Have you ever made old fashioned paper mache- you know, the kind with the flour paste and newspaper strips? Let me show you a simpler, neater way to make super fun patterned paper mache bowls with the unlikeliest of materials!
Materials needed to make a paper mache bowl…
I had visions of creating paper mache bowls that were covered in an all over pattern. The pattern isn’t added after the bowl is done but rather the pattern is a part of the material that makes up the bowl. Think of the decoupage trends of the nineties.
You’ll need napkins in any pattern you like. I had a stash of napkins left over from birthday parties and holidays. There were only a few of each print, which worked just fine for this project. You’ll also need ModPodge, cling wrap, and a bowl of some kind to serve as a form for your paper mache bowl!
How to start making a bowl from a napkin…
Choose a bowl to serve as a form for your bow. Any shape or size will work here. Just pick what you like. I love the idea of “nesting” bowls so we made bowls of several different sizes.
Lay a piece of cling wrap or Press and Seal (my favorite- because it doesn’t wiggle around) in the bowl. This step makes sure that when you’re done the bowl you made will pop right out of the form easily and without damage.
Tear a napkin or two into pieces that are a couple of inches big. These pieces don’t need to be precise. In fact, I love the torn, irregular edges. They make these little paper mach bowls a little more delicate and airy.
Building the bowl…
Quickly brush a coat of ModPdoge onto the plastic wrap. This will help that first layer of napkin adhere to the bowl easily.
The first layer of napkin you put down will actually make up the outside of the bowl. That means you want to lay the patterned napkin pieces down face down. The pattern on the first layer of napkin should be facing out.
Lay a napkin piece, one layer at a time, face down in the layer of ModPodge. Brush more ModPodge over the back of it until it’s somewhat saturated and totally smoothed down.
Continue building, overlapping one piece after another, until the entire bowl shape is covered by a layer of napkin and ModPodge.
Second layer, same as the first…
Once an entire layer has covered the bowl it’s time to flip those napkin pieces face up, so the pattern is facing up and out. Remember the entire bowl is constructed of ModPodge and napkins. Two layers will make a bowl, albeit a very delicate and airy one. I suggest layering on three or four layers of napkin pieces. This work goes quickly and painting the ModPdoge on is very relaxing and soothing.
Let the top edge end in a natural way, making sure not to tuck the edges over the top of the bowl being used as a form. This makes it impossible to get your paper mache bowl out of the from. Oops.
How long these pretty patterned bowls take to dry depends on a few factors. First, the enthusiasm with which the ModPodge was applied will be a game changer. Big amounts take longer to dry. No big deal.
The humidity in the air will also effect dry time. I live in the Midwest where the humidity is hanging heavy in the air right now. Evvvverything feels damp right now.
When your bowl is dry gently remove it from the bowl and peel the plastic wrap away.
Now you can decide how “finished” you want the top edge of your bowl to be. I love the irregular look the napkin pieces naturally create. If you like a more smooth, even edge this is the time to grab a pair of sharp scissors and cut around that top edge, creating a clean line.