Mashing up paper bits in water!
Paper is such a versatile material. Mashing up paper bits in water (it may have a fancy French name but that is pretty much what papier mâché is!) is fun at any age. By adding some glittery bits into the mix the result is a bit more glitzy— and great for making jewellery.
This project is very straightforward—but be warned, the papier mâché takes a good two days to dry, so don’t expect instant gratification!
<b>Project by Amanda Kay from the book Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book.</b>
Amanda became interested in crafts thanks to her step- daughter Rosie, who shares her passion for all things artistic. In recent years, Amanda has been involved in silversmithing, glass and silk painting, papier mâché and card making, and runs workshops for adults with learning difficulties at a local drop-in centre. Craft is a welcome antidote to Amanda’s professional work activity as a freelance writer and editor.
You Will Need
Begin by making the papier mâché: tear up scrap paper, card and other items you wish include, into postage stamp size pieces and mix together thoroughly.
Fill the liquidiser/blender half full with lukewarm water. Add the scrap materials and leave for a couple of minutes to allow them to soak. DO NOT overfill or you will put too much of a strain on the mechanism and it will overheat.
Blend on a low to medium speed for five to ten seconds, and then blend on high for another 20 to 25 seconds to create a pulp mixture. Continue to blend until you are satisfied with the consistency of the pulp—it depends on whether you want a textured surface or a smooth one.
Place two newspapers side by side on your kitchen table, then place two layers of kitchen roll on top of each of the newspapers. Pour the pulp out on top of one of the prepared surfaces and spread the mixture out with your hands until there is an even thickness. You may find it useful to use a rolling pin. Don’t make it too thick or it will be difficult to cut later on.
Press a dry sponge on the pulp to remove excess water. Ring out the sponge regularly. Continue to do this until the pulp is virtually dry.
Flip the papier mâché on to the other dry newspaper surface to work on the underside, sponging off the excess water. If the pulp is really soggy, you may have to repeat these steps with fresh newspaper and kitchen roll.
When you are satisfied that enough liquid has been removed, and the mixture holds together well, place the papier mâché in a warm environment and leave to dry. This may take two or three days, depending on the ambient temperature.
Whilst the papier mâché is drying, make the jewellery fittings. The procedure is the same for both the bracelet and the necklace. Link the paper clips so that they are running in the same direction. If you are making the necklace, make sure the paperclip chain fits snugly around your throat. Too long, and it will not sit properly.
Stretch out the paperclips in a straight line. Gently lift the smaller inner loop of the clip and slide a washer (wrong-side up) in between the two parts of the clip. Ensure that the washer is positioned centrally, with the end loops of the paperclip clearly visible on either side. Continue until all the washers of the same size have been placed (fig. 1). Glue the paperclips to the washers and leave to dry over night.
When the papier mâché is dry, decide which side you prefer, and apply a coat of varnish to this surface. This binds the papier mâché even further and makes it easier to cut.
On the papier mâché, draw around the spare 2 cm washer (for the bracelet) and 21⁄2 cm washer (for the necklace), matching the number of discs to the number of washers for each item of jewellery.
Cut out the discs very carefully with the rounded scissors. The discs need to be a little bit bigger than the washers so that the paper clip links are concealed. It may be necessary to trim the discs slightly to ensure that they sit properly on the mountings.
Once you have the correct number of discs, line them up, wrong side up (this is the side which hasn’t been varnished). Take one disc at a time, put a liberal amount of glue on the disc and carefully place the first washer fixing on top of the disc. Hold firmly together. Make sure the washer is in the centre of the disc and that the right (rounded) side of the washer is uppermost. In other words, the wrong side of
the disc and the wrong side of the washer are being glued together. Continue until all discs and washers have been glued together. You may find it useful to secure the piece with masking tape and remove when the glue has dried.
When the glue is dry, apply varnish to the underside and sides of the papier mâché discs. When this is dry, you may wish to apply a second coat of varnish to ensure the item is watertight—it would be a shame for the jewellery to disintegrate at the first spot of rain!