Are you in a hurry to get your paper mache project done?
Paper mache and paper mache clay will dry just fine without being baked.
However, if your armatures are safe to use in the oven, baking your sculptures can really speed things up.
If you’re using crumpled paper and masking tape for your armatures, they won’t melt in the oven – but the hot masking tape tends to curl up on the areas that are still exposed.
I’m not usually in a hurry when I make a sculpture, but it can be frustrating when you want to keep working but you have to stop until the wet parts are dry. You’re in the flow and don’t want to stop, but you can’t hold onto wet paper mache.
When I made the Three Wise Men, I used polymer clay for the heads, hands and feet. That meant they had to go in the oven. That was the first time I baked a foil and hot glue armature, and I was surprised when it worked.
But it still made me nervous to put that hot glue in the oven …
Thanks to our friend Carib Queen, who suggested covering the armature with a special foil tape, we now have a way to safely bake a paper mache sculpture that’s built over a foil and hot glue armature.
No chance that the glue will melt and drip in your oven, and no small pieces of foil will fall off.
I also like the way the tape smooths out the crumpled foil just enough so it’s easier to see the shapes better. Maybe it’s just my old eyes, but the sparkles from the crumpled foil make it hard for me to see if the shapes are symmetrical or bumpy. It was easier to see what was going on after the tape was added.
I baked the little cat head at 250° F (121.111° C). There’s no way to know exactly how long it will take to dry all the way through. Never paint paper mache if there’s even a drop of water still inside.
I think I said the tape cost about $6 in the video. It was actually $8 – but the roll has 50 yards of tape so it should last a long time if you only use it on the outside of the foil and hot glue armature.
Bu the way, this tape is used to repair heating ducts, but it is not “duct tape.” Totally different stuff. 🙂
You can find the first video in the Wise Men series here.
- I used the paper mache clay recipe for my little cat-face experiment.
- The Wise Men were made with the air dry clay recipe.
If you make an armature with aluminum foil, hot glue and the special foil tape, please let us know what you think of it in the comments below. I’d really like to get your feedback on this method.