Tutorial: Coiled Magazine Paper Bowls

by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate on October 13, 2010

As I’ve mentioned before-I’ve been fascinated with paper crafts this year.  It really appeals to my frugal nature to make something lovely out of  junk mail, catalogs, old books and magazines!  I already tried making folded paper books, so it was time to try something interesting with magazines and catalogs.

Coiled Magazine Paper Bowls are an attractive, artistic, sustainable craft that anyone can make. They are great as conversation starters, decorator pieces and can be given as gifts.  Since almost everyone has magazines and catalogs lying around they are (practically) free to make!

Magazine Page Bowls

These look even better in person-I'm not a great photographer.

Although this craft will take you some time, it isn’t difficult at all.  Here we go with the tutorial!


Magazine pages
Modge Podge/Glue


Step 1: Fold your magazine slats.

Remove pages from the magazine or catalog.  Although you can use any of them, the more colorful pages will give your finished bowl more color.

Fold your magazine page in half down the middle.

Fold both edges in towards the middle crease.

Fold the new outside edges in to the center again.

And fold the edges in to the center a final time.

Finally fold it in half down the center.

Note:  The finished dimensions of your paper “slat” are important.  If it is too thick, it will be hard to coil, and the finished width of the slat itself effects the look of the bowl.  I personally think that the finished product looks better with a narrower paper “slat”.  You can even cut each page in half legnthwise to make a thinner, and easier to coil, slat.

Tada! A folded slat. Notice by continually folding in to the center you get rid of any rough edges that you may have had from tearing the pages out of the magazine.

Repeat until you have a lot of slats.

Step 2: Tape the slats.

I like to join the slats with tape.  You simply pull off a piece of tape, lay it on your surface, then lay the two slats you are joining end to end and wrap the tape around.

A close up of the taped join.

I like to tape all of my slats together before I start coiling-typically 3 at a time.

So you wind up with a big pile of slats 3 magazine pages long.

Step 3: Coil the slats.

This is the part that takes a bit of coordination & hand strength.  I like to do all my coiling at once-it’s not the kind of project you want to stop in the middle of because it will come unwound.  If you desperately need to stop, try securing it with rubber bands (have those on hand before you get going!)

So just bend the first slat and start coiling.  When you get to the end of your slat, tape a new one on and keep on coiling!

I like to make my coil as tight as I can.  Once I’ve got a bit of coil done, I lay my palm down flat on it and kind of  “spin” it tighter. . .not really sure how to explain that better. . .

Keep going until the coil is as big as what you want the diameter of the bowl to be.  Then tape the end of the last slat down to the bowl itself.

Step 4: Form the bowl.

Now comes the tricky part.  You have to slowly push the sides of the bowl up.  Be careful or you might wind up with this:

Much cussing ensues. Trust me-it is much harder to coil the bowl once you’ve got all the slats joined.  Grrr.

Here you can see the formed bowl from the top (this is how I think they look the neatest).

And here it is from the side.

Step 6: Seal the bowl.

Now you can trim off any little flaps of tape you can see (use an exacto style knife).  Once it is all beautiful it is time to seal it.  I like to use Modge Podge as a sealant, but you could try watered down glue or even some polyurethane.

I give each side 2-3 coats.  It will take quite a while to dry fully-that paper can soak up the glue a bit on the first coat.

Aren’t they pretty?!?

Now I want to try to make a “square” bowl and a long oval mantle bowl.

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