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Re:[teacherartexchange] paper mache balloons

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From: Jerry Vilenski (jvilenski_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Apr 20 2007 - 07:56:39 PDT


I have done paper mache balloons for quite a few
years, and here are some technical issues I have had
to resolve:

Because of the long drying time of balloons, they tend
to lose air during construction, so use only balloons
made for helium, because they are stronger and last
weeks.

Use sturdy layers of office waste paper cut into
strips or construction paper cut likewise and laminate
at least 5-8 layers on each balloon before painting.
It prevents collapse if the balloon armature loses air
for some reason.

Drying balloons is no picnic because of thier relative
large size, so find a way to suspend the balloons in
the room in order to circulate air around them and
hasten drying. I use panty hose dryers and hang the
balloons upside down from a string attached to the
knot on the balloon.

Use acrylic paint or house paint to add color to the
balloon. Acrylic paint is a type of polymer that is
essentially a coating of plastic, which will
strengthen the laminations and provide a moisture
proof coating for the balloon.

I usually attach yarn across the balloon in order to
suspend a small basket or cup under the sculpture, and
have the kids make clay people to put in the basket,
which provides weight to hold the srings in place.

This project is very nice when completed, but takes
several class sessions to complete, so it is probably
best done in the fall when time is not so critical.

Hope this helps, Jerry

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