When New Year’s Eve was just a glimmer on the horizon, I did a papier mache activity with the kids. I ended up with a bowl. I decoupaged it. And then it sat. I liked it but never really did anything with it. Until… Ryan Seacrest went live from Times Square, 2012 was one foot out the door and my bowl got the nod for the starting centerpiece position of our New Year’s feast.
First, the construction. I had helpers. I mentioned papier mache here, but here’s a more detailed explanation.
You need a bowl… preferably a malleable one as it makes releasing your papier mache much easier. (I found this plastic one at Goodwill for $1.) The mix I used was equal parts water and flour. Then I cut newspaper into small strips (maybe 1″ wide and 4″ long).
I wrestled Eleanor and Oliver into their smocks and they helped me dunk the newspaper strips into the paste. Next we smoothed them onto the bowl. With each strip, I tried to scrape away some of the excess liquid with my fingers. I went back over the bowl with an additional few layers of newspapers once the kids lost interest. You want to be careful that the whole thing isn’t TOO wet as then it may not dry out adequately, so 3-4 coats of newspaper with a thin coat of paste is perfect.
I left the bowl to dry for a few days. Once the papier mache had hardened, I removed the underlying plastic bowl. My papier mache didn’t slide off as easily as I would have liked so I had to cut a short slit down one side to give me a way to pry the bowl free. You can see the cut in the picture below on the left edge of the bowl. (I was planning to decoupage the bowl anyway, so I knew I could tape this bit back together and it would get covered.) After taping the cut, I trimmed the rough edge and reached for my mod podge.
Just like I did for these storage drawers, I mod podged pages from an old encyclopedia onto the bowl to give it a little more finish.
Fast forward a few months to showtime, 12/31. Blue and silver were going to be my table ‘theme’ because of these striped candles I found in a drawer. I gathered some larger silver balls and some smaller blue ornaments and used them to cover the battery box of these sweet LED branch lights similar to this one from Target.
Finally, all that exhausting papier mache work can be appreciated!