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Paper Mache

Papier Mache History

Paper Mache is an old craft which is handed down to us from centuries ago.   It thrived in both France and Great Britain during the 1800’s. 

Since 1985 DCC has been the leading designer and importer of Papier Mache products made in the Philippines. Papier Mache is a cottage industry in the Philippines and is largely produced in a 40 square mile area by 1000’s of independent artisans. The Papier Mache shapes are molded over hand carved wood molds and left outside to sun dry. It’s not unusual to drive through that area and find home after home with Papier Mache products drying in the front yards. The Papier Mache made in the Philippines has a unique quality not prevalent from other countries Papier Mache.

Reasons to use Paper Mache

  • Paper Mache products are eco-friendly made 100% from recycled paper.
  • The cost is much lower than similar shapes done in Wood.
  • Ready to accept any mixed media or decorative application such as decorative papers, stamps or stickers.
  • Ready to paint, needs no preparation, no sanding. 
  • It is very sturdy if painted and varnished at least 3 coats both inside and outside. 

Paint and Paper Mache

The Philippines Papier Mache holds paint well and allows you to get the best results.
Paper Mache shapes and boxes are wonderful to paint.  Paper Mache needs no preparation, no sanding.  Apply basecoat and decorate.  Occasionally, you will find an imperfection but this will simply add to the charm.  It is very durable when painted and varnished and the price is very affordable.  Papier Mache pieces can be painted simply, hand-decorated or embellished for delightful, long-lasting treasures.

If you are a new painter, start with the dimensional pieces.  These are really easier because the shape and form is built into the surface.  If you are a beginning painter you can develop your painting skills with the Papier Mache surface.  Painting and crafting skills can be learned and developed through study and practice.


Paper Mache Painting Tips

  • Sometimes the outside brown paper layer will develop bubbles but do nothing and these will almost always settle back down. 
  • Base coating to apply one or two smooth coats of an opaque acrylic paint.  You may do basecoating with a wash brush or a sponge brush or a plain kitchen sponge.  Do not put water in the brush – use the paint straight from the bottle.
    Sealers and Varnishes are usually water based and can be used to protect the Papier Mache.  Varnish will make the items more durable.
  • It’s best to apply varnish with a sponge applicator.  Fill the sponge or brush only about half way on the applicator.  Avoid drips and runs and always varnish 2 coats before antiquing.
  • Antiquing or highlighting – After varnishing has dried overnight, you may apply antiquing.  Antiquing can be created with any dark color.   Brown and black are preferred by most.  You can purchase antiquing medium at any art or craft store.  The beauty of The Philippine paper mache is that the texture of the paper allows your piece to accept the antiquing and your piece take on an aged look.

Other Applications for Paper Mache

Boxes and containers are great to work on but try the following techniques on paper mache shapes such as angels, reindeer or rabbits:

  • Fabric – Add scraps of fabric for a mosaic effect.  Pieces can be torn or cut.  Add several coats of varnish as mentioned in Painting Tips.  Embellish your scraps with ribbons, yarn, buttons and stamps.
  • Scrapbooking papers-Work with scraps of paper cut like broken bits of china. Leave some space between the scraps of paper and your project will look like tile mosaic.  Try paper collage.  Again, embellish with stamps, ribbon, yarn or buttons.
  • Great for Children’s Art Projects