1. The first step is of course coming up with a design. I do drawings then transfer them to my computer to refine the accuracy. As with any pattern, paper mache patterns need to be correct too!
2. Then I select from the thousands of designer papers that I have in stock. This is the most fun part for me.
3. Once I have it all figured out I send it to my die-cut machine. I love my machine! It saves me so much time compared to hand cutting. I sometimes order pre-done designs to help me along or get ideas from. But the best part is that I can use my own stuff.
4. Now all of the paper elements are cut out including templates for foam board.
5. Using the templates I trace onto foam board the walls and floors then cut them out with a stencil knife. For more intricate designs I use a hot tool, but in this case I don’t have to. For some reason I find the process of cutting the foam very soothing, the sound and the feel of it. I use a metal ruler to keep the edges sharp, and though I have another tool for curves, I prefer to do them freehand while I pray.
6. Once all the foam is cut I use decopauge medium to paste the paper on, I do all of one side of each piece. By the time I have one side on all of the pieces done it is dry enough to do the other side. I prefer to get all of the paper on before it is completely dry to avoid warping of the board.
7. I make sure the paper is layed down evenly and smoothly. It’s a delicate balance between accurately laying the paper in the first place, then pounding and smoothing any bubbles away.
8. Now I have all the pieces covered with paper. I do not begin to coat the paper yet as they need to be sanded down. Liddy the cat has found one of my emery boards that somehow has escaped my tool bag. Emery boards and marbles are her two favorite forbidden things to play with, crazy cat.
9. I trim any excess overhang.
10. I apply a chipboard backing to all of the smaller elements.
11. The roof is made out of chipboard with multiple designer paper layers. I find it works best to form the roof as I go along, with it folded and one side at a time.
12. Continuing to work on the roof with a hard edge (my favorite and most mangled arts and crafts book) to support the fold.
13. I put all of the smaller pieces when they are pretty much dry into my book (covered with the green cutting mat on one side, and used as a drill protector for my legs on the other) so that they are pressed flat.
14. Now I sand with my first favorite tool! This helps meld the paper edges to the foam board and makes it reasonably even.
15. I manage to wrangle the emeryboard from Liddy the cat and wet sand with decopauge medium all of the edges. This is my “quality control” step. This ensures all of the paper has bonded properly and I re-glue any areas that need it.
16. I paint all of the raw edges.
17. All of the painted details are done.
18. Everything gets coated with decopauge medium. I do a coat on each side with gloss mod podge first, which I can find in the big orange label jug. The second coat is also mod podge, hard coat, however it is only available for me in the piddly little jar. I’m a hoarder, I like to buy big quantities, so this disappoints me. The hard coat eliminates any tackiness.
19. I use an artist quality high gloss acrylic varnish on the inside only of all the cut pieces of paper mache. That little green striped doggie poopie bag lurking on the table holds my wet brush in between use because I am lazy and hate washing brushes every two minutes.
20. For assembly, I use straight pins coated with modge. For some projects I make my own clips out of 20 gauge wire. But for small things, pins work great.
21. Here I am making the door hinge out of 2 layers of washi tape. I cut the pins to 1/4 inch so that they don’t poke through the wall on the other side. By the way, my wire cutter may be rusty, but he works good. I do have a girl wire cutter for beading and she is much more feminine<3
22. I also make a hinge for the bottom of one wall so that it can open.
23. Time to put the roof on with liberal modge on the edges.
23. The roof is also pin-glued. It has to be strong as it also acts as the latch for the side wall.
24. Assembly is finished so now all of the little ornaments and glitter can be glued on.
25. No, not quite finished. I’m just so excited to see it lit up with the luminary candles (those fake ones with batteries so things don’t catch fire).
26. They are done with 2 coats of gloss varnish. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!