Google+ House Revivals: How to Make a Paper Mache Starfish

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How to Make a Paper Mache Starfish

I adore paper mache. When it comes to crafting, I would go so far as to say it's my first love. Since we've moved to more humid climes, however, I've found that my projects don't dry quickly (or at all) on their own.

I've learned to compensate by using the oven and putting drying racks over heat vents. Another way I compensate is by finding ways to keep my armature from getting too wet.
I love the sea, and it's bounty, and have collected lots of shells and starfish over the years. I don't own any real starfish anymore, though, because I had a dog that ate them all. Every. Single. One. Then he threw them up. Every. Single. One. It was not pretty, and those stains will never, ever come out of your wool Berber.

So, nowadays, I display paper mache starfish. To create this starfish, you will need some sturdy corrugated cardboard, white glue, masking tape, white paper towels, and gesso or paint if desired.

Start by cutting out an imperfect star shape, with rounded points. Now, we want this starfish to have lots of dimension, so we will need to build the armature up. Do this by gluing pieces of cardboard on top of the star, as shown below.

Keep building until your armature is five to seven layers high.

Now, we don't want the armature to get wet, so cover everything with masking tape. This will also help you create a smooth transition between the layers.

To create the very top of the starfish, add a folded piece of paper towel to the center of the starfish, and tape it on so that it forms a bit of a point on the top.

Now, take torn bits of paper towel and paint them with diluted glue. Apply the pieces to your starfish until it is completely covered.

Now, to get that ridge that some starfish have on each of their legs, take a torn piece of paper towel, and twist it into a little rope. Glue one of these twisted ropes to each leg, as shown.

Now, cover the entire piece with torn pieces of paper towel again.

Place over a heat vent or in very low oven to dry, if desired. 

You can coat your finished piece with gesso and/or paint, if you like, or just leave it as it is. Piled into a bowl of shells in your foyer or on your coffee table, they will blend right in and look like the real thing!

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