How to Make Papier Mâché Bowls

Decorate with DIY

Painted papier-mâché bowls
Megan Graney

An interior space often doesn't feel fully realized without a few careful accents. It can be tricky to source meaningful tchotchkes, so why not create a few decorative items yourself instead? Papier-mâché gets an adult update with a chic set of nesting bowls. To create your own set of these budget-friendly accent bowls, follow the steps below.

Gather Your Supplies

Supplies for papier-mache bowls
Megan Graney


  • Glass Nesting Bowls
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Wire Whisk
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brushes


  • Flour
  • Water
  • 1-inch Strips of Newspaper
  • Acrylic paint

Mix the Paste

Mix the Paste
Megan Graney

Pour two parts water to one part flour into the mixing bowl and combine well using a wire whisk. The consistency of the mixture should be similar to a pancake batter. Whisk until all lumps are gone. If the smell of the flour paste is too unpleasant (or your crafting area is small and enclosed), add a few drops of essential oil for a more enjoyable creative experience.

Cover Glass Bowls With Aluminum Foil

Aluminum Covered Bowl
Megan Graney

To help remove your papier-mâché from the bowls easily, cover them first with aluminum foil. If you’re looking for a smoother texture in your final product, cover carefully and smooth the foil down with your fingers as much as possible. Or, embrace a bit of the natural roughness in papier-mâché and don’t worry over the small crinkles. For easier papier-mâché removal later, hit the foil-covered bowls with a quick coating of cooking spray.

Adhere Newspaper Strips to Bowls With Paste

Cover Bowl with Newspaper
Megan Graney

Dip one strip of newspaper at a time into the flour mixture, remove the excess by sliding between your fingers, then paste to the foil-covered bowl. Criss-cross the strips until most of the bowl is covered, then reinforce by encircling the bowl with horizontal pieces. Smooth things over with your fingertips once the entire bowl is covered. Repeat for each differently-sized bowl.

Let Dry Overnight

Let Dry Overnight
Megan Graney

Carefully shift the newspaper-covered bowls to wire drying racks and place in a cool, out-of-the-way area to set. Leave them undisturbed overnight to dry. It may seem your papier-mâché has set after a few hours, but to ensure a sturdy project, leave the bowls unmoved for at least 12 hours.

Remove Papier-Mâché From Foil Bowls and Trim Excess

Trim Excess
Megan Graney

Once the papier-mâché has dried, carefully remove it from the aluminum foil. Trim any excess newspaper from the edges of each bowl with a sharp pair of scissors for a nice, clean edge. If you’re looking for a smooth, refined finish, sand your papier-mâché gently with a fine grain sandpaper. Or, embrace the natural texture and unfinished edges of your bowls for a more rustic finish.

Prime the Papier-Mâché Bowls

Prime the Bowls
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Give each bowl a quick coat of white acrylic paint to ensure your colors really pop later on. Apply a couple of coats and allow to dry completely.

Paint and Decorate the Papier-Mâché Bowls

Paint the Bowls
Megan Graney

The options are endless when it’s time to decorate your papier-mâché nesting bowls, so consider how you’ll use them in your home to draw inspiration. If you plan to keep them in your kitchen as produce holders, go for vibrant, bold colors and designs. Considering adding your bowls to a foyer or side table? Opt for a chic pattern and a pop of metallic to complement your living area. No matter how you decide to decorate your nesting bowls, acrylic paint and regular paint brushes work perfectly well.

Seal everything with a brush-on clear coat. Be sure to use a food-safe, non-toxic option if you’ll use your bowls for fresh fruits and veggies.

Display Your Papier-Mâché Nesting Bowls

Megan Graney

Find the perfect space in your home for your DIY nesting bowls. They can be practical (think: a place to drop keys or jewelry) or purely decorative, so it's worth trying a few different spots to see where they work best.