A Paper Bowl Craft (Good For Kids, Too!)

Flashback to summer camp with me for a second. It was a law that required kids to learn the art of paper mache, right? Channel that fun, crafty, messy day with me and challenge yourself to try this project again as an adult and make a set of bowls for the home. If you’re feeling up to the mess, entertain your own summer-vacationing kids and invite them to participate — it’s one of many great rainy day kid craft activities.

make a set of nesting bowls with plaster of paris


Step 1

 Open GalleryPrepare your materials for DIY nesting bowls.You’ll probably find free newsprint laying around your house somewhere. Cut it into strips that are about 1″ in width. To make bowls like I am, it’s easiest to form the cast around a balloon. Inflate the balloon so that the base is the circumference you wish your bowl to be. If you’re doing nesting bowls, inflate a series of balloons that are slightly different sizes.

Mix your casting solution: Begin by mixing 1/4 cup white glue with 1 cup of water. The glue helps to give the solution extra strength. Mix in 2 cups of Plaster of Paris, and stir until smooth.

Step 2

 Open GalleryMoisten strips of newspaper and apply to the balloon to shape your bowl.Believe me, you won’t regret having laid a piece of plastic sheeting over your table before you begin this craft. Wet a few strips of newspaper in the solution, and remove excess by gently running the paper between your fingers. Human squeegie. Immediately stick the wet paper to the outside of the balloon.

Step 3

 Open GalleryShape your bowl with newspaper strips. It will want to stand upright like this while it dries.Continue to apply wet strips to the base of the balloon to form the outside of the bowl. Try and get the paper strips as smooth and molded to the balloon as possible. Layer the strips in every direction — overlapping creates strength in the design.

The weight of the paper on the balloon will encourage it to sit in an upright position as it dries for 8-10 hours. Note that the surface will become firm to the touch very quickly (Plaster of Paris sets fast), but the inside layers need longer to dry completely.

Step 4

 Open GalleryDeflate the balloon in your nesting bowl.When dried, pop the balloon and allow it to deflate and shrivel up inside the form. Let the kids do this part — for some reason it’s endlessly fascinating. You may find that your bowl feels moist to the touch once the balloon is removed. If this is the case, allow it to air dry for a few more hours to set.

Step 5

 Open GallerySee how your DIY nesting bowls fit together!Pretty nesting bowls! See how they fit, and take some time to trim any excess paper from along the edge of the bowls so that the finish is smooth.

Step 6

 Open GalleryPaint your bowls to suit.When your bowls are completely dry, bring on the paint accents! I chose to line each of my nesting bowls with a metallic gold paint, and then painted the outer layers with a simple white for contrast.

Step 7

 Open GalleryHow to make gold-lined nesting bowls at home.Enjoy the finished bowl — or set of nesting bowls — in your own house. While lightweight, the plaster and glue make them very sturdy and capable of holding simple decor, or they look great just sitting pretty as a crafty accent.


  • Balloons
  • Newspaper strips
  • 2 cups Plaster of Paris
  • 1/4 cup white glue
  • 1 cup water
  • Craft paint
About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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2 Responses

  1. janet bennett says:

    A really good project for Easter.

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