Saturday, May 14, 2016

Expanding Foam and You: Wrap it up

After a long break due to events season, I am back in the blogger seat. I'm breaking my rhythm to start with a cosplaying blog to wrap up my expanding foam cliff hanger. As we've learned, a lot of this project is based on feel. There is not a formula for how much to carve or where to paint. I can only hope to provide tips to help.

When we last left off, I had finished carving the staff and wrapped it in masking tape. (You can catch up with part one and part two.) We are only losing detail from this step forward so work hard to retain what you have.
When wrapping the staff in tape, make sure to use smaller pieces to help you retain that detail you have carved in. Take your time with this step! Push it into your gaps and massage the tape around the edges.

mage staff - paper mache form
Half tape -- Half paper mache staff

When you finish wrapping the foam in tape, then you start to cover it in paper mache. Same rules-- use smaller pieces when necessary, push into gaps, and massage around edges to keep the rounded and pointed details. I used good ol' fashion newsprint and watered down some elmer's school glue for this step. The final product was one layer of tape and two layers of paper mache.

mage staff - paper mache form

Let your staff dry between each layer. Especially let it dry after your final layer. Paint and wet glue mix poorly. 

** Here is where I skipped a step the professionals do. I did not cover the paper mache layer in something like clay to smooth the project out. Depending on your time, budget, and level of scrutiny, you may want to add that step in.

I spent my drying time buying multiple shades of brown to get started -- dark brown, light brown, normal brown, tan, cooper. The first layer of paint was brown everywhere to give it a base. 

After that, most the staff received a second layer of brown because the newsprint was still showing through. But after that I got into using the different colors. Working with slightly wet paint on the second layer helped me blend in other colors, especially the lighter ones. 

The final finished product! I was very proud of how it turned out.  From a distance and even a conversational distance, it is hard to tell this is made from foam and paper mache. Up close with a LOT of light, you can see the outline of the strips of newspaper. For my use though, it works great!

mage wizard staff complete - final form

Missed a part? Go back and read:
Part 1 - Foam Art
Part 2 - The Carving