My experience with tissue paper paper mache is to use a stubby brush to apply paste to the form, then lay a dry tissue over the paste, then brush it out. I have also had difficulty with balloons shrinking and also they are hard to hold still while working. I prefer armatures of cardboard, stuffed paper bags, wads of newspapers, bowls, aluminum foil etc.
Usually in my 4th grades (and each year is different) I find 90% can handle the tissue this way without leaving what I call 'flags' or 'gobs'. I have tried something similar with 1st graders, but my results ended up something like yours. Perhaps they're just not ready at that level.
So I agree with most of your respondents, that it would be best to cut your losses and chalk it up to a learning experience. Besides, aren't we getting tired of pumpkins now?
However, I'll bet there is a way you could make something else out of them, so you can enjoy their translucence. How about stripping out all the balloon material, then arranging the partial shells on the table so they all touch. Next, use more tissue and paper mache to attach them together into a large translucent relief sculpture. Maybe you'll need to incorporate a couple of bent up wire coat hangers to hang it up. Might look really cool hanging in a window, and it would show students that artworks sometimes end up differently than originally planned.
----- Original Message -----
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2001 5:31 AM
Subject: Re: Impending paper-mache disaster! any advice?
Thanks everyone, for all the great advice regarding my
great pumpkin disaster! At least now I'm laughing instead of
sighing and moaning! (also had a nice "nap" [ woke up on the
couch at 3:00 am!) I really think I have to cut my losses
and do something else because I don't think they'd have the
patience to essentially start over again.... the nature of
doing paper-mache with tissue paper instead of newspaper,
paper towels, etc., is that the mache'd tissue (at least with
only 1-2 layers) is not strong enough to accept paint & such.
To add another layer of stronger paper means we'd have to
spend a lot of energy sticking the tissue to the balloon again
before adding another layer. (I -have- learned that every single
other grade wants to do papier-mache; every class I've had
since has come in and said, "what's that? can we do it?!")
The tissue paper is very beautiful, light and translucent,
I'm thinking about Japanese lanterns - but not with the first