What is the Craft of Paper or Papier Mache

paper papier mache explanation what is it craft

Paper mache, also known as papier mache, is the art or craft of sticking together small pieces of torn paper, or paper pulp, with a wet glue adhesive in order to make either flat or three-dimensional paper sculptures. Once the glue has a chance to dry out and harden, the sculpture becomes quite tough and solid.

One of the most common uses of paper mache, is to make masks to wear for Halloween and Mardi Gras. It is also used to make sculptures for home decor and art and to upcycle existing decor to create a fresh new look and feel. Come learn more about this craft on this page.

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What can You Make with Paper Mache?

Many homemade masks are made using rather simple 3D paper mache sculpture techniques for festivities and celebrations such as Halloween and Mardi Gras. Some crafters enjoy decorating existing objects such as picture or photo frames and also home decor using a patchwork of colored and patterned paper pieces which is also another form of this simple and fun art.

Perhaps you have an old mirror where the frame is chipped but the glass is still good and you don’t want to throw it away. You can use this paper crafting technique to decorate and embellish the frame with beautiful colored and patterned papers. This is then a way of upcycling your mirror at almost no cost except for paper and glue.

Paper pulp, paper which has been chopped up and soaked, can be molded into 3D shapes to create the base for sculptures that can be painted over the top when dry. Some artists use a dry method of making sculptures where paper is scrunched up into rough shapes then taped together using masking tape in order to create a model. Once the base form is finished, paper mache is applied over the top and it can also be painted and varnished.

Beginner Project Book on the Craft of Papier Mache

Contemporary Papier Mache: Colorful Sculpture, Jewelry, and Home AccessoriesContemporary Papier Mache: Colourful Sculptures, Jewelry, and Home Accessories

Who can do this Paper Craft?

This is a craft which is ideal for beginners, and also kids too, and it doesn’t need to cost much at all except for an investment of your time. You’re also likely to already have the materials that you need at home which means no going out spending a fortune on a new craft, and no feeling guilty if you don’t get on well with it either. This is something that you can afford to give a try.

You can even keep costs down further for this craft by making your own DIY paper mache glue mix at home. This is a cheaper alternative to buying commercial glues.

What is 3D or Sculpture Papier Mache?

In the case of the three-dimensional variety of this craft technique, the paper and the glue are normally layered over something that is used as a base. The base acts like a mold that you can work over to build a three-dimensional design more easily. This process means that you can quickly make up a sculpture with this technique.

Many people are already aware or familiar with modelling layers of paper and a wet PVA based adhesive or white glue over blown-up balloons. This is the exact same method which is how kids can make things quite easily such as paper pigs.

How to Make Paper Mache Animal Sculptures Book

Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay: How to Create Stunning Wildlife Art Using Patterns and My Easy-to-Make, No-Mess Paper Mache RecipeMake Animal Scuptures With Paper Mache Clay: How to Create Stunning Wildlife Art Using Patterns and My Easy-to-Make, No-Mess Paper Mache Recipe

You can also layer the paper over molds made of wood, wire, styrofoam, cardboard and many other materials to build up to the sculptural shapes that you want. One inexpensive method is to tightly scrunch up newsprint into shapes and bind the shapes together using some masking or sticky tape.

Keep building the newsprint until you are happy with the basic form of the item and then you can start to place paper mache over the top. Why don't you give this craft a try if you haven’t already? Let me know in the comments if you plan to.

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Articles are accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.