Making a Paper Mache Pendant Light


Introduction to Paper Mache


Lesson Info

Making a Paper Mache Pendant Light

For our project today, we're going to be making pendant lights, as I have said, and so in order to do that, you want to pick an object to use as your mole old for these, I'm just using an inexpensive metal bowl from a local house where store I like the shape of it. I also like that it has this very little flattened bottom. It allows it to sit up straight, but that's actually almost the perfect shape that I'm going to cut out later in order to it. Insert our lighting kit are pendant lighting kit, but I have also seen these done in a variety of shapes. People have used more cylindrical shaped trash cans that create almost more of a canister style light cover. I've seen people even use something that's a little bit more conical shape that tapers perhaps more at the top, so the possibilities are really endless, so I would just start rattling around in your cabinets and trying to find something that might work for you. As you can see, I am using a metal bowl and I've used this for all of th...

e swap outs that we have here in the studio today. I can't say that I think that there might be some benefit to using a little bit more of a flexible material, perhaps a flexible plastic bowl on lee because it, during the process of releasing the paper machete from the exterior of the mold. It's. Nice to be able to put a little pressure on the inside, and it would have been great if this particular mold had had a little give to it. So it's, a lesson learned, and you're always learning when you're working with new materials. So first thing you want to do is pick out your canister, your your bowl, your whatever it is you want to work with. Next little trick is to have something to stand it on now when I'm doing this at home in my kitchen, the reason I do this it's. Nice to have it a little bit elevated above your work surface. And as I am going to be applying the strips to the side, I'm going to have them hang down over the edge if I were doing this flat on the surface. I would kind of end up with a goopy mess all the way around the perimeter of my bowl and would likely end up sticking to my surface so this is a little way to prevent that when I'm doing this at home, I'm typically using a note meal canister what we have today are just simply yoga blocks their large foam pieces that are a perfect height and size for this now, if I were to apply the paper machine mixture directly to the bowl when it was dry, it would likely it here really tightly to this surface and so in lieu of using some sort of spray or releasing agent, we're simply going to be using plastic wrap. This is just standard plastic wrap that you likely have in your kitchen on dh I find it sticks best if I just take a damp sponge and run it around the exterior first and I'm also just going to kind of run it around the inside of the lip um, you know, plastic wrap can be a little tricky to work with sometimes and this just gives it added incentive to stick to the surface of the bowl so I'm going to pull out one sheet place this over the top it's not gonna cover it completely I am going to end up meeting a couple of pieces we're going talk that down into the interior and one more piece I'll do it in the opposite direction to cover up any of the exposed areas we didn't get with the first sheet and so this is going to act as our releasing agent if you will and you'll see when we get teo taking the mold off of the swap out that I have underneath the desk here there's still going to be a little muscle involved there's going to be a little technique and trying to get it out of there, but this definitely is an aide and without it really will stick quite tightly to the surface of your bowl, so, um, let me position myself here put on a pair of lovely surgical gloves I know, right? It does feel very official and oddly faux medical, I don't know, you know, kraft examination see ok, now, I don't know if I mentioned this earlier, but you're batter when it's mixed together properly, it really is just sort of the consistency of a runny cake pancake batter is sort of what it looks like. I prefer it to be a tiny bit on the runny side versus the thick side, and you'll see why as we begin applying it to our strips of paper so what I have done here, you typically want to just rip or cut all of your paper in advance of starting in on this project if you were to begin tearing a piece or strip off of the largest sheet of paper, dipping it into the solution, putting it on your bowl and then going back to rip another piece of paper, you're really going to end up with sort of ah, sticky, mucky mess. This is a messy project to start with, and we're just kind of trying to, like contain most of that, so I have taken this newsprint and I've cut it into strips that air roughly an inch and a half wide. I do find that the smaller the bowl, the narrow where the strip on dh that's primarily because is I'm working my way, layering it around it's going to sit flat best against the surface of the bowl I when I was experimenting with some of these, I used some strips, there were about three inches wide, and it just ended up with a lot of overhang, and the surface of my bowl ended up being a lot more lumpy in finish. So application wise. Like I said, I just kind of tend to keep my pile of paper to one side, my bolan, my mold form on one side and my bowl of the paper machine mixture in the middle and I just kind of dab it in there on one side, flip it around and then just use my fingers is a squeegee and kind of get a lot of that excess moisture off you can see I don't know if you can see, but it's really it's immediately permeated the paper tell us almost made it a little bit trans lucien lucent I'm just laying it down on the surface and I'm letting it hang down you know, maybe inch two inches over the side and there a couple of reasons for that the primary one being that once I've covered the entire bowl and I want to go back and finish off my edge it then gives me some wiggle room so I can kind of cut a really clean edge versus dealing with the rough edge of the paper. If I tried toe line all of these up specifically with the bottom edge of the bowl, you would end up wanting to rip your hair out. It really would just be not a fun process so it's much easier this way um paper machete it's one of those super nostalgic I remember when kind of projects and like I mentioned it was one of the earliest craft projects I remember doing. I do remember when I wass a little bit older probably junior high using it to make elements for halloween costumes I specifically got one of those giant balloons was probably twenty four inches in diameter and I blew the whole thing up and I covered the entire syria and paper machete and cut a hole that was big enough for my head and then I proceeded to decorate the exterior to look like a giant chicken had I cannot remember why I wanted to be a chicken for halloween, but that's what I ended up being that year and I decorated the exterior that much like he would a pinata sort of taking strips of crepe paper streamer, infringing it and wrapping it all the way around and gluing it in place it was a fun experience I really wish I had a picture of it or not I don't know maybe it's a blessing I don't have a picture of it I'm not sure that thing's stuck around in our basement for years I'm not really sure what ended up with it um I'm sure my mother and a good sense decision put it in the trash, which was probably the right thing to dio so as you can see, what I am doing is each time I laid on a strip I am slightly overlapping the previous one almost in a wheel like pattern working my way all the way around. Um it's actually gonna ask rachel, do you want to give this a try with me? I've got a pair of extra gloves here which you're welcome to dawn on me in the medical office here um there, right down here on the shelf right? Let me get this one additional piece on while you're putting on that she's scrubbing in exactly she's prepping for surgery, I like it and you can see as I'm laying down, I'm doing my best effort to kind of like maybe a run my finger along the previous seems there are going to be lumps there are going to be a mumps there's going to be folds in the paper, a lot of that we're going to be able to disguise with some of our finishing technique, so don't be overly concerned with that don't necessarily make it feel like you, you know, ruined anything, so you just go ahead and start with your first piece a little unwieldy one think it is a little unwieldy yeah, and not to worry, I mean it's ah tends it will, you know, fold over and stick to itself slightly, but it's usually easy enough to peel apart and rachel's doing a great job just sort of using her fingers this squeeze to get off all of that access. So I noticed that on our on our tradeoffs that the top was a lot thicker because where it is and that's a really good point because every time you're laying down a strip, it is overlapping in that central point at the very top of the bowl and it actually works out well in this particular project because you don't want a little bit of extra thickness at the top because we're going to be adding our pendant light kit there and so it is being the thickest of any portion of the walls of the bowl is going to be the sturdiest but another thing is that it also takes the longest to dry so often I found that even I was as I was cutting those holes out for the pendant light kits I was finding some moisture in that portion so it's good to have had that removed so it just it really kind of works out perfectly for this particular type of project batter into like a tray or something too like a shallow cookie sheet with him or like a jelly roll panya you absolutely could maybe would be let well I think it might be a little dry years faras like the no not necessarily because I think it would probably end up being about you know in a half inch in thickness maybe in the pan I think it probably would be easier for application I it's funny because I'm always thinking like how can I dirty the least amount of pans in my kitchen so that's why I always tend to stick with just one bowl but that absolutely is a great idea especially if a dishwasher just throw in the dishwasher magic it I am the dishwasher though so in my love I'm gonna step just around rachel a moment and you can see as well working we're just slowly going to kind of continue to shift. You do want to make sure that your work surface is covered, obviously because we're just, you know, we're going to continue to make a mess it's going to drip down, but that's, all of the part of the fun and the process of it it's just going everywhere, it's all good and you'll find teo I had to sort of, like, learn to take my time when I'm squeezing the access off because I was doing it really quickly and it would get flung across the kitchen and, you know, end up on my floor in my cabinets. So bc rachel's doing a great job overlapping each piece slightly if she goes along and it also is it's almost a little bit of a meditative process because you really just kind of have to take your time and go through the process to get it on, because you also need to realize it's, not just one layer of paper we're going to be doing on these. We need to do multiple layers in order to make the walls of the bowl thick enough paper machete when it dried is shockingly strong though onda as I had mentioned at the top of the last segment when we were dealing with the paper mache a pulp in times past it's been used for furniture making it often was used as an architectural element which is really quite fascinating it was used to mimic like decorative panels for ceilings and that sort of thing they would use multiple layers of the paper machine and then multiple layers of lacquer on top of that in between those two it's not only was incredibly lightweights but it was very, very strong I do know at least in the case of like old school stamped ceiling panels with the advent of tin and aluminum that ended up placing the paper mache a because it was as equally lights and a little less labor intensive to produce. So do you remember the last paper mache a project that you did? I think it might have been middle school and I did what did you make? I think it was a siri is that god tiered bowl things was bigger ball, smaller bowl and a tiny bowl and had like little things in between us we've kind of like a tiered serving trips e I don't know why I did that I think fifth grade we made a pig okay? I don't know why everyone make pigs you know well, I think that balloon shaped sort of lends itself to that if you're covering it with weight issues crumpled newspaper way did that come out of the labor so it's the same sort of idea that we used in the last segment with the paper pulp where we created that sort of under structure with just some crumpled up paper I love that I love that but that bowl idea that's actually pretty sophisticated yeah like that versus a chicken head? Well that's rather unique supposed so but that old school method of covering the balloon it really does have a lot of fun applications and I know if you're interested in making say your own pinatas that's really where you start with that you blow up a balloon you mix up your mixture you cover the exterior with the paper mache et and the newspaper allow it to dry and then the crepe paper that is typically used for those I have to say is the standard crepe paper streamers you confined those in almost any party supply store they're incredibly inexpensive you just go along and you fringe the end and you start wrapping it around to kind of get that beautiful layered fringe effect of course, leaving yourself a little bit of a hole to fill it with the candy and the treats and string it up if your parents remember to put the candy and oh it's a personal experience oh that would be a little disappointing my parents taught me well oh yeah that is a little disappointing ladies remember the last project that you did with paper mache a we didn't want an elementary but I think that a classroom did it and we made this giant dinosaur like a garbage program we were doing at the school in it wrapped kind of around a garbage can I think one of the parents probably did the chicken wire form okay so they killed the armature the under structure of chicken wire and they were just pasted it but I've done a you know I found a thrift id dress form you know it's a newer one but I don't want to look old so I did it with dictionary pages you're actually if mine wasn't dictionary pages it was from an old book that had hand writing it is really pretty but I see the lot of dictionary pages but yeah that's this would have been really nice this color of the flower versus I think I did sort of the white glue I just have a little bit it gives it a little bit of a patina I think when you're using the flower the way it's sort of like yellows a bit as it hardens just remember the last project that you didn't yeah we used to make easter eggs on you decorate the inside of the lip have the whole in there and then you decorate the little panoramic eggs a little of that. So which you? When you did that you covered the exterior of a balloon? I'm assuming yes, I try to get the balloons that would shape to look as much like an egg tapered a little bit. One end for sure. And then you cut the hole in a hot and then you decorate the end. Sad for the panel that is charming. I love that. And I actually think if you go back and visit my pinterest page which we had mentioned earlier for the paper mache a there are a couple examples of people that have done not the panoramic eggs. I think they've left them solid but decorated them and film roles with how much is really beautiful? But I do love those panoramic eggs and it just so charming. Madeleine, you remember your last paper mache a project? Yeah, I was in grade school. I hear him over what? Great. But my dad help me and I was a giant pumpkin. I think I have a picture of balance. There was like this big and helpful straps. Wow. Do you remember what you used for the under structure when you when he's very handy so I, like chicken wire probably is the form genius, yeah, way uh one of our first years together my husband I went cave people and he did the bone for my hair and what he did and then the big club oh, sure I love that you how old do you think you were when you were doing the pumpkin costume spraying third grade great. They made out of construction paper oh, my heart a bowl cut I really love it that's so to be that tiny baby actually where paper machine acosta it's not gonna happen? Well could yeah, so could you still could? Excellent. Well, rachel is on the very last strip of our first rounds thank you very much for your sister and I'll let you finish that and then I'm gonna go on to a little bit more structured but you take off your surgical gloves. All right, doctor dr kraft you know dr kraft or kraft paging dr kraft doctor your help scoot around you want a hand, you a paper towel to at least get those gloves off you go. You are very welcome. Thank you. So once we get to this stage where we've completed our first round of paper kind of applying them all vertically overlapping slightly thank you again, rachel no kind of going through just sort of maybe smoothing the sides a little bit kind of pushing down any of the excess mixture onto your work surf this off of the the mold form what I like to do is I like to take a couple of strips and then position position them vertically just to add a little bit of additional structural integrity to it's so just, you know, wedding the paper the exact same way but this time I'm going to kind of like wrap it around in this direction smooth it up a little bit you will likely end up with a little bit more wrinkles around the seams on this one but not to worry because we then have to go back and add an entire second round of the paper mache eh? So I was kind of in prepping for the class I spent a little bit of time going through not only on pinterest but other websites kind of doing a little bit of research and reading about what other people had been using paper machete for and you know, I think that I knew this at some point but had forgotten about it as a usage for creating a lot of parade floats so you'll often see those enormous you know structures be they animals or whatnot that are that probably have a similar under structure to chicken wire or something along those perhaps even with ah would base as part of that and then being covered in paper machine and I think the beauty of it is is just because it is so lights if you were to build some of those forms in other, more solid materials transportation what obviously become a little bit of an issue as far as mobility and moving them around you can see I'm just kind of working my way around just a little bit you don't need to overdo this step, but just because all of the other pieces are going vertically, I think having a couple of them going in the opposite direction just sort of helps hold everything together and a little a bit more nice, neat and uniform way okay, madeleine, may I employer assistance and do you want to give it a try? Ok, cool, we've got one more layer to d'oh kind of spread the love here yeah, you take off your jacket and you've got your lovely dress on, we'll just walk, okay? Oh yeah, and it is a good idea, especially if you are doing this bare handed as I just noticed you did remove your jewelry you don't want to end up with, um, any of the paper mache a in your wedding ring or bracelets or anything along those lines, so at this points well, madeleine is putting on her gloves, I'm just going to start back now I've put on I would say maybe six to eight pieces of vertical paper wrapping it around we're now just literally going to go back and start again, applying it in this new direction and, um, get one more on here in battle in and I'm gonna pass it off to you. You can see from the overhead cam what our work surface looks like a the moment it's just sort of unavoidable and it's totally okay, it's fun to have some messy crafts every now and then, especially when you know in advance they're going to be messy and can prepare for it. It's those crafts that end up being messy thatyou I didn't think we're going to be messy. Those air more of the challenge. All right? I'm going to switch positions with you, lady, and let you step over there. It does have a really distinct battery smell to it, doesn't it? Not batteries and car battery, but as matter as and yeah, you know, bread batter flower better it's not crazy straight. No, it's, not it's, not working with paper where he went the paper and stripping uh, so good with some of those and when you're doing this is another thing to keep in mind, it doesn't necessarily have to be in strips. I know that a lot of the projects that we did, especially his kids we were tearing up that paper and all sorts of pieces and sometimes when you are dealing with a cat or a mold on under form that is irregular shaped like perhaps in the case of the dinosaur that that you all built when you were a kid sometimes strips don't necessarily work the way you want them to sometimes it's it's better to tear off a more spherical chunk of paper to get into some of those cracks and crevices um to completely cover the jury didn't make a mini pinata for a friend's engagement party suites is mexican themes I love that I've kind of been amazed living in los angeles where we have very large hispanic and latino population and you see a lot of that culture and everyday life and thie complexity and creativity that goes into some of the pinatas is amazing there in a couple of areas downtown los angeles where a lot of uh party wholesalers set up their shops and they're always lined the eves are always lined with all of these amazing pinatas hanging from them um and everything from sports figures pop culture figures too flowers and sporting good shapes you know football's and basketball's had seen ones in the shape of children it's kind of weird well yeah I can feel a little bit like an effigy at that point I think yeah no agreed I love pinatas though you to every party should have opinion right? Great with candy with candy. Yeah, or, you know, for adult version, maybe the travel size, booze, plastic bottles, it's just going to say that would make a mighty mass all over your face filled chocolates. Oh, well, now you're talking my language. Anything chocolate. Although we do have to say, um, having hung more than one pinata in my day, chocolate does not always hold up well in the interior of opinion out especially it's hanging in the hot sunday and backyard. Yeah, if it had true look of yes, that's, what it's adult way, right through. And then, yeah, later and later in the evenings, by the best time to do the pignon anyway, perfect. Wait for the preparations. That kind of seems like the crowning achievement of the evening. I wanted to talk about a couple of other applications aside from, we're obviously gonna be transforming this into a pendant light. Excuse me, but there are many other household objects you could create using this same process now, obviously. Instead of cutting a hole, you simply could have flip this over and use it as a decorative bowl we're going to when we start in on some of the finishing for the exterior of your pendant lights were going to be talking about different ways you can decorate them, but you certainly can add decorative elements to both the interior and exterior to make them, you know, beautiful bulls have set out on your show for your coffee table, they're not necessarily well, I'm not necessarily they are not at all food safe or nothing. You want to get entirely wet, they would be more for keeping perhaps some office supplies in or your jewelry at the end of the day. Having one on your nightstand could be really lovely. You could also build some that are larger and a little bit more conical shaped to you, those trash cans. If you do that, I would just recommend obviously keeping a smaller trash bag inside to protect the interior of its butt. Once we put some finishes on it while they are not water proof, they are water resistant, so we're going to be using some some decca podge material today that does act as a sealant. And so if I were tio, spill a glass of water, say, near one of the paper mache abel's, it would not necessarily immediately permeate it would beat up and I'd be ableto you know what? Have time to clean it up. It wouldn't wreck my my project at all. Like a bull for your waxed fruit. Yes, only make a bowl for your west fruit. Now you're thinking or lovely vase for your paper flowers crucial. Really, really like that I did. You have to be careful of the neck. You would have to be careful with the neck. Well, especially if you are that's a good point, because if you're building it around a, you know, sort of a cylindrical structure. Say, if we were to take my glass of water, flip it upside down, put the saran wrap on it and cover it in paper machete. At least with this it's straight side. And it would be much more easier to release. I think what rachel is saying, if you had one that tapered up at the neck, you basically would have no way of getting your mold out of the interior. Basically would have just encased it. Um, so you do want to have something that will be able to release either straight sided or more of, you know, half dome shaped like we're using today, can you do, can you construct paper shea to pieces, and then you can't yes, we definitely can as if it were like we were talking earlier about some of the larger baking molds in the last paper mache a section where you could take I'm sure many of you have seen those figural cake pans I have one at home that looks like it easter rabbit in it comes in two halfs where if you were to spray really he's in there impressed that paper mache a pulp in you could bring that out same sort of concept I think if you had ah larger object you could somehow rig it up so you could create the two halves, bring them together after their dry even mask over those scenes with masking tape and then go around it with another layer of two paper mache a and that would really you know, I think structurally that would be pretty sound I think you've got one piece to go and we have made it all the way around again thank you so much, that's great. So really all of the bulls that the ladies are going to be working on today for their pendant lights the swap outs that I made really was just this amount of paper we did one round with all of the vertical strips I did one round with the horizontal strips to give it a little bit more structural integrity and then a second round with the vertical strips now these dried, surprisingly quick, but of course. Here, let me grab the paper tells down here give you one of those. Um, I need the swap outs that we're using today during the course of several very hot days in los angeles and had plenty of sunshine. So I think that all works in my favor, and they drive extremely quick. A zay mentioned in the evening. I did set them in front of fans as well. The kind of aid that drying process. Thank you so much, madeline. And so I would say, two days in total, I let it dry at least a day, day and a half on the mold, and you will be able to tell that the color changes slightly. Um, as it dries, it lightens up a little bit, obviously. And then once I took the bowl out of the mold and I then said it upside down so that it was positioned as this bowl would be so that the sun could obviously hit the interior and dr that out a little bit more. Because when it's still on the mold, obviously the inside is going to be a little bit damper than the exterior, so at this point, I need to do a little bit of a swap out, so I am going tio move this off to the side. I can't say when I was working it on this at home as well. I got a couple of large round trays that I tend to use for a lot of crafting projects, and there are large enough that they kind of allow me to spread out a little bit. Then, if I have to move a project from room to room. It's. Not necessarily an issue, but what I did with those is I covered them in wax paper, and that kind of seemed to work well and clean up easily.

Class Description

You can create an impressive array of projects using the same basic paper mache techniques that have been used through the ages. Robert Mahar will show you how to get started in Introduction to Paper Mache.

Robert has taught hundreds of do-it-yourself projects and in this class he’ll give you a complete introduction to creating beautiful paper mache projects.

There are two primary paper mache techniques: pulp and strip – Robert will teach you both. You’ll learn:

  • The pulp method of paper mache to create simple decorative objects
  • How to build a maquette and how to mix and apply the paper mache
  • Finishing techniques including painting and waxing
  • How to create a decorative pendant light using the strip method

Robert will show you how transform simple materials into complex (and functional) works of art in Introduction to Paper Mache.