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Paper Tole History
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There has been much speculation of the origins of the craft
of Paper Tole or 3-D Decoupage, as we know it today. The Japanese
have for centuries shaped and folded paper into beautiful designs,
transforming a 2 dimensional piece of paper into 3-D creations.
Indeed oriental lacquer work formed the basis of the development
of the 17th Century art form decoupage. The crafts people of
the day embedded designs into furniture by applying successive
coats of lacquer, sometimes using 15 or 20 coats.
The French and Venetian further refined these techniques in
an art form called "Vue d'Optique" which is considered
by many as equivalent to the modern method of using paper sculpture
to create 3-dimensional or papr tole pictures.
Through the ages, various names have been given to the art form.
Some of the common names used have been papertole, papiertole,
paper tole, 3-D paper tole, 3 Dimensional Paper Tole, Decoupage,
papier tole, 3-d Art, 3D art, 3-d Decoupage, 3D decoupage, decoupage
crafts, 3D dimensional decoupage, decoupage art, dimensional
If you are looking for references try using some of the above
names as key words in your search to read more of the history
of paper tole.
Of more recent times the paper tole has been significantly refined
to a wonderful level of artistry using advanced shaping and
sculpturing methods. Paper Tole as we know it today really developed
in the 1930's in the heartland of USA. During the hardships
that was imposed on people during the Depression era, crafters
had to be most innovative and make use of resources that were
It was customary at that time for households to receive multiple
Christmas cards with the same image from charity agencies. After
the festive season many of these cards were unused and presented
an ideal opportunity during the cold winter months to create
3-D paper tole pictures using the resource of multiple copies of the same
The craft rapidly developed and moved from layering techniques
to actual paper sculpturing. Initially 3 or 4 copies of identical
prints were used, but this was further developed to include
more prints thus more detail for the finished paper tole.
It was during the late 70's and early 80's that paper tole really
developed a surge of interest. At that stage, our friends north
of the border took an interest in paper tole and further developed
techniques that added both flair and artistry.
Paper Tole Techniques I >
Paper Tole and 3D Decoupage Paper Crafts