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So I created this paper mache rose. paper mache mini rose

paper mache mini rose As you can see, it's not very large. As you also can see, it still has the colour of newspaper. Now, roses in newspaper colour aren't very pretty, so I'd like to change that. What is the best approach to apply some paint? What type of paint would work best?
Several things to take into account:

  • Paint is wet, and I want to apply it without changing (ruining) the shape of the rose completely.
  • The petals of the rose don't have much space between them; still I want to cover as much as possible with paint.

Would dipping be an option? Should I apply a different approach for the flower, and the leaves and stem?

  • I know that you've already made it, but in future, it may actually be a better bet to color it before assembling. :) (As in, dyeing the paste). – Catija Feb 1 '17 at 17:57
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If you have a dual-action airbrush and a volatile pigment like alcohol inks, you can spray the rose from a distance at low pressure with a high air-to-paint ratio. The low pressure will keep the air jet from damaging the rose while the distance and high air-to-paint ration would allow the volatile ink to be almost dry by the time it hits.

Experiment with this technique by trying to paint tissue paper without ripping it.

A low tech equivalent to this technique would be spray paint at double the prescribed distance with a strong tail wind or electric fan running behind you.

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Since I don't have an airbrush, I gave dipping a try. It is risky, I know!
But I did, a very quick dip At first, the rose had no problems to keep its shape, but after - say - half a minute, the paper was thoroughly soaked (and it still had some drops hanging on it as well!), so the outermost petals started to 'unwind' a bit. (I created a scalloping strip of paper, and wound it round the stem to form the petals.) Support of an absorbing cloth helped. The rose is too small to loose its shape completely, so when I put it on the cloth, I could leave it to dry. I made sure that the shape when I left it drying, was the shape that I wanted, for once it's dry I cannot change it easily anymore.

Once the red paint was dry, I applied some green (acrylic) paint.

This is the result of my efforts: Small rose - painted

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  • Dipping in a non-aqueous dye solution (e.g. the alcohol inks suggested by another answer, possibly diluted) would probably avoid the softening. – Chris H Feb 13 '17 at 16:57
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You could try using soft pastel sticks, and then finishing with a spray sealer afterwards. Pastel sticks are not wet, so they won't cause that problem, and you can use your fingers to smooth the color into the smaller spaces. You could also use Q-tips or a toothpick to add pigment into the interior regions of the rose--but it would be difficult to make the coverage even.

Reading the post about airbrushing above sparked another idea that you could try. What about adding another layer of papier mache using colored tissue paper? It will still be very difficult to get color into the interior sections, but it could allow for some interesting layering of color for shadowing, etc.

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    Considering the entire rose is an inch across, I'm not sure if a finger is sufficiently small. – Catija Feb 3 '17 at 1:07
  • A Q-tip might work. – magerber Feb 3 '17 at 16:05
  • @magerber No, a Q-tip is still too large. Anything thicker than a needle doesn't fit – Ji Ugug Feb 3 '17 at 19:16

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