Our friend Simon Doyon wrote this post about his process of creating paper mache masks beginning with the software program called Pepakura.
Since he included a sentence written in French in one of his recent comments, I’m going to guess that Simon lives in France – I’m sure he’ll let us know if I guessed wrong… 🙂
Simon’s post was the inspiration for four of my own patterns for paper mache wall masks. As you can tell from Simon’s post that it takes a lot of patience, but the result is worth it.
And now – here’s Simon…
Hi Jonni, hi everyone!
I’m glad that you are interested in my computer assisted technique mixed with pm clay. I will assume here that you have a basic understanding of computer modeling.
First, you must have a 3D model that you want create in real life. I suggest that this model is under, let’s say, 400 polygons. You can modelized yourself or take a model already made. I prefer modeling myself because I can create it with the Pepakura part in mind.
Second, you need to unfold the model in a software called Pepakura Designer. Basically what this software allow you to unfold or decomposed your 3D model in 2D pieces with reference number.
Third, you have to print, cut and score your 2D pieces in sheet material, in this case cardboard. The more precision you can get on this part (and on the following part) the greater the final model will be.
Fourth, you have to put all the piece together in order to build the real life model. This can be hard and long process (2-5 hours depending pn the complexity of the cpu model).
Fifth. You must prepare the completed model to receive the Pm clay. Since there’s a lot of water in the clay, you have to waterproof the paper. I found out that you can do that even before you cut your pieces, just laminate the sheet of cardboard with clear box tape. But you can apply the clear box tape after building the model, just be careful to follow all the model’s details and grooves.
Finally, once the model is waterproofed, you can apply the pm clay with a wet knife. Since the cardboard model is a hollow shell, you will perhaps have to temporary fill the interior void with some kind of material to allow you to put some pressure on the shell without bumping/scraping/breaking it. I suggest expandable foam (apply it close to the shell, do not attempt to fill all the void with that, it’s kind of expensive). Let it dry for a couple of days and when the exterior is dry, you can remove all the paper and foam inside since the pm clay do not permanently stick to the box tape. With all the interior stuff removed, the sculpture will completely dry within a few more days.
It took me several months to discover and mastering this technique and it’s workflow. Yet there’s more to experiment. The pm clay recipe was the final touch on this and allow me to give strength and smooth on my sculpture with reasonably cost. Hope it will help you and give you some ideas. Just ask if you have any question.
I’m done (!).
Thanks, Simon! I can’t wait to see what sort of comments and questions we get for this post. By the way, we’ve received a lot of questions about making masks and helmets, so we now have over 60 tutorials for how to make paper mache masks, using many different construction methods! Be sure to check them out.