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How to dry paper mache quickly?

#1 User is offline   JennifurAB 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Okaaaay, Prop making question! I've been a penny-pincher and opted to stuff parts of my cardboard prop with shredded paper in the form of paper mache instead of buying foam or another filler. And long story short? 1 week later, and the thing is still soaking wet. I've actually got it sitting in the oven right now (Under 451 degrees!) and even though it's been there for an hour, it still has yet to dry. It's too late to take it apart and redo it in time for the con, so does anyone have any tips for speeding up the drying process?
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#2 User is offline   Nikku 

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:12 PM

http://answers.yahoo...20085756AAeMvEJ

this might help, try opening the oven door. try it at about 300, or 350. prey it wasn't super soaked when you put it in
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#3 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:58 AM

View PostJennifurAB, on 19 April 2012 - 06:59 PM, said:

Okaaaay, Prop making question! I've been a penny-pincher and opted to stuff parts of my cardboard prop with shredded paper in the form of paper mache instead of buying foam or another filler. And long story short? 1 week later, and the thing is still soaking wet. I've actually got it sitting in the oven right now (Under 451 degrees!) and even though it's been there for an hour, it still has yet to dry. It's too late to take it apart and redo it in time for the con, so does anyone have any tips for speeding up the drying process?


I'd be very careful with high temps like that. You coudl end up scorching the outside of your piece without drying the inside much at all. The upside is that you still have time! Here are some things i've done to make papier mache dry faster:

1. put it outside in the sun for a day or two -- those UV rays do a really good job of drying things quickly
2. put a fan on it overnight, or in addition ot any other drying method -- circulation helps take the moisture away faster. I like cheap box fans for things like this. (in a pinch, i've resorted to a space heater behind a box fan -- so the fan blows the warm air over the piece -- but this is not terribly safe, so be careful!)
3. for small things, a hair drier can help (but I usually get tired of holding it before the piece dries.)
4. for small things, the open, low temp oven that was already suggested. (but please don't leave the piece in an active oven unattended!)

if nothing is working, you might need to get drastic:

Option 1: cut a hole in the prop to help get air moving INSIDE the piece and retry the above methods. once everything is dry, put a thin layer of mache over the hole.


Option 2: 1. cut open your piece and remove most (or all) of the filling -- thicker applications of mache take much, MUCH longer to dry than thin applications
2. let the thinned shell dry COMPLETELY (maybe using another drying method above)
3. reapply your inner filling, a few layers at a time (if you're using mache clay or pulp, less than 1/4 inch thickness or so)
4. let the current layer dry COMPLETELY before adding another layer, build layers back up to the thickness you want.
5. once you've built up your thickness and let it dry, reattach the parts of your prop. a layer or two of mache over the seams usually hides them from casual view.

one thing -- if you're using mache, you probably don't need to completely fill the space inside your prop. I've gotten by with about a quarter-inch thickness on some of my props and they've been rock-solid.

one more thing -- here's a link to a paper mache clay recipe I use (mostly. I replace the linseed oil with vegetable oil for a less toxic mixture. it's easy to modify to your own tastes). :) http://ultimatepaper...aper-mache-clay

good luck!

#4 User is offline   cactusmomma 

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:08 PM

View PostNikku, on 19 April 2012 - 07:12 PM, said:

http://answers.yahoo...20085756AAeMvEJ

this might help, try opening the oven door. try it at about 300, or 350. prey it wasn't super soaked when you put it in


Please, please do not do this. Paper, whether it is wet or not, can catch fire very easily..especially if you're using newspaper, which has formaldehyde mixed in on it.

I'm going to double the suggestion about a hair dryer on medium to high heat, holding it about 2 feet away.

#5 User is offline   obakasan 

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:10 AM

One other suggestion I have heard about is to use that expanding insulating foam that comes in a can as fill. It can stink however, and I don't know how well it actually works.

You'd probably have to open the piece enough to remove the wet stuff, let it dry, seal it up except for a couple of small holes, and squirt the stuff in. Again, I've not personally done this or have a reliable report on how well it turned out, but it may be an option.

My opinions.
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