Leaflin Arts  

Papier Mache' Van Gogh

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On October 4th 1998 the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC opened an extraordinary exhibit of 70 paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to view these masterpieces. No form of media can convey his bold use of colour. The incredible textures which seemed to be sculpted on his canvas. I was overpowered by the emotion in his creations. Inspired by this rare opportunity I wanted to create my own Van Gogh....only with a twist....in Papier Mache'.
Please join me as I demonstrate my Papier Mache' Van Gogh.

Papier Mache's beginnings date back some 2,000 years ago to ancient China. Recycled scraps of precious handmade paper were made into lacquered helmets used for armor. In the 19th century it was used for making furniture. With enough layers it can be extremely durable. It is a wonderful medium. Inexpensive, simple, safe and forgiving. 

Here are some of the supplies I used:
-Wooden frame 
-Foamboard to fit into frame 
-Two colours of 25lb to 40lb weight   paper
-White glue 
-Wheat Paste 
-Plastic container to mix paste in 
-Plaster cloth or masking tape 
-Styrofoam packaging peanuts
-Celluclay/Instant Papier Mache' 
-Acrylic Paints


I started with an old wooden frame.

Next I inserted a piece of foamboard into frame, fitting it as snuggly as possible.
Do not use Mattboard as it will warp.

I used a diamond point driver to secure the foamboard but small wire brads or finishing nails will work also.

I used caulking compound to fill in gaps between the foamboard and frame, as well as gaps and cracks in the frame.

Paste Recipe

2 rounded Tablespoons of dry wheat paste. 
1 Cup water. 
Aprox. 1 1/2 Tablespoons white glue.
In a plastic container sprinkle paste over water, mix, let thicken (1 min.) add white glue and additional water if necessary.
The consistency should be like heavy cream. The paste mixture will keep a week or so in the refrigerator. 

(I would not recommend substituting a paste recipe with a "flour" recipe. It is not as strong, does not adhear as well and attracts bugs)

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