Paper Mache Bowl

This Paper mache bowl may not hold water, but it keeps your yarn, tangle free.  Lightweight, durable and inexpensive to make.

Age: 8 and up

Difficulty: Easy

Time scale: 3 out of 5 not including drying time


large bowl (plastic if kids are involved)

plastic wrap, bag or tinfoil

masking tape


map or craft paint depending on the finish you choose


white glue (that dries clear)

1 inch paint brush

paper mache paste (flour, Salt, water, white glue)

plastic container

newspaper strips

There are various ways to contain yarn used for crochet and knitting projects. One is a yarn bowl with a little curly cue opening in the side, where the yarn is threaded through. They are usually made from wood or ceramic. This paper mache bowl is an inexpensive and durable alternative. 

Paper Mache Bowl Tutorial


Cover a large bowl with either plastic wrap, a plastic bag or tinfoil. Fold excess to the inside of the bowl. A snug fitting produce bag usually works best. Remove air pockets. You now have a mold to get the right shape for the paper mache bowl. 

Use masking tape to hold the plastic or tinfoil in place. 

Place the bowl upside down and start applying newspaper strips that have been dipped in paper mache paste. Make sure they are pressed down against the bowl to maintain the proper shape. 

Cover with three layers of newspaper strips. 

Set in a warm place to dry. 


When dried, carefully remove from the mold. This will be temporary at this point, since the paper mache bowl will not yet be sturdy enough. 

Use a pen or pencil to draw a curly shape that starts at the edge and goes about 3 inches down the side of the paper mache bowl. Simplify this project for younger kids by omitting this part.


Now, use scissors to cut out an opening in this curled shape. It will need to be about 1/2 an inch. This edge will have strips of newspaper added to it later. The very center must remain wide enough for the yarn to pull through, without catching. (Leave extra room to allow for the edge to have extra strips of paper added to it.)


Use masking tape and cover the very top part of the curly que. Yarn bowls usually have this part open but I filled this in, to add extra strength. 

Add narrow pieces of newspaper strips to this curled piece. Start from the outside of the paper mache bowl and fold piece over to the inside. Work your way all the way around the curl. (This part can be a little tricky.) 

Fold strips of paper over the top edge all the way around, to straighten the edge. 

Place the bowl back on the mold and add 3 more layers of newspaper strips to the outside. 

Let dry. 

Remove from the mold again and add a layer to the inside to smooth any rough or lumpy pieces.

Let dry. 

Check for thin spots and apply more layers of newspaper if necessary. Don't exceed 3 layers between each drying session. The tendency may be to add more layers at once to get finished quicker, but that only extends drying time. Not faster! It can end up molding before it has a chance to dry, if you have gooped it up too much. 

After the paper mache bowl has completely dried, it is time to decide how you would like to finish it. Paint it with craft paint or decoupage pieces of a map or tissue paper to it.


I like the decoupage technique using an old map. Don't expect it to be a map to somewhere, by the time you are finished. It is ripped into pieces about 2-3 inches wide, to make it easier to apply. They are placed randomly and in no particular order. Calgary may have ended up next to Vancouver, which you may know is not really the case. Since this is going to be used as a yarn bowl and not for a geography lesson, I don't think it matters. If it does matter to you and you like puzzles, the pieces can be painstakingly put together in the correct spot. All hodgepodge seems like more fun to me.


Mix 3 parts white glue to 1 part water. Test to make sure the glue dries clear. If you are using Elmers Brand there is no need to test because it will, but some other brands of glue may not.

Use a paint brush to apply the glue mixture to a small piece of the map. Stick it on the bowl and cover the top with glue as well. Start with the outside. Let dry.

Apply pieces of the map to the top edge and fold over to the inside of the paper mache bowl. Continue applying until completely covered. 

Let dry again.

Apply three thin coats of the glue mixture, drying between each coat.


I now have a lightweight, yet durable yarn bowl! No more tangled mess while doing a knitting or crochet project.

As for that map I ripped up...Don't need it, as long as the batteries don't go dead on the G.P.S. 


This paper mache bowl is a simplified version, that even kids will enjoy making. It is easier because it does not have the curled opening in the side.

This was made by 9 year old Kayla as a birthday present for her Mom. It was finished with craft paint, instead of decoupage.

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