Heart Shaped Paper Mache Box with Lid

How to make a paper mache box with a lid


Paper mache is a great material for making light-weight boxes and bowls.  This post contains instructions for making a heart shaped paper mache box with lid, as well as a bowl.  The first part of the heart shaped box project is to make a box from thin cardboard.  (If you prefer to make a bowl instead, please skip to the section “How to make a paper mache bowl” at the end of this post.)

Part 1: How to make a heart shaped box

You will need:

  • Thin cardboard
  • A cutter knife or scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Superglue
How to make a paper mache box with a lid 1. Cut out 2 identical hearts from thin cardboard.  My daughter made hers approximately 10 cm (4″) wide and 10 cm (4″) long. 

They will become the base and the top of your box.

How to make a paper mache box with a lid 2. Measure the outline of the heart.  (Tip: You can run string along the edge of the heart, and then measure the length of the string needed to outline the heart.)  Next, from the same cardboard that you used in Step 1, cut out 2 identical rectangular pieces as long as the outline of the heart.  The width of these pieces depends on how deep you want to make your box.  The pieces in the photo are approximately 3 cm (1 1/4″) wide.
How to make a paper mache box with a lid 3. Rip newspaper into short strips approximately 5 cm (2″) wide and 2 cm (3/4″) long.  Make 30 or so strips, and set them aside.  (Refer to the photo at the end of Part 1 for an image of these strips.)

Fold in half (length-wise) one of the cardboard pieces that you made in the previous step.  Place it on top of one of the hearts, aligning its crease with the bottom of the heart. 

Glue the rectangular piece to the outline of the heart using the newspaper strips.  Place one newspaper strip every 2 cm (3/4″) along the outside edge of the heart.  Also, hold the ends of the rectangular piece together with a strip.  For quick drying, I recommend using Superglue for this process.

This heart piece will become the lid of your box.

How to make a paper mache box with a lid 4. Repeat the previous step with the second rectangular piece and the second heart, but this time, place the rectangular piece approximately 4 mm (3/16″) from the edge of the heart.  The space between the rectangular piece and the edge of the heart is highlighted in pink in the photo.  Adjust the length of the rectangular piece as needed.

When done, the second heart piece should be small enough to loosely fit inside the lid.  (Once the paper mache is applied, they will fit more snugly.)

how to make a heart shaped paper mache box with lid

Here you can see the resulting box.  The heart on the left of the photo is the lid and the one on the right is the bottom.

Part 2: How to make and apply paper mache

You will need:

  • One thin cardboard box (from Part 1)
  • Flour
  • Water
  • A paint brush
  • Newspaper
  • Spray varnish
  • Decorative paper for the final layer of paper mache OR paint OR decorative pieces such as used stamps (all optional)
How to make a paper mache box with a lid 6. Prepare glue for making the paper mache by mixing 1 table spoon of flour with 1/2 cup of water.  Add a pinch of salt to help prevent the glue from molding.  Boil the mixture for a few minutes.  It will not make much glue, but do not worry; a little goes a long way.  If the glue seems too thick, add a bit more water.  Let it cool.
How to make a paper mache box with a lid 7. Prepare strips of newspaper, about 8 cm (3″) long and 2 cm (3/4″) wide.  You can make these strips with scissors, but I prefer to do so by simply ripping the newspaper.
How to make a paper mache box with a lid 8. Now it is time to cover the box with paper mache. 

Use a paint brush to thinly spread the glue onto one side of a newspaper strip.  Then, attach it to the box, and smooth it out with your fingers. 

Completely cover all the surfaces of the box (both the lid and the bottom) with the strips.  I recommend that you overlap the strips. 

How to make a paper mache box with a lid 9. When done, leave the pieces to dry completely.  (Depending on the season, the drying process might take more than a day.)
How to make a paper mache box with a lid 10. You can cover the dried paper mache with strips of decorative paper, paint, etc.  My daughter decided to leave the newspaper strips exposed.

Also, you can use stickers or stamps to decorate your box.  Click here for instructions for removing used stamps from envelops.

How to make a paper mache box with a lid 11. Spray the box with varnish.  This will make it a bit shiny and provide a protective coating for the paper mache.

Now your heart shaped paper mache box with lid is finished!

Here is how to make a paper mache bowl:

How to make a paper mache box with a lid

How to make a paper mache bowlIf you want to make a paper mache bowl, you can use a plastic container as a mold.  Follow the “How to create and apply paper mache” instructions above, but with the following modifications:

Step 8: Apply the paper mache strips only to the OUTSIDE of the mold, as shown in the photo on the left.  Overlap the strips in about 4 layers to make a thin but sturdy bowl.

Step 9: When the paper mache is dry, flex the plastic container a bit and then separate the container from the paper mache.  The inside layer of the paper mache may still be a bit damp.  If so, leave it to dry completely.  (You can trim the rim of the bowl with scissors.)

If you would like to share an image of your paper mache box or bowl, please visit Muumade’s Gallery

Happy paper crafting!