Recycled Paper Bowl




About: I am the mother of 2 boys. I love to make things for them and the rest of my family and friends.

I made mine using mostly recycled crayon wrappers, but any paper will work, junk mail, magazines, etc.

All you need is:
scrap paper 
old blender
plastic wrap or plastic grocery bag
plastic or glass bowl
a towel, or felt squares
glitter (optional)

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Step 1: Soak Paper

Everyone is making recycled crayons to use those leftover nubs.  To recycle even further, I found something to do with those bits of paper the nubs come in.  Of course once you start making crayons, it's hard to stop.  I bought ... a few packs of crayons to do this with, so I had a lot of wrappers.  If you don't have any, that's fine, just use what ever scrap paper you have lying around.  
I divided the wrappers by color.  If you don't want to separate by colors, that's fine, it comes out a little grayish, but looks awesome with some glitter thrown in.
Rip the paper into bits, squares around 1 inch work good, but they can be a little bigger or smaller.  Soak the paper overnight.  I used empty jars, so I could put one color in each.  

Step 2: Cover Bowl

Use the plastic wrap or grocery bag to cover the outside of the bowl.  You are going to use it as a mold for your new bowl.  You need to make sure the sides over lap to the inside of the bowl.  Use the tape to attach the plastic.

Step 3: Blend Paper

Pour the paper that has been soaking, and the water, into an old blender.  Using pulse, blend the mixture until you get a big pulpy mess.  The more you blend it, the more it looks like pulp.  The less you blend it, the more pieces you get where you can tell what they useed to be.

Step 4: Mold Your Bowl

As a safety precaution, I suggest pouring the mixture into another bowl, so you are not reaching into the blender.  The blades at the bottom are sharp.  

Put your bowl on top of your towels or felt squares.  I used felt, because the soak up water really well.  I remember using them when I used a similar method to this to make homemade paper in art class.
Get a handful of the pulp and squeeze out some of the water.  It's kind of trail and error.  If you leave too much water in it, the pulp won't stick to the bowl, and just slides down the side.  If you don't leave enough water in it, it just kind of falls off the bowl.  Either way, too much or too little, you can throw it back in the water and start again.
Put the pulp on the bowl.  You can make patterns, a solid color, or random sections of colors.  Just remember, this first layer is going to be the inside of the bowl.

Step 5: Repeat

The bowl really needs 2 layers, 1 layer isn't thick enough and breaks apart easily.  
I let the first layer dry for about an hour and then put on the second layer.  My second layer was all the paper I had left over mixed together, so it is kind of grey.  I mixed in some embossing glitter to the pulp.  I also sprinkled it with more glitter after the pulp was on the bowl.

Step 6: Let Dry

Put the bowl somewhere out of the way so it can dry.  It usually takes about 2 days for the outside to dry.  You'll be able to touch it to fell if it is dry.

Step 7: Remove the Bowl

Flip the bowl over and un-tape the bag from the bowl.  Slip the plastic bowl out.  Slowly peel the plastic bag away from the paper bowl.  The inside of the new bowl will still be wet.  

Step 8: Let Dry (again)

The inside of the bowl still needs to dry, and does so much faster after the plastic bowl is taken out.  Be careful not to be too rough with the bowl until it is all the way dry, after that, they are pretty durable.

This should go without saying, but don't get the new bowl wet.  You can use it as a catch all for change in the bed room, or to put your keys in, by the front door.  The one thing you can not use it for, is to eat out of.  

I filled my bowl with hairbows for my niece.  Now she has new hairbows, and a place to keep them.

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    12 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 8

    Thank you so much!!! you used simple steps and ingredients everyone has and created it into one of the most useful products in our daily life!! Thank you because i have been trying to look for something like this to use with paper!

    SP Riley

    5 years ago on Step 4

    If you do this on a smaller scale, like the bowl being paper cups, and used maybe
    paper grocery bags, you could make paper pots for starting a garden. Then you
    might be able to just put the paper pot and all into the ground.

    1 reply
    SP RileySP Riley

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I just had another idea for these, burn them. Okay so starting our charcoal grill last night was long and painful because our charcoal was old. If I made a paper bowl put the charcoal inside and then lit the bowl on fire the slow burn from the bowl would slowly get the charcoal lit and burning. Any opinions?


    8 years ago on Step 3

    Could I maybe rip up the wrappers even smaller and stir the mixture? My mother won't let me use her blender :(

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

    I got my 4 year old son a kit so he could do some too. It was a bowl with a spoon. We followed the instructions and it worked pretty well. All you have to do is tear the paper into smaller bits and let it soak longer. We did ours a full 24 hours, and stirred it every now and then through out the day. There were still some pieces that were pretty big, so he got in there with his hands and squished it around like he was making meatloaf (his "most favoriteist part ever"). If you use a blender, it is nearly impossible to get all the paper out and make it safe to use for food again. That's why I got one at goodwill to use. so your mom is totally right.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    It looks great. One of the rare instructables that i have all the materials for. I'm definetly trying it. I'l send a picture.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    step 3 looks like a purple milkshake, lol. Nice "ible ! You can add the fibers from a dryers lint catcher to add strenght to the paper or bleach and then dye the lint to make a nice paper by itself. To add strenght without having to make a piece real thick you can also add acrylic paint, clear or colored, to the mix before straining out the water, add enough acrylic paint and you have a type of clay thats easily moldable for free form sculptures. Thank you for sharing your project

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    In highschool I signed up for photography, but they didn't build the new lab over the summer like they were supposed to. Instead the class got changed to sculpting, taught by the photography teacher of course. Our projects were things like paperplate masks and pinched clay pots. Paper sculpting was the final project. We made paper, wire framed sculptures and bowls. The bowls were the only thing that dried in time for us to take home. My problem with the way we were taught was we were handed packs of new paper to shred. This way it is a nice recyclable project.
    I used to add elmers glue to make it stronger, but one day I didn't and found it worked just fine with out.