How to Make Papier Mache Bowls with Kids

Make Papier Mache Bowls with Kids

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Making Papier Mache Bowls with Kids

Our children’s art group met again yesterday to make papier mache bowls. This is a somewhat messy project, so we took our art table outside.

Everyone brought a small bowl to use as a mold and I covered each with plastic wrap, securing it on the inside with masking tape. Then we had the kids turn them upside down and start layering on the papier-mache. We used torn newspaper strips which the kids dipped into a handmade paste mixture.

Papier mache paste recipe

Mix 1 part flour to 2 parts water.

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Easy peasy!

We also added a couple tablespoons of salt since we live in a humid climate (it’s supposed to prevent mold) and some glue just because. When we did papier mache before we used a glue and water mixture and maybe I just didn’t completely trust the plain flour and water this time.

Making Papier Mache Bowls with Kids Outside

Here, the mess is just beginning. We have some new faces in the group this summer, so I’ll introduce you.

Making Papier Mache Bowls with Kids

Desmond (4) is in the snazzy yellow outfit.

Making Papier Mache Bowls with the Childrens Art Group

Washing up from the Papier Mache ProjectThree siblings working side by side on their papier-mache :: Choyen (6), Luka (4), and Stella (1 1/2). Stella enjoyed dipping the newspaper in the paste mixture and watching everyone else.

Here, Esme (4) is washing the paste off her hands and playing in the water.

And yes, my daughter was here. She and her friend Stella chose to paint with watercolors under the carport while everyone else made their papier mache bowls.

Papier Mache Bowls

Here the papier mache bowls are drying.

The next week, the kids painted their bowls…

Painting the Papier Mache Bowls

The bowls soaked up a serious amount of tempera paint!

I kind of like the look of newsprint peaking through the colors, but I think next time I’ll follow a suggestion from a fellow blogger mama and cover the newspaper with a white paper towel (or just white paper) as the final layer in the papier-mache. That way you’re starting with more of a blank canvas when you start painting.

It might also be fun to paint these with acrylics—something I’m not willing to do in a group situation yet.

After the papier mache bowls dry completely, I think we’ll add a layer of Mod Podge or other sealer to help protect them. I had plans for bowl decoration (ribbons, beans, colored tissue paper, etc) in addition to just painting but this was more than enough for the morning.

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How to Make Papier Mache Bowls with Kids

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Quince and Quire
    June 11, 2009 at 5:39 am

    This looks like a lot of fun–and a fair amount of preparation for you to do. The kids look so happy with all of that tactile, gooey paste and paper. Can’t wait to see the bowls painted.

  • Reply
    Mika
    June 11, 2009 at 8:45 am

    That looks like fun, I’ll add this to my list of summer activities! thanks!

  • Reply
    dittdott
    June 11, 2009 at 9:07 am

    That looks like a terrific project!

  • Reply
    Micha
    June 11, 2009 at 10:24 am

    What a great fun for the kids!

  • Reply
    MO
    June 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Looks great – I’ve been wanting to do a paper mache project with my boys and was stalling on doing the whole blow up the balloon and mache it thing (we don’t have balloons and I hate blowing them up). The bowl idea is great – easy and doable with stuff in the house. Thanks for sharing your great ideas…

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    June 11, 2009 at 11:26 am

    The prep wasn’t bad at all. The other moms helped tear the newspaper. And the paste was super quick to mix together — took a little longer because Maia wanted to help pour and stir. :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer Tan
    June 11, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Wow! Neat project. I miss doing paper mache. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    June 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    MO – There are so many things you could paper mache! Maia and I started some paper mache masks last week (paper mache over a paper plate with holes cut for eyes). You can paper mache boxes, bowls, hats, etc. Probably tons more that I’m not thinking about. I’ve been wanting to make some paper mache crowns for a while and think they would be fairly easy to do. There are so many more options than just using balloons!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    June 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I love this idea! I am definitely going to try it with my kids.

  • Reply
    Sharon
    June 14, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    wow- this project will be sooo much easier. I tried to make paper machee igloo’s with my son using balloons. We hung them and applied the paper but it was too tricky with all the swinging. Doesn’t the paper mache’ shrink though? Did you wait until it was fully dry to take it off the bowl?
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  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    June 17, 2009 at 11:01 am

    We waited until the paper mache was fully dry before taking it off the bowl and didn’t have any problem getting it off. We covered the bowls with plastic wrap first, though, which definitely helped in the removal process.

  • Reply
    Liz S.
    April 20, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Ooohh… paper mache crowns. Jean, did you ever attempt that? If so, how did it turn out? I have a paper mache-loving daughter and she wants a princess party. I’m wondering if I dare combine the two loves?!?

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