a good idea! Smaller scale first, and I can try all the ideas I see in here! Thanks to you *hugs*


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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby Mojojita » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:04 pm

About half of our old art car is paper mache over chicken wire. It does need to be sealed really well against rain. If you are going to use carve-able foam, be sure all carving is done pre-playa as it is a really moopy process.
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Re: Paper Mache and Chicken Coop wire

Postby ApolloPan » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:52 pm

I've had excellent results with steel clothe mess wire & expansion gap filler foam for my art car
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