The Possibilities of Chewed Paper

Papier mache doggie

"Franske" by Janneke Neele

I’ve always loved the optimism and hope that are so intrinsic in paper. Blank paper represents all sorts of possibilities associated with tabula rasa, that blank slate that waits to be filled with marks — words, forms, colors. But even after a sheet of paper has served its purpose, it amazingly still holds so much potential! It can be recycled and reborn, and not just as a blank sheet. It can take the shape of anything — anything!

That’s the magic of papier mache — “chewed paper” in French. When paper returns to its pulpy, chewed up state, it becomes an obedient biddable medium waiting for a creator’s command.

Wands inspired by Harry Potter

Harry Potter wands by my friend Karen's boys.

Penguins made with papier mache

Penguins created by one of Karen's sons.

I decided to try my hand at this pulpy craft ever since my friend Karen started talking about papier mache on her blog, and how her 2 boys always had tons of fun creating mashed up paper versions of their favorite characters. But, procrastinator that I am, my materials just sat in a sad old box and, and my plans just got pushed into the back of my mind, hopefully germinating, biding its time until it hatched into fully formed works of papered fabulousness.

So I thought I’d look for some papier mache masterpieces in the great big internet to pump up my enthusiasm for the project, and get those creative juices flowing. Hopefully they’d generate enough heat so as to get me off my lazy behind and start something already.

Bowl with gold leaf on the inside

Bowl via Etsy

What I discovered is that papier mache objects can run the gamut between decorative yet functional objects (above) to fine art (below) that truly exist for its own sake.

Papier mache sculpture

by Janneke Neele

Papier Mache Zebra Bust

Via Anthropologie

I love that the text hasn’t been painted over in this zebra bust. What a lovely texture.

Kashmir Papier Mache eggsThese papier mache eggs have beautiful and intricate designs hand-painted by Indian artists.

Papier mache fruit centerpiece

via Martha Stewart

Decorative teacups

DIY papier mache teacups

How gorgeous is this? This teacup project is one that I’d really like to embark on.

Side table made of papier mache

Papier mache table via West Elm

If like this side table from West Elm, Prudent Baby has an awesome DIY project that comes awfully close.

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One Response to The Possibilities of Chewed Paper

  1. Sue Rose says:

    I SO love the dog! Fabulous!

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