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Finished some paper mache stuff and need to weather proof it. I have done alot of reading at sites like Jwall from Youtube, Stolloween, Halloween Forum, Garage of Evil, etc and still cant make a decision....Do I use just regular Spar Varnish or should I spend the extra dough and buy the Marine Varnish.

I live in the soggy Pacific North West and could expect that it could rain each and everyday of October.

Just looking for some input / thought / expertise.

Thanks
 

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I've used the Varathane Spar Urethane (as opposed to the Minwax Helmsman) and been very happy with it. It's a bit more expensive that the Minwax, but still less expensive than the yacht varnish. If you have a Menards near you, they are cheaper than Home Depot or Lowes. Also one of the things that I've read on paper mache sites is that if you're going to be leaving something outdoors for a long time, it's best to use carpenter's glue for the paper mache glue instead of the regular formula.
 

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Yep, Varathane is the brand name. Here's a link: http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=73

The link shows the spray can version, which I've used too, but I prefer the regular can version. My recollection from using the spray is that despite the fact that it says "No Odor", it did in fact stink.

Either way you go, it's important to give it plenty of time to dry before you put the prop out. I'm thinking at least 48 hours, more if it's humid.
 

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Tests show that 'spar' works pretty well. You may need to re-varnish every year or couple of years to keep staying waterproof.

Also, If you can, it's a good idea to do an initial varnish layer on the 'naked' mache prop, before you paint. It definitely makes it more waterproof than just varnishing after the paint.

All of this is kind of the same idea as waterproofing your deck. Essentially the varnish is filling in the gaps between the paper fibers, and if you keep adding multiple coats, eventually the gaps totally fill up. If latex or acrylic paint is your first (2nd & 3rd) layer in the gaps ... it's a potentially weaker area for time / moisture / prop use to wear down/away. But if you start with your waterproofing, and then add your paint job, your paint job reinforces the waterproofing.

I realize it might be too late for the stuff you just finished ... but something to keep in mind for next time. : )

-- b

Finished some paper mache stuff and need to weather proof it. I have done alot of reading at sites like Jwall from Youtube, Stolloween, Halloween Forum, Garage of Evil, etc and still cant make a decision....Do I use just regular Spar Varnish or should I spend the extra dough and buy the Marine Varnish.

I live in the soggy Pacific North West and could expect that it could rain each and everyday of October.

Just looking for some input / thought / expertise.

Thanks
 

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All great input!

Haven't done anything (eg-paint) to the project yet. I do think I will apply the varnish as a base layer then latex paint.

I am leaning toward the Spar Varnish....I just dont know why the Marine Varnish is so expensive? What is the difference? I assume they both contain tung oil and some UV protection....but some of the Marine stuff is double the price. If I knew that the price equaled a bullet proof varnish I would purchase it. But i think it is just over priced and marked toward high end shopper that own expensive boats...
 

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I've used the Varathane on both mache and plywood, and it's worked like a charm. I used it to waterproof my hearse, and after three weeks outdoors there wasn't a bit of water damage to it. Like bmaskmaker says, multiple layers should do the trick. Since there's so much time between now and next Halloween, you could always just buy a pint of the spar and do a test run. That way if you're happy with it, you don't have to plunk down a 100 bucks or more for a gallon of the marine. That's 3 more Walgreens skeletons right there............:D

As to the price difference between marine and spar, my guess is if you own anything that can be considered a yacht, you're in that class of people who like to brag about how much you spend, not save. :)



All great input!

Haven't done anything (eg-paint) to the project yet. I do think I will apply the varnish as a base layer then latex paint.

I am leaning toward the Spar Varnish....I just dont know why the Marine Varnish is so expensive? What is the difference? I assume they both contain tung oil and some UV protection....but some of the Marine stuff is double the price. If I knew that the price equaled a bullet proof varnish I would purchase it. But i think it is just over priced and marked toward high end shopper that own expensive boats...
 

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I've used both Minwax and Varathane and haven't noticed any appreciable difference between the two. My paper mache props are put out Oct. 1 and stay out till Nov. 1 regardless of the weather. Other than a tree falling on them last year during Snowpocalypse, they've, uh, weathered the weather without problem.

Now, like bmaskmaker recommends, I put my waterproofing on first at the paper mache level. I've nothing to back it up with other than an intuitive belief that this offers more protection than putting it on as a last step. Once the spar varnish dries, I paint my props, usually covering it completely with a base coat and then build up my coloring from there. I feel that provides yet an additional layer of protection against the elements and seals in the waterproofing underneath.

My last step is to complete coat the prop with two coats of deck sealer. This become 3 or 4 layers of protection for the paper mache and though I've only been haunting my yard for about 5 years now I haven't had an instance of mold or rot with any of my paper mache props through rain...and snow!

Rich
 

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I use Elmers glue, which I buy by the gallon ( i think I may switch to that yellow construction glue), torn news paper and water. My paste is any where from 50-50 mix of glue and water to 1 part glue to 3 parts water.

I find it really important to prep the news paper. I tear ALL factory edges and folds. It really helps with getting the paper to lay down and blend.

For the paper clay that I use for adding dimension, features, and texture....I use toliet paper, glue and drywall compund (pre mixed). I have been using a blender to mix it up and have been using equal amounts of each (paper, glue, mud)...However I dont recommend using a blender. It works ok but this garage sale blender is going to die soon. The mix is very thick and hard on the machine (made it smoke last night). I would use a hand blender / wand type mixer instead.

For wrinkles and veiny texture I hav been usuing paper napkins I get from restaurants. I picked up a hand full at here and there. And use a 50-50 water glue mix.
 

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Old Man Bakke,

I haven't used driveway sealer, but I do know of one haunter that's used roofing tar to make ground breakers (he places them, appropriately enough, in "tar pits") and those things are impervious to everything. His haunt can be found at CreepyHouseNextDoor. I believe Chris Baker at Hauntcast ended up making some tar pit denizens with roofing tar too. I would imagine driveway sealer would similarly protect a prop from the elements.

As for making "Monster Clay," I just burned up a cheap Walmart blender with the same column of smoke. I ended up just mixing it all using my hand letting it squeeze out through my fingers. A good 5 minutes of mixing that way usually is enough to have it well blended and smooth. I've also stuck a hand mixer paddle in my drill and mixed it that way too.

I make my clay using cellulose insulation that I buy by the bale at Home Depot. It costs about $11 for 2 cu. yds. and despite having made a ton of props with the clay I've barely made a dent in the bale. A little definitely goes a long way. Since it's pre-shredded it saves me a step.

Rich
 

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So I have painted my prop with acrylics and want to put the final coat of protection on. I would like to use an outdoor matte polyurethane, but I can not for the life of me find any matt, exterior, polyurethane. The guy at HD said if I use the interior matte polyurethane, that it would smear/bleed the acrylics, yellow over time and eventually flake off.

Suggestions?
 

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OMB,

After doing some Googling, it seems a matte finish is hard to come by when dealing with exterior polyurethane. I did find a company, Epiphanes, that sells a matte finish, but it's really pricey. On Amazon it goes for $30 for a 500 ml can, which as far as I can tell is about 16 oz., or a small bottle of Jack Daniels. :D A 1000 ml can goes for $40.

UGL, the makers of Drylok, sell a brand of polyurethane called ZAR that I believe has a matte finish and it seems a little easier to come by than Epiphanes, but doesn't seem to be carried at Home Depot or Lowe's. You might find it at local hardware stores (it happens to be at a small one by me) or perhaps check a larger paint store chain.

As I've mentioned previously, I just use regular deck sealer to great effect -- Olympic brand, for about $9 a gallon; Thompson's Waterseal goes for about $15 for a gallon. It dries clear and perhaps not a matte finish I'd say it's no worse than a satin. Certainly there's no real sheen to the finish.

Rich
 

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You could always do the gloss finish with the Spar then spray a light coat of some other matte finish sealer over it. By then you've pretty much sealed the thing with the Spar glossy, a light coating the matte spray will bring down the gloss just enough.
 

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OMB,

After doing some Googling, it seems a matte finish is hard to come by when dealing with exterior polyurethane. I did find a company, Epiphanes, that sells a matte finish, but it's really pricey. On Amazon it goes for $30 for a 500 ml can, which as far as I can tell is about 16 oz., or a small bottle of Jack Daniels. :D A 1000 ml can goes for $40.

UGL, the makers of Drylok, sell a brand of polyurethane called ZAR that I believe has a matte finish and it seems a little easier to come by than Epiphanes, but doesn't seem to be carried at Home Depot or Lowe's. You might find it at local hardware stores (it happens to be at a small one by me) or perhaps check a larger paint store chain.

As I've mentioned previously, I just use regular deck sealer to great effect -- Olympic brand, for about $9 a gallon; Thompson's Waterseal goes for about $15 for a gallon. It dries clear and perhaps not a matte finish I'd say it's no worse than a satin. Certainly there's no real sheen to the finish.

Rich
Try Ace Hardware - I've seen the ZAR there.
I use Thompson's - so far so good. I put it in a pump sprayer, but my neighbor who uses it for different projects just uses a spray bottle
HM
 
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