Monday, May 23, 2016

Papier Mache

I've been thinking about Papier Mache— you know, that crafty thing you did as a kid, to make masks or the bust of Abraham Lincoln or a lopsided little bowl to give your mother for Mothers' Day to keep her rings in. A very messy, get-your-hands-gooshy activity that I loved. I had a yen to do it again. The last time I was at Powells, this used book, priced at $3.95 sort leapt off a shelf at me.

It was a sign.

I decided I needed (needed!) to make one of those cool yarn bowls with the side yarn guide to hold my knitting. A trip to the dollar store yielded a plastic flower pot that could work as a form and I found, online, a good recipe for the paste needed to make it happen. Gooshiness!

I tore up strips and bits of newsprint and started covering the outside of my pot with paper, well-gooped with paste, until I had a couple layers, then left it to dry overnight.

I thought the plastic pot form would slip right out when the paper dried, but it didn't. (Maybe I should have greased the pot...) So I cut through it with an exacto knife and pulled it off. After trimming the top and bottom edges evenly, I patched the cut side.

I drew my yarn guide on the side and cut it, and glued a circle of foam board in the the bottom of the bowl.

Then I covered it all, inside and out with a couple more layers of pasted paper, smoothing it out and really saturating it all with the paste, and set it outside in the sun to dry well.

I left it for several days to dry and harden. I sanded it lightly, then painted it inside and out with gesso. When that was dry I drew my design for painting it with acrylic paints.

I painted about 3 coats of acrylic to get good, solid coverage, then sealed it all with acrylic medium.

Here's my finished yarn bowl. It was about a weeklong project with all the layers and drying between. Pretty labor-intensive for what it was, but fun and satisfying.

Now, back to my "real" work!



  1. Anonymous8:32 PM

    Great result - it's always fun to try something different!

  2. Totally understand the need to do this, I love papier mache too!

  3. Anonymous5:55 AM

    How very clever of you! And it's beautiful. And it's useful. Hooray!!

  4. Cool! I actually liked it at the point it was when you put it outside to dry. The patchiness with the sun shining through is fascinating.
    But the colourful result is great, too! I have never seen the yarn guide idea. I might play with this for my friend who knits.

  5. What a great idea!