Sunday, 6 March 2011

Making plain white papier-mâché beads - ready for decorating.

Take a metal or wooden kebab stick and begin to twist a piece of tissue paper around one end. I'm using the first thing that came to hand which happens to be a smooth twig! Have a small dish of water by you and then as you twist and wrap the paper, allow a small amount of water to be absorbed. Keep the process light and gentle. Do not squeeze! Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Different effects can be created simply by using different papers and ways of twisting the paper.  Most paper has a grain and will tear easily along it.  Twist and wrap paper round stick. You can create different shapes by pressing the damp paper in different ways. Just experiment.
Carefully slide the wet beads off the sticks and place on flat surface and put in a warm place to dry out.

When the beads are dry, slide them onto a wooden kebab sticks after coating the sticks with Vaseline or similar. This acts as a release agent. You can also wrap the sticks in aluminium foil prior to coating with Vaseline for extra insurance. Take a tall glass and put 1/3 P.V.A glue or Elmers to 2/3's warm water and mix thoroughly.  Point sticks of beads downwards and submerge into the glue briefly.  They will quickly absorb the liquid.
Stand them up in a jam jar or glass.  Repeat with all the beads.  Leave to dry out. The next stages will be decoration for which I will begin by dipping or painting the beads in/with gesso before painting and/or gilding.


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