Thank you to my lovely professional cloud model friend Etta.
I am a teacher who is studying clouds with my students right now. Would you be willing to share how you made this, so that I could build one with them?
Sure. I’m not sure how classroom-friendly this is because it takes quite a bit of time, though. I used strips (maybe ranging from 8-14″ long and about an inch wide) of newsprint from a pad rather than actual newspaper because I wanted an even color, and I made a paste with flour and water that was about the consistency of pancake batter or a little thinner. I began by making each “lobe” separately on inflated balloons. So, dip the paper in the paste, strip most of the paste off by pulling the paper between your fingers, then lay the strip of paper over the balloon. Repeat until you’ve got the entire non-knotted end of the balloon covered in one layer in a random cris-cross pattern–you don’t want to make a thick layer because it won’t dry. I hung the balloons up by string tied to the balloon knot so they could dry completely. Then, once they’re dry (a day or two later), add one more layer and let it dry.
After removing the balloons, I arranged the “lobes” upside-down at different heights but next to each other, using plastic yogurt containers as props to hold them where I wanted. I cut the jagged edges of the lobes with scissors so they were smooth, then did a layer of papier mache over all of the joints where the individual pieces met. I let that dry fully, then turned the cloud right-side-up and did the same thing–carefully doing a layer of papier mache to cover all of the joints and making everything look smooth.
After letting that dry, I papier mache-d in an umbrella base, which you may or may not want to do that, because it is kind of a pain. I found an umbrella base I really liked that was very sturdy, then clipped off all the parts I didn’t want (fabric and about a third of the metal “arms”). I set the umbrella base upside-down atop the upside-down cloud and papier mache-d it into place. Sometimes the arms were an inch or two away from the cloud, so I draped the paper over the arms and down to the cloud to secure it. When that layer dried, I painted the top of the cloud with white acrylic paint.
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