Introduction: Plastic Bag String Bowl

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

In today's story, Supriya collected food in her bowl for hungry people in her community. In honor of her determination, let's make our own bowls out of strings, glue, and plastic bags! These bowls won't be good for eating out of, but they are excellent for holding trinkets. And they're fun and easy to make!


-plastic bags

-string (yarn or twine works best)

-white glue



-bowl to use for mold

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace.

Grab one of your plastic bags and cut down both sides with your scissors. Lay it flat on the table as a rectangle. This will keep glue off your table! You can also use wax paper, but I almost always have extra plastic bags lying around because I don't like to throw them away after only one use.

Take the bowl you're going to use as a mold for your string bowl and set it in the middle of your work space. A small, ceramic soup bowl works great for this, because it makes a really solid base, but you can also use a plastic or a paper bowl. You won't want to use a bowl that has a prominent lip on the bottom, though, because that will be harder to work with.

Step 2: Cover Your Bowl in Plastic Bags.

Place your bowl inside of one of the plastic bags, and then smoosh the rest of the bag, handles and all, inside the bowl. Repeat this twice, until your bowl is covered in three layers of plastic bags. Flip it upside down on your workspace.

If you have a plastic bag that happens to be a color you like, you can put that one on last! The plastic bag on the outside of the layers will end up being the inside of your finished string bowl, so it looks neat if it's a different color. I chose to use this nice brown.

Step 3: Get the Glue.

Pour a generous amount of glue into a container and grab your brush. Gloop a big blob of glue right in the middle of the underside of your bowl mold.

Step 4: Make the Center.

Take your string. I used this cheerful yellow yarn. Any color of yarn will work great, as will twine or plain cotton string. Thinner string will be tricky to work with, and if you use a thicker cord, the glue won't penetrate as well.

Take about a yard of string (about the length of both of a grown-up's outstretched arms), and coil it into a spiral. Using yarn makes this step a little easier because it will naturally cling to itself. When I finished coiling mine into a circle, it was about two inches in diameter, but the exact size isn't important. Once it's coiled, carefully lift it up and squish it into your glob of glue.

This will be the center of your string bowl!

Step 5: Add More Glue and String.

Take your paintbrush and spread glue all around the center spiral of string. You cannot use too much glue. The more glue the better.

Take your ball or spool of string and lay the end in the glue right against the end of your center spiral. Then, carefully holding the ball, unspool the string slowly, pressing it into the glue around and around the center spiral. Do this until you've covered the bottom of the bowl.

Step 6: Add More Glue!

Set the string aside (but don't cut it!). Grab your paintbrush again and paint glue down the sides of the bowl. You'll want to be gentle so as to not disturb the spiral too much. Again, no such thing as too much glue!

Step 7: Keep Wrapping the Bowl.

Wrap down the sides, pulling it a little bit tight as you go. Keep the string close together as you wrap. Add more glue if you need to. Wrap til you're an inch or two from the bottom. You don't want to wrap all the way down, or your bowl won't dry well, and it will be tricky to remove. Once you're there, snip the end of the string and stick it down.

Step 8: More Glue!!

Let your bowl sit for about half an hour so the glue can set. Then, use your paintbrush to COMPLETELY cover it in glue, every centimeter of it. Let it dry overnight.

In the morning when you get up, guess what? That's right, more glue! Cover it in another layer.

Then, before you go to bed...yep, more glue! One last layer.

After you've painted on three layers of glue, set the bowl aside to dry for 24 hours. When it's hard and no longer sticky or damp, it's done!

Step 9: Unwrap the Bowl.

Unwrap the plastic bags from the bowl you used as a mold. The string bowl will be stuck fast to the outer bag. That's okay! It was supposed to do that.

Step 10: Trim the String Bowl

Flip the string bowl upside down and use your scissors to trim around the outside, cutting away the excess plastic bag.

Step 11: Admire Your String Bowl!

The plastic bag ends up acting as a sort of liner for the bowl, giving it a smooth inner surface and more structure. Now you can put stuff in it! I'm thinking it might be a good place for me to put my house keys. What will you put in your bowl?

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