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DIY Painted Paper Maché Bowls

DIY Painted Paper Maché Bowls Project

Did we all grow up hearing the idiom, “Life is just a bowl of cherries?” I’m not even sure where I learned it, but I know it means life is good. And so it is.

It has now been a couple of months since I got my fabulous new bionic shoulder, and I am finally beginning to truly enjoy doing projects again. I can’t tell you how exciting that is for a stencil and project maven like me.

I decided to experiment this month for PaintAndPattern.com. I chose a simple paper maché project, using a little bit of Royal Design Studio stenciling with a lot of Royal Stencil Cremes to see what springtime fun I could conjure up to share.

So, let’s make a delicate trio of bowls to hold all sorts of lightweight items, from little air plants, to desk accessories, to party favors. This is best done over a weekend. For example, make the bowls first, then paint them, then stencil them. Drying time is important, but this is perfect to do at the beach, on spring break with the kids, or

even all by yourself accompanied by a movie you’re dying to find time to see.

Note: If you have a favorite flour and water recipe for making glue, that will work instead of the white glue.


  • Any Royal Design Studio Stencil. I used a small section of a large pattern, Snowflake Lace Stencil
  • Royal Stencil Cremes in Orange Ice, Renaissance Red, Shimmer Pink, Flat Black
  • Royal Design Studio ¾” Stencil Brushes
  • Stain-blocking primer, like Zinsser from a hardware or

    paint store

  • Cooking spray
  • White glue like Elmer’s or any brand
  • Round balloons, newspapers, white copier paper (optional), foam or disposable brush, containers, stir sticks, scissors, water, rags, old cardboard or anything to cover the surface



Blow up your balloons. I decided on three bowls, but you could make a bunch for an event or party.



Tear a lot of strips of newspaper about 1” wide, and tear them again widthwise to make shorter strips. I found out quickly that I needed a lot more paper than I thought, so if you are working alone, make plenty, because if you don’t you will have to stop and wash the glue off your hands each time you run out.



Use a wide, flat container to mix up about half glue and half water. Again, make more than you think you’ll ever need.


paper mache bowls

Prep the surface with

a dropcloth, newspaper, or cardboard. Work in an area where you can spray. Find a good container to hold each balloon while you work on it. My paintbrush water container worked great. Lightly spray one coat of the cooking spray. My can sprayed what I decided was a heavy coat, so I used a paintbrush to take some off to keep the newspaper strips from sliding.

Dip a newspaper strip into the glue mix and pull off excess with your fingers. Keep a wet rag nearby because this gets messy. Be prepared for interruptions as it is a long process. Lay 4 to 5 layers of strips on each balloon. I had read that using white paper as the last layer would help save later coats of paint but, honestly, after trying that I, not convinced it matters.

Set each completed balloon in another container to dry. Be sure the container is large enough that the balloon won’t roll over. I found that out the hard way.

Let dry 24 to 48 hours. No kidding!



Use scissors or a pin to pop the balloons. Let dry some more if need be.

Decide how deep you want to make your bowls – they can be as deep as the paper, or much shallower. Cut with scissors until you like the look. If you leave the bowl very shallow, you may be able to stencil a bit on the


Brush on 2 coats of primer and let dry according to instructions.


DIY Painted Paper Maché Bowls Project

Paint the outside of the bowls with Flat Black Stencil Crème. Paint the insides each a different color. I loved using the variations of pinks and orange. You may need two coats. Let dry overnight.

As soon as cherries hit the farmers market, that’s what’s going in my little painted treasures. For now, lovely North Carolina azaleas.


DIY Painted Paper Maché Bowls Project

Find the bottom of each bowl and stencil a little surprise signature stencil. One or two coats will work.

OPTIONAL: You do not want to put any liquid in your bowls, but you can insert a small container of water with flowers if you seal them by painting on a couple of coats of clear shellac that can be purchased at a paint or hardware store. Definitely seal first to serve food, like chips or candy, to be sure they are food safe. Follow all directions on the shellac container.

Royal Design Studio Wall Stencils and Paint Supplies for DIY Projects

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