Saturday, November 17, 2012

Papier Mache Binder

I tend to be nonviolent but this year I decided to kill a few birds with one stone, three to be exact.  First, I’ve been tossing around the idea of making my own grimoire.  Second, I have wanted to try my hand at papier mache.  Third I’ve been meaning to put together a binder of Halloween crafts for people to peruse at the craft party. 
Someday I hope to make a life size monster mud creature, but for now I’m content to learn the basics on a smaller scale, and this project was perfect for that. 

Stolloween has a great guide for beginners such as myself and his work is truly inspirational.  I deviated from his recipes quite a bit because this was such a small project.  For my papier mache I used a mixture of equal parts glue and water and here are the details on my paper clay

I started with a three ring binder I had on hand.  It had a nice thick pressed board cover that I covered inside and out with torn strips of recycled printer paper. 
I’m not the best artist, so I printed out clip art that was close to what I had envisioned in my head and papier mached that on too.  I wanted hands coming from around the sides of the book, I just traced around my own fingers while holding the book, to get a rough idea for placement. 
I used string to create the spider web.  Paper clay for the spider body and flat toothpicks for the spider legs. As an afterthought I also use one as a tool to press a skull design into the spider body. 
Next I worked on the skull and eyes.  I wanted the thickness of the skull to thin as it got close to the edges of the binder.  I cut angled rings from a toilet paper roll to frame out the nose and eye sockets and then built up layers of paper clay.  I wanted the eyes to be smoother so I used air dry clay. 
I got the idea of using threads of yarn for eye veins from here. A little bit goes a long way, just a few strands makes for a very realistic effect. 
Next I glued on a printed iris. Stolloween has his eyes available which is where I got the idea.  I also found these from Haunters Hangout, and the from Orestesgraphics. For this project I used one from ScrapbookSoftware.   I painted multiple thin layers of acrylic semi-gloss clear coat over the entire eye.

Around the eye I built up a layer of paper clay. Once that was completely dried I layered rolls of air dry clay to create skin folds around the eye. For the lid, I flattened one of the rolls before applying it. 

This mixture of paper clay was made with mostly white paper with a few pink, orange and purple sheets.  This color combo along with the texture happened to create an interesting fleshy looking bit in the corners of the eye, so I left some of it exposed.  

After it was all done, I dripped some more acyclic clear coat onto the eyeball swirling it around by rotating the book instead of brushing it on. Letting it collect in the corners gave it a very wet look.

For the fingers I rolled newspaper around straws, taped the end of the paper and then cut them into finger joint length sections. I glued these into the position I wanted them.  Then started building them up with layers of paper clay, especially the knuckles and putting indents where the fingernails would go. 

The hand along the spine was cut in half so the binder could open and close.  I had recently seen this and while my little project is no where near that caliber of artistry the idea of stitching flesh called to me.  

I needed something flexible, so I used red rubber bands Sharpied black and staple gunned them to the ends of the finger joints.  It's not perfect, with the binder closed the "stitches" are a little tighter than I would like them and opened a little looser and one or two have pulled out altogether, but I felt I needed a little something to bring it together besides just having bloody stumps. 

I cut the skull teeth from plastic which wasn't the best idea. I ended up adding folded paper to each tooth to make them a thicker. A thick cardboard would probably been better to start with.
The nails were also cut from a plastic bottle.  The first ones I cut were too small.  I realized they were flat and lifeless and needed to be shaped.  To shape them I used an open flame and by the time they had some proper curves they were too small. So I made another set both wider and longer.  I added more paper clay to the finger tips to fully flesh them out and then pressed the nails in place and added a tiny bit more clay for cuticles.
After the web, the skull and all the spiders, eyes and fingers where done (Yes, there is a lot going on here, it was more about playing around than have an actual theme.) I went over the whole thing with layers of tissue paper. 
The hands looked so awesome in wet tissue paper. It looked like thin wrinkly skin with the paper clay giving it a mottled flesh color, sadly when dried it was just white. 
I spray painted it gold, masking off the eyes, because I had that can of paint forever and wanted to use it up.

Then I went over it with black, hand painted around the eyes and finger painted on a few highlights.  I paint about as well as I draw. I can lay down a layer of paint with a brush, but if I try to do anything detailed I mess it up. Everything else I do with my fingers and that seems to work best for me.
Then I sprayed the whole thing with a protective clear coat.

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