Monday, 2 April 2018

Introducing Mr Ribbit

Hi everyone,

we have a Christmas tradition in our house that in addition to bought presents, we make and exchange Christmas Makes.  The year before last I had a go at papermache and made Marshall.

He went down so well my partner decided another one was required. So last year I made Mr Ribbet....

I saw his picture on Pinterest and decided he was what I was going to have a go at.  Here are a couple of pictures of Mr Ribbit coming to life......

First, I used an old wire coat hanger which I twisted into a basic shape and then set too scrunching up aluminium foil and attaching it to the wire frame with masking tape. Oodles of layers later the frame was roughly bulked out into the shape I wanted.  The piece at the top was for Mr Ribbit's hat but was actually turned out to be a very handy handle for holding him whilst I added the the papermache pulp and later the paint.

The next stage was applying the papermache by gluing torn magazine pages to the basic shape. I did
this all over, gradually building up layers.  But it took ages, as Mr Ribbit had to be set aside to dry overnight  after  every two or three layers. He actually took up residence in one of our spare guest rooms so that he was out of sight whilst he dried.

Here you can see the first layer going on. The pencil lines are where his jacket will eventually sit.

Side view
 And rear view.

Whilst the layers were drying I turned my attention to making Mr Ribbit's jacket fashioning it with card, paper and masking tape to get the basic shape and using Mr Ribbit, when I could, as a taylor's dummy for fitting purposes.

And here's a picture of the jacket. Bit of a mishmash but it provided the basic shape for me to cover with papermache.

Here's Mr Ribbit modelling his jacket when it had a few layers of papermache applied. It looks like he has a plaster over his nose but actually it's a strip of paper helping to fashion his nose.

As you can now see he has eyes. These were dolls eyes purchased off the internet.  You'll also notice that Mr Ribbit is now a beige colour and not a mishmash of paper like his jacket.  That's because after building up enough papermache on his body his last layer was a covering of paperclay.  Basically the same thing as papermache but it's made predominantly with shredded toilet paper  rather than torn magazine pages and it's mix and pulverised in a mixer to make a fine 'mash' or clay. Applying paperclay gives a ridge-free surface that dries hard enough it can be sanded to create a smooth surface.

Mr Ribbit's stop hat was made in the same way as his jacket. First the basic shape was made using card and masking tape which was then covered in papermache.

Here's the hat before the papermache layers were applied.

And again, perched on top of his head.  That handy handhold I mentioned earlier allowed me to place the topper at a jaunty angle and where it touches Mr Ribbit's head it's held in place with Glossy Accents.  I added a small length of red velvet and a black self adhesive facet as a button.
Finally, Mr Ribbit, now wearing his jacket, was ready to received a coat of white gesso before being painted with fluid acrylics. Here he is at the very start of the painting process......

As his hands needed to be smaller and more delicate than the rest of his body,  these were made from fine gauge wire coated with paperclay rather than both papermache and paperclay like the rest of the body. It was also easier to fashion them separately and holding a stick behind his back  than being clasped  together.  Either way it took more than a few attempts to get right.

Here he is holding his stick. I added a few half facets to his jacket to simulate black buttons.

And here he is once again in all his glory, topper in place on his head and a length of black spotted ribbon as a tie round his neck. Mind you when this picture was taken I was still on the hunt for his stick.  But nonetheless he's an amiable chap and good company for Marshall.......

Whether I rise to the challenge and make another papermache character as one of my Christmas makes this year is yet to be decided. Mind you, I have spotted a lovely image of a rabbit I wouldn't mind trying so you never know.......

Happy crafting everyone.

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