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DIY Paper Bowl

DIY Paper Bowl

By Jessica Jones, How About Orange

A little decoupaged bowl made out of songbook pages I found in the dumpster. Here’s the how-to.

1. Get some paper (newspaper, scrap paper, packing paper, anything that’s on the thinner side), Mod Podge or PVA glue, a bowl with a smooth bottom that will be your mold, and either plastic wrap or foil.

2. Wrap the outside of your bowl with the plastic wrap or foil. Smooth it down as much as you can and fold the edges into the center of your bowl.

3. Rip up your paper into bits.

4. Flip your wrapped bowl upside down and set it on some sort stand, like a glass or jar. Coat both sides of each paper scrap with Mod Podge. (I dipped mine in the glue and used my fingers to smear it on.) Smooth each piece onto the outside of your bowl, overlapping the edges. (See here for pictures of the process on a similar project.) I kept adding paper until I had about 3 layers.

5. Wait for the bowl to dry. Mine took two or three days. Seriously. Wait until every last bit of glue showing through the plastic wrap dries clear.

6. Freak out a little bit, wondering if you’ll be able to pull your original bowl out of the paper. Pull the bowl out of the paper. Breathe a sigh of relief. Remove the plastic wrap.

7. Use a sharp scissors to trim off the rough edges of the bowl.

8. Paint if desired. I was just going to do just the inside, but decided to keep going. (Note: painting your vessel white will make it look like a creepy mummified bowl, so be prepared to add some decoration. I used a DecoColor paint pen to draw on a design.

Please don’t eat cereal out of your bowl and sue me when you get sick. It’s not food safe! Use it for wrapped candy or keys or loose change.

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Veronica Peterson

Veronica Peterson has a background in green design and creative writing. She loves discovering and sharing sustainable ways to enrich life. Veronica is a happy urbanite, who lives above a produce market in San Francisco with her dog Winnie.


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4:20AM PST on Dec 7, 2014


3:09PM PST on Dec 6, 2014

This is so clever, and thanks for the warning in step 6.

9:56AM PST on Dec 6, 2014

I'm with Kirsten B. has to be flour and water and an old but clean paint brush!!! Cheaper!!!

9:53AM PST on Dec 6, 2014

Great idea for the little ones to make, they'll love getting messy and they'll be so proud of the end result. Going to granny's house and finding it filled with sweets, or small Xmas baubles will ensure they'll want to do some more for every member of the family!!! It's also a brilliant way to use up all that colourful used gift wrapping paper. I have 2 large paper sacks one filled filled with old Christmas wrap and the other with old birthday wrap...picking out the right pieces for the next piece of artwork is almost as much fun as the messy bit!!!

12:39PM PST on Dec 27, 2013


12:59PM PST on Nov 25, 2012

I loved doing decopauge when I was younger and I like the idea of using bowls as molds and plastic wrap. Feeling inspired.

1:16PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Interesting technique...

4:33AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

Perfect project for my little one to make for her grandmother! Thank you! I'll use traditional papier maché glue for it though (flour and water).

4:52AM PDT on Aug 22, 2010

i make these every year, varying the types of bowls i use to get different shapes. they are always well received as gifts. i paint both sides of the bowl and tear round the edges to give a different look, then varnish all over for a nice shine. we use one at home for loose change and it's still going strong after 7 years. lovely article, thanks veronica.

10:51PM PST on Jan 7, 2010

These are so cool, I think these would look great as vases as well!!. What a beautiful idea. I think I’ll try making a few for a very special group of friends. Thanks for sharing!
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