You’re probably starting to wonder if I’m ever going to finish this silly raccoon – but I am, I promise! There just seems to be so many other things to do when the sun is shining…
There are two important things in this video. The first thing to notice is that I took the hands and feet apart and rebuilt them – it was too hard to wrap paper mache around the toes as they were originally built because they were too close together. I think the new way of doing it was much easier, and it looks better, too. I’ll be doing it that way from now on.
This raccoon was an experiment to see if we could use the blue shop towels with a paste made with corn starch. It worked, but I much prefer the joint compound and glue paste with this kind of paper. The corn starch paste took a long time to dry because it kept pulling moisture out of the air. You can find the paste recipe I like better on this page. I use the same recipe for home-made gesso.
That said, this is now one of my favorite sculptures, and the pattern has been downloaded by many of my readers for their own raccoon sculptures.
- Paper Mache Raccoon, Post #1 – The Armature
- Paper Mache Raccoon, Post #2 – The Hands and Feet
- Paper Mache Raccoon, Post #3 – Padding the Armature
- You Are Here -> Paper Mache Raccoon, Post #4 – The Shop Towel Mache (and new toes)
- Paper Mache Raccoon, Post #5 – Adding Features and Fur
Here are the links to the two web pages I mentioned in the video:
Corn starch paste – remember to add at least one more cup of water if you’re using it with the Scott blue shop towels! (If I made another raccoon, I’d go back to the paste made with drywall joint compound and white glue. It dries much faster, and you can also use it as DIY gesso to smooth the final layer of paper mache.)
There is one benefit of using the corn starch paste that I didn’t mention in the video:
Wild yeast doesn’t like corn starch, so you can keep the paste for several days without having it go bad. With wheat paste, the wild yeast that’s attached to the wheat, right in the flour, will start to grow just as soon as you add water. Since the yeast eats the starch (and turns it into alcohol), the longer the paste sits, the less sticky it becomes. (It’s trying to turn your paste into sourdough starter, which would be nice if you were making bread instead of paper mache!)
I always throw out any left-over wheat paste and start with a new batch the next day. With this corn starch paste, that isn’t a problem. The vinegar probably slows down any mold spores, too, but that’s something that should be tested in a more humid environment. However, the next day you’ll need to add even more water if you’re using it with shop towels, because the paste will thicken overnight. But I still think the joint compound and glue paste is better. You can find the recipe on this page.
In the next video I’ll add the air-dry clay to make the eyes and nose, and I’ll test the tissue paper technique that Pedro showed us, to see if it works for fur as well as feathers. I haven’t used this particular brand of air-dry clay before, so I’m not sure if it will stick to the paper mache. I guess I’ll find out in a day or two. And I’ll be using colored tissue paper with the fur – another experiment. This paper mache raccoon might be a slow project, but at least I’m learning a lot.