Papermache Beer Stein

What does papermache, a beer stein and a flower vase all have in common? Nothing, until now! Here is a unique project, I bet you haven't seen before.

Age: Adult

Difficulty: Hard

Time scale: 5 out of 5 

Papermache german beer stein flower vase


  • Papermache paste
  • Newspaper strips
  • Cardboard carpet tube
  • cereal box board
  • wax paper
  • Scissors
  • Saw
  • Sharp knife
  • Paintbrushes
  • Liner brush 
  • Tinfoil
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • White glue
  • Masking tape 
  • Small plastic container 
  • Sand paper medium and fine grit 
  • Polyform Air dry clay
  • Skewer stick
  • Clay shaping tools 
  • Small leaf shaped cutter
  • Clay cutter
  • roller
  • Clay extruder
  • hollow hole punch tool or outside of bic pen
  • Small leaf pattern stamp
  • Tissue paper 
  • Salsa jar that fits inside carpet tube 
  • Gloss spray sealer
  • Transfer/tracing  paper
  • White paper
  • Small ziplock bag 
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paper towel 
  • Craft paint:

Cinnamon brown 



Tan or off white

  • Reeves Water color paint set: 




Dark yellow



I had an assignment and wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but I was determined to find a way!

Find out how to make a German beer stein from papermache that can be used as a flower vase. Use for a German themed family reunion or an Octoberfest celebration. 

Ready to put your crafting skills to the test?

Instructions: Papermache Beer Stein

Cut two pieces of carpet tube, one 3 inches long and the other 8 inches.

roll cereal box board to make handle

Tightly roll a 10 long x 1.75 inch wide piece of cereal box board, leaving a 1 inch piece on each end that isn't rolled. 

Tape with masking tape.

Squeeze and bend into a C shape. Well, sort of but more squared off.  This will be the handle on the papermache beer stein.

attach handle

Hot glue on the side of the larger carpet tube about 1 inch down from the wider edge. It should also be up from the bottom about 1 inch. On the picture I don't quite have it down far enough, on the one end. I discovered later, this is not good when applying the decorative edge. Make sure you have that space, it will make things easier!

Add inner edge on cup

Squeeze the 3 inch piece so one side overlaps the other. 

Place it inside the longer piece of carpet tube. Mark where it overlaps. Remove and cut the overlap piece out of the smaller tube. 

Put back in, leaving it sticking up from the edge of the taller one about 1.5 inches. This creates a smaller lip on the inside of the  beer stein.

Hot glue in place. Don't leave any globby, glue globbers on your goblet.  In plain English, make sure it is smooth. 

Paper mache over base

Add two layers of newspaper strips dipped in the papermache paste, to the handle. Let dry. 

Do another layer on the handle paying close attention to adding pieces to connect it well with the mug.

Papermache the entire cardboard tube with two layers. Dry again.

Now add one layer to the inside. 

Leave the very bottom open. (I will tell you why later. There are very specific, important reasons for this.)

Use tinfoil for bottom rim

Cover the handle with air dry clay. Carve and shape it to resemble an old tree branch. 

Roll up a piece of tin foil about 1 inch wide and flatten.

Glue to side of mug around the bottom.

Cover tinfoil with masking tape.

extruder to make pieces for trim on cup

Use an extruder with a medium sized round hole to make a long snake with the air dry clay. Put this around the top edge, where the lip is on the cup.

Make another one to go above the very bottom edge, above the tin foil.

hollow hole punch to add design to clay

Add white glue first, before applying to get a good bond.

Make a circular pattern on this using a hollow hole punch tool or the outside of a bic pen.  

cover bottom edge with clay

Use the rectangle shaped extruder disc to make a flat ribbon of air dry clay. Cover the foil at the bottom. 

Curve it around and smooth it down. Add extra clay between the two pieces to fill in any gap.

castle design on beer stein

The picture for the papermache beer stein is a castle on one side and a family crest on the other. Use the castle pattern to help with the sculpting. Since the family coat of arms is family specific, you are on your own with that part.

If you are using the castle template, print it out on white paper. 

family crest sculpted with clay

Since I had to make eight of these at once,  I made a mold so all of the pictures were the same. If you are just making one, that isn't necessary. I wouldn't recommend making a bunch at a time. It is way too time consuming.

The design sticks out from the surface to give the papermache stein dimension and the sculpting takes time. Do just one, so you can get the picture looking it's best, without it taking a month of sundays. The picture can be way more detailed, because you won't have to worry about replicating it and having it look the same on other cups.

The picture is suppose to go all the way around the whole beer stein. Usually, one side has people portrayed doing something. Drinking, may be one activity. 

It would have been nice to make the tree trunk handle with the tree extending down on to the mug itself. That was my original plan but with eight of these to do, time was running out and I just couldn't manage it

To construct the castle, roll out the clay about 1/16th inch thick on a piece of wax paper. Put the pattern on the clay and trace around outer edge.

Cut out the whole castle shape. (Marked on the pattern, layer 1.)

Add white glue to the area on the mug where you will be placing the castle.

Peel the wax paper off and place the castle on the side of the cup.

Build the towers in sections and layers.  Vary the thickness according to the pattern. (Numbered for order that pieces are applied, to achieve depth.) 

made my own sculpting tool for windows

The castle has a lot of windows, so I made my own window shaper tool with a skewer stick and some air dry clay. This can be pushed into the clay to make each window uniform in shape and size.

adding texture to clay

The brick design on the castle was made by dragging the needle tool across the clay.  First do the horizontal lines and then the vertical ones. Make sure to stagger the vertical lines in each row.

leaf mold for pattern

Make a mold on a piece of clay for the leaves, using a rubber stamp with a small leaf pattern. Let the clay dry. You will now have a reverse stamp for the leaves. (It will make an outtie pattern, not an innie.)

flower design added

The edelweiss flowers are made using a small leaf shaped cutter.  Details are added with a needle tool. Use 7 petals per flower.

Add 3 tiny balls to the center of each flower. 

Use a smoothing tool to try to get rid of any lumps and bumps. It is easier to do it now, before the clay has dried.

Do the castle, the rocks and then the small leaf pattern underneath.

The flowers go on each side of these leaves. 

You can of course skip this and do your very own design, if you want. Shrubs and trees would have looked nice, instead. There is a great website that has detailed instructions for drawing your own castle.

If you are sticking the clay to any surface that has already dried, always put a layer of white glue first. 

Keep extra pieces of clay in a small ziplock bag. If you get interrupted part way through your sculpting, use plastic wrap to cover your work to keep the clay from drying out. 

When you have finished sculpting, let the clay dry.

Use medium then fine grit sandpaper to smooth any lumps or bumps. 

Mix dark yellow and a small amount of brown craft paint. Paint the top lip and bottom edge of the cup. The small strip with the circle design was painted a tan color. 

Paint the inside. 

So, this next part you may decide not to do (you can skip it and just add paint over the papermache.) I wanted an old antique look, so I did a tissue paper decoupage technique. I have done this on a few different craft projects. It is one of my favorite ways to get a unique finish on the papermache.  When I do the tissue paper decoupage, I don't have to paint over it, except for a wash to enhance the wrinkles. This time, there is a bit of a twist.  I painted over it, which I don't normally do. I will explain why, coming right up…. ( if you haven't fallen asleep yet! ) Well, almost coming right up, but not quite. 

Rip small pieces of tissue paper, about 2 -3 inches. Smaller ones will be needed in around the flowers.

Crumple, then straighten back out. There will still be crinkles in it but that was the point of crumpling it up. This is the one time that I can actually say, wrinkles are a good thing. 

Use a brush to apply a white glue/water mixture of two parts glue to one part water to the tissue paper. Apply to the cup in small sections at a time, around the sculpted clay picture. Use a clay tool to push the tissue paper down in all the little nooks and crannies. Cover the handle too. 

decoupage with tissue paper

Do three layers of tissue paper. Let dry.

Still awake? Now for my big explanation that you have been so patiently waiting for.  I bet you have forgotten by now, what I was going to explain. It is about why I painted over the tissue paper. I used a dark yellow tissue paper and I was just going to apply a wash over top. I  didn't like it. The family coat of arms picture I had put on one side,  was too close to the same color. I let it sit for a while,  so I could look at it and it just bugged me. It just had to be fixed! It wasn't fixing itself, just sitting there.

I painted over the tissue paper with tan coloured craft paint and it was starting to look better. You can save this step if you choose the right color tissue paper to begin with. 

When this has dried, do a wash over top.  Use 2 parts water to 1 part cinnamon brown paint. Let it sit for 30 seconds or so and wipe with a damp paper towel. Wipe carefully, so the tissue paper doesn't get damaged. One advantage to painting the tissue paper is, it won't damage as easily, when applying the wash. 

Now, it's time to paint the raised up picture that you sculpted on the mug. Paint with water color paints, so it has a wash effect, not a solid paint.

The castle was painted with the yellow ochre water color. Add shading with burnt sienna.

The roof and tops of the towers were medium blue. (Mix ultramarine blue with white.) 

Mix white with a tiny bit of black to make grey to fill in the windows.

Use grey to paint the rocks below the castle. Shade with darker tones of grey.

Flowers were painted white with yellow centres. 

The leaf design is in light green. 

Do a wash over the picture using the burnt umber brown.

When the paint has dried, spray on 3 coats of gloss sealer. (Drying between each coat). 

finished paper mache project

You left the bottom of the mug open, right? At the beginning, I said there was an important reason why. Actually, there are at least three reasons. This is designed to be a flower vase and to do that you slip a jar inside. The jar is what contains the water, not the beer stein itself.  If there was a bottom in this, once the water and flowers were put in the vase, it would be quite heavy. This puts a lot of stress on it,  if someone tried to pick it up by the handle.

Another reason the bottom is left open, is because this is not waterproof. The only way this will hold water is with a jar placed inside. Papermache can be made water resistant but only with special sealers.

The most important reason the bottom was left open is, sure enough, some silly dilly would probably try to fill it with beer and drink from it! (Especially if this is a decoration at a party). This papermache beer stein is not food safe! The spray sealer is toxic.

There you have it, papermache, a beer stein and a flower vase do have something in common! Combined All in one, using a simple trick, a salsa jar hidden inside. 

› Papermache stein

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