In my recent post about paper mache I was sure that I could possibly find small paper bits at the art store, that are ready for use with paper mache paste. Instead, I came across this product called Claycrete by Amaco. Like Aunt Jemima pancake mix, and some flour tortilla mixes you just add water to this product and it is ready to use for paper mache projects.
I happened to find this product at Hobby Lobby and it retailed at about 7.99. The net weight is about 1lb, it is pure paper pulp, and it claims to be non-souring. So I thought to try it out.
After getting the product home with a lot of excitement, I set up my girls to try something new and fun. My girls decided to blow up some balloons as their support structures and styrofoam cups as their stands.
We used two small ceramic bowls from the kitchen to mix the mache mix. The directions say to add water to the mix gradually and stir with a fork or a spoon until the claycrete is thoroughly moist. In our case, we used our hands to work the water into the mix. I did notice as we poured water into the mix that clouds of powder came up from the bowl, although the product is non-toxic and conforms to ATSM D-4236, I thought that the product should be used outside or in a well ventilated area. I wasnt very comfortable with so much powder in the air and I may not use it with small children even though the product is non-toxic.
After the mixture was ready we added one layer of the mache mix to completely cover the balloons. The first layer was about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness all the way around. While the structures were still wet they created little objects and placed them on top (a flower, a moon). After the the girls were finished, we moved the structures to the garage to dry.
Complete drying time for the structures took about two days. We brought them into the house and took them off the stands and busted the balloons inside. Our structures were ready for painting. Unfortunately, some of the thinner layered structures broke very easily, and the water from the paint softened the already dry mache and made them mushy.
Perhaps our structures needed another layer of mache, but all in all our project was a bit of a bust. Instead of giving up on our structures we did find a creative way to salvage the ones that survived. I decided to glue pom poms to them and we came up with a great way to make fun little pom pom animals (see them below)
Im sure with more experience, we could master this product. I may not necessarily use it again in the future. I think I may stick to more traditional paper mache methods!
Hope this is helpful!
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