first glance, all Papier-Mache` objects look roughly the same,
and the price differential seems almost unreasonable. However,
besides at least three different grades of Papier` Mache`, some
is actually cardboard or wood! The idea, however, is not to
hoodwink the unwary, but to provide a cheaper product for someone
who wants the look of Papier-Mache.
To make Papier-Mache`,
first paper is soaked in water till it disintegrates. It is
then pounded, mixed with an adhesive solution, shaped over moulds,
and allowed to dry and set before being painted and varnished.
Paper that has been pounded to pulp has the smoothest finish
in the final product. When the pounding has not been thorough,
the finish is less smooth.
The designs painted on objects of Papier Mache` are brightly
colored. They vary in artistry and the choice of colors, and
it is not difficult to tell a mediocre piece from an excellent
one. Gold is used on most objects, either as the only color,
or as the highlight for certain motifs, and besides the finish
of the product, it is the quality of the gold used which determines
the price. Pure Gold leaf which has the unmistakable luster,
is far more expensive than bronze dust or gold poster paint.
It also has much longer life and will never fade or tarnish.
Varnish which is
applied to the finished product, imparts a high gloss and smoothness
which increases with every coat. Cardboard, usually indistinguishable
from Papier Mache, gives slightly when pressed firmly. Otherwise
the only difference is in the price, cardboard being cheaper
than Papier Mache.
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