Turn Newspapers Into Bowls!

Are you annoyed by all the spam magazines and newspapers that magically appear in your letter-box every week? Well, if so, this tutorial is for you. In this instructable, you'll learn how to make something that only doesn't look cool, but also has a purpose, out of paper.

Let's get started!

Step 1: What You'll Need

Parts and Materials:

  • Newspapers
  • A pencil (it really is important for the project)
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • A Hot glue gun (and hot glue sticks, you genius;)
  • Some sort of paper glue
  • Paint
  • A Few glass pearls (optional)
  • Lacquer

Note: Depending on the paper you're using, your bowl may turn out shiny. Just consider it if you're planning to paint the bowl later.

Step 2: Cutting and Rolling the Newspapers

Before cutting the newspapers, you have to decide, how 'fat' you want your layers to be. Thinner strips will give you a more 'detailed' result, and thicker strips will give you a jumbo style bowl. I decided to cut my newspapers into strips that are about 10 centimeters large, and it worked just fine.

To transform a paper strip into a paper stick, you'll need to roll the paper strip around a pencil at a slight angle. Also, don't forget to glue the end of the stick like shown on the photos. Note: It's a good idea to make also some thinner strips for the small details on the sides of the bowl, but that's optional.

Step 3: Making the Bowl

To make the bowl, you first need to transform one paper tube into a disk by rolling it as tightly as possible. When all the length of the tube is used, you can the next one by inserting it into the end of the first one. Repeat until you're satisfied with the size of your creation.

Also, don't forget to add some paper glue between the layers every once in a while. I made my disk the size of my palm, but of course you can go bigger or smaller if you want.

Note: When your circle is already a few centimeters in diameter (an inch), you don't need to add glue between all the layers because the paper glue won't be the only thing that'll be holding the bowl in piece (we'll add some papier maché glue).

Step 4: Making the Small Circles

I then made a bunch of small paper circles. Most of these were made by rolling paper tubes around a glue stick - leaving a large hole in the centre.

Smaller, denser circles can be used later to fill the gaps and add strength to the bowl.

Step 5: Giving the Pieces Their Final Shape

Now the pieces can be 'petrified', to make them more durable and to give the bowl its concave shape. To do so I used some homemade 'paper maché glue', made by mixing one cup of cornflour and one cup of water. I soaked all the pieces in the glue before giving them their final shape and letting them dry.

Note: don't forget to make the base of the bowl flat, so it can stand on a table.

Step 6: Adding the Handles

To glue the small circles in place, the easiest method is to use a glue gun.

The circles can be glued horizontally to make the bowl larger, or vertically, to make some handles.

First glue the larger circles in place, then the smaller ones, and last, the smallest ones. Try to fill all the space, but pay attention not to saturate everything.

Step 7: Painting the Bowl

It was then time to paint the bowl. I used yellow acrylic paint to make a thick base coat, and on the top of it, I applied some orange paint (in thin layers) to make a gradient and add some punch. Finally, I added some spots of red acrylic, to make the gradient a bit richer.

Note: It's really easy to overdo the effect by adding too much accent colour. So don't hurry - add the accent colour little by little.

If you like, you can also leave the bowl white, or paint it with spray paint (if you're planning to store food inside, please read the information on the back of the spray can, to confirm that the paint is food contact safe. Or you can just go crazy and do some Mondrian style art...

Step 8: Adding a Coat of Lacquer (optional)

If you want to get a very sturdy bowl, you can add a coat of lacquer. It doesn't only protect the paint from becoming dirty, but also adds a shiny effect to it, making the paint job look more professional.

Note: if you want, you can drop a few glass pearls in the lacquer, like shown on the photos.

Step 9: Other Designs

Of course, in the Paper Bowl World, there are no borders. You can make a bowl that is a foot large or a foot high, you can color your bowl with a glow in the dark paint, you can add as many small circles on the side as you want, or don't add them at all. The only limit is your imagination (and your patience).

On the picture top picture, you can see the first paper bowl that I made. The small circles are not perfectly balanced, so the bowl falls on its side when something is put into it. Also, the base is a bit too small, making the bowl less stable. But the second bowl I made was a lot more stable. I was able to learn from my mistakes. Don't worry if something you tried for the first time didn't turn out the way you wanted - failure is a normal part of progress. Just try again and don't give up! I hope you liked this Instructable. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! :)

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