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Make Papier Mache Bowls with Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
June 11, 2009

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.

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 Project Three 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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