Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paper Mache Bowls

A recently led a workshop on how to make paper mache bowls. I've had lots of comments on the finished products and many questions about the process, so I thought I'd share here how they are made - they are quite easy and always turn out beautifully. All you need is flour and water to make paper mache paste, some newspaper strips, and a somewhat flexible (thin plastic is best) bowl of any shape or size to use as your mould.
Here are the directions:
  • Select a bowl of any size with a nice shape. This will be your mould. 
  • Mix up some paper mache paste (half and half water and flour).
  • Carefully place newspaper strips dipped in the paste onto the bowl. You'll want  3-5 layers of the newspaper strips over your entire bowl to make it nice and strong (the more layers, the better, I say). 
  • Let dry overnight.
  • Once dry, gently pull it off the mould and clean up the rim by trimming it with some sharp scissors. 
  • Now it's time to decorate! You can be really creative about how you decorate it - I've had people use collage, paint, tissue paper - anything goes. The one in the top image is covered with old book pages using mod-podge. I then stitched into the rim to add a different textural element 
  • It's easy! and fun! go try it! ok?
Want to see more? Here are some that were made by kiddos (6-9 years old), and here are some from the adult art therapy workshop I led (all photos used with permission).

31 comments:

katy said...

it's lovely! i love paper mache. it's always so fun and goopy.

Michelle said...

so cool! i love the stitching on the edge.

bananasforbreakfast said...

I've been looking for an idea for a handmade bowl, I will definitely be giving this a try!

Jac said...

This is lovely! I haven't done paper mache for years but you've inspired me and I love that stitching so clever!

Martha said...

I made one of these paper mache bowls a while ago.. it was fun! I love the stitching!

Katie @ Cheep Ideas said...

Great bowl!! I've added it to my Recycled Paper Crafts post today. Thanks for sharing!!

embracing tao said...

very nice--love that you left the text showing, and the stitching along the rim.

Blakeney said...

Lovely! And so smooth and even! I'm new to paper mache - did you have to cover your mold bowl in cling wrap first? Or is it possible to add the strips directly onto the bowl (and still be able to peel them off later)?

Thanks for the tutorial!

Lizzie said...

i've heard people suggest using cling wrap under the paper mache, but i have not done it that way. i always use somewhat flexible bowls (made of thinner plastic or some such thing) as my molds, so i can just sort of bend them a little and the dry paper mache bowl pops off. i'd love to see your results!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lizzie,

Your bowl is lovely! Did you do the paper mache one first, let it set, trim the edge, then cover it with the paper book squares? What paste do you use for the first part? Just flour and water? Does flour rot after a while??

Thanks, Katie

Lizzie said...

Hi Katie,
You described the process exactly right - after putting on several layers of regular flour and water paper mache, I let it dry, popped it off the mold, trimmed it up, and used modpodge to cover it in book pages, plus another couple layers of modpodge to seal it all up. I've done a lot of paper mache and never had a problem with rotting - maybe because it is so well sealed?
Good luck!
Liz

Ashley said...

Lizzie, this is great! I tried it last evening after Hurricane Isabel killed the power. Paper mache by candlelight? Yes indeed. It's dried now for about 24 hours and simply refuses to pop off the glazed bowl I used for a form. I'm on my way back to the kitchen to teach it some manners - this may get physical. Should I try a different material bowl next time - glass or plastic?? Or maybe lay down plastic wrap first? Help! :)

Sheri@childmade.com said...

Thanks for sharing! Your creation has been featured on this week's top 10 newsletter. You can view the newsletter here. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. I did try it too and my bowls wouldn't come off the mold. I thought I should have used something to prevent from sticking but I followed your steps. hmmmmm. Are you sure you didn't use something to prevent sticking?

Liz said...

It sounds like maybe the bowls you used as moulds were stiff - I have generally used thinner, flexible plastic bowls that I can bend a bit until the hardened paper mache pops right off. However, I did this with kids recently and didn't have enough flexible bowls, so i tried covering the sturdier ones in seran wrap first, and that worked like a charm. If you don't have "bendy" bowls, I'd suggest going the seran wrap route!

Liz said...

Here are the ones the kids made!
http://thelulubird.blogspot.com/2011/12/bowl-show-and-tell.html

Jamie said...

This bowl you have made is amazing.. I can hardly wait to try and make one myself! I hope it's okay, I've featured your bowl on my new blog here:

http://frugal-home-design.blogspot.com/2012/02/diy-paper-mache-home-decor.html

Thank you so much for sharing this. I just love it!

www.decoratordozen.com said...

I'm so excited to try this project! We are working on creating works of art to sell and raise money for a friend- Thanks so much for sharing! xo Julie

julie said...

I want to use old hymnals on the paper macho bowl- Do I just make it as you suggest and then use hymnals as the last layer? or wait for it to dry and then add the pages I want to show? Please let me know what you think:)
Thanks! Julie

Mistie said...

I love doing paper mache and decoupage...can't wait to put the two ideas together!

Anonymous said...

Love the bowls Liz,

I am making some myself with a paper, water and blue mix but have not found a sealer to finish them off! I am just wondering what sealer you used and where you got it? Thanks so much, Francesca

Anonymous said...

*glue mix!! oops

shra said...

Hey..thanks everyone for t information. Wel all m concerned is dat how do I detach the mould from paper mâché or strip layered on it without spoiling for cleaner surface, as it's gonna stick on the mould? And secondly what if the mould I wanna use is a pot with narrow head. How wil I remove the mould??

Anonymous said...

just wondering what resin/glue you use? Thanks

Jennifer fay said...

love this post. I've been wanting to try these for a while. maybe now that Fall is here and my kids are in school I will try it.

Liz said...

I seal the finished bowls with a couple coats of mod-podge (or a store brand version). This leaves a shiny surface, seals in the paper mache, and protects whatever surface you have chosen.

Shra, to answer your question: the mould has to be wider at the top than at the base in order for the finished piece to slide off the mould.

Anonymous said...

oh wow... liked it, will surly try this 1 :)
thanx

Ignite Retail Design said...

This looks so nice. I am going to try it right now.

Anonymous said...

So cool! My daughter brings home loads of art from kindy which I run out of room to hang so I've talked her into making a bowl out of it for her Nana for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I always love paper mache but that stitched edge took it over the top!

jean Mc said...

I do love your work .I hope you don't mind me asking a question .I'm new to this craft but very adept at lots of others .I have a wicker Giraffe and he has a hollow back .It is supposed to take a pot with flowers .I would rather fill in the space and make him a saddle .I just don't know what consistency I should make the paste to be able to fill in the back .He came to me painted Hunter Green and I've recently painted him to look like the real thing .Any help will be appreciated .Jean Mc

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