Papier Mache Mask


(Linking this up to Shruti’s Artsy-Craftsy – June 2011)

Vyas and I got ours hand dirty this weekend and are ready to spout a thesis on crafts using papier mache. According to Vyas, its a ‘wuuaaack’ affair till it dries. We made the following for his school project.

Surprisingly this time, he informed well ahead of the project deadline at school. He had written down the recipe to make papier mache, which itself resembled the mashed pulp.

“Okay, give, I’ll read what I’ve written” he said. “1. Soak some pieces of paper in water. Along with fenugreek seeds” and paused. “Ayyo amma, we forgot to get them fenugreek seeds from stationery shop!!”. He eyed me suspiciously when I told him that you buy it only from provision stores and that it is English for ‘vendhayam’. “I think it is Greek”, he observed. “The name says it”. Had to remind the fellow to go on with the procedure. “Grind the two to a smooth paste and mould into desired shapes. Maa, this sounds chappa easy”!

We stuck to the recipe and I can now say,”Preeti (mixer/grinder) kku naan guarantee”. Vyas looked on the verge of puking several times through the 30 minutes operation and my steady glare kept him at the job. Actually speaking, the smell emnating from ground newspaper is not all that nice. Specially Dina Malar.

Having decided to try 2 or 3 crafts (backup. what if we lose the train ticket. we will still have the monthly pass!) we tried making a tribal mask, a simple bowl, and a little bigger saucepan kind.

For the mask:

Spread the mache on an oiled plaintain leaf and let it dry. When it din’t dry enough under the fan overnight, we put it under the scorching sun the following day. Came off the leaf like a stiff poppadam, a little distorted: I badly wanted to dab some moisturizer on it. After colouring, we pierced/glued some toothpicks for the head gear;)

One more mold for the mask made on a balloon got ready this morning as we let it dry indoors. Easiest. Once dry, you’ll just need to pierce the balloon and it peels off on its own like that mask in the beauty parlour! Will post pics when ready.

For the bowls:

Used an inverted Bournvita lid for the smaller one, and a microwave bowl for the bigger one. Vyas coloured the smaller one, struck decorative-cello tapes on the edges of the bigger bowl.

We are now certified pros at making cow-dung pats. Vyas will need a heavier mask, that’s all!

Mistakes:

After putting the mache onto the moulds, we must have stuck a sheet of paper onto the shapes. This would have given a smoother finish, and the painting would have been freckles-free. And sun-drying is a bad idea, specially for flat shapes.

The pictures:

Papier Mache- the making
Papier Mache- the making

Tribal Mask
Tribal Mask

The bowls
The bowls

Now tell me you really got scared seeing the mask and that you’ll have nightmares!!