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DIY Handmade Whimsy Paper Mache Bowl

How to Make a Whimsical Paper Mache Bowl

This is a great inexpensive do it yourself project for anyone wanting to learn the basic steps of Paper Mache. You will be given the skills to create your own handmade bowl, which you can in turn use these same skills to create masks, bowls, huge faces, snowman and so much more.

Great for Beginners

You will need three days to complete your bowl, although most of the time will be spent drying you piece between steps. You will leave with a solid foundation to build upon.
You can join me as I walk you step by step through the process of selecting you mold, covering, sanding, and painting your brand new unique and whimsical Paper Mache Bowl.

The step by step video has been divided into two videos due to the time limits on YouTube.

Art Preparation Required

Selecting A Mold
We will use a balloon as our mold for this project which allows for quick and easy clean up. I also use bowls from my kitchen covered in Vaseline as an mold, and this also works wonderful. Beginners are best starting off with a typical bowl shape.
Special Paste Recipe
1 Part Flour: 2 Part Water
Mix 1 cup warm water
1/2 cups flour
Dash of salt (prevent molding)
Usually, I use my hand for mixing because it is easy to smooch the chunks of flour and get this mixed into a nice thin soup. I'm sure that this paste would work in both a thin and thick consistency, but I prefer a thin viscosity.
Strip Tease Your Recycled Newspaper
Avoid using the extra glossy ad inserts from the newspaper or magazines they don't absorb flour paste as well, and don't use strips which have a sharp fold along them, they don't lay flat.
Make you strips by tearing your paper with the grain, a half inch wide stripe; you will need lots. Do not use scissors to cut the strips, the torn edges are better.

Paper Mache on the Balloon

Day 1
With all the prep out of the way, it is time to start dipping some strips into the paste and draping them across your balloon. If you are like me, you will find that putting the strips on is pretty fun.
1. Hold one end of a single strip of newspaper and dunk it into the bowl of paste. Completely submerge the strip into your paste and pull it out and hold it above the bowl.
Next, use a two-finger squeegee move down the length of the strip and let the excess paste fall back into the bowl.
2. Lay the strip across your structure. Once the strip is on the structure, smooth it down flat with your hands working out all air bubbles. Work the paper strips all over the balloon as far down as you would like.
Add two or three layers of strips to your balloon and sit aside to completely dry overnight.
Day 2
You will repeat day 1 steps until you have covered your bowl with 10 more layers of newspaper strips. Completely let these layers dry it will probably take all night. Although you can speed up the process with a fan but your balloon will pop if you put it in the sun, do don't.
Day 3
Time to pop the balloon.
Use scissors to cut a clean edge around the rim of your paper mache bowl. Add small stripes over the rim to make a nice smooth edge. One layer should be fine.
To attach the base you will cut a circle from cardboard and tape to the bottom. Use the same strip method to paper mache the base to your bowl.
You will let this dry in front of a fan or you can even turn your over on warm then set your bowl in the oven turn it back off and leave the door cracked. I have dried several pieces this way and nothing has caught on fire. I don’t suggest that you ever leave your kitchen area until you to have done this successfully a lot.
When the bowl is completely dry you are ready to add your primer coat and move on to painting.
Final Steps to Bowl Completion
1. Lightly Sand your bowl. I use medium 60 grade sandpaper to sand my bowl.
2. Paint 1 layer of primer coat over your entire bowl with a acrylic paint brush and let this dry completely. The Flat latex that I use in the video takes about 1 hour to dry, the can will have dry time in the instructions.
3. Now paint the bowl any way that you like and you can seal the bowl with poly acrylic for added protection and durability.  I like to use a primer on the bowl first to block out any print or colors. Let dry. Paint with craft paints in your chosen colors.
I love metallic paints, a different color for the inside and outside of the bowl is a thought, or to add patterns. You can stamp and stencil, freehand, or print a word around the rim that carries meaning for you or a friend. Use your creativity, let your own style shine through.
You now have a good foundation of the beginning steps to creating paper mache art. Artist use these basic steps to create massive armatures for the art pieces seen in galleries all over the world.
We want to see your bowls and read your comments so leave both for us all to be inspired from and thank you for sharing this little bit of time with me in my Tennessee Studio.
Smiles and Rose,