Print Friendly and PDF

Discover the Ancient Art of Paper Mâché

Used for decorative crafts since around 200 B.C, paper mâché is one a craft that is inexpensive and very easy to learn how to do.



While one of the most inexpensive crafts to do, and one of the easiest crafts to master, paper mâché is an ancient art that has been used for decorative purposes since 200 B.C. Its origin can be found in China, where this craft is still practised to this day.

The main reason why paper mâché is popular and inexpensive is due to the materials used in the craft. Growing up, I remember using wallpaper paste and water to craft paper mâché creations, and today many still use this method although there are those that have replaced flour with craft glue.





What Supplies do you need for Paper Mâché?

The materials used for paper mâché are a matter of personal choice. There are crafters that remain true to the original art form by using rice paper and rice flour with glycerin or linseed oil. Modern crafters have moved over to using newspaper and newsprint, or other decorative papers, in combination with wood or craft glue, wallpaper paste or ModPodge.  The glue medium is mixed with water to make it easier to use yet still provide a strong structure once crafted into designs and shapes.


How do you Craft with Paper Mâché?

Paper mâché is all about building up layers with thin strips of paper and your fixing medium (flour, wallpaper paste, etc.). The paper is torn into thin strips and dipped into the fixing medium before being placed and smoothed on a form. The form you use can be any material, as long as it can be easily removed once the paper and fixing medium is dry. You even have the option to make your own forms using chicken wire, which is handy when you want to make detailed paper mâché designs or sculptures.





You will find videos here that explain how to make and use the fixing medium, most particularly if you are using glue or wallpaper paste and we have also included a link to tutorials for making paper mâché sculptures or shapes.


I managed to source a very comprehensive tutorial for making animal heads, particularly a unicorn, and you will find the link for this website here.







Making Paper Mâché Sculptures

One trend that has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years is that of sculpting animals using paper mâché , in particular beloved pets. Cats and dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes are immortalised using paper mâché. While it may take a while to master the art to this level, you can certainly have lots of fun along the way!



back to top