From Paper

Creating beautiful and useful objects from recycled paper

Spring Has Come To ChirpHop Studio – New Earrings Came With It

Spring is finally here!!

And so are the first of a new group of earrings in the ChirpHop Studio Etsy store.

Take a look at the slideshow for a taste of what's new.

Some of them were inspired by a fairy garden exhibit at a local park, some of them were inspired by chance.

All of them were influenced by the light and color of Spring (my favorite season).

Stop by the store and get a breath of the new season.

Mother's Day and graduations are right around the corner. What better gift than handmade one-of-a-kind earrings or a pendant?

Coming soon... handmade decorative paper bowls. You've seen them undecorated in other posts. Now they've got their new coats on.

Papier Maché Clay – Testing “Clear” Spray Finishes

Papier maché clay testers for "clear" spray finishes
Papier maché clay testers for “clear” spray finishes

There have been shelves full of decorative papier maché clay bowls just waiting for the weather to be warm enough to spray a finish on them. The time has finally come!

To make sure any finish worked well before I use it on the bowl that I’ve put time and effort into, some testing seemed like a reasonable idea.

The spray finishes were some I already had from other projects and wanted to make sure wouldn’t do something funky to the surface, like discolor it or react strangely (bubbles, stickiness, etc.)

I also have a few bowls with a white painted surface, so I wanted to make sure they’d stay white.

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Black Papier Maché Clay Experiment

Black papier maché clay mixture
Black papier maché clay mixture

I’ve been waiting for the weather to be warm and dry to seal my papier maché clay bowls and put them in the ChirpHop Studio Etsy shop. It’s been either warm or dry, but not both.

In the meantime, the notion of changing the color of the clay got into my head. If it was built into the bowl material, rather than applied to the surface, I could save some steps. Applying paint also sometimes has a “fake” look, almost like the bowl is made of molded plastic.

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Patching Papier Maché Clay Bowls

Papier maché clay balloon bowl
Papier maché clay balloon bowl

When you work with papier maché clay, it can take awhile to get a feel for how thick you’re spreading the mixture over the mold. Too thin and it’s fragile, most likely with weak areas and pinholes. Too thick and you lose some of the delicacy of it.

A thickness of about 1/8″ (.125 cm) is sturdy yet not clunky. The photo above was taken before patching, when the sides were a bit too thin and there were pinholes in the bottom from flattening the base.

No wonder there are issues… it’s like spreading really wet tuna salad! Thankfully there’s an easy fix.

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Patching Cast Paper Bowls with Papier Maché Clay

Cast paper bowl gessoed and sanded
Cast paper bowl gessoed and sanded

Cast paper can be pretty lumpy, depending on the type of paper you use and how well you “puree” it. The papier maché clay recipe I altered for my bowls makes a smooth, sandable, easy to apply patch material to fill in the ruts.

I recently used it on a couple of different bowls – one made from cast paper and one made from the same maché clay.

Cast Paper Bowl Surface Finishing

The bowl in the photo above has been around for awhile. I love the finish on the other side, but the craters on the outside didn’t seem to “go” with it.

I sanded and sanded with a multi-function tool and only got so far. The results weren’t very satisfying after a lot of work.

Enter maché clay…

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New Papier Maché Clay Recipe for Making Bowls

bowls made from the new papier maché clay recipe
Bowls made from the new papier maché clay recipe

Cast paper bowls are fun to make and I’m a self-confessed container and paper lover. I’ve been making them for a few years, but was sometimes disappointed in the strength of the finished product, especially with larger bowls.

Then one day, I came across ultimatepapermache.com, which has a wealth of wonderful information. Jonni Good offers recipes, clear, helpful videos and the site has an active forum full of even more ideas.  It’s obvious that she’s always coming up with ways to improve her techniques.

For my purposes, the recipe needed some tweaking, but it transformed how I make my bowls (and how satisfied I am with them).

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