I love working with paper mache! It is so easy for young kids to create something amazing. With my kids, I have made pinatas and one year we even made a paper mache pig. The other day my kids wanted to try to make something different, so we decided to make paper mache bowls!
One of the great things about paper mache is that you probably have everything you need already at home. To start, I cut up some old sheets of paper that my kids had doodled on – every day is earth day, my kids reminded me.
Next, make your mix. For the mix, all you need is flour and water. (1 part flour, 2 parts water). The consistency should be like melted ice cream or a bit thicker. We always find it best to mix with our hands. It is going to get messy anyways!
Next, blow up your balloons. I initially rested them in some paper cups to hold them in place, however, the cups were not stable enough, so we ended up using bowls.
Now it is time to start creating the bowls. Dip one strip of the paper you cut up into the flour and water mix. Make sure that it is fully covered. You can remove a lot of the mix before putting the paper onto the balloon. You don’t want the mix dripping off the paper when you put it on the balloon. However, you do want the paper fully soaked in the flour/water mix.
We tried to put a few layers on each of our balloons. The more layers you put, the thicker and harder it will become, but 2-4 layers is usually plenty. Make sure to criss-cross some of your sheets of paper for extra strength.
Both of my kids covered their balloons independently, which makes me love this activity even more. They end up with a creation that they know they created on their own.
If you are making bowls, you will only need to cover half of your balloon. For a pinata, you will need to cover the whole balloon.
After covering the balloons, leave them to dry for at least 24 hours. After they are completely dry, you are ready to pop the balloons. I usually cut a small hole in the balloon first and let it slowly break apart from the paper mache.
I like to paint a layer of white onto the paper mache before I add my other colors and details. The base coat of white will help cover up any marks or coloring on the recycled paper. Once the white paint is dry, you are ready to design your bowls!
I love the bowls that we ended up with. My kids experimented by adding sparkles to the paint and even sequins. Everyone was proud of their paper mache bowls – or hats as my daughter decided she had actually made. This activity is very messy, but so worth it!