Papier-mache for grown-ups

Admit it, you’re biased against papier-mache. Remember that stuff you used in elementary school with the lumpy stinky flour-and-water mixture and the goopy newspaper strips? Remember layering those strips over a balloon to make what a generous person might call a bowl-like shape? And then letting the whole thing dry for eleventy-billion days before you were allowed to decorate it?

Okay, it’s possible that I’m the only one with negative papier-mache childhood memories. But Nicki and I got intrigued when we heard our friend Linda’s funny story about “paper make-my-day” (her young daughter’s interpretation). We thought, what if we could find a less messy and more visually pleasing way to use papier-mache in the studio?

As it turns out, there are lots of ways to use papier-mache as an art material for sculptures and other objects d’art, although many of them are just as complicated as that old balloon-and-newspaper-strips technique. Nicki did a little experimenting and found a simple way to use rice flour (no lumps!) with decorative papers on a paperboard base. This photo shows the bowl shapes (which she created from cereal boxes)—a choice of two:


And here’s a bowl in progress, with circles of decorative paper on the outside and map bits on the inside:

The rice paste mixture dries pretty quickly, and the finished bowl gets a layer of sealant to protect it and add sturdiness. You can’t eat your breakfast cereal out of these bowls, but they’re great as decorative containers for everything from paper clips to potpourri.

Want to give it a try? You’re invited to the studio this Saturday, September 29 (1:30-3:00 p.m.) to make your own papier-mache trinket bowl, using your choice of pre-formed bowl shapes and any of our decorative collage papers. Register here or email us at for more information.












About Tracy @ Bent Tuba Studio

Claim your creative power! We offer art workshops and other resources for women who want to reconnect with their inner artist.

Comment here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: