CREATE Paper Mache Letter Fun – Part 2

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Explore several ways to decorate paper mache letters and spell CREATE in rainbow colors. Today’s posting, a follow-up to Part 1, will cover ways to embellish the A-T-E of CREATE with the Green – Blue – Purple colors of the rainbow.

Last week in Part 1, I used decoupage, English Paper Piecing, metallic tape, and stickers to embellish the C-R-E of CREATE. Painting the paper mache letters with Color Shift paints was also discussed. Today’s posting will demonstrate the use of polymer clay, buttons, and crocheted yarn to cover the lower 2/3 of each of the remaining letters.

Green “E”

A Pinterest search for polymer clay ideas led me to several tutorials on the Mokume Gane technique – based on an ancient method of metal working from Japan.

Here are the supplies I used:

I purchased three colors of green polymer clay but they did not have enough contrast. I made the dark green darker by mixing 2 parts green with 1 part black to produce the darkest green seen above. The medium green clay I purchased in a local craft store was so dry and crumbly I could not use it, so I mixed 2 parts light green with 1 part of the dark green I had purchased to make a medium green. I used my clay roller to make a thin rectangle of each color.

After layering the clay dark-medium-light, I cut the stack with a straight cutting blade into three equal parts and pressed them together.

I used my clay tools and wavy blade to poke and cut through all the layers – without cutting through completely. Note: I was working on the back side of a cutting mat which was less than ideal due to its porous, matte surface. Clay stained and stuck to the mat. A better option might be a Sculpey Clay Tool Work ‘N Bake Clay Mat or a smooth ceramic tile.

The stacks were compressed together by applying pressure with my hands from the sides.

I used a rigid blade to carefully cut very thin horizontal slices…

and arranged them on the unpainted letter.

After placing the letter in a foil tray and covering it with another foil tray for a lid, I baked it for 15 minutes at 275 degrees.

The larger exposed area of the paper mache was easily painted with a foam brush. I hoped masking tape would make painting close to the clay easier, but it did not. It was messy to remove and was not necessary – careful use of a small paint brush was sufficient.

The surface was a bit uneven, but okay for a first effort at makume gane. With practice, I think I will enjoy making jewelry with this technique.

Blue “T”

Now, for something simple – buttons for the blue “T”.

Here are the supplies I used:

After glueing blue buttons from my button jar to the lower 2/3 of the letter, I realized there was not enough color contrast to make it visually interesting. I substituted some lighter blue buttons from a jar of Buttons Galore 28 Lilac Lane Embellishment Bottle Winter Blues and liked the result better.

Purple “E”

My original thought for the purple “E” was to add a design with rubber stamps, embossing powder and ink, and hot fix sequins but decided the result would not be consistent with the other letters. So, I decided to crochet a cover.

Here are the supplies I used:

I didn’t really know what I was doing, so it is difficult to write instructions. I used a single crochet stitch to crochet rows long enough to cover each arm of the “E” and the side, then sewed them together with a yarn needle. I kept laying the pieces on the letter to know when to add or subtract stitches to wrap around the side and ends. I did crochet a piece for the lower arm that covered the bottom. That made this letter taller than the other letters, so I unraveled some. I used a foam brush and Tacky Glue to adhere the crocheted unit to the letter. The light on the letter shows how the Color Shift paint glows with metallic luminescence!

When finished, I realized I had made an “E” cozy (I crack myself up sometimes!)

What did I learn from embellishing these three letters?

  • I want a pasta machine for rolling clay thin.
  • It is good to have some color contrast among your buttons.
  • Glue and yarn are a messy combination.

We would love to hear from you about methods you would use to cover paper mache letters or see pictures of your projects – please add them to the comment box below.


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About Ann

Ann works in Customer Service here at CreateForLess, and has a passion for quilting. Ann has been an avid quilter for over 20 years and a quilt instructor, quilt designer and pattern writer for over 7 years. Ann's crafting interests include quilting, applique, paper piecing, machine quilting, crazy quilting, general sewing. Basically if it involves quilting...she loves it! Ann is blessed with a supportive husband and two great children (a college-age son and grown daughter) who tolerate appearing in public with her despite the inevitable thread on her clothes.

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