Papier- Mache articles are made of waste paper applied in layers and pressed together on wooden moulds. Today, to save time, a thick layer of paper pulp mixed with starch is alternated with paper to get the required thickness with much less labour. Imagination runs wild as craftsmen breath life into this mould, bringing out a variety of expressions on masks.
The craftsmen of Kashmir turn a variety of utility items, of papier mache, into fabulous decorative pieces. The items are brass lined to improve their scope for utility. Designs in the shape of flowers and birds, and the heart shaped Kashmir chinar leaf add life to the objects. Bright and ethnic colors like peacock blue, dark green, brown etc. are used. Gold and silver are used on larger articles. Figures and objects like the Kashmiri houseboat are depicted.
In the south life size figures are made to portray everyday scenes of life. The dancing dolls thus made are very popular. Gwalior, in Madhya Pradesh, has a papier-mache centre but largely for toys. Ujjain in the same state specializes in figures of deities. Puppets made out of papier mache are very popular throughout India. A wide variety of designs and styles inspired by the varied cultures of the different Indian states make excellent decorative pieces.