How To Make A Bowl

Learn how to make a bowl using paper strips and glue. Papier mache is such a versatile medium, it's a great craft for all the family. 

Papier Mache is the French term for mashed or chewed paper, it is often referred to as paper mache so we will use both terms on our pages.

I will show you how to make a bowl using old newspapers and glue. These gorgeous bowls were made by covering a mold with paper strips. The same mold produced all three bowls which all look quite different from each other.

Materials and Equipment

  • A bowl shaped mold
  • Newspaper
  • Glue - See our glue tips below
  • Paint brushes for glue and paint
  • A bowl of water
  • A suitable board for pasting your paper
  • Paint or paper for decorating

Types of Glue

You can use any of the following glues to make your papier mache bowl. As you will see from the photo's in our how to make a bowl instructions we used PVA glue.

Wallpaper Paste - Mix to the manufacturers instructions for the thinnest paste. Most wallpaper pastes contain a fungicide which is great as it will stop mold from growing on your papier mache items but makes it unsuitable for use with young children.

PVA - If you are using white glue such as PVA then you will need to water it down. Use 1 cup of PVA to 1 cup of water.

Flour and Water Paste - Is non-toxic and cheap but can be very messy. Put 6 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Put 1/2 a cup of flour into a bowl and mix with a cup of cold water to make a thick paste with no lumps. Add the paste to the boiling water and stir for a couple of minutes until the paste has thickened. Leave to cool before using.

Mia’s Top Tip

We often use wallpaper paste especially on large projects.

As wallpaper paste contains a fungicide it does help to stop mold from growing.

We rarely use the flour and water paste any more but found it great for young children who may still put their sticky fingers in their mouths.

How To Make A Bowl Tutorial



Tear some of your paper into small strips and put them into the bowl of water.




Tear the pieces of paper into smaller strips and place onto your mold.

This layer will stop the paper from sticking to the mold.




Completely cover your mold in wet strips of paper.


Take a small sheet of paper, about A4 size.

Try to use a different color than the first layer if possible as it makes it easier to see where you have covered.

Brush P.V.A glue on both sides of the paper.



Tear the sheet into strips as you work.

Make sure that you overlap each strip and smooth out any air bubbles.

Completely cover the mold with a pasted layer of paper.

Continue covering the mold with strips of paper.

Alternate between colors of paper if possible.

Once you have done 5-6 pasted layers place the mold in a warm place to dry.

This can take a few hours to a couple of days depending on where you leave your mold.

Once the paper is completely dry remove it from the mold.

Peel off any loose pieces of paper from the inside of the bowl.

The first layer was not glued on so may just peel off.

You can finish the bowl as it is try one of our craft ideas below.

Paste the inside and outside of the bowl with P.V.A glue to seal any loose strips of paper, leave to dry.



Once your bowl is completely dry prime the surface with some white emulsion paint.

This gives you a great surface to paint on and covers up the newsprint.


Paint or decorate to suit your own style and taste.

The bowl in the picture was painted with burnt umber artist acrylic.

Once the paint was dry we dry brushed on a little gold acrylic before varnishing.

Mia’s Craft Ideas

When your bowl is completely dry you can cut it down to change it's shape if you want.

For the bowl in the photo above cut the lip off completely and seal the edges with a few paper strips before painting.

The one in the photo on the right was trimmed to leave a slight lip all the way around bowl.

More paper strips were added to seal the cut edges and to give the lip a bulkier look. The whole bowl was the covered in scraps of colored paper then varnished.

What would you like to do now?

Return to top of How To Make A Bowl where you can choose one of Mia’s craft ideas from the navigation bar on the left.

Go to our Paper Crafts page to find more great craft ideas.

Visit Mia’s Craft Ideas home page to find out more about our website and Mia’s free craft ideas.

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