Ever wondered how to make a paper bowl? Here are step-by-step instructions and the link to a video I created for the project, too.
Do you ever think you’ve invented something all on your own?
You think of a craft or a DIY or a design or a project and you come up with an idea.
And you think you are one of the first ones to come up with it?
That was me.
Yesterday at 9:27 am to be exact.
I wanted to add some more book page projects to the bookcases in the living room and a light bulb went off. What if I taught myself how to make a paper bowl? What if I took book pages and created a sculpture? What if I created a three-dimensional bowl from two-dimensional paper.
Could it be done?
Would the bowl hold up?
Would it be sturdy enough?
Could I? Would I? Should I?
Make a paper bowl.
So I experimented.
And I tried this and tried that and crossed my fingers and hoped that it would work.
(total aside: if you want to hear what sheer joy sounds like? Just listen to the video right at 5:16.)
And in amazing craft news?
IT TURNED OUT EVEN MORE AMAZING THAN I THOUGHT.
If you are looking for a super easy craft that will bring you SO MUCH satisfaction and look so cute and make you so happy?
This is the craft I invented for you.
Except I didn’t.
Invent it that is.
When I posted it a sneak peek over on Instagram all these people started chiming in.
And telling me their bowl stories.
And how they used to make these in elementary school.
I didn’t invent how to make a paper bowl.
Not. Even. Close.
But let’s just overlook that fact right now. Just because I didn’t invent it doesn’t make it any less cute.
If you want to make your own, I have step-by-step instructions below and video instructions here.
Here’s how to make a paper bowl.
HOW TO MAKE A PAPER BOWL
Step 1: blow up your balloon
Blow up your balloon and place it in a container to make it easier to do the craft.
Keep in mind that the size of your balloon determines the size of your bowl.
I made a small, medium and large bowl.
My balloon was a different size for each bowl.
How to make a paper bowl step 2: Cut pieces of book page paper
You don’t have to use a book page for this.
You could use scrapbook paper in any pattern.
Maybe floral or striped or polka-dotted.
I like using scrapbook paper for this because it’s thick enough to hold it’s shape. If you want to use a thinner paper like wrapping paper or napkins, you would need to add several layers to give the bowl stability and sturdiness.
Also, I tried different sizes and shapes of paper and I think smaller squares of book page paper that are about 3″ x 3″ in size work best. If it’s larger than that, it’s harder to shape on the balloon. Smaller than that and the pattern looks too choppy.
Step 3: Mod Podge the paper onto the balloon
Using a brush, start by adding Mod Podge to the balloon.
Paint more Mod Podge onto the back of the piece of book page paper and apply it to the balloon.
The MORE Mod Podge the better. You want to make sure you cover every inch of the paper. Don’t worry if your paper doesn’t lay flat immediately. The Mod Podge will soften it, but it takes time to lay flat. Keep adding Mod Podge until your paper is covered and then layer another piece of book page paper on top.
Keep adding paper until your balloon is covered.
It’s important to note that the height of the sides of your bowl is determined by how far you extend the book page paper around the balloon. The more you cover the balloon, the higher your sides will be. The less you cover the balloon, the more shallow your bowl will be.
You can see in my pictures that my smallest bowl is the shallowest because I didn’t add additional paper to the sides. I wanted to experiment and see how the bowls turned out.
Step 4: Press down the Mod Podge
Once you’ve covered the balloon, let the Mod Podge almost dry and then use a brush to press down the edges. At this point the Mod Podge is still soft and it’s easy to press down the edges of the paper that’s sticking up.
You can even add a little more Mod Podge here if needed.
The goal is to have the surface of the bowl as smooth as possible.
How to make a paper bowl step 5: Cut the balloon away
This is by far the most satisfying step of the project.
You can see it in the video how amazing it is.
The balloon just pulls away from the sides of the paper and leaves a bowl behind. If it gets stuck at all, you can use gently use tweezers to pull the balloon away from the paper.
Just between us? I was worried. I wasn’t sure how this part was going to turn out, but the balloon just pulls away easily. You can see here how there’s still Mod Podge around the edges that’s sticking up. Don’t worry about that. We can just trim that off later when we trim the edges of the bowl.
There’s a ton of Mod Podge in the bottom of the bowl, so you want to let that dry before step 6.
Step 6: trim bowl and add sealer
You can leave the edges of the bowl rough if you want more of a sculptured look or you can trim the edges with scissors to create a uniformed edge. There may also be some extra Mod Podge that dried on the edge. You’ll want to trim that off as well.
Lastly, you can seal the bowl with acrylic sealer.
It’s SUPER important that you use a water-based sealer so your bowl stays clear. If you use an oil-based product, it will yellow your bowl.
The sealer comes in different finishes. You can choose glossy or satin or flat depending on the look you want for your bowl.
Paint the sealer on with a brush and let it dry.
Here are the finished bowls on my kitchen counter. I styled them with some wood beads and scrabble tiles, but here are some other ways you could use them:
- place them beside your bed to hold your rings
- place them by the back door to hold keys
- decorate with them on a stack of books
- use them to hold the remote on a side table
- I think I might use them to hold the extra scrabble tiles for this project
I can’t even begin to explain to you how much I love them.
They were basically FREE to create because I already had all the supplies.
Isn’t it funny how what is old becomes new again?
Just like stirupped pants.
And the band Journey.
I guess somethings are just so amazing they need a second act. 🙂
PS I also made this project using a similar technique.