-Plaster of Paris
-Basic clay sculpting tools
-2 separate cups
-A non stick base board (laminated is good)
-4 pieces of flat wood (cut to be high and deep enough to cover your head parts)
-Clamps to hold the wooden box frame together and to fix it down onto the table
-Sculpt your puppet head front and back with neck in natural clay
-While the clay is still wet, cut the head in half just behind the ears and down through the centre of of the neck
-On your non stick board, prepare a wooden mould frame around the head part you are going to mould. Leave a few cm’s space all around the head.
-Paint the clay head part with oil
-Put it cut side down into the frame
-Seal all edges & corners with clay so the plaster does not run out when poured
-Measure your box and calculate how much plaster it will take to fill it. Ours generally needed around 3.5 cups plaster to 3 cups water
-Line a bowl with a plastic bag
-Pour in water first (following the instructions on the plaster you are using for the ratio of water to plaster, usually 1 cup water to 1.5 cups plaster)
-Slowly pour plaster in to make a ‘island’ formations in the water
-Leave until plaster absorbs all water and then stir with a plastic glove on
-The plaster will begin to get hot, then it will cool down. At this stage it is ready to be poured into the mould
-Pour in plaster, starting around the head and then over it. Make sure it is covered completely.
-Bang & tap the board which the mould is on to make air bubbles rise up to the surface. Jig the board up and down gently.
-Leave the plaster to set (half an hour or so)
-White paper (recycled is fine)
-Muslin strainer bag or piece of muslin cloth
-Tear white paper into very small pieces into bowl
-Cover with water & leave to soak overnight
-Put small batches of paper into blender, add a lot of water and blend finely
-Strain all excess water from the pulp through the muslin
-Store in a container in the fridge. It will last for a long time if kept moist
-Paper Pulp (see above)
-Wood glue or PVA glue
-Plaster mould (see above)
-Plastic screw plugs
-Piece of wooden dowl
-Skinny screw driver
-Take pulp and add glue. Mix well until the pulp has a ‘tuna’ like texture
-Press the pulp into the dry plaster mould (see above)
-Pay special attention to pressing the pulp into the finer detailed parts of the puppet mould, such as eyes and nose.
-Build up pulp all over the surface of the mould so that it is at least 1.5cm thick
-In the neck area you might want to also add your reinforcements (such as wood, wall plugs) which will attach the neck to the puppets body. Compress them in well with pulp
-Leave to dry
-This mixture becomes rock hard when it sets. Dries fastest in direct sunlight. Process can be sped up by baking the mould on low heat in the oven
-When the edges of the pulp head begin to come away from the edge of the plaster mould, it is dry. Carefully remove it with a skinny screw driver tip. If there is a lot of resistance, the pulp is still wet so leave it longer to dry.
-Put the front and back of the head together by painting all edges heavily with wood glue. Any gaps can be filled in with fresh gluey pulp. Lost features on the face or back of the head after removal from mould can also be built up again in the same way.
-Leave this to dry and your head is ready!