The Basics of Papercasting
Papercasting is one of the easiest and least expensive techniques to learn. You can easily make beautiful paper castings that look like they took immense talent and time. I like to keep a few around for last minute gifts.
The supplies are minimal – paper (junk mail works great!, water, a blender (I got mine at a garage sale), a sponge, a strainer ( again - garage sale) some paper towels, and a mold. Many companies sell beautiful molds for paper casting. You can also use candy or cookie molds, or even rubber stamps!
We’ll start by tearing our paper into 1” squares. Add 8-10 pieces to a cup of water in the blender, and blend for 20 seconds or so. Stop the blender and look at the paper. If you want it blended more, or a smoother cast, blend again. Pour the paper pulp into the strainer OVER A SINK OR BUCKET. Now pour the pulp into a mold. It should be wet and very soupy –lots of fun! Use your hand to pat the paper into place, making sure all surfaces are covered. Use the sponge to absorb excess water. As the sponge becomes saturated, wring it out and continue. When you can no longer absorb any water with the sponge, use a paper towel. Continue absorbing as much water as you can while pressing into all the tiny details of the mold. Now VERY gently lift the papercasting out of the mold and set it aside to dry. You can also let the casting dry in the mold – in the sun, or overnight on the counter. If using a ceramic mold you can dry it in the microwave in 30-second intervals, or in a 300-degree oven for a few hours.
To use a rubber stamp, set the stamp design side up on the counter. Lay a sheet of toilet paper on top of the stamp (hint – cheap paper works best!) Wet the paper with a spray bottle of water. Use a small brush (stencil brushes work great) to work the paper into all the crevasses of the stamp design. Continue in this manner, adding 7-10 sheets of paper. Let dry as above.
Either of these type castings can be colored with chalks, inks, acrylic paints of make-up (eye shadows and blushes work great!) If using paint or ink, seal the casting first with a thin coat of a mixture of half water and half white glue. Let dry before adding color. Drying can be expedited with a hairdryer.