We have a guest post today showing us how to create a beautiful piece of art based on nature’s own paper mache artists. Marika mentions that her project took slightly longer than our three-hour challenge limit – but that’s OK with me. This project came out so nice, it looks like it took far longer than that.
Marika very kindly offered to submit a downloadable PDF version, with more photos.Â You’ll definitely want to take a look at the photo that compares the real wasp nest with her paper mache version. It’s really hard to tell them apart! I’ll let Marika take over from here:
My name is Marika Aakala and I live in Finland with my husband. I am a ceramic artisan, bachelor of culture and arts and an occupational therapists. At the moment I work as an occupational therapist in a major rehabilitation centre in Finland.
As a child my main medium was drawing but as I grew up my interest was aimed more towards three dimensional sculpting and building, which is still my favourite thing in all of it’s different forms. I love making theatre puppets, masks and papier mache sculptures. Environment and safety are my main concerns and I do my best to use only natural materials whenever possible.
Now as an adult with more confidence, I am slowly reinforcing and gaining back my creative and artistic nature. On my free time I work actively with different art related projects. Right now I am a scenography trainee in a shadow puppet theatre project and it is really amazing learning experience to me! Sculpting and creating with my hands is a passion and a way of life that I could not live without. I thrive for designing / innovating ideas for my craft and sometimes it feels that I spend more time in designing than actually doing anything!
This project was inspired by Jonni’s Three-hour Challenge. I wanted to participate and was thinking what could I do. One day we were visiting our friends and we were planning to barbeque. Unfortunately there was a tiny wasp nest inside their outdoor grill, so we had to first remove it. I got to see it really close and really loved the colours and texture those tiny artists had made. That was the moment I realized that maybe I could try to make my own wasp nest to our wall and started planning.
Here I have listed how long it took to make it:
- making paper mache: 15 min.
- dyeing the paper mache: 30 min.
- making the starch glue 10 min.
- covering the balloon with paper: 20 min.
- attaching the metal wire: 10 min
- sculpting the outer layer: 30 min. + 60 min. + 50 min.
- Total 3 hours and 45 minutes. So bit longer than recommended. I hope that itÂ´s all right.
These are the materials needed:
- Batch of Jonni’s Paper mache clay, but instead of white flour I used fine saw dust for texture, this is not necessary though.
- One balloon
- Permanent marking pencil
- Acrylic paints (I used brown, yellow, red and black)
- Metal wire and cutters
- PVA glue
- Rye flour paste (you can use any other starch to make the glue)
- Some paper for the first layer
- Metallic tool to spread the mache
These are the steps:
1. Make the paper mache according to Jonni’s paper mache clay recipe. If you want more texture, you could substitute the white flour with saw dust.
2. Divide the mache into as many patches as the number of colours you would like to have. I started with four but ended up using 6 different shades, because I realized that when dried, the colours look much darker!
3. Blow the balloon and make a knot. Push the knot inside the balloon and cover it with painters tape so that it is invisible.
4. Draw a doorway for your wasps with a permanent marker on the balloon.
5. Cover the balloon with one layer of brown paper. I did this to make sure that the loose coils of paper mache will stay on the balloon while I worked. Prepare some glue by mixing about three tablespoons of flour and 1 -½ cups of cold water. Bring to boil while mixing all the time and let to cool. Wet your paper and squeeze out all extra water. Tear in to smaller pieces and apply them with the starch glue. Let it dry out before continuing.
6. Make the wire loop for hanging your nest and attach it to your nest with PVA glue and some strong paper.
7. Start sculpting the outer layer. Make small coils and add them one by one using a metal tool. I started from the doorway and if I would do this all over again would probably start from the other end. The reason is that while you work with different colours at the same time, your hands get dirty very quickly and you will accidentally darken your lighter shades.
8. It might be best to work little by little and allow the nest to dry in between. I allowed my nest to dry three times and worked with it little by little. When your work is finished and dried completely, remove the balloon through the doorway.
I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! I you have any questions, please feel free to ask me through commenting here or in my blog.