Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paper Mâché on Glass?

I recently took on a little home-beautifying project that was super simple, gave me exactly the look I wanted, and could potentially be useful for lots of various decorative purposes - including weddings, of course! 

{my two "paper-mâché" containers, in the background}

Let me backtrack a bit...  It all started when I got the most wonderful Christmas gift from Mr. NM. 

{Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer in Aqua Sky, aka "Martha Stewart Blue" - source}

I love love love the color, but unfortunately it didn't match the current brown/olive green color scheme of our kitchen.  So I went on a little search to find a few aqua-hued items to toss around the kitchen and pull it all together a bit.  After several (read: far too many) hours of searching online and in stores, the only thing I had to show for it was a couple packages of kitchen towels.  When I found that teal vase at Pier 1, I was smitten and I knew it would work perfectly, but I didn't think it would make enough of a statement by itself.  (Side note: Totally gonna brag on myself about that vase purchase here.  Had a really, really old gift card I'd been holding onto even though I had no idea how much was left on it.  Total out-the-door cost for this gorgeous vase:  $0.78!)

Then I had this thought that Michael's probably had some scrapbook paper in shades of aqua/teal, and I wondered if I could Mod Podge it onto some plain glass cylinders I'd seen at the store for pretty cheap.  For just a few dollars, I thought it couldn't hurt to try.  So I purchased 2 different sized cylinders and 2 sheets of scrapbook paper (not cardstock) and brought them home to experiment. 

First I tried just glueing the sheet straight onto the cylinder.  I trimmed the paper just a bit shorter than the height of the glass to account for the rounded edges on the top and bottom of the cylinder.  I applied Mod Podge to the entire sheet, thinking I'd just roll up the paper onto the cylinder.  Not the worst idea, but not the best either.  If I were doing this over again, I'd only apply it to the first two inches or so - enough to stick to the glass, but not all over.  Then I'd keep applying as I rolled the paper further onto the glass.

{Supplies: foam brush, Mod Podge, paper, and a nonstick mat}

Be careful to line up the edges while the glue is still wet, because once it starts drying you can't reposition it any longer.

{Here you can see the ripples in the paper caused by applying glue to the whole sheet all at once.  Oops!}

{Some ripples you can smooth out with your fingers,
but be careful not to peel off the paper in places like I did.  That's not fixable!}

Once the paper was lined up and adhered completely, I put more Mod Podge on top to seal it and cover up any texture imperfections caused by all my fingerprints.

{See how perfectly it coordinates with that gorgeous mixer...}

Then it was just a matter of wiping down the tiny slivers of exposed glass around the top and bottom edges. 

{Witness the areas of peeled paper.  Not as perfect as I like things, but whatareyougonnado?}

Next I wanted the second vase to be similar but a little different so it wasn't too matchy-matchy.  This time I used what I think of as the more traditional paper mâché method of layering strips on top of one another.  This method took WAY longer than the first. 

{same supplies, but now using strips of various widths}

Applying glue to one strip at a time I smoothed them onto the glass, criss-crossing them at different angles.  Sometimes I would need to trim strips that extended past the top or bottom.  I kept those scraps to fill in tiny holes later on. 

{not even halfway finished, and it got more complicated as I went} 

I decided to put straight strips around the top and bottom edges to "clean up" the design of the jagged top, but that's just a preference thing.

{bringing some order to the chaos}

Again, be sure to clean the edges and interior of any stray glue spots.  When I had them both finished, I vastly preferred the look of the first one - ya know, the one that took 1/4 the amount of time to complete.  Typical... 

And then I got curious as to what they might look like with candles inside them, so I gave it a shot using an ill-fitting pillar candle we had lying around. 

{Exhibit A}

{Exhibit B}

Umm...  I kinda think Exhibit B is rocktastic!  It might not be everyone's thing, but it's so bold and dramatic that it makes me swoon a little bit.  Just goes to show you how much difference lighting can make.  But even without the candle, I still like it when it's grouped with the other vases.  It gave our kitchen just the extra color and interest I was going for.

What projects have you taken on that you've been both a little "meh" and a little "yes!" about the results?


  1. Thanks for the great idea! I have some different shaped bottles that I want to turn into vases. I just needed a little inspiration!

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