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I'm just beginning my adventures in creating my own Halloween props and learning the basics of paper mache. I was wondering if anyone has found an order for layering different materials they like a lot. I want something very sturdy that can take a little abuse. I've been experimenting with newspaper, cheesecloth, shop towels. Input?
 

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Well, I use a 50/50 school glue to water ratio, and newsprint. About 4 layers. Then two coats of polyurethane. image.jpg Works great for me! Jack skellingtonsa head is made like that in this photo. Wore it most of the night and hit my headpiece on a few doorways. The drywall doorways didn't do a thing to it. Not a scratch!
 

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Thanks! It was my first go with mâché (as an adult) it took a long time, most of it spent waiting for drying!! So.... Maybe multiple projects at the same time. I was doing this and making a few columns simultaneously. Made the wait not seem so bad between coats!
 

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I mainly use newspaper with anywhere from 4-10 layers depending on the size of the project. The larger the project, the more layers I use. When I'm looking for extra strength (especially on a large piece) I usually do the final two layers in brown paper either from paper bags or packing paper in a roll. I found that a single layer of paper towels provide more strength than a single layer of newsprint and will also conform easier to any detail you're trying to preserve.

I've used both cheap and better brands of paper towels and each has it's own use depending on what I'm working with. I recently read here that Viva is great for corpsing as there's no quilted design on them. Just found them on sale and picked up a few rolls but haven't tried them yet but they seem to compare to the shop towels as far as strength. Also have plans to incorporate used dryer sheets and strips of old cotton material into future projects.

As far as my paste recipe, I've had good luck with Stolloween's recipe. He has some great videos on making the paste and clay as well as some on his techniques. It does use flour but I've had very little problem with mold or rodents, however I'm using a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process.
 

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I like using thick paper towels, like Viva. It usually only takes 2-3 layers. Then I paint it with latex house paint. The paste I use is a mixture of flour and water, with the consistency of slightly watery pancake batter.
 
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