Ron Graham
Puppets and other papier mache creations.
Fine art with paper as medium or support.

Fact Sheet 2
Casting puppet parts in paper pulp


Here we discuss a three-step method of puppet making, rather than modelling a puppet directly in papier mache. The three steps are...

There are clear advantages to this method...

Modelling materials and methods

Models can be made of almost any material with but one consideration. Will the model store so you can make further moulds from it? Some suggestions for modelling materials are...

Note: Make a model about ten percent larger than the object should be. This allows for shrinkage of the paper cast. Also, contrive your model so that the silicon mould will have a well defined rim at its opening.

Making moulds simply and safely with silicone

Using a scrap of cloth, coat the model sparingly with petroleum jelly/vaseline. Remove excess from crevices with a brush. Vaseline is a releasing agent preventing the silicone from adhering to the model. Now cover the model with silicone using a flat stick. Keep the coating to about 3mm and avoid air bubbles. After 24 hours add a second 3mm coat. After a further 24 hours remove the model. The flexible mould is now ready to use.

Note: Use the clear silicone specified for glazing. Make sure it is acetic cure. This exhudes strong vinegar while curing, but is safer than the chemicals in other types. Hardware stores sell silicone in 300ml tubes which fit a convenient plunger gun.

Casting considerations: compaction, evaporation, and release

Papier mache is pressed into the silicone mould to form a layer about 3mm thick all over the mould’s interior. In warm air or sunshine the paper cast will dry within 24 hours.

There are three major considerations that you must address, from the time you start making your model right through to the time you pull out your paper cast...

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Copyright © Ron Graham 2004,
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