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New Zealand's PaperHands

Handy walls: The wallpapers by PaperHands are as suggested – made by hand. Lee Suckling talks to the Kiwi handycouple behind the brand.

When Ben and Helen Masters were looking to wallpaper their Martinborough house in 2009, they quickly discovered there was nobody in New Zealand producing handcrafted papers. So they decided to put their own hands to work.

“Our small range of papers are eclectic, modern and a bit different,” says Ben of the 2010 range, which features four handmade papers. “The designs are quite varied, and depending on the colours used they can work in contemporary or traditional homes, but also corporate offices and restaurants.”

One paper of the series, Native, is traditionally New Zealand, inspired by local flora and fauna. “We hope it has a wider appeal as well,” Ben comments.



Utilising the same botanical aesthetic with a more indistinct core theme, the paper Vices features imagery of coffee, juniper, hops, tobacco and even cocaine. “Vices is a fun take on a traditional idea; a series of botanical sketches of some of life’s more interesting substances,” Ben explains.


Each paper is hand screened onto a 10-metre base made of 100% wood, sourced internationally to the highest environmental standards. Premium water-based solvent-free inks are also used.

Interesting things beckon for PaperHands in 2011, including expansion outside of New Zealand. “We have some new designs we are releasing in February, and also a small range of fabrics,” says Ben. “It’s exciting (and exhausting). There are so many things to be done… and we would like to test the waters in Australia.”



Photos by Simon Burt and Mike Heydon