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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, this year we are doing a pirates theme which has me trying to salvage the budget by implementing my paper mache skills...not good lol. Actually I've started out okay, I've been working on one of several treasure chests but my problem in the past with paper mache has been texture/smoothness. Seemed no matter what I did or how smooth I got it by the time the first paint hit my project every bump and line was magnified....especially on rounded surfaces like my pumpkins.

This years work load includes barrels, tentacles and treasure chests. I've seen loads of work on here and all over the internet that looks flawless, so what's the secret? How do you get your pieces to look smooth rather than a decoupaged box?

I have changed my solution from the flour base to just using glue and water and that has helped but I didn't know if you all were sanding or coating your projects before you actually started painting.

Thanks so much for any advice...BTW here's a pic of my 1st chest. I just need to add some more banding to my endcaps and start applying paper mache over my banding so it covers everything up.
 

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Hey all, this year we are doing a pirates theme which has me trying to salvage the budget by implementing my paper mache skills...not good lol. Actually I've started out okay, I've been working on one of several treasure chests but my problem in the past with paper mache has been texture/smoothness. Seemed no matter what I did or how smooth I got it by the time the first paint hit my project every bump and line was magnified....especially on rounded surfaces like my pumpkins.

This years work load includes barrels, tentacles and treasure chests. I've seen loads of work on here and all over the internet that looks flawless, so what's the secret? How do you get your pieces to look smooth rather than a decoupaged box?

I have changed my solution from the flour base to just using glue and water and that has helped but I didn't know if you all were sanding or coating your projects before you actually started painting.

Thanks so much for any advice...BTW here's a pic of my 1st chest. I just need to add some more banding to my endcaps and start applying paper mache over my banding so it covers everything up.
The treasure chest is looking very nice.

I can't really tell from the picture (mainly because I'm viewing it on a very small screen) but it looks like all the paper is cut square? If that is the case, you shouldn't cut your strips but tear instead. You will get a smoother seam when they overlap. If they aren't cut, they you may need to sand it down just a little. I usually put a final layer of blue shop towel mache down to smooth everything over.

Good luck and keep posting updates.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys :D

The edging is just foam board (from DT) the reason it looks so different is it was painted to look like boarded up windows last year and I just repurposed a few. Great idea on the shop towels!!!! It's torn newspaper, luckily I avoided any bumps but I hate the unsmoothness (especially on the banding). Guess I have one more layer, fingers crossed :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
K so I've decided to go with Matrix moms advice....I'm no longer worried about perfect lol :) which brings me to the paint...dang its hard to make faux weathered wood...I've tried umpteen versions and still aren't happy. In the beginning i wanted gray wood, then i decided to go dark so it looks wet but i couldnt see any detail. Ones to light, ones to dark, muddy, abstract...u get the idea. So here's what I'm stuck with unless someone can walk me through a tutorial. Trust me it does look better now that I've added the gold. I want to add some black lines to replicate the edges of the boards but just haven't gotten brave enough.

So knowing u all are amazing painters toss suggestions my way if you have them. I've even considered skipping the wood grain all together...
 

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K so I've decided to go with Matrix moms advice....I'm no longer worried about perfect lol :) which brings me to the paint...dang its hard to make faux weathered wood...I've tried umpteen versions and still aren't happy. In the beginning i wanted gray wood, then i decided to go dark so it looks wet but i couldnt see any detail. Ones to light, ones to dark, muddy, abstract...u get the idea. So here's what I'm stuck with unless someone can walk me through a tutorial. Trust me it does look better now that I've added the gold. I want to add some black lines to replicate the edges of the boards but just haven't gotten brave enough.

So knowing u all are amazing painters toss suggestions my way if you have them. I've even considered skipping the wood grain all together...
First off, remember its just paint ... you can just paint over it if you don't like it (I'm guessing you already have) so don't be afraid to try adding the wood plank lines.

I'm not sure which techniques you've already tried, but I almost always do drybrushing. My brush is a cheap 'chip' brush that I cut the bristles a bit shorter and "thinned" a bit so it doesn't paint even. It takes very little paint and needs a light hand to do. I work from the darkest colors to the lightest ... applying less and less pressure to the brush.

Terra has a video where she used pant with a glaze and used a wood graining tool to add the effect. There really isn't a right or wrong way to do this.

I think it looks good so don't be too hard on yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks IMU, I usually do dry brushing myself but for se reason I can't find that brush :/ which led me to just doing streaks...I think I'm going to try to finish the top and see what it will look like under party lighting. I'm just worried its so dark the detail won't show at this point. I may try to work in some lighter colors if it doesn't pan out :)

I still have at least one more chest to build and 2 barrels so I've got no choice but to figure it out lo
 

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That chest looks awesome! I've been wrestling with paper mache texture lately as well, I wish I'd consulted the forum like you instead of stubbornly trying to figure it out myself. Could have saved a lot of time and aggravation LOL. Sanding is the one thing I'd recommend for a smooth finish, in addition to multiple coats of paint.
 
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