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What Is Paper Maché?



What Is Paper Maché?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.22

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    icons, imperial, lacquer, versatile, material, project, basis, artists, easily, beagle, lasted, works, races, fond, paste, chewed-up
     content words:    Imperial Russian, Great Britain, Maria Therese, Nathaniel Holmes Bishop, New York, Paper Canoe


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     Spanish: ¿Qué es el Papel Maché?


What Is Paper Maché?
By Colleen Messina
  

1     I will never forget my first paper maché project. It started out as a giraffe. Then, it became a four-foot figure of Charlie Brown's beagle, Snoopy. He was easy to make, but then we had to figure out how to get Snoopy to school. My mother finally put it in the car with a seat belt! "Snoopy" made me famous in fourth grade. He was so simple to make that paper maché became one of my favorite art projects.
 
2     Paper maché means "chewed-up paper" in French. Paper strips are held together with wet paste. When it dries, it makes solid objects that can be painted. Often, objects like balloons form the basis of paper maché projects. Because the materials are so easy to find, paper maché is a versatile craft. It can create almost anything. And the best thing about paper maché is that there is no wrong way to do it.
 
3     Paper maché has been used by different cultures for hundreds of years. Imperial Russian artists in the 18th century perfected one kind of paper maché. At first, they used paper maché to create religious objects called icons. Later, artists made special boxes, trays, and desk sets. After the artists made the objects, they painted them with black lacquer. Then, the artist painted scenes on the shiny black surface. This kind of art was called Russian lacquer art.

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