> I have a large paper mache project which is too soft and I want to
> cover it with chicken wire and cement it over.
I did an informal workshop with a sculptor friend this summer and here is how
we built concrete sculptures over an armature. The process, or a portion of
it, might work for you. It does require a very sturdy armature.
The process and safety precautions we observed follow.
My friend had a wonderful book all about concret sculptures, but I've
forgotten thee title. I did see it on the Amazon.com listing, so if you're
interested it might turn up if you search Amazon based on key words.
• Cover armature with chicken wire – use nails or horseshoe nails to adhere
• Use needle nose pliers to twist chickenwire sections to fit armature tightly
• Mix concrete until it's like thick plaster (about 1 ½ tin cans of concrete
and 3/4 cans of H2O) and saturate an unrolled pad of medium steel wool with
• Apply saturated steel wool pad to chicken wire covered armature – use nails
etc to adhere it if necessary. Repeat to cover the sculpture.
• Let cement get firm
• Wrap with stovepipe wire in crisscross pattern
• Mix a cement slurry (like clay slip) and brush over sculpture
• Mix cement and play sand (1 ½ cans of sand to 1 can cement) using as little
water as possible – mix should be very stiff – and trowel it on and shape it.
• Keep covered with plastic and moisten for at least a week or so to cure the
cement - 4 weeks is better
Safety: Wear safety glasses and sturdy rubber gloves. Handle powdered cement
carefully so you don't stir up and breath dust.