Paper mâché is easily one of my most favorite mediums. It is so versatile, make just about anything you dream up! A couple years back I made a bunch of paper mâché cacti for my job with David Stark Design. You may remember them, we did a mini tutorial over on Design Sponge. For a few months now, I haven't been able to get out of my head the idea of making a cactus vase! I had been hoarding paper towel and toilet paper tubes and finally sorted out what to do with a few of them!
What you need: paper towel or toilet paper tubes, masking tape, newspaper, flour and water - for the paper mâché mixture, small flower tubes or travel shampoo bottles, cardboard, gravel, gesso, acrylic paints, brushes, and a finish coat like mod podge or polyurethane.
1. Create the cactus shape by wrapping newspaper around the cardboard tubes and securing in place with masking tape. Keep applying paper and tape until you are happy with the shape.
2. Tape 2 or 3 tubes together. You can vary the angle by cutting the bottom of the tube at an angle.
3. Trace the bottom and cover with a layer of cardboard and tape into place.
4. Fill the tubes part-way with gravel, you do this to add weight so later on when you place flowers inside, it doesn't tip over.
5. Fill the remainder of the tube with crumpled newspaper while placing and taping in place the flower tube (I used empty travel shampoo bottles). Keep adding crumpled paper until the bottles are secure and don't budge.
6. Cover entirely with a layer of paper mâché. Once dry, make small rolls of paper and apply to create the ridges of the cactus and add another layer of paper mâché to cover completely.
7. Once the paper mâché is dry, cover completely with gesso and paint your favorite shade of green! (Or pink or black or neon yellow!)
8. If you'd like, finish it off by painting dots along the ridges and cover with a layer of mod podge or polyurethane.