Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Using Art Mache For the First Time.....and a Kitchen Range.

I have been spending the last few days applying Art Mache to the outside of The Cauldron Shop. I am using this product after reading about it on Michelle's blog.
I bought a bag of it from Hobbyland and I have to say it was remarkably easy to mix up, just add water and mix......Mine is a little bit wet perhaps but it did go on very easily.
 I started with the front panel and marked out where the wooden pieces would be glued. Michelle suggested that this is a good idea as once applied the Art Mache is difficult to remove.
I have also learnt to start at the front as in previous projects I have run out of the necessary resources and a second batch is never quite the same as what you started with! 
 Once I had applied all the Art Mache I glued on all the extras. I did this while it was still damp which allowed me to push the window pieces into the mache rather than have them sit proudly. A look I prefer.
 I tried to smooth down the mache as much as possible to give it a rough, rendered look.
 As this kit comes in two pieces there will be a join between the two. I decided not to glue them together because they are so much easier to work on when divided. To 'hide' the join I am going to have a wood panel at the bottom edge of each unit.
 Another reason for the wood edge. I have routed a channel for all the fire bulbs I want to place in the fireplace. This channel can be hidden by the wooden panel hopefully.
 The top window frame slotted in very nicely.
 Being a small carcass also meant I could apply the mache in one sitting. This is really helpful as it means all side are more or less matching in the way they have been rendered.
 The continuing good weather here in England meant I could put all the pieces out in the garden to dry off!
I really liked this product. It was easy to mix and has worked out very cheap compared to some other products I have used. The bag I bought was £8.99 and I have covered the whole carcass with about half the mixture. The rest I have stored in an air-tight bag inside a tupperware box a la Michelle of course!
It does have quite a rough finish but it may be possible to sand it down?
It will take a couple of days for it all to dry off completely I think and then I will be ready to start colouring the walls. Must check if it needs sealing before painting.
During one of my sort outs I found this range tucked away. I had bought it on Ebay ages ago for a very small sum but was put off by all the pieces in the box and a set of very basic instructions.
I decided it could be an ideal piece for this shop and actually it was not too difficult to put together.
A good glue seemed to be the key.
Once it had all dried I painted it black and then highlighted it with Rub 'n' Buff Pewter. The knobs are bronze at the moment but I think I might darken them down a little bit.
I have filled the grate with coals sprinkled with red and black glitter. You can just see the twinkle.
It is just the right scale for the downstairs and I like it here I think. I have a few pieces of copper cook ware that will display quite nicely.
Oh, fireplaces have been grouted too, as you can see here. They still need to be distressed and 'sooted' once the mache walls dry.
And the cauldrons????? Don't ask, they are not going well.
Update tomorrow!


  1. This looks great Janice. I've never heard of art mache, what a great product. I love the rough rendered finish, all it needs is a bit of grime!

  2. Janice, have you tried making a cauldron, with the empty Activa Yoghurt Pots. The thick creamy ones, come in a plastic pot that is a perfect shape for a cauldron.
    I really must try this art mache out. It looks great..

  3. You used a simple technique but with a fantastic result on the walls! You did a great acquisition!

  4. Wow! What a Beauty of a Range that one is!! It looks so real! Your shop is coming along really nicely! That Art mache looks good too... I don't suppose it's available in the US?
    And your brick hearths are looking great too!

  5. The Cauldron Shop is looking super, you made that look so easy. I love the range! It looks perfect, what a great find. Are you making the cauldron stack?


  6. Hi Janice
    I love art mache, its so easy to use and gives a great effect. It can be sanded down, but it makes a lot of dust, so best done outside. We are having very warm weather here in Wales too, but its very damp and humid, so not so great for drying our Art Mache :(

    I love your range, it looks great, I like the knobs bronze :)
    Julia xxx

  7. Excellent progress Janice - it all looks very good.

  8. I'm so pleased that you've tried the Art Mache! I had a bag in my supplies for ages and when I saw Julia had used it, I thought hmmm....lets have a go and soooo pleased I did! :o)))

    I'm glad that you agree that its far easier to work on these two rooms with them separated! Great idea about the wood trim to cover the join!!

    I've only used the art mache like this for interior walls and a much thinner mixture for ceilings. For my exterior walls I have a ball of the stuff and roll it out etc. I add oodles of PVA to my mix, it gives it added strength. You can trim it when it's dry...paperclay is the one that is harder to trim once dried. I've sanded art mache many times, but you must do this outside on a non windy day if you are doing a large area! lol

    I've only sealed once I've painted and distressed my art mache/paperclay. I find that it can chip. I don't think Julia does though.

    I check on my made up art mache once a week, to make sure it's okay. I've not had it go mouldy on me, so make sure its in an airy and warmish place to mature. You should have a go using it when it's matured (2 months etc). If it's too wet when you make it up you can of course add more of the dry mixture. If you use it like a ball of clay that you roll out, I use talcum powder if it's too wet. :o))

    I bought that kitchen range kit when I was in Maple Street (the real shop) yonks ago. If I ever get to make it up, I will be calling on you to ask what glue you used and how easy it was to put together!! :o))

    Cauldrons!!!! We must see they can't be that bad!!!

    Michelle xxx

  9. Great range, a good range is hard to come by, they can be pricey! Love the colour of the paintwork, all looks great together. Have to try the art mache too, off there today, may treat myself to a bag to play with!xxx

  10. It is always interesting to see how a new material works out. Thank you for sharing Janice.


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