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Monday, 28 March 2016

School Holiday Project 21 - Making Paper Mache Baskets

Paper Mache is such an old and trusted form of art and crafts that it hardly needs an introduction. Yet, every new generation needs a fresh introduction to it. Today's paper mache project is a pocket-friendly one where we use starch as an adhesive rather than glue.

Tear a double page of a newspaper into strips.

Rub a thick layer of Vaseline over the outside of a bowl the size and shape you want to use.

Scoop a couple of spoonfuls of cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add enough cold water to make a thick paste. Make sure there are no clumps.

Dip the newspaper strips in the flour paste.

Lay the dipped newspaper strips crisscross over the glass bowl.
Tip: Position your glass bowl over an object that is slightly smaller than the bowl so that the paper strips can hang down past the sides of the bowl. We will crop these to the desired length once the paper mache bowl is dry.

This is a rather messy craft, but cleaning up is real easy, so don't fret it too much. Leave the project to dry in direct sunlight for a day or more, until it is completely dry.

Once the project is completely dry, it will look something like this.

Carefully lift the bowl off its stand (the tin in my case).

Using a craft knife, or a pair of scissors, cut away the excess paper.

If the paper mache bowl does not release itself, you can warm the bowl with steam. This should melt the Vaseline layer and allow the bowl to loosen.

I used a thin palette knife to loosen any stubborn areas that insisted on clinging to the glass bowl. Once the glass bowl is out, let it soak in warm soapy water for a few minutes and the paste will wash right off.

I decided to trim my bowl down a little more as I did not want it quite so deep.

I then painted Gesso on both the inside and outside of the bowl and allowed it to dry. This will simply give me a nice stark white background to start my paint work on, rather than the ugly newsprint. It will also help to make the paint adhere to the inside of the bowl, where some Vaseline residue may be left over.

I used Dala Craft Paint to paint my bowl with. The inside of the bowl was painted a delicious-looking Custard.

I then used a pencil to draw some designs/patterns on the outside of the bowl.

How you paint your bowl is entirely up to yourself, but I'll share my color choices with you, if you are interested. Otherwise, simply skip down to the bottom of the blog for some ideas on sealing the bowl. I started here with Purple.

Back to Custard.

Some Burnt Orange curves.

A few Duck Egg dots.

Lovely Warm Red hearts.

Back to Custard again.

Warm Red flower petals.

This time I painted Purple curves.

White to set of my red hearts. (Note that I paint the already white Gesso a second coating of White as the Craft Paint has a crisper White than the Gesso).

Back to Burnt Orange.

And lastly back to Duck Egg.  Allow the paint to dry completely. Once dry, you can paint the bowl, inside and outside, with Dala Acrylic Gel Medium, or Modge Podge to seal it. I did not bother with mine, as it was meant to be a very temporary table decoration.

Finally, I can bring all my Easter elements together to warm some young, and not so young, hearts!

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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