Papier mache is a low-cost and versatile art material made by combining paper strips or pulverised paper with a wet adhesive, typically flour and water paste, wallpaper paste or PVA glue. It is moulded into various shapes, dried and then painted. Papier mache has been used for a wide range of purposes, including creating masks, dolls, wall art, lanterns, and various sculptural forms. It is popular for its light weight and ability to be molded into intricate shapes. The method has been used for hundreds of years and remains a popular choice for art and craft projects.

Papier mache has a long history, with its origins dating back to ancient civilisations in China and Egypt. The technique was used to create lightweight decorative objects and also for practical purposes such as creating masks and protective headgear. In Europe, it gained popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries as a low-cost alternative to traditional sculptural materials such as stone and metal. Papier mache was also used for creating decorative items such as furniture and trays, as well as for making hats and masks for carnivals and theatrical productions. In the 19th century, papier mache gained popularity as a medium for creating mass-produced toys and household goods. Today, papier mache remains a popular art and craft material, used for a wide range of purposes, from school projects to professional sculpture.

The basic tools needed for papier mache crafting are:

1. Paper: Tissue paper, newspaper, or crepe paper can be used for papier mache.
2. Adhesive: Flour and water paste, wallpaper paste, or PVA glue are commonly used for papier mache.
3. Mixing bowl: For mixing the adhesive.
4. Scissors: For cutting paper into strips.
5. Paintbrush: For applying the adhesive to the paper strips.
6. Mould or form: This can be any object or structure that you want to cover with papier mache, such as a balloon, cardboard, or a plastic form.
7. Protective surface: A tablecloth or old newspaper to cover your work area.

Optional tools: For more intricate projects, you may also need additional tools such as a cutting knife, wire cutters, or sandpaper.

The main techniques used in papier mâché, are:

Strip method: This involves applying layers of wet paper strips to a form and allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. This method is best suited for creating large, sturdy objects.

Pulp method: This involves creating a wet mixture of pulverized paper and adhesive, and then applying it to a form. This method is best suited for creating smoother, finer details.

Coil method: This involves rolling long, thin strips of paper into a coil and then layering the coils to build up the form. This method is best suited for creating rounded objects, such as bowls or vases.

Sculpting method: This involves sculpting the papier mâché mixture directly onto a form to create a 3-dimensional object. This method is best suited for creating more complex, organic shapes.

Regardless of the method used, each layer of papier mâché should be allowed to dry completely before adding the next layer. This helps to ensure that the finished product is strong and durable.

There are many things that can be crafted with papier mâché, including:

1. Masks and figurines: Papier mâché can be used to create lightweight, sculptural masks and figurines.
2. Decorative objects: Papier mâché can be utilised to make decorative objects such as lanterns, bowls, vases, and trays.
3. Wall art: Papier mâché can be employed to create interesting wall hangings and sculptures.
4. Dolls and toys: Papier mâché can be used to make dolls, puppets, and other toys.
5. Party decorations: Papier mâché can be utilised to create decorations for parties and other special events, such as balloons, centrepieces, and garlands.
6. Furniture: Papier mâché can be utilised to make lightweight, decorative furniture, such as stools, chairs, and table tops.
7. Theatre and performance props: Papier mâché can be employed to make props for theatre and performance, such as masks, headdresses, and shields.

The versatility of papier mâché makes it a popular choice for many art and craft projects. The only limit to what can be created is your imagination!