DIY Paper Mache Bowl

We are having a week of rainy weather, so it is time to get back in the craft room.  Today I am showing you how I made my DIY paper mache bowl.  I saw beautiful paper mache bowls at a booth at an art show and I couldn’t believe what the artist was charging for them, but now that I have tried to make them, I know why she was charging that much!  Her work was certainly worth her prices.  I still enjoyed making a paper mache bowl, but It will have to be for a very special reason if I am going to try making these again!DIY Paper Mache Bowl

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How to make paper mache bowlsI did a little research online and began with some of the tips others suggested.  I began with some very round bowls without a ridge around the bottom.How to make paper mache bowls

I wrapped the bowl as tightly as possible with Glad Press ‘n Seal.  This will allow me to remove the paper mache from the bowl after I have built up several layers.How to make paper mache bowls

Next it is time to start building up the layers of the paper mache.  There are a couple of different methods of making paper mache objects, one is the standard flour and water paste and the other is using Mod Podge.  If you use flour and water, you must use up all of that you have mixed up, as it will harden if you try and save it.  For this reason I chose to use the Mod Podge method.  Newspaper is the paper of choice,  I have tried different sizes and suggest you cut it no longer than 4 inches long by 1/2 inch wide, BUT, that does depend on the size of the piece you are making.

How to make paper mache bowls

I just poured out some Mod Podge onto a coated paper plate and dipped my newspaper in it and placed on my bowl.  I needed to make sure that I drug the paper along the edge of the paper before I put it on my bowl.  Too much Mod Podge will cause the paper to lump up and keep the bowl from being smooth.  Here is my bowl covered with several layers of the newspaper scraps.  I try to put at least four layers of paper on my bowls but found six or seven layers were even better.How to make paper mache bowls

The trickiest part I found was removing my bowl from the mold.  I found I sometimes needed to use a butter knife to separate the mold bowl from the Press ‘N Seal.  Others have suggested coating your bowl with vaseline, but I found everything slipped around too much with that method.  How to make paper mache bowlsI found I usually had the edge of my paper mache bowl turned out a little, but I was trimming it anyway, so it wasn’t a problem.  IF, while you are pulling your paper mache bowl off, your bowl starts to tear, you haven’t got enough layers on your bowl.  Not to worry, push the paper mache back down on the bowl mold and add another layer or two of the paper mache.

How to make paper mache bowlsIf there are spots like this where edges of the paper has not stuck down, you can brush a little more Mod Podge onto the bowl to ‘glue’ it down.  How to make paper mache bowlsAt this point I like to put a rough coat of acrylic paint on my bowl, since this will help me see where I will need to smooth out my bowl.How to make paper mache bowlsThis shows one of the spots that will need to be sanded and how easy it is to see after a coat of paint has gone onto it.

How to make paper mache bowls

The next step is to sand the bowl.  The bowl will be hard enough that you can sand it pretty hard.  I sand it all over to try and smooth down everyplace that isn’t smooth enough for my liking.  After sanding the bowl well, I am ready to put on another coat of paint.  How to make paper mache bowls

I gave this bowl a second coat of white paint after sanding it and then painted the inside with gold gilding.How to make paper mache bowlsI am kind of in love with this gilding, so I used it on all of my bowls.  The gold is so rich.  The bowl on the far left was made on a balloon, you can see how very smooth the inside of that bowl came out compared to those that were made over the Press ‘N Seal. How to make paper mache bowlsI don’t think I have perfected the process, but I am happy with these pretty little bowls.  They are certainly not a “Pinterest fail”.  I will keep working on my paper mache making skills!

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    1. I use the ones I make to give cookies, small gifts or a cocoa mix and cute cup as a secret Santa gift. The receiver always seems to enjoy the personal touch, the less than perfect look of my “creations”. And no returning of the vessel requires. They can keep or toss.

  1. Hi Chloe. I make lots of paper mache items; bowls and plates for holiday cookie giving or as decorator items. Then throw away. No storing required.
    I use good old Stay Flow starch (Wallmart). Very inexpensive, easy to use and clean up. I typically apply 5-7 layers of newspaper. You can also buy unprinted newspaper at most craft stores or even Goodwill. I only use Modge Podge after the piece has dried, then I apply 2-3 coats. Turns out brick hard. Depending on the type of MP you decide to use, your item can even be gently waterproof.
    I most often us thinner wrapping paper as my final decorative choice. Again cheap and can be purchased on clearance from most discount stores like Ross, Marshals, TJ Maz or Goodwill or paper from Michaels.
    I have also found that cutting or tearing your paper in irregular sizes and shapes actually creates a smoother, stronger exterior surface .
    Good luck with your projects.

      1. Thanks, is their a paint that I can use, so I can put food in them. And does the paint have to be Martha Stewart?

  2. I love this. It brings back memories. Long ago as a scout leader, we did face masks. We used oval shaped balloons to get the facial shape. The results were often outstanding …. in addition to the facial features …. noses, lips, eyebrows, lashes, etc we painted in eyes, skin tones, expressions. The final touch was drilling two small holes through which colorful ribbon was drawn to tie the masks onto one’s face. A darling ornament to hang upon a wall much like a painting. I had forgotten how much fun this medium was … intend to renew the experience. Your tips inspire me! Thank you, Chloe, for a wonderful blog … my favorite. ❤️

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