Creating the Paper Mache Angler Fish Body
Inspiration in place, it was time to start construction. The classic paper mache from our childhood is covering a balloon. The basic angler fish body shape is a pear. Inflating an 8 inch balloon to full yielded the desired shape. The paper I work with a brown kraft paper towel. It is durable, easy to tear and cut and lets glue pass through. I apply my glue with a paint brush, not my fingers. I know this is not how most people do it but using a brush gives more control. Also resin white glue is not the easiest stuff to wash off your hands. It is safe, I just prefer to stay clean.
Another interesting lesson learned was cut vs tear edges. With newsprint a torn edge will disappear while a cut will show when dried. Using kraft towels this is not the same. Even a cut edge disappears. Kraft paper is so much thinner but strong.
The resulting paper mache is smooth and pliable. You can bend it as well as cut with a knife or scissors. The pictures below are about 5 layers of paper. The mouth was cut out with a razor knife and scissors. I think of the paper mache like fibre glass. You build layers.
I needed small wooden sticks that I could use to build fins and the tail. At first I tried wooden skewers. The problem is they are bamboo and do not soak up water. Coffee stirs on the other hand are soft wood, are pliable when water-soaked and retain their shape when dried. My local dollar store had packages of 150 stirs for $1. Perfect.
Avin's blue angler fish inspired the tail shape. Using a combination of bent coffee stirs and bamboo skewers I created this structure.
The next step is to move inside the mouth. As illustrated in the time-lapse construction video, you work from the inside out. I will start that in the next post.