This week, I wanted to put a new spin on everybody’s favorite childhood craft: paper mâché!
This Spectra Deluxe Art Tissue is great for these kinds of projects because the colors bleed when wet and give an excellent sense of unity in your work. (For my bowl, I used the bottom 5 colors.)
I started the way you would any other paper mâché project: by ripping up tons of little pieces of paper.
I made the tears mostly pretty big because tissue paper is thinner than newspaper, so any overlapping and bubbling would be less noticeable. I also wanted the pieces to be organic shapes, not just rectangular strips, because they would be contributing to the pattern as well as creating the bowl itself.
So I made piles of each of my colors and blew up a balloon to a pretty small size, because I just wanted a little catch-all bowl–if you have water balloons leftover from summer, those would work even better!
First I put down a coat of my Golden Soft Gel Medium (Matte)…
then I placed pieces of my tissue paper all over to cover the wet spots and painted another coat of gel medium on top of that.
Tip: Use matte finish for projects like this, because it will still give a little bit of sheen to your work, but it’ll also reflect less light and make it easier to see and appreciate your beautiful paper!
And I just kept adding layers like that! I found the most efficient way was to go layer by layer, rather than individual piece of tissue paper by individual piece of tissue paper.
This was about as deep as I wanted my bowl to go, but I added a few layers that went further down my balloon because I’d need them later to make the base.
Once I felt like I had enough layers (about 10-12), I flipped it upside down and let it dry in my handy little Halloween cat mug, which usually holds my turpentine–you’re definitely not going to want to use a cup you still drink out of.
I let that dry overnight, and then came the scary part…
It doesn’t matter how old you get or how prepared for it you think you are, popping a balloon is STILL a pretty jarring experience.
But, hey! The shape held!
As you can see, the balloon came out cleanly and in one piece.
Next, I made a line around the outside of my mold to mark off how deep I wanted my bowl to be, and then I cut the excess using a regular old pair of scissors.
After sitting overnight, the mold was mostly dry, but still slightly flexible, which made it very easy to cut. As it sits, though, it will become dryer and more sturdy.
With my excess, I trimmed it to clean up the edges and measured how much I would need to make the base of my bowl.
Then I cut it and sort-of bandaged the two ends together with some gel medium and a piece of tissue paper.
I slathered on a generous helping of gel medium, applied some pressure, and let it adhere to the bottom of my bowl.
When that had dried a bit, I started sticking more pieces of tissue paper around the seam to help fuse the two pieces together.
After 5 or 6 layers on the inside seam, I put about 3 or 4 on the outside as well.
Then I camouflaged the “bandages” with colors that corresponded with the pattern, to give it a more consistent look.
With a final coat of gel medium on the inside and outside, my bowl was complete!
I could have put more tissue paper on the inside of the bowl, but I really liked the way the colors bled together to make a less-intense version of the outside:
Tell me your favorite paper mâché projects! Or anything fun you’ve done with bleeding tissue paper!