Papier maché as serious DIY material ?


Hi,
I'd like to share my experience using papier maché as general-purpose filler, and wonder if others have done the same?
Nine months ago I thought I'd make some papier maché to fill a variety of holes, cracks and "stabilize" crumbly plaster edges on a wall in my attic. I probably made about 2-3 kg of the stuff and filled everything with it. Within 24 hours, the smallest applications were already dry... other areas where I had used thicker layers required 5, 10, 15+ days to dry completely.
Nine months later all these filled areas are just fantastic: really solid, with not a hint of detaching from the plaster layer underneath. Last week I needed to fill in ugly patches of exposed brick in a wall. Guess what I used? Papier maché !
This time I wanted my papier maché in a hurry, so I bought a cheap document shredder to help me turn newspapers into the stuff. You still need to cut the vertical strips with scissors to obtain paper snippets small enough for the purpose, but the shredder does massively cut the time needed to make loads of the stuff. I also used the kitchen's mixer to pulp the mixture even better (and that worked too!!).
Here are what I perceive as being the pros and cons of using papier maché for DIY filling jobs:
Pros: - very, very cheap. Recycles newspapers in the process. No need to buy expensive tubs of filler from your local DIY shop !!! - environmentally friendly. Doesn't require new material to be produced (apart from a bit of wallpaper paste powder) - fantastic sticking characteristics. Can be applied in large blobs to vertical surfaces without dropping blobs on the floor all the time - can be shaped or spread like butter.. very easy to get a smooth finish - becomes very tough when dry. Will effortlessly take nails or screws, and general knocking about, when dry. - end result is totally non-crumbly (unlike plaster) - making the paste does not involve a fine, messy dust (like plaster)
Cons: - takes a while to make (allocate at least 1 hour for a few kg) - takes days to dry (in a dry environment, very humid spaces may alter this aspect) - shrinks as it dries (roughly up to a quarter of original volume - quite significant)
Anyone else has any positive/negative experience of the material?
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I
completely.
I
document
for
even
this
Errr, not since I was about 6 years old, and that was a bloody long time ago. I would recommend however, that you buy a cross-cut shredder. It would be ideal for a devotee such as yourself.
Steve
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I used the papier mache idea earlier in the year. Previous owners had cut holes in skirting, presumably to install fitted wardrobes. I filled the gaps with papier mache and next day spread conventional filler on top, sanded down, job done. If I had done the whole job with filler it would have taken 3 or 4 tubs and endless applications to build up the layers.
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I'm just wondering... why the dickens isn't there a company out there selling the stuff ready-made then? Having recently discovered DIY (couldn't be bothered with it for most of my life), DIY appears to be a huge market.. and any DIY enthusiast is constantly looking to find the best tool or material at the lowest cost...
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I'm guessing the cost. I can get a couple of pages from today's paper and stick it in a bowl and voila. I can't on the other hand make my own filler.
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