Paper Mache I: Recycled Bowl

paper mache recycled bowl

I have been obsessed interested craft projects using recycled newspaper in recent months and somehow managed to leave out the entire classic craft medium of paper mache. Paper mache is an incredibly versatile and fun craft medium because it is virtually free to make. It is typically made from scrap paper, and one of a variety of different paste options. For my foray into paper mache I used an old fashioned flour and water recipe.

To make your own paper mache bowl you will need only basic items. I used a bowl from my kitchen wrapped in plastic as my mold and an old newspaper cut into 1” strips (~30 strips of newspaper for this project). To make my¬† paste I used the following paper mache recipe:


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 pinch of salt


1) Mix flour, water and salt together in a sauce pan.

2) Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Mixture will thicken and become slightly translucent but not clear.

3) Allow paste to cool to room temperature (or a temperature that is comfortable to handle with bare hands).

Creating a paper mache bowl:

Once the paper mache glue has cooled the rest of this project is messy, goey and fun!

1) Pull out your 1” strips of newspaper and dip each one in the paper mache paste until it has softened but is not soggy. Remove from paste and push the excess paste off with your fingers (this is my favorite part!).

2) Drape the strips over the mold you have selected.

3) Keep doing this until you have about 3 layers of paper covering the entire mold. Don’t make the layers too thick, but also be sure not to miss any spots.

4) Allow to dry completely. It took my project about 3 days to completely dry. Once projects dry you can carefully remove them from the mold. If your project happens to tear don’t cry, just use a little school glue to hold it together. You can also trim the edges to create a smooth edge for the rim of the bowl.

This is a great project to make some interesting forms at home using supplies you already have on hand. I would not expect this project to replace your fine china, but it would be great to use these paper mache bowls as favor dishes, or candy containers for a party.

Parting tips:

  • Allow the project to dry completely, don’t rush the process
  • Use caution removing the project from the mold. Depending on how tightly the project is stuck and the general shape of the mold this can be tricky.
  • Clean up the paper mache paste right away for easiest clean up. *yes, this means you are going to need to do the dishes*

Check us out over at: Tater Tots & Jello, Too Much Time, The Southern Institute

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5 Responses to Paper Mache I: Recycled Bowl

  1. Eva says:

    I love that you are finding interesting ways to recycle old newspapers. I got so fed up seeing the waste of old newspapers sitting around my house that I stopped our subscription and went entirely digital for our news. There are a lot of free sources for news on the internet…

  2. SUPER! I love recycled projects-and using junk to create useful things!I would be totally excited if you stopped by to link these up this weekend at my party:)

  3. Heather says:

    This is great! Thanks for the recipe. Have wanted to make a paper mache bowl for some time now and you have just given me the inspiration. Winter here in Australia – good time for crafts.
    Cheers, Heather X

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