Anna, Studio

Making paper maché vases with supplies you already own

Papier mâché vases
Papier mâché vases

Inspired by the summer issue of Marie Claire Idées (and dared by June to make a little person) I tried my luck with papier mâché vases. I wanted to be able to get my shape giving vases back out once the paper mix had dried so I went for simple forms that would get wider on top in the better cases. Hint for the vases that stay the same: you will not get the vase out with my technique. Gotta experiment some more here.
Ink colored vases
Ink colored vases

Supplies
vases (that taper to the bottom)
aluminium foil
newspaper
white paper
flour
water
ink
spray bottle

How to
Tear the newspaper in stripes or pieces, stripes allow you to be much quicker with the whole project… Mix a cup of water and a cup of flour (you will have to do some more of this mixture later) and stir with a fork to obtain a smooth mixture, it can be kind of runny which is fine. If it is firmer that’s ok as well. Cover the vase in aluminium foil, not to tight but not very bulky either.

Cover your working area with newspaper and a let the newspaper stripes or pieces soak up some of the flour/water mix for a moment and put onto your covered vase which should be bottom up. Cover the vase entirely leaving the opening on top open – obviously… Cover with a thin layer of white paper. Let the vase dry completely and still upside down. Preferably place on a piece of foil or a plate, something it won’t cling to too hard when dry.

Now there are different techniques to applying ink. In any case my vases were still upside down. For the square vase on the left in the photo on top of the page I just spread ink onto the bottom and let it run down the sides. The vase on the right in the top photo I smoothed down water all along the form and then put ink onto the bottom. The center vase I placed in a container in which I had put ink diluted with water. I also dipped the upper part of this vase in the ink/water.

Running ink pattern
Running ink pattern

MC Idées suggests that you spray your vase with water (thus the spray bottle) and let the ink “fuse” with the papier mâché and down the vase. You can help it diffuse with a paint brush and add more color or a second layer (ombre effect!) later. Let dry completely.

Then I gently wound out my vases. I loosened the upper edge with a knife and pulled softly at the bottom. Worked great for the vase that’s tapering to the bottom. The others I eventually had to cut open because there was no movement whatsoever, even after applying some water to make it soften. It might work if you use another material as a vase cover/protection. I am thinking parchment paper.

Now you still want to be able to put fresh flowers in the paper mâché vase, right? Just place an empty jam jar inside or a drinking glass or whatever you have on hand. And you will still be able to use your beautiful shape giving vases. Maybe even next to the new ones? I want to see your photos if you make one! I used phlox and hydrangea to decorate for the photos.

I would also love to give you a link to the original image that sparked my interest/ creativity but it is not online yet. If you have MC Idées it’s page 95. And yes, my vases look different… ~Anna~

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