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How to Make a Recycled Rolled Up/Glued Paper Magazine Balloon Bowl

Updated on April 10, 2016
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How to Recycle Magazines

Pictures of interesting bowls and bins made from recycled magazines are popping up all over the Internet, but very few have useful accompanying instructions. After some experimentation, and lots of glue, I discovered a process for making uniform paper coils and an attractive bowl.

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For this project, you can use any type of recycled paper. Magazines, catalogs, junk mail, and left over fliers are all great sources of paper to recycle into a coiled bowl. I used a stack of out of date program schedules from work because I liked the uniform color of the pages, but a multicolored bowl would be cute, too.

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Make tick marks 1/4" apartDraw lines along the ticksClamp the pages with mini binder clips
Make tick marks 1/4" apart
Make tick marks 1/4" apart | Source
Draw lines along the ticks
Draw lines along the ticks
Clamp the pages with mini binder clips
Clamp the pages with mini binder clips

How to Cut Paper in Even Strips by Hand

First, you must cut the magazine pages in strips. These strips need to be uniformly wide and have straight sides if you want your finished product to look like a bowl instead of a mess. If you have access to a paper cutter, you can quickly cut 1/4" strips. If not, use a ruler to carefully mark off the page in 1/4" increments. To ensure a straight line, make marks every quarter of an inch along the bottom, middle, and top of the page. Then, use the ruler to draw lines along the marks so you create a series of parallel lines 1/4" apart.

If you would like to make the hand cutting process a little faster, take your lined sheet and clamp it to about five other sheets, as shown in the picture. I used about half a box of tiny binder clips to keep the pages from slipping while I cut, and then cut along the top page's lines. If you attempt to simply hold the sheets in place while cutting, you will end up with uneven strips because the pages will slip.

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The size of a coil made from an 11" long strip - note the folded edge out
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The size of a coil made from an 11" long strip - note the folded edge out
The size of a coil made from an 11" long strip - note the folded edge out | Source
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Glue the Strips into Coils

After you have made a few dozen paper strips, you can begin forming coils. It does not matter if you don't have enough strips for the entire bowl because you need to let it dry in stages so the coils do not simply fall off.

Before opening your glue, blow up and tie off a balloon. I think small round balloons work best, but use whatever shape or size you want for your project - it's yours! Then, place the balloon, tied side down, on top of a glass.

Gluing the paper strips can get a bit messy, so before your proceed, you should protect your work surface with an old grocery bag, or something similar. Then, place a line of white glue down the center of the "wrong side" of a paper strip and spread it evening along the surface using a paint brush or finger. If you are using double-sided magazine pages, you don't need to worry about a right and wrong side, unless you prefer the colors on a side. Then, carefully fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, to form a thinner, but equally long, strip. Apply another line of glue along this new strip and carefully form it in to a tight coil. Place this coil on the top of your balloon as the center of your bowl-to-be. I like the finished appearance created by placing the folded edge out, so I made sure all of my coils were placed with this neat edge showing.

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Continue Building the Bowl

All that remains is gluing additional coils around your central coil until your bowl is complete. Unfortunately, this is a little easier said than done. The process is not difficult, it simply takes time - and a willingness to get glue on your fingers! After experimenting with super glue and white glue, I discovered that white glue works better for attaching the coils, you just have to stop every row or two and let the glue dry.

Even though it slowed the drying process, I added a small amount of water to my now partially-empty white glue bottle. The thinner glue had an easier time seeping down into the cracks and gaps, but you can use full-strength glue, if you wish.

You can use these drying periods to cut additional paper strips. Having an idea of how much area strips cover can keep you from devoting hours and hours to cutting far more strips than you need, too.

After the basic shell of the the bowl is dry, you may notice little gaps between the coils. To fill these gaps, cut some of your strips into shorter lengths and make smaller coils to fill in the empty spaces. You can do this while fabricating the main body of the bowl, but I found trying to incorporate small coils from the beginning meant I had to stop and wait for glue to dry even more frequently.

If you love the look but want to use the bowl for liquids, you can purchase plastic bowls covered with paper spirals.

How to Finish the Magazine Bowl

After filling in any gaps and waiting for the glue to dry, remove the balloon. I have seen people suggesting simply popping the balloon, but I was afraid the might leave me with clinging fragments of balloon glued to the bowl's interior. Instead, I suggest carefully rocking the balloon back and forth, cracking the glue. You should be able to remove the balloon, or pop it without fear of clingers.

Inside of coiled bowl
Inside of coiled bowl | Source

There you have it! You just created your very own recycled magazine bowl. Now that you understand the process, why not move on to bigger bowls, or maybe even an inventive trash can or storage bin?

If you love recycled crafts, I highly recommend Found, Free, and Flea. It's full of neat ideas and has fantastic pictures, too. When I grow up, I hope I can be as inventive as this book's authors!

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    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Another great DIY tutorial! I really want to try this one. Voted up and I'm sharing it :)

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Wow - thanks for the quick feedback! I'm glad you like it. Sometimes I feel like I have way too many pictures (I actually took a couple photos out of this one), but I want to make sure the direction are clear.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Oh, this is such a nice idea, and great way to have the whole family help. Have to try it out.... I wonder if we can use an upside down bowl instead of the balloon.

      Voting it up, and very useful.

    • Cheds profile image

      Cheds 5 years ago from Maine

      Recyling is awesome! Thanks for the new project idea, Natasha. Nice hub :)

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      LaThing - you probably could use a bowl. The only problem is you might have trouble with coils falling off while trying to dry. You could probably keep that from happening by using super glue, but I found the super glue was really messy to work with. Or, if you let the base of the bowl dry, you could flip the bowl right side up and then build the coils up. That might help.

      Cheds - thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the recycled craft.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Really creative and original idea, I can honestly say I have never heard of something like this. Great hub.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      DS Duby - Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I'm glad you liked it.

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      That's a cute idea! Voted up, useful, and shared.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much, jellygator!

    • TripleAMom profile image

      TripleAMom 5 years ago from Florida

      This looks like a fun idea my daughter would enjoy trying. She is always looking for something new to create and we have lots of magazines thanks to my mother in law :). Voting up and looking forward to following you to get more ideas.

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 5 years ago from Hawaii

      What a cool idea! It's great to find new uses for old magazines!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for stopping by, HawaiiHeart and TripleAMom. I'm always exited to see new comments! I hope to make many more DIY tutorials because I love making things.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Who would ever think that you could make something so beautiful from paper? Love your idea and also the green tip on saving trees!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for stopping by, Teaches. I really like the bright yellows and blues - I was lucky to get my hands on these at work!

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Another great hub! Easy to follow given the instructions and photos. Voted up and useful!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a fun and creative project. Now I know what to do with all these magazines I have sitting around collecting dust. Love this idea.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Awesome! Just be prepared to wash your hands a lot - unless you find a way to be far neater than I was. At least white glue cleans easily!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      I love this! Just the sort of thing I like to make. Thanks very much for sharing this project.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for stopping by, theraggededge.

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 5 years ago

      This is so very awesome! I love the look of the bowl, very stylish! I'll re-read this and try to make later :)

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 5 years ago from New Jersey

      This is a super cool idea. You have saved my life. My recycle can was always overflowing with all the magazines and journals I subscribe to. Now I have a way to recycle that will also help with keeping things organized. Thanks for sharing!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      Love it! It would be great to try with kids as a Mother's Day or Father's Day project. Thanks for the idea! :)

      Voted up and sharing!

    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      Very neat! Takes me back to craft class days years ago..great instructions, nice idea to keep handy especially when you have kids over looking to be kept busy..:)Also great suggestion to use the ad mail that fills up my mailbox

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Creatively smart and economical idea! The instructions explained by you are so detailed and the pics are helpful. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up.

    • KarenCreftor profile image

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      This is so cool!! I've seen a lot of recycled paper items, but never one like this. It's looks really cute and such a good way to create something useful on a budget :D

      Thank you for such a clear tutorial...my family will be getting a set of bowls each for Christmas I think hehe.

      *voted up and shared*

      ~Kaz x

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Though this is not my cup of tea, many people will find this tutorial very useful.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks everyone! I appreciate the shares from ishwaryaa2 and PracticalMommy.

      Caren Kreftor - thanks for the complements. I know you write about crafty things, so I appreciate it!

      Vinaya - your candid comment made me laugh!

      Riverfish - you're right, ads would work really well. I actually cut up some glossy ad fliers, but then decided to go for a monochromatic look.

      Stephaniebcrosby and emilybee - thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I get so excited when I see that little green comment bubble pop up!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. My friend, you are very creative. Thanks for writing and share with us. Rated up and useful!

      Prasetio

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you so much, Prasetio. It took me a really long time to find my creative streak, and now I love sharing it with everyone.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Natasha, this is an awesome idea, especially for so many of us who have, you know, that or those stacks of magazines we keep thinking we might need (instead of just clipping out that article or recipe!). This would be great for kids to do too. And it's kind of artsy. Thumbs up and thank you!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks! Yeah, it is easy to get too many magazines and catalogs. My roommates are moving back to their home states soon and I've been watching them cart arm load's of magazines to the trash. I've been tempted to snag some of them, but I still have paper strips left over from this project!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Beautifully done! Thanks for the great tutorial.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, randomcreative!

    • donabhatt profile image

      donabhatt 5 years ago from Hyderabad

      It is so creative.....

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, donabhatt!

    • anusujith profile image

      Anoop Aravind A 5 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

      Good & creative.

    • anivardiashvili profile image

      anivardiashvili 5 years ago from Georgia

      hanks so much, jellygator!

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 5 years ago from Minnesota

      This is awesome! I want to try making one now :)

    • AnnRandolph profile image

      AnnRandolph 5 years ago

      I love this idea. Very creative!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I have even more recycled magazine projects lined up - now I just have to find the time to make them!

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 4 years ago from Indiana

      I love this idea! I'm always on the lookout for recycling projects like this. VERY neat!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      What a great comment to find first thing in the morning! Thank you, Helena Ricketts! I'm always trying to come up with ways to make recycled crafts, too.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      You have found a great way to eliminate waste and recycle and be creative too.I love it.All new to me what a great thing for kids to do.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I'm glad you like it and thanks for taking the time to comment to let me know.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a great way to recycle and this looks so much fun, I can't wait to try it - brilliant thank you and voted up!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! By using a larger balloon, or one of those long, skinny ones, you could make some pretty interesting bowls!

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      Mrs Galland 4 years ago

      I am making one of these bowls, BUT my way of rolling the paper is way different and I would say the coils come up thicker, a bit more sturdy and look like good quality. I use one whole page per coil, sometimes 2 or 3 if I want the coil to be bigger. I'm making 3 sizes. Each page I roll it up from corner to corner to get a stick with pointy ends. There's no cutting, and then roll it up again into the coil. When you see the coil you don't see the edge of the magazine page, you see more like a rounded edge. Just thought I'd share the tip.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I think I know what you're talking about - it's like how you make a paper bead. I agree, that doesn't show a cut edge and coils that big work well for larger containers, like a small trash can. It might look a little goofy on something so small! Thanks for sharing your tip for anyone wanting to make a larger project.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      You are just too clever. What a lovely bowl and it is so cheap to make. You are amazing. I am voting up and sharing..

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much, carol7777!

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 4 years ago from New Hamphire

      Oh, what fun! I've done a few magazine crafts- never a bowl (yet). Your explanation was well organized. Thanks for sharing.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much! I am glad you find the instructions understandable. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 4 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      This came out great! Thanks for the instructions and pictures! :)

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, Heather Says! Glad you liked it.

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Amazing and clever DIY tutorial indeed! Very creative. Instructions and pictures are really great. Voted up and useful. :)

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you so much! I appreciate the votes and am glad you found it useful.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Great instructions. This looks like a fun craft with do with a tween or teen.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I wish I'd had my current camera when I made this hub! The pictures would have been so much better. Oh, well. It was fun to make and the materials were practically free! Thanks for stopping in and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Fun, useful, awesome, cute and helpful info Natasha!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      You made me smile! Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed =)

    • Aplethora23 profile image

      AngPow 4 years ago from North Cali

      What a FUN project to do with the kids at home this summer! I am looking forward to it. Thank you. Voted Awesome.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Hooray! I hope everyone has a great time and you find some colorful stuff to upcycle!

    • Aplethora23 profile image

      AngPow 4 years ago from North Cali

      I am new to Hub Pages. Is there an appropriate way to take pictures of the things we made from following the directions on your site and post them? Does it work like that here - or - ?

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Post them here on my page or like on your own blog? I'm happy for you to post results of using my tutorial - if you can just link back to here as the tutorial source. If you let me know where you post it, I'll try to add a link to you, too.

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      A very unique thought of creating such a wonderful piece of artwork. I loved it. The pictures included in the hub will help making such a bowl easily. Great and useful hub!

    • Aplethora23 profile image

      AngPow 4 years ago from North Cali

      awesome. I will let you know. I already have the directions written out, along with a few other crafty projects to do with the kids this summer. Just waiting for school to get out and then we're all over it!!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, Kevin, and I hope you have fun, Aplethora!

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 3 years ago

      Wow, you are incredibly creative!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! =)

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      What a cool idea! I'll have to give it a try. :)

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      It takes a little bit, but it's a very low cost project that is a lot of fun!

    • SaeeBwk profile image

      Trupti.Borawake 3 years ago from India

      Really super cool and super easy.. thanks alots

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Wow - never seen anything like this before. I've done a lot of papier mache artwork, but this is a great idea. Can't wait to try it out. Great Hub.

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