I spend quite a bit of time seeking out and researching old issues of mid century magazines. Magazines like Sunset, Good Housekeeping, American Builder, etc. are a gold mine of information about tiki architecture and culture.
This is an issue of Sunset magazine (1958?, I don't remember) that grabbed my attention. The title on the cover states "For the Western home planner.....Ideas from Hawaii and the Orient."
Here is an cleaned up shot of the cover. The house is a fine example of residential tiki architecture. Take a closer look at the elements that give this house some tiki charm.
-Wooden shake shingle roof
-Upturned corners of the roof
-Open air Lanai
-of course the swimming pool
Looks like a wonderful place to host a backyard luau.
However, while scanning thru this issue, the most interesting thing I found was this step by step arts & craft article for making a sand/plaster relief sculpture. Looking at the pictures, I immediately thought about the possibilities of making some great tiki inspired wall hangings.
Step 1 - Build a wooden frame and fill the bottom with compacted sand. Mositen the sand with a fine water spray to give the surface a roughened texture- more interesting in the finished panel than a smooth surface. Leave the sand about 1 inch below the top of the frame so there is room for the plaster.
Step 2 - In this article they are making a bird panel so they cut out the pattern and trace it into the sand.
Step 3 - Scoop out the area inside the tracing. Start with the section that will protrude least from the panel(low relief) and progress to area that will protrude the most (high relief).
Step 4 - Then add your decorative elements.
Kind of surprising what you can do with some simple household tools.
Step 5 - Batch up some plaster and begin to pour into the sand cast.
After you have filled in the casting, continue pouring the plaster to fill the in the remaing 1" up to the top of the frame. After the plaster dries it will be pretty brittle and fragile, so when cut a large piece of reinforcement (wire, fabric, etc.) and set into the wet plaster before it dries.
I can imagine the great artwork possibilities with this simple method. If you come up with something, post it back here so we can see what you come up with.