Make This:

Paper-Mache Bowls

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These delicate little paper dishes are the perfect thing to collect up little bits of jewelry on the top of a dresser. They look much more fragile than they are and are a great snowy afternoon project (you probably already have everything you need at home!)

– wheat paste – click here for a recipe
– tissue paper or other thin paper, feel free to recycle gift wrap tissue paper
– styrofoam ball or other mold – this one is 3 inches in diameter
– sharp knife if to cut the styrofoam in half
– plastic wrap to cover your mold
– paint brush or fingers to apply paste
– fan (optional) to speed drying time

Cut the styrofoam in half if that’s what you’re using – this piece had a handy seam at the half-way point and I cut on that.

Wrap the mold in plastic wrap. I used a hair dryer to shrink the plastic a bit so it was smoother over the mold.

Tear the tissue paper into strips that are 1 inch wide or less. It will tear much more easily one direction than the other, tear it the easy way. Tearing the paper feathers the edges and makes them less visible in the finished piece.

Brush some wheat paste onto the mold. Set a strip in place, then brush more wheat paste over it. You want to completely saturate the paper with paste for best results. Trim the strip to fit the size of the mold.

Add another strip, overlap it with the first.

I tried a few different methods of layering strips. This made the most even, pretty dishes. I layered them all one way like stripes, then the next layer went down at a 90 degree angle to the first.

These dishes are 5 layers thick. They’re sturdy enough to hold their shape but they’re still kind of transparent and light. You can layer all 5 layers at once or apply one layer, let it dry, apply the next, etc. I found letting them dry between layers resulted in the fastest overall drying for me.

Once they’re totally dry just pop them off the molds. You can trim the edges if you’d like or leave them a bit more uneven.

If these dishes will be somewhere that they might get wet or in a very humid location it’s a good idea to add a coat of waterproof sealer before use.