How to Make Your Own Paper Mache Bowls

paper mache bowls
The Spruce

If you love decorative bowls, here's a new fix for your addiction: make your own paper mache bowls. It's a cheap and easy project, and you can change up your looks in a snap. They’re fun to create and great for holding jewelry, the mail, trinkets, and even art supplies. These even make an easy project for kids! It only takes 30 minutes, plus 24 hours to dry.

Supplies You'll Need

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Watch Now: How to Make Paper Mache Bowls

DIY Paper Mache Bowl Instructions

  1. Using scissors, cut your newspaper into 1-inch strips.

  2. Make your paper mache paste mixture by mixing together one part flour and two parts water in a large bowl. Stir it well until it's a smooth, thin consistency, similar to pancake batter.

  3. Grab a kitchen bowl to be used as the mold for your paper mache. It can be whatever size you'd like, but glass is the easiest to clean.

  4. Completely cover the outside of the bowl with aluminum foil. If you want some texture in your bowl's shape, let the foil crumple a little bit. If you want it completely smooth, make sure that the foil is laying flat against the glass. Lightly spray the outside of the foil-covered bowl with cooking spray.This will make it much easier to remove the paper mache from the glass once the bowl is dry.

  5. Dip the strips of newspaper into the paste. Wipe the strip, so it’s not dripping wet, and apply it on top of the bowl. Repeat this process with the newspaper strips, laying them in different directions until the whole bowl is covered. If the edges of the strips extend past the bowl, just fold that back in or cut them off later.

  6. Allow the bowl to dry. While it might seem dry after a couple of hours, it's best to let it dry overnight; however, you can take it off of the glass bowl mold after two hours. Set up a fan blowing on the bowl to help it dry more quickly and more thoroughly.

  7. Once completely dry, carefully pop the paper mache off the bowl, separating the foil carefully.

  8. If you want to change the texture of the bowl slightly, use sandpaper to sand the surface.

  9. Apply a coat of gesso to the inside of the bowl and let it dry. If there are slight drips on the edge of the bowl, use sandpaper to remove.

  10. Finally, use acrylic paints to decorate the bowl any way you like. You could paint the interior with a solid color and a design on the outside, or you could choose a design that's applied all over the inside and outside of the bowl.

  11. Apply a varnish coat to finish the bowl. Brush two to three coats of artist acrylic varnish onto the bowl, doing the inside first and then the outside. Allow the varnish to dry in between coats.