Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nativity Revival

Posted by Paulette

There was a lot of damage done to one of our favorite nativities over the years. 

Mary had some chipping of the outer coating and her hand had broken off. The hot glue and skewers fix wasn't holding. The glue had to be peeled away.

Joseph had some more severe problems. The two sides of the molded foam body were separating. He had a huge hole in his head, and much of the foam under body was exposed. 
The baby was remarkably well preserved. He only needed some paint and sealant.
After some thought about how to go about restoring these pieces and making them weather proof, I decided to use Gorilla Glue for the repairs. It's an expanding foam, and with the help of some improvised clamps and armatures, it worked really well.

While working on him, Joseph fell over, and lost his head. I used the Gorilla glue and some long barbeque skewers to reattach his head. The holes were patched later using the drywall compound.

When I was sure that the figures were structurally sound, I was ready to start using the plaster to fill holes and cracks.

To fix Joseph's head, I used a small piece of drywall tape as a patch, and then using my hands, squished on a few layers of the compound, waiting for each layer to dry, before reapplying.


 When the plaster was completely dry, I painted on a coat of flat, outdoor, latex paint.

Then I made a glaze using a darker color of outdoor latex and water. # parts paint to 1 part water. This was brushed on, making sure it got into all of the crevices, and then wiped off using damp paper towels. I worked in small areas to make sure the paint didn't dry too quickly.

 When the glaze was completely dry, each piece got 2 coats of a polyurethane.
I didn't like that they were now glossy, but the protectant was very important since they would be exposed to the elements, and the under layer of drywall compound is water soluble.

David said that he thinks they look better now, than when I first bought them.

As I thought about writing this post I was wondering how someone might take this information and make it useful to them. Remember those tacky plastic nativities I mentioned in the last post? You could paint them to look like an elegant stone version, like mine.
Cool, huh?


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