Basic Paper Casting Instructions
ON THIS PAGE:
What You'll Need to Make Paper Castings
Five Easy Steps
Techniques for Special Effects
Glossary of Terms
Featured Craft Projects – FREE!
ABOVE (clockwise from top): Pulp in blender, oven-dried castings on cookie stamps (with handles)
and on craft stamps (flat), dry castings removed from stamps and ready to varnish, more stamps,
bowl with fork and pulp to spread on stamps, sponge to remove excess water.
What you'll need to make paper castings:
Optional: Scissors to trim around design, varnish, paints and brushes, and other craft supplies of your choice to enhance your handcast creations
- Rycraft’s 100% cotton linter paper* – our linter paper is a very pure white in color
and is made of natural 100% cotton fiber. No wood products are used.
- 1 or more Rycraft cookie stamps or craft stamps
- Blender (optional)
- Cooking oil & toothbrush for oiling stamps
- Absorbent towels (cloth or paper)
- Felt or sponge for blotting excess moisture
- Cookie sheet
- Oven preheated to 275 degrees
* You may use any paper you have on hand to make paper castings
Five Easy Steps
1. Prepare the pulp: Tear 1/4 sheet of linter paper into small pieces (the size of a quarter or half-dollar), and put in blender. Add 2 cups water, and allow to soak 1 minute. Blend at low speed for 1 minute to make a soft, mushy pulp. Do not overblend. Pour pulp into a small bowl for safe and easy handling. Note: You may want to drain excess water using a sieve.
2. Oil the stamp: With a toothbrush, apply a thin coat of oil to the surface of your stamp. Be sure to work oil into all the indentations of the design. Wash excess oil off the stamp with soap and hot water, and then rinse and towel dry. (See Molding Hints under Helpful Hints).
3. Fill the stamp and remove excess water: For small medallions, hold the stamp with the design face up over the bowl of pulp. Using about one Tbsp. at a time, press the pulp gently onto the face of the stamp until it is evenly covered, to about 1/8" thick.
Using a piece of felt to cover the pulp on the surface of the stamp, press hard to blot out excess water; then use your fingertips to work the pulp down into the design. The harder you press, the smoother and more detailed the medallion’s surface will be. Carefully turn the pulp and stamp face down onto a dry towel, pressing firmly to remove as much water as possible.
For large medallions, follow the instructions for small medallions. Then place a piece of felt on a layer of toweling. On the felt, build up a thin layer of pulp that is wider than the stamp. Turn your stamp (filled with pulp) face down, and press firmly onto the layer of pulp you have built up. Use your fingers to apply pressure to the stamp and the pulp around the stamp to remove excess water.
4. Oven dry the pulp: For small medallions, remove the felt, and set it aside. Place the stamp and pulp face up on the cookie sheet for drying. For large medallions, carefully remove the felt, and place the stamp and pulp face down on the cookie sheet.
Put the cookie sheet in a 275° oven until the pulp is dry — 10 to 60 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pulp. Medallions may also be dried in the sun on a warm day. For faster drying, place stamps in a microwave on medium for 2 to 3 minutes; drying time depends on the individual microwave and the thickness of the pulp
5. Remove the paper medallion: When the paper is completely dry and the stamp has cooled enough to touch, carefully lift the medallion from the stamp.
Techniques for Special Effects
Special effects: Experiment with adding food coloring and/or colored paper and/or ultrafine glitter to small amounts of the wet pulp for special effects.
Molding hints: If your casting sticks to the stamp, it needs more drying time, or you need to clean and oil the stamp again as in Step 2. (Note: Step 2 need only be repeated if your medallions are dry and still sticking to the stamps.)
Trimming and cutting: If you plan to cut out the design of your medallion, use a small, sharp-pointed pair of scissors, and make the layer of pulp very thin for easier trimming. For crisp, clean edges, coat the medallion with decoupage finish or acrylic varnish, let dry, and then cut to the desired shape.
Recycle leftover pulp and scraps: Save your scraps and trimmings of linter paper, and add them to your next batch of pulp. Remember not to mix scraps that have color or glitter with white pulp unless you intend to create a special effect
Painting with texture: If you want a grainy texture on your project, mix a little sand or tiny grain (such as ground oatmeal or sawdust) with a little paint or glue.
Painted and Cut-out Medallions: Choose the stamp designs you like best. Use the crisp, white medallions as they come off the stamp, or trim them into cut-outs with scissors. use paint and glitter to decorate them (we recommend adult supervision when children use glitter). You can also glue a magnet on the back of cut-outs for a charming gift
How to Stiffen Doilies: If your doily is unstarched, saturate it with spray starch or a commercial fabric stiffener, and block as follows: (1) put wax paper on top of a board (styrofoam, corrugated cardboard, or cork), and tape it down; (2) use pins to shape the wet doilies and secure them on the board. Optional: After they are dry and stiff, make them permanently stiff by applying a coat of varnish and let dry
How to Apply Glitter: Two methods for applying glitter*
Method 1: Add fine glitter to your paint (using an acrylic gel medium if you like), or add it to varnish and brush it on. Let dry.
Method 2: Coat the casting with varnish and/or paint. Let it dry. Then apply a coat of varnish or paint (only to the areas of the casting where you want glitter), and sprinkle the glitter onto the wet varnish. Let dry.
In both methods, you may want to add a sealer coat of varnish to hold the glitter on the surface
*Ultra-fine and fine glitters are not recommended for children.
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Creative Paper Casting Project Ideas
CREATE GIFTS & KEEPSAKES that your family and friends
will treasure: earrings, bookmarks, picture frames, barrettes,
gift bags, napkin rings, decorative boxes, and much more!
Ornaments and decorations:
To make unique holiday gift wrap, ornaments, and decorations, try placing the medallion on a background piece such as a paper doily, a crocheted doily treated with fabric stiffener, a contrasting piece of paper, or a piece of fabric. Add a touch of paint and some ribbon here and there. To hang your Christmas tree ornaments, use a decorative thread, ribbon or clear fishing line.
Design shown above: #220 Rocking Horse
Projects for kids:
Spend a pleasant afternoon with your children baking cookies and making beautiful papercast creations. Both preschool and school age children find paper casting fun and easy. Give them some paint, glitter and ribbon to create gifts they will be proud to give to family and friends.
Designs shown above (clockwise from top center): #014 Apple , #158 Prancing Pig,
#201 Lacy Heart, #057 Butterfly, #061 Fuchsia Heart, #239 Garden Bouquet,
#221 Sweethearts, #130 Daffodil, #037 Duck with a Bow, #237 Three Tulips,
#061 Fuchsia Heart, #240 Leaf Blossom, #014 Apple,
#191 Teddy Bear, #041 Jack Rabbit
Stationery and note cards:
To create beautiful and unusual stationery, glue a medallion onto a piece of writing paper or note card. You can add a favorite phrase, poem or birthday greeting to the paper prior to gluing on the medallion.
Designs shown above: #326 Birthday Cake, #080 Wedding Bells
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Clear Acrylic Varnish:
Glossary of Terms
with Helpful Hints
These terms may appear in our instructions above or in the various paper casting projects we feature each month. The items mentioned below are generally available at your local craft shop, fabric stores, or floral supply.
This varnish preserves paper castings (also referred to as papercast medallions) by making them stiffer and stronger. Used mostly by crafters, it is similar to but not the same as the acrylic gel used in painting. It comes in matter (dull), semi-gloss, or gloss (shiny) finishes: choose the one you prefer. You can use either a spray or a liquid varnish which you brush on. If you use a brush, be sure to use a delicate stroke so the surface remains smooth. And don't apply too many coats, especially before you do your trimming. Drying time depends on the thickness of your casting and how much varnish you use.
These are lightweight wood or stiff cardboard boxes found in most craft stores. Unique shapes are available.
Crochet Doily, Stiffened:
There are several patterns out now for crocheted snowflakes and doilies. You can crochet them yourself or buy them, starched or unstarched. If the doily is not already starched, follow the instructions above on how to stiffen doilies.
Decorator Spray Paint:
You can use spray paint from the paint store but you may find that the craft store has a better selection of the more muted colors.
Decoupage finish can be substituted for acrylic varnish. This product preserves paper castings by making them stiffer and stronger.
Use either spray starch or the fabric stiffener sold at craft stores to give more body to the doilies used in projects found on this website.
Flowers, Leaves and Pearls:
You may use any type (silk, ribbon, satin, dried, etc.) that you prefer. Some craft and floral supply stores offer pre-packaged "clusters' of flowers, leaves, and strings of pearls.
We don't recommend adding food coloring to the pulp. It is extremely messy, and the colors tend to fade out of the castings when exposed to the sun.
We used an ultra-fine glitter for many of our projects; however, we recommend a larger size glitter for children since the fine glitter is difficult to see and to wash off; children tend to get it in their eyes and mouths. You can mix fine glitter with your paint (using an acrylic gel medium if needed) or add it to your varnish. Another method is to coat the casting with varnish and/or paint and let it dry. Then apply a coat of varnish just to the areas of the casting where you want glitter; then sprinkle the glitter onto the wet varnish and lt dry. Then add a sealer coat of varnish to hold the glitter onto the surface.
You can use hot glue or white glue, whichever you prefer. However, white glue does tend to be absorbed into the paper casiting, distorting its shape. You may want to varnish your casting first, especially the area where glue will be applied, before using white glue. We prefer to use hot glue because it dries instantly and does not distort the design; we recommend clear glue because it is almost invisible.
"Findings" are the small metal pieces (ie, pin backs, clasps, etc.) used in making jewelry. You can usually find them in your local craft store.
The hand-cast paper casting which is the end result of the paper casting method described in Steps 1-5 above.
Acrylic paint can be used straight out of a bottle or tube. To keep it from being absorbed by the paper casting, which distorts the surface, first coat the casting with varnish to seal it. A 2nd coat may be necessary if you're going to use a heavy layer of paint. Let varnish dry well between each coat before painting.
Watercolor paints won't stick to acrylic varnish, but you can buy an acrylic gel medium and add it to your watercolors so that they become almost like acrylic paints. Children like watercolor markers, but if they hold them on the casting too long, the paper will puff up, and the color looks rather spotty.
You can use spray paint also, and then use a brush to add highlights of color and give the casting an antique look. When brushing on paint, be sure to use a light stroke; don't rub back and forth or the surface will become rough.
In the instructions for the Heart-on-Heart Wreath on page 7 of our book The Art of Paper Casting, we refer to a 2 1/2" wide plastic hanger with a hole cut out of it to allow for the nail it rests on. These are commonly used to hang posters; however, there are other hangers available in the picture framing section of the craft store or frame shop.
Any scissors that have a good point and are sharp would be fine to use for trimming paper castings. We used Joyce Chen's kitchen shears for the projects pictured in our book The Art of Paper Casting.
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