Make a Sculpture with Papier Mache

papier mache crafts, holiday, mardi gras, carnaval,
papier mache in history, religion, arts, festivals

The art of papier mache has been used by many cultures, and nations, for ceremonial, decorative, archetectural, utilitarian and even military purposes. Today, papier mache can still be found useful and not just in school but businesses too. Have you considered a fun papier mache sculpture for an upcoming holiday?

Let’s Recycle that Paper

A few key points to consider, and take pride, regarding delving into papier mache art can be found such as:

– recycling paper is part of good environment stewardship
– creativity for a project is boundless and fulfilling
– art is created for display and/or immediate use
– papier mache is open to children and adults

The purpose of a pulp and paper mill, is to create, recover and recycle paper, on a mass scale. We can do our own part in recycling paper with the art of papier mache and produce our own ‘paper product‘. There are artists out there, and I mean, seriously skilled papier mache artists, who can create beautiful and fantastic projects.

Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnaval, and Pagan Celebrations

Many different nations, societies and cultures around the world,  each have their own unique holidays. These holidays may get adopted, or shared by, and with, other societies, to eventually become annual events- such as the Mardi Gras -initially celebrated by French colonists in the southern United States, and now a economical, popular ,tourist attraction, for New Orleans.

Mardis Gras origins arise from ‘Carnaval’ celebrated and popular in Brazil, Venice and New Orleans. It evolved from thousands of years back when Pagans ( the Druids?) celebrated spring solstice and fertility.

Holiday Papier Mache Crafts

Papier mache can be used to easily bring to life , all types of creative and artistic ideas whether it is a Pinata, Halloween mask, theater project, decoration, or cool movie prop seen in your latest favorite movie. Parade floats are usually done with papier mache over a pre-shaped wire frame (armature) which can be easily done at home too, with the right materials such as:

– bendable window screen
– foil baking sheets
– tin foil
– chicken wire (for large projects)

You can bend your ‘armature’ into any shape you need and like -then add your layers of papier mache, to your desired thickness but ensure all sides and edges are covered. Gently sand with sand paper to smooth any rough edges, cover with white paint then paint again adding every color you like, and add a protective coating with adding a sealant, to prevent damage from moisture.

The last step is to add embellishments– all colors of feathers,beads,buttons, baubles and all sorts of glam! Some jewellery designers will add a, or a few, layers of colored tissue paper, for a very unique look before sealing their own jewellery designs.

Find your Inner Papier Mache Sculptor

Paper mache projects can be found in festivals but can also be used to create items for you to sell. So, go ahead, do a search on the big Google and see who is making what, with paper mache. It’s all about fun and oh, the amazing creativity! Find something that inspires you to enter the world of papier mache.

Learning in Motion

Extra Reading + Resources

How to Paper Mache – DLTK’s Crafts for Kids  

How to Build a Parade Float

Go for the Gold Letter

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