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 Home >> Art & Craft >> Papercraft

The Beauty of Papercraft

Papercraft originates from Korean industrial art. It was of practical use in ancient Korea, and its creation is based upon the philosophy of the period.   

The History of Papercraft

Papercraft was first introduced to Korea from China in the latter period of Han, and historians believe that it was imported from China to KoKuRyeo in the period of King SoSuRim, in 372, the same period as Buddhism arrived.

Evidence suggests that Papercraft was particularly popular during the Yi dynasty, although unfortunately no artifacts remain from before this period to document its existence. In order to make the paper in this era, artists would need to cut, smooth and polish it, and there are many pieces from this period which still remain today. Various articles, such as boxes made of colorful paper were for sale in markets right up until 1950, when the craft began to die out.

Artists have attempted to revive the craft in the past few years, and many beautiful items have been made which reflect the style of the latter period of the Yi dynasty.

Characteristics of the Craft

In ancient times, jewelry boxes, clothes chests and paper boxes dyed in red, blue, yellow, black and white were the most popular items made from paper, particularly for weddings. To make items moisture proof and more durable, artists used to coat the paper with oil. Modern artists make items from traditional patterns and colors, although lacquer and varnish is used to coat them. Many tourists purchase papercraft items, and they are one of the most popular souvenirs.

The process of making Korean paper is very different from that of the machine-made paper of today. Ancient Koreans made the paper by boiling the bark of a Mulberry tree and then smoothing it. Although small items were made purely of paper, large items were made of wood and then covered. Paper made from pure Mulberry is regarded as high quality, as it is more durable. As the Mulberry content decreases, so does the quality of the paper.


Anyone can make items of papercraft today. A simple way of doing this is to buy a board from a stationery shop, cut it into shape, and glue colorful Korean paper to it. To make a rectangular box, first cut the board into shape and glue in right angles to form a square. Cover this with white Korean paper and then draw patterns onto it. Finally, glue colorful strips of paper onto your design.

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