Recycle and Upcycle with the Papier Mache Makers From Orissa, India

Direct Create
2 min readNov 20, 2020

Papier-mache; French for “chewed paper”, is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

As a craft form, it is found in many places in India with the two distinct areas being Kashmir and Orissa. Papier-mache in Kashmir is known as kar-e-kalamkari or pen case work, a delicate decorative craft. It comes about in 2 stages — The first is the sakhtsazi, or the actual production of the item. The second is naqashi, when the item is painted with any number of motifs.

The design is painted, free hand. Often the painting is done in relief, with certain pieces of the design subtly raised. In Orissa, papier-mache masks and figurines are inspiredby the patachitra tradition. Mukha, masks, are made by using amould of clay and newspaper. Paper and cloth rags are soakedand applied in layers with locally made gum on the mould. Sawdust mixed with gum is applied smoothly, dried and burnished with sandpaper. As in patachitra painting, the colours are made from seashells and rocks.

Direct Create is dedicated to connecting India’s artisanal traditions with the global marketplace to create a new design paradigm — one that drives innovation, spurs creativity and empowers communities.

If you are excited to connect with the crafts community, Direct Create has made it very simple to get your craft at a click of a button and to engage and create with the skilled Craftsmen from across India. The DC platform has an active database of craftsmen and designers from across India and Europe and more are getting added every day. The platform provides an enriching experience to businesses and individuals to work with craftsmen, you can by simply clicking on the “Collaborate Now” button next to the craft on

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