detailed castings can be made from paper pulp. The
image left shows a dried cast made by Kevin Dyer (find
out more) who specialises in Celtic and Fantasy art.
(find out more) made this
provocative casting using a corset. The smoothness
of the paper pulp has ensured that the detail of the laces
and net skirt are well defined.
Here are a
few pointers on getting started with paper casting which
can be used for creating plaques, card art, wall hangings
Household papers can recycled for this
craft or pulp sheets can be ordered from this website.
These paper materials need to be blended with water into a
sloppy pulp which can then be poured into a mould.
Do not use the blender you use to prepare food.
Experiment with additions to improve the
consistency of the pulp (find
out more about these additives):
offers a versatile acid free adhesive which can promote fibre to
fibre bonding. It gives strength to paper castings and
makes the surface of finished art pieces more durable
Titanium Dioxide is a strong white pigment which makes
paper whiter and more opaque, acting as a filler, giving
a smoother surface to paper, resulting in less “pick”.
The filling effect is much stronger than with calcium
carbonate, but it does not have the ability to
neutralise paper acids. Titanium Dioxide is also used to
tint coloured pulps. Use 5-10% to dry weight of fibre.
Add to pulp and stir thoroughly.
China Clay is a fine white powder, also known as
opal gamma kaolin, used to make paper more opaque and
smooth and reduce shrinkage. It is especially useful in
paper casting and will appeal to papermakers and model
makers alike. Add during the mixing process using up to
10gm per litre wet pulp, using considerably more for
Calcium Carbonate provides an alkaline reserve in
paper which promotes acid-free archival qualities. It
retards shrinkage in paper castings and makes for a
Cationic Retention Aid binds pigments, dyes and
other additives to the fibres in the pulp.
Paper Sizing improves paper stiffness and
helps protects the fibre from oily media as well as dirt
and pollution. This alkyl ketene dimer emulsion has a
neutral pH and meets archival standards. Essential if
you are to use your paper for screen printing, artwork
or paper casting.
imaginative choosing your moulds. The pulp can be poured
into a mould, such as the flexible moulds made by Sculpey,
or a pattern can be pressed into it using a stamp.
Cutter shapes, such as those used for cutting clay or
dough, can act as a mould as can items from nature such as
shells and leaves. Some people like to oil the mould
before pouring the pulp and vaseline works quite well to
help remove the cast item once it has dried.
The pulp can be poured into a frame
containing an item (such as the corset above) which will
then create a relief cast on the surface of the dried
paper. Try placing a layer of cling film over the item to
be cast, the weight of the pulp will easily find the shape
of the mould.
When the pulp has been added to the mould,
use a sponge to absorb excess water. When the sponge
cannot soak up any more water, try using paper towels.
Depending on the materials used, the pulp
can be microwaved or heated in an oven to dry out.
Be cautious, fumes from some chemicals and the printing
inks from recycled papers can be toxic. It is
preferable if the paper cast is dried in the sunshine or
in the airing cupboard.