When my very good and extremely creative friend Susanne asked if we’d like to come along with her to have fun with a weird, sticky, floppy, delightfully squidgy sculpture glue called Paverpol, I knew exactly what to make do.
Not pot plants, though that would have made sense as this stuff can stand out in the garden – even if it does get wet, it doesn’t droop and spoil. No, I was going to make vultures.
You see, my pot plants always die. It’s just a matter of time, really – well probably more a lack of water when it comes down to it. But with two vultures to watch over my dying pot plants, perhaps I’d remember to water them – and the hedgehogs. Jake decided to make a Star Wars Sith warrior. Cool.
You might have met Paverpol before if you’ve lived in Canada or the Netherlands because it’s already popular there. We’d never played with anything quite like it before, except maybe Plaster of Paris, but that’s nowhere near as easy to shape, and it breaks easily once it’s dry.
This stuff is easy to drape and take off again if you have second thoughts, but once it’s set, it’s hard but not brittle.
We started seven days before the weekend of fun, emptying the shed of all kinds of old cables, some canes I can’t even remember acquiring but knew would come in handy (four years later), a wire frame from a dead pot plant (very apt), polystyrene, old cables, a stone shaped like an egg and some drawer knobs.
Susanne had told us to buy plastic sacks to cover the entire area – anywhere near where we were working – and far more thin disposable rubber gloves than we could ever imagine using. Because every time you want to use the scissors, you have to throw away the gluey pair of gloves you’re wearing or you get really messy. You get really messy anyway, but at least that way the scissors don’t stick shut before the sculpture is finished.
Rema has big boxes for about 35 kroner, while Irma has 10 for 25 kroner, so take your pick. You also need rolls of silver paper for bulking up the sculpture, thick garden wire (possibly chicken wire) and old sheets to cut up and dip in the glue – like papier maché. See photos and more instructions at helendyrbye.blogspot.com
Dapper dolls, googly gargoyles
At 9 in the morning, we needed a croissant to get the creative juices running. And we had a look online by googling Paverpol art under ‘images’ to see what other people have made.
Susanne’s friends were experienced sculptors and most of them were making elegant dancing ballerinas and using Barbie dolls to drape in exquisite costumes. On our table, Susanne was making a mountain with houses that would have made a great backdrop for War Hammer figures, though hers was the setting for an imaginary fairy-tale wedding.
Figuring it out
Soon Jake’s Sith was taking shape with a basic wire frame bulked up with silver foil muscles and draped with strips of old sheet – true OB Wan style – complete with ragged cape.
It took him about four hours of concentration to finish his Sith, which gives you an indication of the level of focus required for an ambitious project. Jake is 12.
Younger children will need a lot of help and a much less intricate sculpture like a mountain. Or an easier bird made of silver foil. Or a pole for a pot plant with a fairy Barbie draped in a lacy shawl. If you catch them considering anything weapon-shaped, remember this stuff sets hard.
Fun among friends
It’s quite expensive to buy in Denmark, but if you buy white Paverpol online, you need to buy and add the colours separately. You can read up on it and get together with other parent friends if you fancy giving it a try.
It provides a day of fun during the summer holiday and something to show for it afterwards. Or perhaps more than one day, as you can come back to it and keep adding bits. Messy. But fun often is. It’s water-based apparently, so with some elbow grease, it does scrub off … leaving a very clean patch behind in our case.
In expert hands
But on a beginners’ course for kids and parents you can be sure what you’re doing with an expert at hand. And the good news is that we have persuaded Susanne to hold a couple of beginners’ courses specifically for creative kids and parents in the autumn.
She’s great at English, lots of fun and has plenty of ideas. So if you fancy that, check our blog for more details about prices, materials, dates etc at helendyrbye.blogspot.com.
More activities at AOF
AOF has over 150 courses for families under ‘familieaktiviteter’ on its website for the Copenhagen area at aof-fk.dk/kurser/Familieaktiviteter.
Not Paverpol, but all kinds of other ideas including workshops; hobbies; adult, child and baby gymnastics; music; songs and games; cooking; sweet-making; theatre and tours. The site is in Danish, but hey, it’s a fun way to learn the language and maybe make some friends.
Helen Dyrbye is a published author, translator and former scout leader from East Anglia in England who relocated to Denmark a long time ago and loves it here as much as ‘back home’.