Upcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase

Upcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase

Sometimes I pick out products knowing that I’ll reuse the packaging for a craft, but other times I end up with a happy accident on my hands – excuse the pun! – and this project is one of those times. I was browsing Etsy and stumbled upon a vintage vase in the shape of a hand that looked really neat. Later that day when I was about to recycle a shampoo bottle, I realized its shape would make the perfect base for a DIY hand vase and this project was born. I haven’t had the chance to paper mache in a little while, and it was really therapeutic to do it for this vase and gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some tv while I worked. This technique is a little bit more involved since the fingers create some trickier spots to work around, so if you’re concerned it may be a little advanced for your kids, you can always skip the paper mache step completely and paint directly onto the sculpted aluminum foil – you’ll just have a slightly more rustic look! Whatever way you choose, your finished vase will be display-ready for any wildflowers you gather on your next walk in the park.

Upcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase

what you need:

  • Empty plastic bottle
  • Tinfoil
  • Masking tape
  • Newsprint
  • Paper mache paste (flour and water)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Mod Podge


Step 1
Wash out the inside of your plastic bottle well and let dry. I used an old shampoo bottle (this Live Clean one has a bit of a curve to the bottle that I thought was a nice shape, but you can use an old water bottle or whatever you happen to have handy). You don’t need a lid for this project, and in fact, if the opening of the bottle is too small, you can cut the top of the bottle now so that you have a nice-sized opening for your vase.

Upcycled Paper Mache Hand VaseUpcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase
Step 2

Sculpt and shape tinfoil into fingers and tape onto the top of the bottle. Add more foil as needed until you’re happy with the shape.

Upcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase

Step 3
Rip pieces of blank newsprint (or recycled newspaper) in various sizes. You’ll want to have some pretty narrow and thin ones to wrap around the fingers and all the nooks and cranies. Mix your paper mache paste (1 cup flour and 1 cup water). Dip a strip of newsprint into the paste and use your fingers to wipe off most of the excess. Place onto the hand, pressing gently to smooth. Repeat this until the whole hand is covered and let dry completely.

Upcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase
Step 4
Apply a coat of paint over the entire paper mached surface. If you used newspaper, you may need to do a couple of coats for full coverage. Then paint on whatever pattern you like! I was inspired by this pattern I found on Pinterest. Once dry, apply a coat of Mod Podge to seal everything and let dry.

Upcycled Paper Mache Hand VaseUpcycled Paper Mache Hand Vase

Happy crafting!