Sunday, October 2, 2011

Body Double Part 3: Assembly and Mache Day!

Alright, the big day!  I brought corpsy into the garage for building and the first layer of mache.  Here he is, laid out in position on some plastic sheeting.  My mom was worried I was going to mache on my dining room table, but I'm not sure he'd fit even if I were dumb enough to make that big a mess on my table.  Anywho, I put the spine in the pelvis and taped it down, then I put the legs in the hip slots and secured them.  The arms were secured to the clavicles. 
 I've added a skull to the corpse.  It came out of a $10 bag of bones at Walmart.  Those particular bones happen to be hallow plastic.  I picked them because I got a few more bones for not much more than the nicer skulls at Target.  The target medium skulls are $5 and really nice.  They have articulated jaws and everything.  I got one to use for this and decided it was too nice to cover and turn into a corpse.  Below you'l see the head attached and prepped.  The interwebs say that, if you're going to paper mache plastic you have to put something over it for the glue to stick to.  Typically duct tape is suggested.  It has fabric in it that the mache will stick to.
 I've attached the skull by cutting the spine in quarters above the neck mark.  Then I fanned out the newly created strips, wrapped them around the head, and taped them down.  I covered up any remaining large plastic bits with small pieces of duct tape.

I put some stuffing into the body cavities to help support the framework as I layer mache over it.  I got some packaged air and bubble wrap from some shipments at work and used them.  The clear plastic bits in the ribs are the packaged air, the green the bubble wrap.  You can't see it but there's some bubble wrap in the pelvis as well.  I'm not sure if I will be able to remove the stuffing once I've got the body partially covered which is why I used air type things instead of crumpled paper.  I suspect the paper will weigh more in the end and also I need it for strips to do the mache with.

Now, the mache.  I checked a number of recipes and finally settled on a mixture of 1 part flour, 2 parts water, and a touch of salt and glue.  The salt is to help prevent mold from growing, the glue is to help support the flour as an adhesive.  It came out about the consistency of a nice cream soup.  The mache was done by dunking a bit of a strip of newspaper into the paste, gently wiping off the excess, and layering.
 Being the first layer, I wanted to make sure that the shape of the body was established.  Paper mache is suppose to dry hard enough to be able to sand and drill so I deliberately made this first layer very thin.  It's pretty much a single layer of paper.  I wanted to make sure I had a foundation to build on to keep it looking body-like.
 You can see on the side that I haven't gone all the way around the body.  Without mache on it it's to fragile to flip around a lot.  I was also concerned that the part of the body on the bottom side wouldn't dry well or would take on funny imprints from the drop cloth.  Building a foundation should make manhandling the thing a bit easier.
 This is the main torso area which I focused on.  Since the majority of the mache is supported by bubble wrap this area needed long strips that could form the area that is the solar plexus.  The longer strips were able to stretch from ribs to pelvis and will hopefully create the support I need.
And here we are.  Layer number 1.  It doesn't look like much at the moment, but I think it was a good start. It used an entire batch of paste (1 cup flour, 2 cups water, 1/2tbsp salt, and 1/4-1/3 cup Elmer's glue).  You may have noticed that I didn't put anything on the legs.  There is a reason for that.  The legs are as secure as I could make them, but the pelvis is rather flimsy.  I thought it might be a good idea to build up a bit of strength to attach the legs to before I made the legs any heavier by covering them with flour paste.

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