A paper mache bowl is a really creative and inexpensive gift for kids to make and give. The process does require a bit of time because of the drying time, but the results are gorgeous!
When I was pondering some ideas for homemade Mother’s Day gifts that we could make here in my home daycare, Paper Mache Bowls came to mind.
I envisioned a small colourful bowl to hold house-keys, loose change, paper clips etc. (You might also like our woven paper plate bowls).
I’d never done a paper mache project with toddlers and pre-schoolers before. In fact, I hadn’t done any paper mache since high school so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
I’m happy to say, I was beyond thrilled with the way our homemade bowls turned out!
Aren’t they gorgeous?
I’ll show you how to make them.
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How to Make Paper Mache Bowls
Supplies and Ingredients for Paper Mache Bowls
Prepare your bowls:
I dug a few plastic bowls out of our camping gear, and covered them with plastic wrap, taping it in place. This step is necessary so your paper mache will release easily from the plastic once dry.
You can also coat the bowl with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, but it’s a good deal messier.
How to make paper mache paste:
I mixed up a “paper mache paste” using a cup of flour and some water. Just add enough water, and whisk smooth until it resembles thin pancake batter or wallpaper paste. I added a couple of tsps of salt to prevent mold from growing.
Strips of construction paper or newspaper or paper bags can be used for paper mache. We used paper bags cut into strips about 1 to 1.5 inches wide.
How to Paper Mache:
Dip your strips into the paste, run the strip through your fingers to remove excess paste, and lay the strip over the bowl, molding it into place.
Continue until your bowl is covered.
Extend the edges of the paper strips beyond the rim of your bowl a little. You’ll trim them up and even them out once it’s dry.
Drying your Paper Mache:
We set our bowls upside down over some jars, and we put them by the fireplace for 24 hours. They were fairly fragile when they were dry so we added another 2 layers of paper mache strips, and let them dry for another day or two.
When I was certain that they were completely dry, we popped them off the plastic bowls, and I evened up the edges with some scissors.
Painting the bowls
Today the colourful, creative fun began as we painted our paper mache bowls.
We used acrylic craft paint to paint our bowls, and we sped up the drying process with the help of our hairdryer.
Each Hooligan chose a colour for the outside of their bowl and a different colour for the inside, and they set to work painting them. I left the colour choices completely up to them, as I wanted the kids to choose whatever colour combinations they desired.
Then the kids decorated their bowls with some accent colours.
We gave them another blast with the hairdryer and then the bowls were ready for a coat of craft varnish.
Varnishing our bowls
I brushed the bowls inside and out with one coat of craft sealer and they dried quickly.
What a beautiful gift for a child to make and give!
If your child would like to make his or her bowl extra special before giving it to Mom, how about filling it with these homemade bath bombs from Red Ted Art.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing moms out there! Have a wonderful day!
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.