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Papier-Mâché Decorative Leaf Bowl

Frugal Crafts and Homemade Gifts (featured column)
Submitted by Maria Mercedes

Paper mache decorative leaf bowl

However you spell it, paper mache is easy to make and fun to work with. Here's a frugal way to make beautiful decorative bowls for your home, or to give as gifts.


Bowl (for molding)
All purpose flour
Plastic wrap or aluminum foil
Masking Tape
Gesso or white paint
Paint colors: burnt umber, red, green
Brushes: small, medium and a fine one for details
Varnish (optional)
Elmer’s glue (optional)
Miscellaneous materials: paper towels, pencil, sand paper, container (for mixing paste)


1. Cover working space before making paper mache. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap and tape.

bowl covered with plastic

2. Mix flour and water into a creamy paste. Also, add a little bit of salt (teaspoon). I also like to add a little bit of Elmer's glue to the paste but it is not mandatory.

paper mache paste

3. Once the paste is mixed, proceed by ripping strips of newspaper along its grain, dip them into paste, wipe excess and apply to bowl. Make sure you overlap strips of paper. Sometimes it’s easier if you the strips of newspaper are cut before you begin.

paper mache bowl

4. Once the bowl has dried, sand slightly. Then apply gesso or white paint. Let dry.

bowl with leaves drawn on

5. Transfer leaf pattern randomly to bowl.

painted bowl

6. Paint leaves green, the bowl burnt umber and red or any other color of your choice. Once everything is dry, with a fine brush, paint the veins of the leaves.

7. Varnish if desired.

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Copyright © 2013 by Maria Mercedes. All rights reserved.

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