Paper Mache: Creating & Waxing Leaves


Introduction to Paper Mache


Lesson Info

Paper Mache: Creating & Waxing Leaves

What we're going to be doing now is talking about forming a new type of crepe paper leaf ah and again we are working with this beautiful double sided green crepe paper that we had used for the foliage and for wrapping the stems in our paper flower segments what we're going to be doing now is you've got a length that is let's see about how long this is I would say okay, so we're just under eight inches by about three and a half inches what we want to do is basically cut to square pieces so with your strip we just fold it in half and taking a regular pair of shears cut to loose leaf pieces that are roughly square shaped it does not need to be exact she's got one into here once you've done that stack them together, stack them so that the grains are matching which is the way they were folded and then we're going to cut from one diagonal corner to the other and more or less a straight line you see that you end up now with four triangles know what you're going to do is you're going to take t...

riangles from opposite pieces and match them together and you're going to see that it creates a chevron pattern with the grain so instead of the grain all going straight across it now meets at that center seam is that pretty clear everybody matching those up together great so now we're going to go back to our trusty white tacky glue and put a little bit of that in our bowl and as we have discussed in the flower making segment, I tend when I'm working with the crepe paper toe, pour out a little bit of the glue on to either a small bowl or a little scrap of paper and then use toothpicks to deal with it because you need such a very small amount. The toothpicks are a useful aid in that, so essentially what we're going to do is we're going to apply a very thin line of glue along that center, and then we're going to overlap the two pieces and just kind of press that seem closed, so you're welcome to go ahead and start on that here in the audience and again, you just you don't need an excess amount of glue um, and that is partially why we're using the toothpick because it does kind of act almost as a control agent that keeps you from clubbing too much on there. The tacky glue works fantastic with this crepe paper it's, almost immediate bond and it drives very quickly, so I've got glue now all along that seem I'm gonna take my second piece of crepe paper gonna line it up and overlap it I'm overlapping it, I would say roughly about an eighth of an inch I'm gonna run my finger down that seem just to make sure that it comes in nice contact with the other half, and why don't we just go ahead and do that with our second set? A cz? Well, so we end up with two square sheets and that way you'll have the option of using one or two leaves with your finished paper mache a pair. All right, so now that I've got that along, the sec can seem overlap those two pieces slightly, just by again, about an eighth of an inch running my finger along there just to seal that up. I am still feeling like I've got paper machine all over my hands typically obviously I'm doing this at home at my kitchen counter, and I am running back and forth to the sink. Um, mitigating a little bit of that today with some baby wipes. What you're doing a good job. Once these two pieces have had just a moment to dry, we're going to go ahead and cut them into our leaf shapes, so let's, go back to the one that we created first that's had just that extra second to dry and where essentially you can see where our center seam is we're going to use that is basically are folding points and fold that piece of paper and half corner to corner. And then much likely have, like we have created leaves for all of our paper florals. We're now going to cut out half of the leaf shape from that piece with the pair leaves. I like actually to do these a little bit longer, maybe with a little bit more of a pointed tip, but stylistically however you'd like to do. It is really up to you. I'm gonna keep my tip a little bit longer. It's always good if you're uncertain about your shape to cut them a little bit bigger at first, because clearly you can always trim it down to a smaller size instead of doing as much of a rounded bass on this one. I'm going to go almost to a little bit of a point that's just going to give me a little bit more room when I'm attaching it to the stand, but when you open it up, then you see you've got this really lovely leaf with a chevron pattern where all of the grains of this beautiful crepe paper are meeting in the center on it creates a much more realistic looking leaf. I think much more akin to something you might actually see in nature where is with the paper florals that we were playing with earlier? They were a little bit more stylized um, and perhaps even a little bit more fantasy style, so once you've created your first leave, go ahead and repeat that with the second one again looking at your center line using that as your folding mark, folding your piece of paper and half lightly running your fingers across that crease and then go ahead and cut out your leaf shape. The nice thing, too, about cutting in this manner from corner to corner it gives you a little bit more surface space to create a larger leaf if you choose. We've got our two leaves now much like we did with the leaves that we created for our second variety of paper flower, we're going to wrap a stem with some of our crepe paper do you all have stems with you? If not, I'm going to cut a couple of these and just passed them over its all right? But I think I have all of the stems up with me at the counter and you'll see just by comparison it's nice for you see this this is a much thicker wire than we were working with earlier it's still as malleable it's just occasionally a little bit harder to bend so we're going to go ahead then and take our second piece of green paper that's there at the table with you. Everybody have a little bit more green paper. No, you know what? Let me actually let me just cut some strips and I'm gonna pass them out. I think that's going to work perfect because you honestly don't need that much for these stems. Um, and you can recall when we use the strips before it covered a lot of ground, so just share the he's go so again, these strips are roughly between a quarter and a half of an inch in width. Sure, now, with this, what we're going to do is we're going to begin by covering our stem first, so whichever side of your whichever color used for the top of your leaf is probably the side that you want to be facing out when you wrap your stem, so in this case, the tops of my leaves or this forest green color, so I'm going to be wanting the exterior of my stem to be wrapped in the four screen. I'm going to flip it over and apply a little bit of glue to the kelly green side and with this one instead of just putting it along the very edge, let's do a couple of dots of the glue down the length of it and again, you don't need to go all the way down to the end because likely you will not need the entire strip to cover just this one stem, so we'll begin at the end and I'm going to start with this one because when we were using the stems previously to secure a blood or a flower on the end we would wrap it first back and forth and then change angles that's not the case with this once we're just going to start on a little bit of an angle, wrapping it around and again I'm going to be holding it I'm right handed, so I'm gonna be holding it with my left hand, twisting it slightly and then with my right hand, I'm just I'm I'm having a little bit attention as I wrap the crepe paper down the course of stem and you kind of get into a groove as you're pulling on the paper and spinning the stem with your other hand, when you get all the way to the end, you can apply just a little bit of glue there to see cured in place and just press that in and it should hold really nice and securely so now we've got a lovely stem that is the exact same color as our leaf now the gold with these you can see on the sample is this one actually the stem we're applying all the way to the tip of our life it's going to go the entire length the purpose for this is is it's going to allow you to position the leaf in any way you'd like it gives you a little bit more control during that process and then we're going to want to leave beyond the bottom of the leaf just a little bit of length in order to wrap it around the stem to secure it in place so let's take our toothpicks and our glue and on one of your leaves just apply a thin line of glue down that center seam don't worry if it gets a little gloppy or it gets on more of the leaf and you'd like this will all dry clear um obviously we want to try and eat as need is possible but it's not the end of the world if it gets on a little bit more the air than you'd like all right, once you've got that line of glued down your center seem we're going to go ahead and take our lovely wrapped stem and we are going to press it right down into that glue just give it a little pressure for a moment allow it to set in these will dry relatively quickly ladies how are we doing with the leaf construction? Does it feel like it's coming together? All right? I love that witness the ship opposite way the chevron shea had it creates yeah makes a greatly looking lee well it's just you know, really sort of mimics that vein ing that you might normally see in a really leaf robert the direction I just had to pull might happen redirect so the direction of the the lions kind of go out away from the base of the you know what typically I think that they come in towards the center but right now I think that's how it could be argued right that's you know, I think I'm saying the same thing just okay, but I had the other way but I definitely think to be mindful of because you could have it so that the I think what what kathy is going out from the correct typically the chevron shape will come down towards your stem versus, uh, going away from your stem if that makes sense okay? So we're going to give these guys just a second to dry and, um I don't actually think that we're probably just going to end up doing the one leaf here in the class today, which is totally find the little bit of the brown crepe paper that you have here at the side um we are going to go ahead and cut that into a similar quarter to a half inch strip just like we used to wrap the stem are the well, the stem of the leaf we're going to be wrapping the stem of the pair with it with pieces like this sometimes what I will do is I will just fold it in half a couple of times and then make my cut it just makes it easier when you're creating a larger cut and you'll notice this crate papers a little bit different than the crepe paper we've been using for all of our other projects it is a solid color on both sides it's not a double sided crepe paper and it's a excuse me it's a little bit heavier weight I like it because it's in some ways almost mimics ah woody texture, which I think is really nice the piece that you cut away if you just want to play with this a little bit, you can see it's got this amazing stretch to it, you know when I pull it away, it just wants to snap back to the other side and uh not that this is anything that particularly pertains to the specific project we're working on, but if you want to play with that piece, you can see when you do the cupping with this like, look how beautifully it holds shape it's just amazing it's an amazing product um and it's got a lot of possibilities for adding sculptural elements to whatever it is you're working on so let's check on the drawing progress of our pairs how are we doing still a little tacky or does it feel like it's getting there get in there. Okay all right, so what I'm going to do while our peers continue to dry is I'm going to show you ah finishing technique with the wax for the leaves and then we will all take turns using this what I've used today is it's just a simple paraphernalia wax it's something that you confined at most any grocery store it's typically in the canning section next to the ball jars and the preservatives in that sort of thing and alternative to the para finl ax would be bees wax and there are many sources now where you can find either blocks of bees wax or you confined bees wax pellets and the pellets or genius because they they melt really quickly if you're doing this at home, there are a couple of ways that you can melcher wax you either want to stick it in a double boiler if you don't have a double boiler at home. What I would recommend is taking a small sauce pan putting the dry on melted wax intuit placing it over a large saucepan that's filled about halfway full of water and then just put your stove your burner on low and allow it to sort of simmer and that will melt it, but the water between the two pans prevents the wax from scalding or burning in any fashion, which is really something you want to avoid. Now, for here in the studio, we obviously don't have a stove top, so we're making do with a lovely little slow cooker para finl. Wax is obviously nontoxic. It's used in aa lot of products, and so it will clean out of your slow cooker. It might be easiest if you were to pour out the excess when you're finished into perhaps a canister that you can save it for another time. On. Then you're just left with a thin layer on the inside that you can scrub out in your sink. So we've had this in here, kate. How long would you say that? We've had this melting for a couple of hours? Maybe. If he did it pretty quickly, ok, excellent. Yeah, it really shouldn't take much time at all. We've got it on low and it's nice because having it in the crock pot keeps it at a consistent temperature forests, because oftentimes I found that if I am working at home and I'm doing it on a double burner, I take it off the double burner. I bring it over, I put it on a hop head, I'm I'm dipping some as I get several leaves in, you'll be surprised at how quickly the wax will begin to melt and it starts to get a little clump here. So it is nice for a consistency if you're doing many pieces toe have it on some sort of heat source, so this is an almost instantaneous process. You really just want to plunge it in quickly and pull it back out. We've got a little brush on the side that is just going to be used to kind of like, brush away any of the excess on the side you will find, especially with the crepe paper, I think it's a magical combination because it deepens the hugh a little bit and it also makes it almost semi transparent, so I'm just going to quickly. Plunge it down in there, you see how it was like all of two seconds that that happened, I'm going to brush off the end just a little bit to kind of it will tend to want to pull around the edges of your paper and it is going to dry really quickly. This is where it's a nice to have a foam styrofoam block because you condone, just stick it in there and allow it to dry. So madeleine and phyllis, why don't I have you to come up first? And we'll go ahead and wax your leaves and allow this to start to dry, and then we'll move on to our pairs, so give you a brush in one hand see simply just need to do a quick plunge all the way down and out, you know, that's the color that it really does, it kind of makes it almost a jewel tone, especially when we're working, and that is another thing to know when you're working with the double sided paper and you dip it in the wax, it is going to deepen both of the tones and it's going to make them much more similar and color, you're not really going to see the fact that it was green on one side and, yeah. You can also and let me quickly know phyllis before you sorry dunk that in there if you want to add a little dimension to your leaf you want to do that before it drives so you can kind of give it a little bend while the wax is is still a little can you do leave him or you absolutely can do it before as well yeah, because I was going to ask about that because I wondered about it breaking apart yeah, well, if I were to wait too long it definitely would start to chip repeal away. Another thing to know is you can also did this more than once if you want to get more of a sort of a waxy, silky opaque finish you know you could get this up to two or three times and the wax much like if you were dipping a taper to make a candle the wax will just continue to build up on the exterior but you're late you're welcome tio I'm just stick it in the film block to allow it to dry it does dry pretty quickly is an amazing I mean we're touching it now and it's just it's a little warm that yes, excellent I'm going you know what? I just by way of experiment on live on camera why not let's? I'm going to do mind just one more quick dunk and stick it in your welcome if you want, you have bring him back to your seats, or if you want to leave him in the block either way is fine again, I'm gonna brush off a little of that access on the edge, and we'll just compare notes in a bit to see if that changes anything. So, kathy and rachel, if you guys want to come up, give this a try on the crepe paper would have never thought you could do that. Now. One thing I will say that I've noticed when you're using one of the brush is he said it to the side, it starts to chunk up on the end. Um, you just want to be mindful of that, because that could transfer onto your leaf or whatever your project is the working on, so I simply would run a paper towel along the edge, and you could, even if you wanted, as you're dipping that in kind of dip the end into kind of melt whatever's on the edge to avoid any of that. So I'll give you that, and you do see a lot of vintage florals, especially paper florals and silk florals that have been dipped in wax it's, traditionally used as sort of a preserving method, but I just I really to me, the appeal is all about this lovely finished that it creates in this almost luminosity or translucence, that it gives to the leaves if you hold it up to the light, it just really almost golos, which is really sweet flowers I have, and that is something to note that when you are working on the crepe paper florals like we created thank you so much that we created in our paper, making our paper flower making segments any of those, once they're completed, can be dipped into the wax that's a great questions. We'll just do a couple of those on the side so let's, I'm going to go back and revisit, I think, the wax when your team you don't have a straight para film wax. Yeah, no, you really don't want to add anything into it. There are special wax colorants, which is something to know if you'd like I did mention bees, wax is an alternative, and the paraphernalia clear wax the bee's wax. As you know it is tinted a little bit more of ah honey amber color, and that will add an interesting finish or hugh, whatever your project is, it'll show up. Better on some colors than others. If you were to dip the's sort of citrusy green colors into the honey, I don't know that it would make much of a difference. But if you were to dip a white flower, say, into the bee's wax, it would give it a very sort of pretty sort of ivory color. So thank you. Yeah, just we're going to do a quick little tangent as long as we've got the wax out and they're playing with it just to kind of show you what could happen with one of the flowers. So I'm just going to take one of these trumpet flowers that we created in our paper making session, and they're just going to quickly plunge it in there and dip it back out. Really, not too much has gathered. You can see almost immediately it does change the color of the flower, it deepens and a little bit, and I set that to the side will revisit that in just a little bit to kind of see how that drives.

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.