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Author Topic: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur  (Read 4861 times)

paul

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I'm working on a project that involves building a model of a dinosaur-type creature that's 36" high and probably 60" long (head to tail).  The structure will need to move and some parts will need to move - like the head and arms. So, I'm trying to determine the best material to build this structure out of that will be both lightweight and strong.  I've actually ruled out fiberglass given what I've heard are serious health concerns.  I could use paper mache on top of chicken wire and aluminum frames (e.g. - strips 1/2" wide, 1/8" thick) but the paper mache projects I've seen appear to be brittle.  So, I'm wondering if anyone knows of a stronger material that might be a better choice.

darkmoonsinger

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 09:32:12 PM »
I'm not sure of the "sturdy/strong" aspect, but what about a drying modeling clay?  Something like this: http://www.joann.com/hearty-clay-super-lightweight-modeling-clay/prd32521/

paul

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 12:02:40 AM »
Thanks for the idea.  I'll take a closer look.  That might be a great way to add texture as well as structural support. I need to create a lot of texture to simulate a dinosaur skin so this might be the ticket, either as the main skin or as a secondary skin.

Aberro

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 11:53:27 AM »
I would recommend a plaster base covered over with paper mache
STRANDBEEST.

darkmoonsinger

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 12:01:35 PM »
Plaster's pretty heavy and not terribly flexible (the latter of which I suppose you could fix by carefully planning joints), though.

paul

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2012, 12:31:13 PM »
I ran into someone at the local Home Depot who said that he had worked for Disney for many years building backgrounds for the parks.  One idea he came up with was using fiberglass cloth along with Elmer's glue rather than resin so that it would not be so dangerous for a 10 year old to work with.  Does that sound like a reasonable approach?


I've also read different forums on paper mache recipes and it sounds like the choice of paper and glue are essential.  It sounds like brown paper is stronger than newspaper and might be a good choice for strength.  For the glue, it seems there are a lot of choices but I'm not sure which is best for the highest strength and non-brittleness in a hot humid climate like Florida.



da3v

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2012, 01:05:16 PM »
It would be a different look, but what about covering your chicken wire with a thin layer of padding (foam, cotton, whatever) and then covering that with some stretchy cloth? (possibly w/ a scale pattern print)  Please note: I have zero experience with that technique, and it might be a horrible idea.

I did make a life-sized paper mache cow about 30 yrs ago using wood, chicken wire, newspaper, flour, and water.  It looked great standing on my friend's roof, but the skin was definitely fragile, and it only lasted for a few more pranks before it started falling apart.

Aberro

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 01:21:02 PM »
You woud do the plaster hollow just like you would the paper mache.
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darkmoonsinger

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 01:32:49 PM »
Fibreglass cloth and glue sounds like a good plan, yeah...  I can't speak much to what works in this climate, though- I'm pretty new here.

Bob_Danforth

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 01:42:43 AM »
Styrofoam beads  are very light and great filler and though more expensive the new materials used for casts like for broken legs are fast setting and flexible, and very light. Large parts made from recycled foam packing material can add structural strength and not much weight. Elmer's and similar glues are nice in that they are not toxic but they need air exposure to dry.



paul

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 05:30:01 PM »
Where is a good place to find styrofoam beads in the Orlando area?  It sounds like you're talking about something smaller than shipping peanuts that are available at UPS/Staples.  Also, are there other glues that you would consider for greater strength than Elmer's Glue that are still non-toxic?

Bob_Danforth

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Re: Paper Mache vs. Fiberglass vs. ??? for Building 3' x 5' Dinosaur
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 06:02:17 PM »
Scouring yard sales, or thrift stores for bean bag chairs would be the cheapest way to go as you could get a ratty old beanbag chair for a buckor five and get beads enough that might cost a hundred times than to just buy them.  It is also sold in sheets and blocks that a surface grinder can shape and make filler at the same time :)