1. Box for Delights

My first make is a small box.  It is made from corrugated cardboard, covered with papier mâché and then painted.  This is, I think, going to be a bit of a challenge as the last time I played around with papier mâché was making Tracy Island in the early 1990s and if we still had it, we’d still be waiting for it to dry.  It ended up a mouldy, soggy mess.

So, here goes…

Start by cutting out 2 circles of corrugated card.

Cut a length of card with the corrugations vertical so that it bends easily.  This will be the wall of the box.  You can make it whatever height you want.  Cut a third circle, this you can measure from the inside diameter of the box wall.  This smaller circle will attach to the lid and fit inside the wall to hold the lid on.

Use masking tape to hold the wall together in a circle and to attach the wall to the base.

If you cut the masking tape at small intervals it will wrap easily around the base.

Glue the small circle in the centre of the other large circle.

Next tear some paper (newspaper is the paper of choice usually) but I used old flip chart paper as I had it sitting by my desk and I thought it might make for less paint at the next stage – no doubt I’ll find out.

Dilute some PVA glue in water (I used an ice cream container to do this) and dip the strips of paper into the gloop.

Cover the box inside and out with the individual strips.  I found it easier to place the strip on the bottom of the box and take each end over the top of the wall and down the inside. After covering once, I’ve left it to dry overnight.

It is still wet the next morning!!!

Maybe my glue was too watery.

Well I added another layer of papier mâché – probably not the right thing to do.  The inside circle of card on the lid got a bit engulfed by the papier mâché layer so I added another circle of card and covered the whole thing with another layer of papier mâché. V.v. soggy now.  I’m going to leave it beside the boiler and go and get some groceries. Hopefully it will have dried out somewhat by the time I’m back.

3 hours later…and it is still damp.  It also looks quite misshapen. I’m a bit concerned that my first make is going to look terrible.  Oh…just stopped typing there to poke the lid and a piece of papier mâché flew off.  This project seemed such a good idea yesterday afternoon.

Today, after being on top of a radiator since yesterday afternoon, it is, at last, dry.   Next step is to sand it down with fine sandpaper.

That didn’t work.  The paper isn’t stuck down enough and sanding is impossible.  I’m going to start again.  This time, I’ll take Penny’s advice (see her comments) and use newspaper and stronger i.e. less dilute PVA.  Don’t have time to go searching for wallpaper paste unfortunately.

The good thing is that I’m running a craft group in Burnham library this morning so will have a couple of hours to get it started again.

Thinking that I’d get some of my box made at the craft group was a bit optimistic and forgetting the masking tape didn’t help.  However, something did go right.  The iron that the lottery fund very kindly bought for our group was partially wrapped with white tissue paper.  ‘Aha’, I thought.  ‘Perfect.  Exactly what Penny said would work.’

So, before going out to see Terry Ardleton perform at the Bloomsbury Theatre, I made a second box and covered it in several layers of white tissue papier mâché.  I used much less dilute PVA glue and the whole thing dried much quicker.  It was completely dry this morning and I’ve now lightly sanded it and given it one coat of white acrylic paint.

Almost completed!  The box is painted with several layers of poster paint and has had a coat of acrylic gel medium.  It will be dry by morning when I’ll add a photo.

A very disappointing make.  I would much rather have this box that I made a year ago:

7 thoughts on “1. Box for Delights

  1. Try putting the papier mache in an airing cupboard between coats or place in an oven on a low setting – but don’t forget it as it sets the smoke alarm off when it sets light!!!

  2. Thanks Penny. I’ve had it sitting on top of our boiler for an hour or two. Just going to rescue it now and see what it’s like. : )

      • It sounds as if you watered down the glue too much! You only need a little water for pva glue. I found wallpaper paste works better and is cheaper! x

  3. I give you 10 out of 10 for trying Pat. Your tale did make me laugh, well done for persevering. I confess I would probably have given up after the first attempt!

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