Adults and Kids Prefer Chicken Wire Paper Mache for Yard Decorations

Creating Sculptures out of the Household Items

Chicken wire is a standard household item that serves many purposes. From poultry netting to chicken wire craft ideas for decoration, it is one of the favored materials. Adults and kids use chicken wire with a lot of fun, and chicken wire paper mache is a great and compatible combination. Every sculpture needs a solid armature whether it is a Christmas ball or a human-like figure. With its high elasticity, chicken wire is an excellent choice to build a lasting and inexpensive armature. Almost anything is possible to make out of the chicken wire paper mache. The armature may serve as a support system or a framework for the sculptures of different sizes. Plan your design in advance to be sure you had enough of the quality material and tools. Besides the elasticity, steadiness is the next important feature of the chicken wire. Lighter gauges and smaller mesh sizes are equally sturdy as the bigger ones. Of course, lighter gauge 19 and 1-inch mesh are more convenient for creating smaller pieces. The tools you will need to carry out your project are also standard in almost every household. Pliers, wire cutters or tin snips must be accompanied by a pair of gloves. Cut ends may be sharp and they can do some harm if your hands are not protected. You will work a bit slower but protection comes first. – Chicken wire is a good choice because it has elasticity and its stability is good.

Building and Armature and Paper Mache Strips

Creating an armature for the chicken wire paper mache sculpture is a challenge, and you should choose the right method before you start. If you are attracted to some large piece of the chicken wire, forget it, and cut it into the smaller rectangular pieces. They are much easier to operate and you can join them according to your idea in an easy and simple way. Use the pliers to bend the ends of one piece around the edges of another until all pieces have been connected. Peace by peace, you will shape the sculpture, and the seams remain fast. Remember to narrow edges at the end but do not do this unless you are sure the shape has been finished. The armature and the paper mache strips are all you need to start creating the desired shape. Recommended width of the paper mache strips is 2 inches. Most common materials are newspapers, kitchen towels or a tissue paper since they all have an adequate length. Prefabricated non-toxic plaster cloth strips are available and they dry quickly, within minutes. There are two ways of mixing the paste for the chicken wire paper mache sculpture. One is old-fashioned and another is modern. The first one includes flour-based paste that is especially suitable for children while the modern one is a glue-based. The consistency of the flour-based paste is that of the pancake dough.

Chicken wire installed in a chicken coop
To create an armor for the paper mache sculpture the pliers should be used.

Stages of Creating Chicken Wire Paper Mache Sculpture

It is utmost important to use one paper mache strip at the time. They are sticky and they can decompose fast. After you have put one strip into a paste, remove the superfluous paste with the free hand and apply the first layer on the armature. We recommend you to fold the paper mache ends into the mesh for more stability. Follow the direction from the top to the bottom, and place the strips across one another. After the chicken wire armature has been covered, you might still feel chicken wire texture. If you want the smoother appearance of the chicken wire paper mache sculpture, you can apply the second layer or as many layers as you want. You can replace flour-based paste with the mixture of the non-toxic glue and water but at no circumstances use wallpaper paste. It is toxic. Prefabricated plaster strips are being used with warm water before the application to the armature. After the basic shape of the sculpture has been made, it is time to access the next stage. The sculpture should be completely dried before the painting or sealing. Any type of the paint is acceptable but the tempera or the water-based acrylics are most commonly used for the final decoration. After the coloration, you can varnish the sculpture. The glaze adds to a shiny look and protects color in the longer period of time.

 Chicken wire placed in a field
It is recommended that you do not use wallpaper paste to make the mixture.

Combination of Materials Suitable for the Outdoor Placement

Working with chicken wire and paper mache is interesting, challenging, and affordable. You should provide quality chicken wire in the quantity that suits the intended design, and the rest you probably have in your household. This outstanding combination of materials provokes inspiration to create the largest variety of objects, from animals to human-like figures and geometrical shapes. They may differ in size, shape, and style on the scale from modern installations to the traditional and historical imitations. Since the paper mache accepts color well, bright, attractive combinations are close at your hand. Most chicken wire paper mache sculptures are intended to be placed outdoor. Choose an appropriate size and thickness of the chicken wire. If the sculpture is going to be exposed to heavy weather, it is supposed to be sturdy at all times. It is important to create a solid basic shape that can easily be transformed into a desired one. No sharp points or unattached pieces are allowed. Mind that you can use a cardboard to support elongated shapes, such as legs or arms. The construction will be more stable. If you have overlooked some detail, you can correct it as long as you have not started with paper mache layers. Pulp made out of the boiled pieces of paper can affect the texture of the chicken wire paper mache object, and it is very convenient to experiment with.

 Chicken wire placed on an iron grate
You must be careful not to leave loose parts or sharp points for safety.

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