Papier-mâché is a composite material consisting of layers of paper and goo that is made from flour & water or glue. Objects made from Papier-mâché vary from tiny jewelry to strong piece of furniture.

Papier-mâché originates from China, the country that invented paper during the Han Dynasty, c. 202 B.C. – 220 A.D. About the same time they began using papier-mâché as a good way to re-use the material. They used papier-mâché to make helmets as it was light and could be toughened by applying many layers of lacquer.

From China this craft form spread across the world. One will find various stories on how it reached different parts of world.  In the 1600s, the French became the first Europeans to use papier-mâché, creating boxes, trays and other decorative objects. In the later eighteenth century, the production of papier-mâché was one of the most important crafts in England. Trays, tables, chairs, lamps, book shelves, wall decoration, screens, bed frames were regularly made.

The craft form is still alive mainly as kids craft activity.


  1. Paper, Newspaper
  2. Glue or cooked floue(half cup) + water (2 cups) in thick paste form
  3. Moulds & tools for sculpting
  4. Color & brush for decorating & sand paper for smoothening
  5. Varnish

There are two main methods used to prepare papier-mâché.

  1. Paper strip method – use paper strips glued together with adhesive. The paper is cut or torn into strips, and soaked in the paste until saturated. The saturated pieces are then placed onto the surface and allowed to dry slowly.
  2. Pulp method – soak or boil paper to which adhesive is added. The paper is left in water at least overnight to soak, or boiled in until the paper dissolves in a pulp. The excess water is drained, an adhesive is added.

In both method, the paper & adhesive mixture is placed onto a mould or frame & then sculpted. When dry, the surface is hard and durable. The surface can then be cut into desired shape & smoothed with sandpaper and painted.

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