Introduction: DIY Paper Plates

About: I am an engineering educator and mother of two little makers who loves developing new projects - both personally and for my children and students to work through.

    After helping my children make paper mache airplanes for their remote learning art project this week, I had some leftover supplies that I decided to repurpose for an elusive item that has been missing from my "pick-up" shopping order for weeks.

    Placing a pick-up order from a grocery store is strange in a variety of ways, but mostly for the surprise of never really knowing what items from your order will actually be available and delivered to your car. Three weeks in a row we have either gotten hamburger meat or hamburger buns, but never both in the same week. We have had no luck with the paper plates either, which I was hoping to get so our stuck-at-home family could take them on picnic adventure for a chance to eat somewhere different for a change.

    This Instructable will show you a simple way to make paper plates in a pinch in case you too find yourself in a situation where you are unable to get any.


    • An old magazine or newspaper
    • Flour
    • Water
    • Plastic wrap
    • Dinner plates
    • Scissors

    Step 1: Prep the Plate Mold and Paper Mache

    After gathering your supplies, begin by making the paper mache paste. A comprehensive tutorial on how to make this flour/water mixture and apply it can be found in an Instructables course HERE. In a nutshell, all you really need to do is combine 3 parts water with 2 parts flour and mix.

    Cover a plate with a shape you are hoping to replicate with plastic wrap. A plate with a flat base and edges that round up will work better for the molding than a V-shaped plate.

    Step 2: Apply the Paper Mache

    Rip the magazine or newspaper pages into strips that are 2 - 3 inches wide. Dip them into the paper mache paste until they are fully wet, but wipe off any excess paste so it is not so wet it is dripping.

    Lay the wet pieces across the plate flat and press them gently into the shape of the plate.

    Repeat this until you have covered the whole surface of the plate with about two layers of strips. (Note: Having only one layer will result in flimsy plates that tear easily, so make sure to double up!)

    Step 3: Trim the Plates to Shape

    Once you have covered your plates, take a moment to trim the edges into shape. Trimming the material when it is still damp will help avoid any cracking around the plate edges.

    Let the plates dry overnight.

    Step 4: Remove the Plates From the Mold

    Once your plates are dry, carefully remove the plastic wrap. Now your disposable plates are ready to enjoy and be used on a picnic adventure or at an eco-friendly dinner party.

    Note: Not dishwasher safe :)

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