Yesterday I said I was thinking about having a contest to show off all the ways that paper mache can be used to create useful and practical items. After receiving some great advice from readers and mulling it over for a few more hours, I decided that what I really want is not a contest, but a collaboration. That way, we all get to create something together — a special page here on this blog, and eventually an eBook — that will be as useful as the individual paper mache items we all submit to the project. When we collaborate, we all win — just by participating!
Helping to build a useful collection of ideas will be fun, challenging, and worthwhile for everyone who participates. After all, this is really just an extension of the creative sharing that we do every day on this blog — you readers are always so generous with your ideas and encouragement. Now, we’ll channel some of that creativity for a specific purpose – to discover as many ways as possible to use paper mache to make useful, functional items. (I found the pin holder in the image above out on Flickr – it’s just one example of how beauty and function can come together with paper mache.)
Since we want as many people as possible to have access to the ideas we come up with, each item submitted will be showcased on this blog on a special “practical paper mache page.” (A link to that page will show up at the top of the blog as soon as your submissions start coming in.) To make sure that people find that page, I’ll highlight some of the ideas in regular blog posts.
Once the deadline is past, (May 30, 2011), I will gather all the photos, descriptions and names into a professionally-designed eBook, which can be downloaded and printed by anyone, for free. Both the special blog page and the eBook will be available under the Creative Commons license, to be freely shared and distributed. When it’s available for download, your eBook will show up in the right-hand column of this blog, so it will be seen and downloaded by as many people as possible.
- The items must be made from paper mache (paper strips held together with paste or glue). Include the estimated cost in your submission. Found objects can be used along with paper mache. If you can think of ways to use paper mache to repair something so it doesn’t have to be thrown out, that also qualifies.
- The items must be practical – in other words, there must be some function or use for the item. Try to think outside the box – almost anything that can be made from wood or plastic can be made from paper mache. Also remember that common items that we usually throw away (like oatmeal boxes, for instance) can become beautiful, functional possessions when a bit of paper mache and creativity has been added. Look around your house or workplace and see what you can invent, reuse, or repair with paper mache.
- I retain the right to reject any submission if it looks like it might be unsafe or if it it might be too “adult” for a general audience.
- Only submit items that you have actually made – not just something that you think could be made. Photos will be needed, too.
- You can submit more than one item — after all, we want as many ideas as possible.
What do you get out of participating?
Fame (well, sort of), recognition, and the pleasure that comes from helping to build something larger than any of us could do on our own – you’ll be helping to create a free resource that can’t exist without your help. While designing your item, try to imagine a person discovering your idea and using it to create something useful for their own home — how cool is that? This collaborative project can be as important as we choose to make it – so have fun, explore new ideas, and start working on that project!
How to Submit Your Paper Mache Item for the Practical Paper Mache Project
Please use this form to submit your photo and a description of your entry. Please give as much detail as you can. Include the materials that you used, an estimate of the cost, and an explanation of how the item can be used. Tell me exactly how you want your name to appear on the special blog page and eBook.
It will take up to 24 hours for me to place your submission on the new Practical Paper Mache project page. (Perhaps a few hours more if the garden needs attention…). The eBook should be ready for download a few weeks after the May 30 deadline.
If you have suggestions for the project as a whole – such as a catchier name, for instance – please add your suggestions in the comment area in the area below, here on the blog. If you’re currently working on something and would like some advice from other readers, or if you have an idea that you think somebody could make but you don’t personally have time to do it, go ahead and put that in the comment section, too. This is a collaboration, after all, so let’s share.
And, speaking of sharing, if you understand Facebook and Twitter better than I do, please spread the word so we can get as many participants as possible.