(ARTICLE FIRST PUBLISHED 11/9/2013)

Picture
Milk crate, flour, large bowl with about four cups of water, and newspaper torn into strips roughly an 1 1/2 inches thick and a 12 inches long (or the length of the newspaper).

Developing Your Dress Form
 
Allow a lot of space and time for this process because each layer will need to dry before you apply the next.  I put my form on a plastic milk crate.  This will allow you to move the dress form when you are finished for the day, but also, just rotate it around as you apply the paper mache.
Making the paste is not high science, just pour flour into your water until you get a consistency of runny cream of wheat. Begin with a 1 1/2 cup to one, that is, one cup of water for 1 1/2 cups of flour.   As the newspaper absorbs the liquid, you will need to periodically add water throughout the process.  This is why I usually start with a little more water to begin with.  

"Sclush" through to eliminate any lumps.  Now, tear up pieces of newspaper and put them into the paste.  I let them soak for a second or two to get wet, but not saturated.  

Now, start plastering.
Take your strips of newspaper, with your hands, clean off the excess paste, and put the strip on the dress form, making sure that you have no lumps or creases.  Because I had a LARGE area to cover, I keep my pieces as large as possible, but not so large that I compromised the ability to contour where needed.  Also, you will want to avoid any creases.      In other words, smaller strips allow you to follow the contours of you body better without creating creases in the paper. 

You will keep doing this until you have covered your dress form.  

And--I will leave you to it.  

Remember:

Be very careful not to build too think a layer of paper mache.  

Let each layer dry before you apply the next.

If your layer when dry is very dusty, you have not added enough water.  If it is not holding together as one piece, you have not added enough flour.
 
Note:
 I guess a word about flour paste should be said.  It has fallen out of favor because it may attract bugs.  My experience is that I have not had that problem.  I made a paper mache cave for my creche almost thirty years ago and have not had a problem with bugs, and none have been coming around my Rosa-Mae.  I do put a layer of spray paint on the object when completed.

 An alternative is plaster of paris.  With this you can actually use strips of fabric. But remember, the fabric will add greater volume to your form.  Again, just remember you want to avoid adding too many layers.   Remember also to use plastic gloves, or you may burn your hands.  

We're half way there...until next time.
 


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