3D printing and papier mâché


Sometimes state-of-the-art manufacturing and old school crafting techniques go together surprisingly well. In an attempt to marry 3D printing and papier mâché, I created a raster scaffold of an elephant (based on this thing).


You might consider this a sculpture in and of itself, but I wanted to use it as the basis for a more handmade look. Turns out PLA printed objects work reasonably well with papier mâché. For the uninitiated among you, this is a technique where you use paper (the cheap newspaper type works perfectly), drench it in wallpaper paste (or similar starch-based glue), and then wrap it around a scaffold. Traditionally, the scaffold would be made from cardboard, wire, or similar things.

In this case, it’s 3D printed. Here is an intermediate state:


I then coated the elephant in white:


After that, I let my kids paint the elephant. They decided to try a colorful flowery look, like so:

2015-04-20 18.51.48

Meanwhile, the elephant has become a nice little piece of decoration in our home. Thus, I consider this little experiment a success. We surely wouldn’t have been able to come up with a reasonably elephant-like shape just by using wires, so the 3D printed scaffold gave us a nice starting point for the finished sculpture.

If you want to try your hand at it (or just want to use the scaffold as is), here is the link to the file.




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