Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Making paper bowls

Preparing the pulp

Stirring the pulp

I have written out how to make the paper bowls - I hope that you can understand this!

You will need: bowls to be the mould - I used some small plastic bowls bought in the supermarket (originally for jellies at parties) , but you could use china or glass bowls. Petroleum jelly to grease the bowl
Plain flour
Waste papers - we used sugar paper in red, pink and yellow (not newspapers) Sugar paper gives a soft colour

Optional - cotton linters. These are used in craft papermaking and help to make your homemade paper stronger and smoother. They look a bit like sheets of blotting paper. We just added a one sheet to the mix. (This is where I usually buy linters in the UK, last time I looked they were £3.15 for 250gm)

A blender or food processor

Coloured threads or glitter for decorating

A large plastic container - we used a big storage tub

Making bowls this way is quicker than the tearing strips of paper method that you may done in school.

  1. You need to prepare the pulp the day before you want to make the bowls. Tear the paper into small pieces about 2cm square and add hot water to cover - this will help soften the fibres. I leave this over night.
  2. Blend the papers adding water till you have a mix that is a bit like fine porridge. Stir it up before using as the fibres will sink to the bottom of the tub.
  3. Coat the inside of your plastic bowls with vaseline to act as a release agent.
  4. You will need to use a starch-based glue - we used flour and water (3oz flour: 1 pint water) but you could use wallpaper paste. We added the flour and water to the pulp mix and stirred it in.
  5. It is useful to sieve the pulp as you go along, we would sieve some pulp over the tub and then put it in the mould bowl. You neeed to firmly press the pulp into the sides of the bowl. If you want to decorate the bowl with coloured threads you put them in now - think about whether you want them to show on the outside or inside of the finished bowl. As we pressed the pulp into the bowl excess water comes out which we tipped away as we went. You can also add glitter at this stage. Make sure there are no spaces left uncovered by pulp or you will have a hole! At this stage I gently pressed an absorbant J cloth over the bowl to take out some excess water.

We stood the bowls on the radiator to dry and they took two days to dry out. Once dry you should be able to slip them out of the mould. If the bowl is hot form the radiator be warned any vaseline left on it will show up but it will disappear once the bowl cools down.

The wet bowls in their moulds


  1. thanks for posting the pics and the 'how to'...looks like a perfect project for this weekend...and it might just get me back into paper making again!!! XXX

  2. What a huge fun! And great to do with little ones. I used to make my own paper ... you've got me tempted to get my old liquidiser out now ...

  3. Great tutorial, i think they are lovely! Have a wonderful weekend xx