Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thoughts on Crepe Paper

   Wow, what an exciting title, huh?! Well, if that title caught your attention, we are kindred spirits! We must be either interested in the media of a gentler era or a little nuts! Either way, I'm glad you paused to have a look. Anyone who is into the doll making and/or decorative arts knows working with crepe paper is mostly a labor of love....

   You may be asking yourself why I am currently preoccupied with crepe paper. I don't want to say too much at this point, but  it will make complete sense upon the opening of the July 31rst EHAG Emporium. Aside from this, I do have to say that I adore the old fashioned charm of crepe paper. It was invented in the late nineteenth century and seems to have had a golden age in the years 1900 to 1930. During these years, it seems the Dennison company of Framingham, Massachusetts reigned supreme in the manufacture of crepe paper. Dennison published little booklets packed with wonderful illustrations and instructions for creating a wide variety of items with their product. Two of these little books, published in 1925, are pictured above. Costumes and flowers in crepe paper are quite reasonable. But can you imagine lampshades, bed spreads, or everday hats? I've actually seen these instructions in my studies. Dolls were also a natural conclusion when working in this medium. I am fortunate enough to have a set of old Dennison paper dolls with crepe paper costumes and a German bisque Christmas doll dressed in holly patterned crepe paper.
    With regards to dolls, after seeing some of the old doll costuming and the Dennison costume books, I could not resist trying to make my own interpretations. I've done this for a few years, here and there, on my dolls. Modern crepe paper can be found by a few different makers. However, I must warn you that the quality is less than favorable. Modern crepe paper has no where near the strength of the old stuff. Expect to tear some part of the costume, just when you are thinking completion is almost at hand! When I have been able, I snatch-up vintage crepe paper. I've been lucky enough to find it on more than a few occasions. I recently used the orange (or amber, as it is labeled on the packaging) on a doll
(HINT-HINT). This vintage crepe paper is like a dream...heavenly....to work with. It has the
quality and strength of muslin and on this last project, not one piece of my pattern was torn.
     I will end this post here.  Again, I don't want to say too much and let the cat (HINT-HINT) out of the bag! Please remember JULY 31rst,  9:00PM EST... that's when the many talented artists of the EHAG Emporium will be unveiling their latest work. Oh, and do stop by the Emporium now and sign up for a chance to win three fabulous door prizes!

Best Wishes to You!


  1. Allen, it sounds interesting. I have a plastic tub of vintage crepe paper that I have bought over the years. It was easier to find and cheaper to buy a few years ago! You may have inspired me as well. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  2. The look and texture of crepe paper takes one back to years past and always instills a smile. Great post! :-)

    ~ Deb

  3. Allen,we are indeed kindred spirits~I knew it when I saw the dollhouse you saved in a previous post!I ADORE old dollhouses,and everything antique pertaining to dolls and miniature little curiosities~now I see we share a fascination with crepe paper!I have a whole wire bin full on my art supply cabinet.Yes,one must be a little crazy to love working with it~just like you said,with the new,you'll think you're just about finished,only to tear it!Thanks for the informative article! I've always searched and searched for old directions on how to make the flowers(I want to make tiny ones for my doll clothes)and can never find anything!I'll have to see if I can locate the little books you have pictured,they're exactly what I've been looking for!
    ~Mandy :-)

  4. Oh another crepe paper obsessive. I too love the stuff. My grandmother taught me to make crepe paper flowers. Roses and carnations. I have made many hundreds over the years as gifts and for shop window displays, ( some for big department stores). I must get the old case down and have a look at all my dennison colours, haven't touched it for years now. And you have just reminded me of the pleasure of crepe paper.

  5. If you're looking for absolutely divine "vintage" style crepe paper, contact the folks at Castle in the Air in Berkeley, CA (www.castleintheair.biz). They've scouted out one of the last European crepe paper manufacturers and not only do they have fabulous color choices AND are tough enough to be used for just about any project you have in mind, they need to keep crepe paper orders coming in so these companies keep on producing the stuff! I have a stockpile of crepe paper and am determined to make my Halloween costume using it this year!

  6. my mother worked at Dennison's in Marlborough, MA in the 40's and she brought home an unlimited supply of crepe paper. She made our Halloween costumes out of the sheets.

  7. my mother worked at Dennison's in Marlborough, MA in the 40's and she brought home an unlimited supply of crepe paper. She made our Halloween costumes out of the sheets.