When this bowl was last seen, I was debating whether or not to add additional paint colors. Here’s the final result:
After it was primed, I gave this bowl several coats of a light green acrylic paint, and decoupaged a butterfly on the interior:
I’ve been contemplating painting the rim in a coordinating shade of blue, but the butterfly is so striking against the solid background that I may leave it as is. I’ll cogitate on it for a while more before deciding.
Once the painting is complete, it will get several coats of clear acrylic varnish, and then it will be ready to go into the shop inventory.
Sometimes I’m just a little too impatient taking it off the form, and sometimes it’s just a little too reluctant to let go:
The red-circled areas are pretty obvious: the edge cracked as it came off the form. The orange-circled area is a little trickier to make out; it shows several small areas where the papier mache pulp stuck to the form and pulled out of the bowl, leaving small voids.
The bad news is, this is not an uncommon occurrence. The good news is, it’s easy to fix.
First, dry the bowl completely in a 230F oven for several hours. (In this case, I took a few oven-proof silicone molds and propped the sides of the bowl as close to the desired shape as possible. Not all cracks require this.) Once it’s dried and cooled, it’s like spackling a wall: simply fill in the cracks and voids with finishing pulp, and pop it back into the oven for another hour.
Dried and sanded, the bowl is “whole” with no loss of strength or integrity; decorated and varnished, no one will ever know the cracks were there. Well, except those of you who read this entry… 😉
This is the bowl I “toasted” yesterday, sanded, and primed with acrylic gesso:
You’ll notice that the rim is not perfectly circular — this is a natural result of how the bowl is formed, and while I could use the dremel to sand it even, I actually prefer the irregular shape. This will become a “butterfly bowl”, and the more organic edge will enhance the decoupaged design. (Besides, if you want a perfectly round bowl, you could just go out and buy one. ;-))
Several hours out in the wind did the trick: the bowl firmed up nicely, and came off the form with no trouble at all. Then it was into the oven:
After about an hour, it was time to flip it over, so that the bottom could dry thoroughly, too:
I’ll let it continue drying for another hour or so, then it will be on to the next stage.
Took a break from the computer screen to rest my bad eye, and put the time to productive use by molding another bowl.
Raw base pulp:
Roughed out on the form:
Smoothed with a palette knife:
It’s bright, sunny, and extremely windy outdoors today — perfect weather for drying papier mache, so the new bowl (still on its form) is sitting out on the balcony to begin the drying process:
Here’s a good comparison of what a piece looks like after initial creation in base pulp, versus after a coat of finishing pulp has been applied:
Some sanding would make for an extremely smooth surface; in this case, however, I opted for only light sanding and a more irregular finish, so after painting and sealing with a satin-finish acrylic varnish, the sides look like this:
Want to see the complete piece, with decoupaged decoration? It’s available on Etsy. 🙂