Mar 10, 2012

a decorative bowl from old magazines

<<< you can see a full list of my diy projects here! >>>

time : minutes...hours...days
difficulty : ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 
hazards : cramped fingers, reek of mod-podge, exhausting your scotch tape supply
would i do it again? : YES!

i was inspired by this eye-catching bowl on {saved by love creations}: 

exquisitely handcrafted!
painstakingly assembled!
perfect little dish to hold our car keys!

...moving on...

this is definitely a project that will keep me busy while i'm (IM-)patiently waiting to move into our very first home.

turns out...it didn't take nearly as long as i thought it would.
whomp, whomp.

this is my nowhere-near-as-perfect-but-i'm-still-dang-proud-of-it version:

i know what you're thinking:

mediocrely handcrafted!
haphazardly assembled!

still a perfect little dish for car keys!

what do you need?

1-scissors // 2-old magazine // 3-mod podge // 4-scotch tape 
5-ruler (or paper cutter) // 6-bone folder

select magazines with thin pages. you want a good selection of full-page, brightly-colored ads. i used approximately fifty pages to make my small bowl. note: you could also use newspapers, junk mail, electric bills...etc. :)

first, tear out the magazine pages you want to use. think about color: do you want a multi-color bowl? a specific color palette? graytone? i chose to end with mostly black pages, which created a nice, dark rim at the top of the bowl.

cut the each page lengthwise into approximately two-inch wide sections. this is where a paper-cutter comes in handy -- otherwise, use good old-fashioned ruler and scissors.

now -- fold, fold, fold, repeat!

take one two-inch strip of paper:
fold both sides vertically towards the center of the strip.

fold both sides again towards the center.

then, fold in half.

the result is a strip approximately one-quarter of an inch wide:

the strips can be as small or as large as you want,
but should be fairly uniform in height.

     once you have a nice little pile of folded paper...
roll your first strip in a tight coil and secure with tape.

then, tape your second strip to the initial coil. wrap it around the coil, then secure the other end with tape. keep building in this manner, making sure to begin your next strip where the last strip left off (if you want to maintain a perfect circle).

once your circle is the desired radius, VERY CAREFULLY coax the strips 
into a bowl shape.

if you shift a strip up more than its very thin quarter-inch height, the whole bowl could fall apart into a giant pile of taped-together strips. bad.

heck, you could always leave it flat and enjoy your new decorative plate!

mod-podge in place...

...and a few hours later --

what do you think?
will you be trying a magazine bowl anytime soon?

do you even get magazines in the mail anymore??
please don't attempt to mod-podge your kindle.

* mari
nope, you're not going crazy.
this post was reformatted in march 2013.



  1. Nice! Thanks for the shout out.


  2. Thank you for your kindness Johnnie! :)

  3. Beautiful! Yours is better than the original.

    1. what a compliment, thank you! johnnie's is definitely much neater-looking than mine, but i still love how my bowl came out. :)

  4. Yours is awesome! :) thanks for the tutorial, I made one and found it very fun/therapeutic even!

  5. How much paper was used for this entire bowl? Would one magazine do it or should I go find a few more?

    1. Oh wow... I just started it. I underestimated how far the paper would go.
      I'll be able to make a few haha :D

    2. Hah, I should have included that information in the post -- sorry about that! I would estimate I used maybe...fifty? pages for my bowl. Good luck, I'd love to see your project(s) when you're done! You can email pictures to me at crabandfishblog@gmail.com. :)

  6. What a neat idea! :)

    Thanks again for joining the Link Up this week!

  7. Hey thanks! I made one myself after looking into your bowl

    1. alice julia, i LOVE it, it turned out great!!

  8. How do you keep the bowl from falling . I finished the circle and I'm getting ready to bring the bowl up. Or is falling an issue?

    1. hi Isabella! as long as you wrapped tightly enough and don't try to raise each strip too high (where it would all collapse), you should be good! just go verrrry slowly. I'd love to see a picture when you're finished: my email is crabandfishblog@gmail.com. :)

  9. I was told that the core center circular piece was wrapped around a toothpick to start is this true or just by your finger.

    1. I just curled it in then continued wrapping tightly, but a toothpick would also work great! :)

  10. I just got 15 pounds of restoration hardware catalogs in the mail. Will definitely be trying this. They thought they were going to help me decorate my home. They were right. .... in a way.

    1. oh my gosh, their (UNSOLICITED!) gigantic catalogs make me so angry! I'm glad you're recycling it via a magazine bowl -- all those gray and greige tones will make a really sophisticated-looking dish! :)

    2. I am anal or do I not understand from your directions how to fold one strip? Are you starting at one side and creasing each fold till you have totally folded the strip? Where does the tape go and continue to go, Oy I am so dense!!

    3. Hi Dale! First off, sorry for the delayed reply.

      I fold the paper in half lengthwise first, then I unfold it -- I now have a flat paper with a crease running down the middle. I the left side in half lengthwise towards the crease, then the right side in half lengthwise towards the crease. Then I fold the left side again, then the right side again. Then I fold the whole thing (lengthwise, always lengthwise) in half.

      Does that help? It sounds even more confusing to me, haha. :/


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