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Topic: Paper mache tree sculpture  (Read 33872 times)
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« on: April 09, 2004 11:36:59 AM »

Well I recently finished a project for someone, and thought I'd show you the process. I made a tree sculpture of paper mache.

First, I created a form for the tree out of plain aluminum foil. I twisted the pieces together to get the shape of the tree and braches. I glued it to a piece of cardboard to create a base, and went at it with my paper mache. I use torn squares of pain brown kraft paper, and plain white glue thinned with water. I find tearing the pieces of paper, rather than cutting them, gives them a softer edge and helps with a smoother finshed surface. Just dip each piece in the thinned glue, and go for it.

Here is a shot of the aluminum frame half covered with paper mache.

And my supplies after a gluey wet layer has been put on.

Let each layer dry before you add another, I think I did 4 or 5 layers of paper mache for this project. Basically, keep adding layers until the whole thing is strong enough. I just gently squeezed a branch to see who strong it was getting.

Then I covered the whole thing with 2 layers of gesso. The gesso gives the whole thing a smooth surface, so you can't see the individual pieces of paper.
Unless, you'd rather have a sort of patchwork texture to the whole thing.
When the gesso was dry, I started to paint the whole thing brown.

Then of course, I needed to embellish it. My original idea was to attach paper flowers for a cherry blossom effect, but lets just say, it didn;t work out. So I rummaged around in my supplies, found some wire and beads, and voila!

Sorry about the socks in this picture, I don't know why they are there.

You can't really see them in the photo, but I strung some small amber beads onto white wire, then just started wrapping the whole thing with it. I started and finshed with the wire at the base of the tree.

The whole thing neede more stabilty, so I glued the whole thing, with some strong wood glue, to a 6 inch square wooden base. Then I covered the base with strips of white felt, in a woven pattern. I used a staple gun to attach, then glued a square of felt to the bottom to cover all the staples. This picture doesn;t show the detail of the woven pattern, rather the white is glowing, but here is the finshed piece.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2012 07:41:20 AM by jungrrl - Reason: fixed a coding issue » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2004 12:00:40 PM »

i dig the tree  Cheesy
it would be a cool thing to display necklaces on!

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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2004 05:20:36 AM »

Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.  I have been wanting to do a Tree of Life, but have been nervous about rying it.  You have given me courage cause it looks fairly easy!

BTW, a Tree of Life here in Mexico is filled with all kinds of animals, not just birds, and usually has a nativity in it, plus anything else that has meaning to the maker.

Marti in Mexico
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2004 10:06:23 PM »

that is really awesome. I could imagine doing this project really large scale could make for an interesting coat rack if you could make it sturdy enough!
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I didn't lose my mind... i sold it on ebay!!!

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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2004 05:35:23 PM »

i is speechless!!it would go great as a gift for my dad....THANKZ!!!
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2004 11:05:00 AM »

Thanks everybody. It was fun to do.
If you're going to try something like this, especially as a gift, be sure to give yourself enough time. It not difficult to do at all, but it does take a lot of time.  Remember that each layer of paper mache needs to dry completely (overnight) before you can put another on. The layers of gesso, paint and varnish (did I mention I put 2 layers of a varnish on to seal it?) all need time to dry also.
I also thought that it would be fun to hang jewelry on. Maybe I'll make another one sometime.
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2004 12:23:12 PM »

nice, one i like it Smiley
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2004 06:11:36 PM »

i dig the tree  Cheesy
it would be a cool thing to display necklaces on!

that is a FANTASTIC idea
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2007 09:55:49 AM »

that's really neat, I love it!

Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals i've trapped
Have all become my pets
And i'm living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
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'Cause they don't have any feelings
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2007 06:01:45 PM »

That is beautiful.  The last time I touched paper mache was like 5 years ago, and you've just inspired me to take another look at it. I love the wire wrapped around it, its such a neat touch.
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