Tag Archives: paper mache

Paper Mache Planter

28 Apr

A long time ago, back in the dark of winter, I wrote a post called How To Make A Paper Mache Light Fitting – Part 1 and never wrote part 2.

Don’t get all excited – I am still not writing part 2, but I have finally found a use for at least one of the paper mache spheres that I made way back when.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that since the beginning of spring I have been on a garden kick. I have sown seeds, and will soon be planting a vegetable garden, I have finally fixed some old garden chairs I plucked from a dumpster and I have a 2do list as long as my arm as far as outdoor, spring / summer projects go.

Anyway, I also find myself wading into the studio every time I want to get something or god forbid actually make some work, and something needs to to be done about making some space for me.

I have already gotten rid of all the cardboard I collected to make cardboard furniture – my space is just to small and my kids to curious for me to be doing that right now (that is kind of unfortunate, because now that I don’t have it anymore, I need a big strong piece for the solar oven I need to build but can’t find anything but small and or flimsy). Even so, I still have a pile of unfinished and ‘halfway’ projects, and something needs to be done about it.

Although I was stumped as to how to make the paper mache spheres into light fittings to my liking, I do love the forms, and how imperfect they are.

I decided that I would transform one of the larger ones into a planter, and carry on dressing up my front porch, turning it into a pleasant place to have a cup of coffee.


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I had a lavender plant looking for a home and I thought it was the perfect combination.

I didn’t want to paint the sphere in just one block of color – I wanted to experiment and create some more interest so before priming it, I taped a line of masking tape around it and primed and painted only bellow that line.

Since the chairs are definitely present in their bright purple, the sphere needed to be a quieter color. I mixed a quiet bluish gray that complimented it and would also compliment the lavender plant.

I gave it 3 layers of polyurethane to water proof it, so that it wouldn’t melt into a pile of mush leaving the lavender homeless once again.

Just before I planted the lavender I decided to do a little test run to see what would have happened if I had decided to use it as a light shade. In the background you can see a fitting I made out of plastic cups which I never posted about here.

So what do you think – does it work as a light fitting?


How To Make A Paper Mache Light Fitting – Part 1

1 Jan

Today, as I was rushing out the door to pick up the kids, I caught a glimpse of my studio and this is what I saw:


It filled me with joy. It’s not as if I have actually finished a piece or that there is anything to show off, but is its quite clear that in this tiny tiny room, work is being done.

What you can’t see here is the piles that are all over the place.

There are piles of newspaper, of plastic bags and of half ready materials. A lot of my time is spending moving piles from one spot to another, but that is not what I wanted to talk about today.

Today I wanted to talk about Paper Mache.

I think I have already mentioned that one of the things that bothers me most about my house, is that I don’t have a single light fitting in the entire house. All we have is bare light bulbs.

The bareness of the light bulbs makes this house feel very temporary. It has reached the point that any material is, as far as I am concerned, a potential light fitting.

A while ago, while surfing the net I ran into some instruction for making light fittings out of Paper Mache pulp using beach balls as a mold. The instructions where removed so I can’t link to them, and since I had a Paper Mache outbreak a couple of years ago,  although I am no specialist, I was able to figure it out without the instructions.

I made the pulp out of the newspaper sticks I had disqualified, and the first batch was exactly enough for one big beach ball.

Newspaper Soup

Newspaper soup

Making the pulp is a pretty easy:

 Cut/tear newspaper into small pieces and soak in water over night.

  1. Boil the newspapers for about half an hour, when you are ready to start working.
  2. Pour out the dirty water, exchanging it with clean water.
  3. Pull out the blender, and start blending the newspaper with large quantities of water.
  4. Strain the blended pulp, squeezing out as much water as possible.
  5. Add glue to the strained pulp. I use wallpaper glue, but there are a few variations to the glue. It’s a matter of personal preference.
  6. Kneed the glue into the pulp till it’s velvety and nice to touch.


I have big eyes, and of course I wouldn’t settle for the small beach balls I had bought. After I inflated one, it seemed to small, so I rushed out to by a regular size beach ball. It seems as if beach balls are the kind of thing that is found in abundance when not needed. When you need one, it’s a whole different story.

Anyway, starting with the big ball was a mistake. I am not sure if the consistency of the pulp was off, or if the thickness of the layer I was using was to blame to, but the big one is the only one out of the three that I have made so far that hasn’t come out near perfect. It cracked and warped all over.


The other two smaller balls were made from another batch of pulp I made, which makes me think it might be the amount of glue that I used on the big one was to blame.

Anyway, I think that both the big ball and the little balls have a  certain coolness to them.

I have always liked to watch as materials changed and mutated as they were worked with. This is seven fold as wonderful when you transform a product into material and then into a different product again.

Although I am quite please with my balls (that doesn’t sound good) I am not going to hang them with their current grayness in my house.

 I am going to make a few more of them and test several finishes out, till I find one that wins me over enough for me to hang a fitting with that finish over my dinning room table.
To be continued.