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October 9, 2011

One way to papermache:

There are of course a bunch of different ways to make the slime including using wheat, wallpaper paste, and tapioca starch. Personally, I prefer cornstarch for it’s affordability, texture, and strength once dry. However, the slime-making process is not an exact science and takes some experimenting to find the consistency you want. The measurements included here are approximates as I always “eyeball it.”

NOTE: be sure you are using cornstarch not corn flour or cornmeal!

First, in a big pot on the stove bring 5 or 6 cups of water to a boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, dump about a cup and a half of cornstarch into a bowl (or take a clean, big yogurt container and fill it up about half way with starch)

Then add to the starch about 1/2 cup cold water and with your hand, mush the cornstarch and water mixture together until you have no starch wads left and it feels like thick cream on your fingers. (It is likely that you will need more or less water to achieve this consistency, start with a little and add more until it feels like cream. It should definitely be thin enough to pour, with no lumps!)

Once the pot of water has boiled, take it off of the heat. Give the starch mixture one more stir to make sure nothing has settled on the bottom. Then, with a big spoon, begin stirring the water as you pour the starch mixture in SLOWLY. Stir continuously. Stop adding the mixture occasionally to checkout your goo consistency. You want to stop adding the starch mixture when the goo has become about the thickness of ketchup. It will turn lighter in color (but not white) and you will feel some resistance against the spoon but it should still be thin enough that you would have no problem drinking it through a straw. It will thicken more as it cools. You may not need to use all the starch mixture that you made, in which case you can save it for the next batch. Or, you may need to make a little more.

Pour the goo into small containers to cool.

(Meanwhile, rip up some brown paper bags, dip them in warm water, squeeze them in balls to get all of the water out of the paper (this process tenderizes the paper and makes the fibers better able to conform to the edges of water you are paper macheing, however, don’t ring the paper out as this rips it up too much). If you don’t squeeze hard enough and get the water out of the paper, the goo will not stick well. If you want to skip the dipping and squeezing process, use thinner paper like newspaper or construction paper (you just might need to use more than one layer.)

Then take the balls of paper (“meatballs”) and unfold one, rip off a piece that is about the size of your hand and massage goo onto both sides of the paper, avoid dipping the paper in the goo bucket or it will get over saturated with slime. Keep one hand your “goo hand” that dips in the slime bucket and your other hand the “paper hand” which holds the piece of paper flat against the palm. One the piece is slimy on both sides, smooth it onto your surface and repeat the process making sure to overlap the edges of each piece with the next. The smoother the surface the less flaps and folds and bubbles you will have to paint over. “Meatballs” you don’t use can be kept in a plastic bag over night, and the goo will be usable for about two days before the water starts to separate out and it gets nasty. Flush old goo down the toilet or dump outside as it clogs most sinks. Try not to move the papermached objects while they are drying; once dry they will pretty much stay in whatever shape they dried in. Stuff generally dries overnight, especially with a fan on it. The more layers of mache the longer it takes to dry but the stronger the structure.

Good luck and enjoy! Happy sliming!

If you have any questions feel free to be in touch.

love beth

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