I'm sure you've seen plenty of home goods made of recycled paper lately. Bowls, trivets, picture frames, boxes - you name it and someone has found a way to recycle paper to make it. As a collager of sorts, I collect plenty of magazines and was looking for a way to put all those pages without any useful images to good use. I decided to make a large decorative bowl since my dining room table was looking pretty sparse. But instead of going the traditional route and allowing the original colors of the papers to show, I decided to give my finished bowl a coat of rich red paint to make it fit just a bit more with my dining room decor.
At first I had a little trouble with this one. Rolling pages from magazines into small little rounds is actually a bit challenging if you don't know the proper method or use pages of the appropriate weight. I found that magazines that come at a bit of a heftier price, such as Martha Stewart Living or Bon Appetit, tend to also have a more sturdy and thick paper - great for collaging but not as ideal for this project. Magazines like Cooking Light and Woman's Day worked out really well for me! I used nearly all the pages from one magazine to make this large bowl, so you shouldn't need more than one or two on hand to complete this project.
My simple instructions for the proper rolling method (after much trial and error) are as follows.
1. Roll the paper tightly on a diagonal starting from one corner. Apply a little glue (stick glue works best for this one) on the opposite corner to fully secure your rolled page. Full pages work as do sheets cut in half length- and width-wise. I think it's fun to use a variety of page dimensions so you have circles of all different sizes in your final bowl.
2. Then you need to flatten your long roll and create your circle. Start by folding one end in on itself about one centimeter, then roll the paper around the folded end. Once again, stick glue is the easiest kind to use to secure these circular rolls. A little glue on the last two inches of the paper strip will do!
3. Once you have a good amount of rolls (at least 100), you can create your bowl. I started from the bottom up. On a flat surface, arrange a few of your rolls in a circular fashion so that each roll is touching those directly next to it at as many points as possible. These will function as the base of the bowl. Use hot glue to secure them together.
4. To create the sides of the bowl, I used another bowl as my form. I turned the model bowl upside down and placed the already hot-glued base upside down on the model bowl's base. Then I used hot glue to apply additional rolls down the sides from the base, once again being sure to try to make each roll connect with those directly adjacent to it as much as possible. (This step does not need to be done upside down or by using a model bowl, I just found it a bit easier to keep a symmetrical and even shape this way.)
5. One of the benefits of using hot glue is that it dries super quickly so you can finish assembling your whole bowl in a relatively short period of time. Then once your done, you can start using it right away or use a little spray paint to add some color. I sprayed a few coats of cranberry red on all surfaces of my bowl.
I was surprised to find that I finished this entire bowl in a single day. At first it took me a little bit of time to get my rolling method down, but once I mastered this step, I popped in a good movie and went to town. The bowl assembly goes quite quickly once all the rolls have been completed. All in all, I'd say the project took me about 4 to 5 hours.
This project doesn't require the mastery of any difficult technical skills and once you've got all those that are required, you can create a variety of projects out of these paper rolls, all for the price of a magazine and a few sticks of hot glue. It's a great way to reuse old materials and these make great gifts too!