DIY Paper Mache Bowls

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! If you are stuck indoors and are looking for a craft project, here you go!
I began with some very round bowls without a ridge around the bottom. I wrapped the bowls 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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
If 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.
At 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.
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 begin my final coats of paint.
gave this bowl a second coat of white paint after sanding it and then painted the inside with gold gilding.
Here is my collection of bowls all ready to gift or just to use for trinkets, keys or jewelry!
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Chloe Crabtree

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Laura Rogers
    on Aug 31, 2018

    How hard was it to sand them down? My hands are pretty arthritic these days.

    • CrazyClock
      on Nov 26, 2018

      If you tear the paper strips, you'll get a much smoother piece that requires less sanding, if any.

  • Joanne Librante Morrone
    on Sep 2, 2018

    why wouldn't you just use a balloon instead of a bowl. Blow them up to the size you want. when dried, just pop the balloon

    • Northsister
      on Oct 4, 2018

      That’s what we used to do when we were kids! Easy and fun!

  • Lisa Hancock
    on Sep 7, 2018

    Do you paper mache the inside and outside of the bowl?

    • Chloe Crabtree
      on Sep 7, 2018

      The entire bowl is made out of paper mache I just used the plastic bowl as my model. I only built up my paper mache on the outside of the bowl then peeled it off.

Join the conversation

2 of 44 comments
  • Kat Rogers
    on Mar 2, 2019

    SO FUN, AND YOUR BOWLS CAME OUT BEAUTIFUL~ I LOOOVE THAT GOLD PAINT, A LOT!


    I remember using balloons, but I don't remember WHAT our end result project was~ well, that WAS ALMOST 50 Years Ago! However, I Do remember that we TORE the newspaper, as someone else mentioned, and I believe we used Liquid Starch to hold it all together.


    I am looking forward to doing this project, and reliving some fond memories from childhood.


    Thank you for sharing.

  • Rs
    on Sep 30, 2019

    thank you, I will try this!

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