Paper Mache is a craft that has become very popular with handicraft lovers in the recent years. It is a craft to make sculptures, puppets, dolls, animals, bowls, and so many more things with just paper water, glue, colours and varnish.
Paper Mache is an art to convert old newspaper into a piece of art. There are two methods of paper Mache: one by sticking together soaked strips of paper with glue on the model or shape you want, and the other, by boiling or soaking paper and making a pulp out of it and using.
In the first method, the strips of paper are soaked in adhesive before sticking on the desired model. It is left for drying between layering. A minimum of four to five layering is enough to give a concrete shape before adding a plain white layering on it. Once the paper Mache has completely dried, the model is removed. It is, then, given a coat of paint and desired decorations and detailing is done on it. The paper Mache is glazed with a coat of primer or varnish for that added glow and waterproofing.
Paper Mache is an ancient art. In places like ancient Egypt, coffins and death masks were made of layers of papyrus covered with plaster. There were also used in war times by making soldiers figures to act as decoys.
Paper Mache is a traditional art in Kashmir. The art was originally known in Kashmir as Kar-i-qalamdan. This tradition’s origin can be traced back to the 15th century when King Zain-ul-Abidin invited skilled artists from Central Asia. They make beautiful boxes, trays, letter racks, photo frames, wall hangings, Wall panels, decorative ceilings coasters, etc in paper Mache. They paint these articles in beautiful colours and detailed decorative art. You can find some rare art pieces in emporiums.
Paper Mache is also popular in places like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and other parts of south India.
The art of paper Mache is inexpensive, non-flammable, non-hazardous, and non-toxic. The articles made are lightweight but they are sturdy. They are also used as masks and props in theatres.