I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from people who want to make paper mache planets. The more I thought about how I would make a globe or planet from paper mache, the more I wanted one for myself. When I saw a globe like this one online (for sale, no “how to” instructions, unfortunately) I knew I had to make one.
This is going to be my “ancestor globe.” I envision little colored stickers showing the original homelands of our family’s ancestors, before they emigrated to the US. In one case, the sticker will be in Georgia, but most of them will be in Europe – to make it more interesting and colorful, we might want to invite friends to add their own ancestral stickers from more diverse areas on the globe.
I wanted the chalkboard globe because they look really interesting and almost abstract, and partly because I had some chalkboard paint down in the basement. While I was building it, it was really hard to stick to the original plan – I kept thinking about how much fun it would be to add mountains with paper mache clay, and how nice it would look if I painted on some nice bright yellows for the deserts, white for mountain tops and the frozen poles, green for forests, etc.
When there’s so many different options, I have a hard time maintaining my focus, so I kept reminding myself that my little colored stickers wouldn’t show up very well on a busier surface. For my purpose, the matte black paint was perfect.
And besides, it makes a rather interesting accent now that it’s sitting downstairs on my coffee table. Both unusual and elegant, I think it’s fair to say. 🙂
To keep from having to hand-draw the continents and major islands, I printed out the template on this page that was made out of a NASA photograph. Since my beach ball was 45 inches around, I had to stretch the template in my photo editing software. That made a very low-resolution image, so I ran it through a filter to make the colors flatter, and then lightened them to, hopefully, use less ink. Unfortunately, some rather important bits got lost in this process (bits like New Zealand, for instance) so I don’t recommend the filter idea. I can’t tell you how to stretch the map to fit your beach ball – I’m sure I didn’t do it right, because the map didn’t quite fit. Close enough, though…
And don’t use plastic tape like I did to hold the map together, or put the tape on the back of the map. I should have known better. Sigh…
Yes, I went to a great deal of trouble to avoid having to draw the map by hand. Maybe you’ll be more adventurous.
I forgot to mention in the video that I added several coats of clear matte gel medium over the map, to help cover the cut edges of the map. It made it much smoother, and although some wrinkles and bumps do still show up after the chalkboard paint was added, I think it’s better than it would have been without those coats of gel medium. I found a cheap brand of the stuff online, and smoothed it with the home-made yogurt-top tool I used in the elephant video.