Paper mache is a great material for making light-weight boxes and bowls. This post contains instructions for making a heart shaped paper mache box with lid, as well as a bowl. The first part of the heart shaped box project is to make a box from thin cardboard. (If you prefer to make a bowl instead, please skip to the section “How to make a paper mache bowl” at the end of this post.)
Part 1: How to make a heart shaped box
You will need:
- Thin cardboard
- A cutter knife or scissors
Here you can see the resulting box. The heart on the left of the photo is the lid and the one on the right is the bottom.
Part 2: How to make and apply paper mache
You will need:
- One thin cardboard box (from Part 1)
- A paint brush
- Spray varnish
- Decorative paper for the final layer of paper mache OR paint OR decorative pieces such as used stamps (all optional)
|6. Prepare glue for making the paper mache by mixing 1 table spoon of flour with 1/2 cup of water. Add a pinch of salt to help prevent the glue from molding. Boil the mixture for a few minutes. It will not make much glue, but do not worry; a little goes a long way. If the glue seems too thick, add a bit more water. Let it cool.|
|7. Prepare strips of newspaper, about 8 cm (3″) long and 2 cm (3/4″) wide. You can make these strips with scissors, but I prefer to do so by simply ripping the newspaper.|
|8. Now it is time to cover the box with paper mache.
Use a paint brush to thinly spread the glue onto one side of a newspaper strip. Then, attach it to the box, and smooth it out with your fingers.
Completely cover all the surfaces of the box (both the lid and the bottom) with the strips. I recommend that you overlap the strips.
|9. When done, leave the pieces to dry completely. (Depending on the season, the drying process might take more than a day.)
|10. You can cover the dried paper mache with strips of decorative paper, paint, etc. My daughter decided to leave the newspaper strips exposed.
Also, you can use stickers or stamps to decorate your box. Click here for instructions for removing used stamps from envelops.
|11. Spray the box with varnish. This will make it a bit shiny and provide a protective coating for the paper mache.|
Now your heart shaped paper mache box with lid is finished!
Here is how to make a paper mache bowl:
Step 8: Apply the paper mache strips only to the OUTSIDE of the mold, as shown in the photo on the left. Overlap the strips in about 4 layers to make a thin but sturdy bowl.
Step 9: When the paper mache is dry, flex the plastic container a bit and then separate the container from the paper mache. The inside layer of the paper mache may still be a bit damp. If so, leave it to dry completely. (You can trim the rim of the bowl with scissors.)
If you would like to share an image of your paper mache box or bowl, please visit Muumade’s Gallery.
Happy paper crafting!