A Bit of History
Papier mache has a very long history. Its origins comes from China; the inventors of paper itself. They used papier mache to make helmets of all things, which they toughened by many layers of lacquer. Examples have been found dating back to the Han Dynasty (BC 202 – AD 220).
Despite the French sounding name (French for “chewed paper”), papier mache was not made in France until the mid 17th century. However, they were the first country in Europe to do so.
From China, the interest in papier mache spread to Japan and Persia, where it was used in mask making and festival activities. Eventually it spread across the world. Large imports of papier mache objects swamped European markets. This in turn led France to start making its own wares, and England followed suit in the 1670s. There was only a half-hearted interest until the late 1700s and into the 1800s, when it
became widely used.