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Lesson Plans

Re: papercasting

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 27 Sep 1992 04:38:57 +0300

I have been doing papermaking projects with kids and adults of all
ages for eight or so years now. I sometimes make molds from clay,
casting them in plaster and then pressing the paper pulp into the
plaster. Too many accidents and breakages over the years with a few
kids of their molds either by neglect or too much water in the
plaster, have made me work with easier and totally successful molds
of plasticene shapes or slabs on top of sheets of plexiglas. The
plexi gives a wonderfully smooth texture to the cast paper and the
plasticene is reusable. I save the more sophisticated mold making
process for older kids with the other as a backup if something goes

Teresa Tipton

Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 23:01:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Ron Pachter <rpachter>
Subject: papercasting

Two projects in one. We make our own paper casting "molds" from slabs of
red clay (my favorite because I like the porous nature of it) but any cone
06-04 clay works well. Amaco has a good project sheet on this casting
method using their commercial molds, but I like to make my own--more
flexibility and much less expensive.

First we slab out the clay, then press or carve designs into it to make
molds. I have some commercial molds like are sold in craft stores to show
them as well as other examples. The commercial ones are quite expensive and
limiting to creative processes. I have made some wonderful ones just by
pressing flat toys, refrigerator magnets, pieces of wood, etc. into the
clay. You can also carve a relief into the clay. Allow to dry and fire to

Spray the mold well with a no-stick spray and wipe excess out. Blend any
paper making mixture (i prefer cotton linter or a linter-paper mix) into a
paper pulp and pile gobs of the wet pulp into the mold.

Press excess water out with a sponge, and finish getting as much water out
as possible with a towel. It is critical to good, smooth castings that the
pulp is pressed well into the mold and that as much of the excess water is
removed as possible. Allow to dry naturally, or you can hasten it in an
oven or a kiln that has been pre-heated to warm and shut off. Pieces should
pop right out--encourage stuck edges with a dull knife if needed. They can
be painted or left natural. If you find your paint bleeds, add a tbs. of
liquid starch to your blender water when pulping.

Several pieces are then assembled together into a paper relief. Backgrounds
can be drawn, painted, watercolor washed, etc. Effects are limitless and
kids love it. One student did a beautiful piece that was fish done entirely
from paper egg carton pulp and she paper cast single sheets that she
collaged for a background and put the fish on top. And then GAVE it to me.

Larger slabs can be reliefed into a whole composition for more advanced
students and this can be done for almost any age.

Hope this is good for some of you--both clay ideas and papermaking came up
this past week or so and this is one of my favorite projects. Wanted to try
to pay some of you back for your kindnesses and superior info.

Regards. Marlyn
In not so sunny Florida where it will stop raining some day I'm sure.