Homemade Paper Bowls

Another great craft idea from Patricia Zapata's Home, Paper, Scissors!

These paper bowls are super-easy and fun to make. All you need is:
  • A bowl to use as a mold (any shape will work - it doesn't need to be circular!)
  • Paper (2-3 sheets for a small to medium sized bowl)
  • Paper shredder, paper cutter, or scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Glue (1:1 ratio with water)
  • Water (1:1 ratio with water)
  • Plastic wrap

First, you'll want to select a bowl to use and cover the bottom and outer sides with plastic wrap (the bowl mold will be turned upside down when assembling the paper bowl).

Then get your paper together. This is a great way to recycle junk mail, newspapers, etc. but decorative paper looks great too. The paper needs to be cut in thin, 3 inch long strips. Paper shredders are great for this, but using a paper cutter or scissors is fine too, just more time consuming. The strips don't all have to be uniform but work best when cut to 1/4 inch width and 3-4 inch length.

All you need to use as an adhesive is a combination of water and glue. To make two small to medium sized bowls I used a regular 8 oz. bottle of Elmer's glue with 8 oz. of water. Whatever size or number of bowls you choose, make sure there is a 1:1 ratio of glue to water and that the two are well-mixed.

First, coat the plastic-wrap-covered bowl with the glue and water mixture (I used by hands throughout the whole process but a paint brush could work too). Then you can start applying the paper. I found it easiest to grab a handful of paper strips, put them all in the glue mixture, and the take them out one by one. For best results, start by layering the bottom of the bowl and, once the base is complete, work down the sides until the whole bowl is covered.

Before you throw out the glue mixture, make sure you like what you've got: check that all the sides are even, that there aren't any bald spots, etc. If there are pieces that aren't sticking too well, don't be afraid to add more glue to keep them in place.

Then you just have to wait 2-3 days for the drying process to run it's course. Once dry everything is dry, the plastic wrap makes it easy to remove the paper bowl from the mold bowl, and then the plastic peels quite easily from the inside of your brand new paper bowl!

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