How To Make Papier Mache Bowls

Step 1: Gather Newspaper. As Much as you can get.

Step 2: Start ripping. 1 inch pieces are recommended. You could
purchase a paper shredder, as my husband would like me to do, but I
prefer ripping them myself…I like way the paper sounds when it is
being ripped…sort of like a the "th" sound in the word "teeth"…or
maybe a sound like "sh" as in the word "shush" like in the sentence
"Shush with the ripping of the paper already!!" 3 weeks ago, I
shredded paper for 9 straight hours (Yes! 9!) during a car ride from
my home in North Carolina to the Beach in New Jersey. Don't worry, I
wasn't the one driving. And my hand still hurts.

Step 3: Soak the newspaper in a large sauce pan…or a spaghetti pot
overnight. Or you can speed up the process by gently boiling the
mixture for an hour. It is probably best that you never use that pot
again. Oh, and add salt…I don't know why exactly, something about it
prevents mold, and mold is no good, so be sure to do this.

Step 4: Ring out the water. Perhaps wear gloves. Caution: This is
messy. Maybe go outside. If you have children and they are near you,
perhaps get out the rain gear. It is amazing how much water can spray
out between your fingers as you are squeezing. Maybe don't do this
near any white walls, because they will stain…I speak from experience.
It might even be wise to wear goggles. I haven't been sprayed in the
eyes yet, but it is only a matter of time, so maybe I need to re-read
this article so I can heed my own advice.

Step 5: Add glue. I use good old fashioned Elmer's white glue. It is
safe and non-toxic. I have read that wallpaper paste works well too.
I can't tell you how much to add, I honestly just eyeball it. Just
give it a real thorough mixing, with your hands, to where the whole
mixture is just…sticky. Not at all soupy though…just a good, thick

Step 6: Wash hands and keep Washing. This may take a while. This
stuff is stuck all over your hands at this point. Which is why you
probably should have worn gloves. (which I NEVER do…again, I need to
take my own advice)

Step 7: Gather bowls. All sizes and kinds. Maybe you have a really
neat shaped bowl…do that one. Maybe you have a cool cake
could try that. It is best that you do this project when you don't
think you and your family will be eating a lot of soup, chili, cereal,
ice cream, or any food best eaten in a bowl for at least 4-5 days.

Step 8: Line the bowls with plastic wrap. This step is extremely
necessary or you will have a hard time removing the papier mache.
Trust me.

Step 9: Start mushing the mixture into the bowl. This is where you
can be creative. You could make your bowls smooth…or you could give
them lots of texture, which is my preference. You could make the bowls
as thin as you want, providing you don't leave any gaping holes as not
to compromise the structure. (I am impressed with how scientific that
sounded) The papier mache dries to a very hard finish, it is

Step 10: Now you wait. Put your bowls in a sunshiny place to dry.
Maybe outside, if it is not too humid. But, do keep an eye on the
weather, as rain and drying bowls do not mix. Or keep them
inside…again, sunshine helps. You want your bowls to dry quickly,
mold is your enemy. After a few days…you can flip your bowls…the
backside of the bowls also need some air, so remember that. A few
more days of drying should do it.

Step 11: Gesso, Paint, and varnish your bowls to however suits your fancy.

Step 12: Admire your work, give them to friends and family, or sell
them on Etsy like me!

Written by Kristin of Etsy Shop MySweetThree



Thanks for posting this. My 6 year old daughter will go crazy for this! The messier the better and this will make her day. I will let you know how it turns out!

Grandma Betty said...

And I will let Kritin know. This is her article from MySweetThree on Etsy.

erinberry said...

Cool tutorial!