Papier Mache bowls

It was a rainy day, I had a feeling that not many kids will turn up in the foundation after school, but I still went. And as it turned out not a single child had come in. It had been raining for two days and many kids had water in their homes, so they were staying back to clean. So that afternoon, it was only me, the two girls who work in the foundation and Namma, the director. I was sitting in Namma’s office, she had just come back from Israel and she was showing all the craft material she got from there for the kids. Suddenly she said “You know earlier I used to do a lot of craft activities.. we used to make bowls and lamp shades by sticking paper on to balloons and many more things, now I don’t have time”. Something in me said “let’s make it now!” and she said “now? Ya why not!”

And that’s when I learnt how to make these beautiful papier-mache bowls. The next day we did this activity with children. It is a long process as we need to wait for paper to dry out completely but everyone enjoyed it!

What you need

how to make papier mache bowls, art with heart, volunteering activities with childrenBalloons (one balloon per bowl)

Old newspapers

Glue (or make your own papier-mache glue)

Acrylic paint


A needle


Lots of children and some sunshine for quick drying 🙂



We started with blowing the balloons. While we doing that the younger ones started playing with them and we obviously needed more than one balloon per bowl as many kept bursting in the games! 🙂

Next we tore up the newspaper into smaller pieces and completely covered the balloons with newspaper (for bowls it is actually enough to cover just half the balloon) . We did three layers of newspaper on each balloon, which was good if the layering was perfect but later we realised that some kids didn’t really do three layers all over due to which the bowls were not as strong. So in retrospect, it’s better to do 5 layers! At the end of day 1 we left our balloons with the newspaper layer hanging so that they can dry completely.

The next day was the fun part. The children were looking at us with such anticipation on how will these paper covered balloons turn into bowls :). I pricked one balloon with a tiny needle… and phsssssss… it shrunk inside. Then we just cut them in half to get bowls. The bottom half became bowls and the top half with a hole in between became caps while we were painting.

how to make papier mache bowls, art with heart, volunteering activities with children

We first did a layer of a single cover. Once it was dry it was an open canvas for them! 🙂

making papier mache bowl

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