You made an art piece with paper mache long ago, but it still is wet. If you are planning to put it on a show, no need to say that it must be dried before the D-day. To dry your paper mache art faster, you may think of giving your hair dryer a try. But can you dry paper mache with a hair dryer?
Yes, you can. Hair dryer is one of the effective ways to speed up the paper mache drying time. It does not cause any damage to the paper mache if used correctly.
In this article, you will get step-by-step guides on paper mache drying with a hair dryer and an oven. So, don’t skip and read till the end.
How can you dry paper mache with a hair dryer?
Set your hair dryer at the minimum setting and run it over the paper mache art. For regular drying of paper mache, use a professional hair dryer.
Here is the process of drying paper mache with hair dryer:
- Take a hand-held hair dryer or blow dryer.
- Set the dryer at a low setting. A medium setting would be okay too, just make sure it won’t melt the adhesive of the paper mache.
- Place the paper mache project on a cookie sheet or baking tray.
- Hold the hair dryer and direct its nozzle at least 4 inches over from the paper mache surface.
- Start drying the paper mache. Hence, you better use the hair dryer for drying the spots that take longer to dry.
- Make sure to dry all the sides and layers of the item evenly.
How do you know when papier mache is dry?
Touch your outer layer of your paper mache art. If it feels cold, then it is dry.
However, even if the top feels dry to touch, it may be damp to the core. Therefore, touch the core of the paper mache. If the core turns out very cold, then your paper mache is completely dry.
The water-based glue of the paper mache loses its water by evaporation. This is why the paper mache becomes dry at all layers.
Keep in mind that the glue must be dried at room temperature. If you keep the paper mache outside, it may feel cold at a point but won’t be completely dry.
What can you put over paper mache to make it smooth?
Use smoothing compounds like Gesso or Flexbond over the paper mache and a fine grit sandpaper to make it smooth. Gesso is easy to apply and dries fast but it cannot be sanded. On the other hand, Flexbond dries a bit slower than Gesso but can be sanded.
Therefore, use Gesso on a surface that is rough or does not require sanding. And use Flexbond (with water) on a sanded or unsanded paper mache surface.
To create a smoother finish, sand the paper mache to even the little uneven parts. When sanding, use the sandpaper carefully with a very light pressure. For bigger uneven parts, use a wood filler as a smoothener instead of a sandpaper.
How do you dry paper mache in the microwave?
Before you dry paper mache in a microwave, make sure the base where you placed the paper mache over is not balloons.
Because balloons will pop or expand in the microwave, ruining your entire project effort and inviting accidents. Likewise, bases made of plastic and foam beneath the paper mache are also harmful to put in the oven.
Therefore, place the paper mache item on a cardboard or paper base. They can withstand the oven heat.
Drying paper mache with oven:
- Place a small paper mache art on a cookie tray and slide it in. Make sure the paper mache leaves enough space lengthwise and widthwise inside the oven.
- Set the oven at a 175° Fahrenheit temperature.
- When in the oven, check the paper mache item every 10-15 minutes.
- If the paper mache looks like it will start burning or turns brown, remove it immediately.
- Alternatively, preheat the microwave at a 200° Fahrenheit temperature for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, place the paper mache on a cookie sheet or oven-safe tray, leave it in the oven for 1 hour.
How long does it take for paper mache to dry?
It depends on the paper mache size, type of paper you used, glue, surrounding temperature, etc. Generally, a paper mache dries within 12-24 hours. However, sometimes the bottom of the paper mache project takes longer than that to dry. In that case, let the paper mache dry for at least 1 week.
Why do you add salt to paper mache?
Adding salt to paper mache results in preventing mold formation and bringing extra durability to the paper mache art. A good rule of thumb is to add ½ tablespoon of salt to each cup of flour in the paper mache recipe.
You can dry paper mache with a hair dryer to speed up the drying time. However, don’t dry the entire project only with the hair dryer. Paper mache mainly requires natural air.
Without the natural air, paper mache won’t be durable. Also, after drying, store your paper mache art by covering it with an acid-free paper. This will prevent mold growth.