Friday, February 8, 2008

The Bowls of Valentines Day

Allow me to introduce you to my Valentine's Day project. I tested it on Katie when I went to Mardi Gras last weekend, and she gave it a thumbs up, so... I'm moving forward and making a billion of these for my coworkers on Valentine's Day. And these are super-crafty, too. So they really belong on my blog (unlike a few of my recent posts, which reminds me, I'm thinking of doing something sort-of like DesignSponge does, 'Things I Love,' as a sort of way of showcasing stuff that's not really crafty but is still fun).
So this is a paper mache bowl, filled with chocolates from World Market (think Belgian and German, yum!), and tied together with a red ribbon. Thankfully, my workplace BFF Stepheny taught me some tricks for paper mache (homegirl makes a mean piñata!) so I'll pass those along with the instructions.
To make the bowls extra fine to the touch, I used tissue paper instead of real paper as my base ingredient. Actually, as you can perhaps tell, the tissue paper is from Anthropologie! I bought a set of glass bowls and some drawer pulls and came home with tons and tons of their red-dot tissue paper and decided I just had to do something crafty with it--thus, my inspiration for these little candy-holding cups! I mixed in some red and pink tissue paper I had in my craft cache to provide some interest and to break up the monotony of the red-dots-on-white tissue paper. I ripped up the red and pink paper, but cut up the Anthropology paper. Ripping paper makes for better shapes, but cutting saves time. So, if you are going to do this project, rip up your accent papers but cut the basic one, because you'll save so much time that way. Next, wrap bowls, cups, jars, anything you want in wax paper. And this tip is a bit complicated, so I'll try to use an example: If you want the cup to be about 3 inches tall, wrap the wax paper at least 4 inches tall, because you'll have to cut away the top part of the project as it's not possible for it to come out even all around the cup. Secure the wax paper with manilla tape (you know, craft tape) and buy some liquid starch. I always thought you do paper mache with water and flour, but Piñata Queen Stepheny told me that flour and water will mildew or mold in humid climates after about a week, two at tops. And since the above bowl was bound for Toxic-Gumbo land (New Orleans), I knew I better follow Stepheny's advice and use liquid starch to hold the project together. It's cheap and available in the laundry detergent section of Wal-Mart.
I did my bowls in three rounds, about six layers of tissue per round. You'll need a full day between each round, so this is not a last minute project. And that's why I'm posting this Valentine's Day idea now, before you hit crunch time. I'll post more pictures of my bowls as they become available. I waited for Katie to like this one before proceeding forward and making plenty more. To be honest, these are really easy and pretty cute, if I may say so myself!


  1. I do love it! And it still looks just as lovely sitting on that same book on that same coffee tablottoman--although the candy content has significantly decreased. Your co-workers will love it!

  2. PS I drove through some toxic gumbo on Thursday night en route to my tires and car bottom are covered in gross, nasty sludge!