The History of Paper Mache

Paper mache, or papier-mâché, literally means “chewed paper.” Experts believe it originated in China as far back as 200 BC, where early forms of paper were already being made. The Chinese used paper mache to make functional items such as helmets and snuff boxes. Ancient Egyptians used paper mache to make death masks. Much later, in 18th-century Europe, paper mache was used both functionally and for decorative purposes, to make vases, tea trays, dolls, and to modify the appearance of ceilings, walls and furniture.