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How To Make Fabric Mache Bowls With Patchwork Denim

This tutorial is on making upcycled patchwork denim fabric mache bowls from your old jeans. Best of all, it doesn’t require any sewing.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but patchwork denim is on-trend. The trend is universal, from high-end fashion brands such as Prada and Gucci to high street clothes shops. The popularity of denim patchwork inspired me to make these denim fabric mache bowls.

I’ve been a big fan of denim patchwork in the home for years. Jeans come in so many lovely shades and tones of indigo. One of the best ways to show the shades off is with patchwork. I’ve made patchwork denim rugs, patchwork chairs, a denim-clad suitcase and even quilted stars, to name a few.

denim off cuts

Fabric Mache

I have made many Paper Mache bowls and wondered if I could use the same technique to make a Paper Mache-type fabric bowl.

I experimented by making a small patchwork denim bowl. This turned out so well that it gave me the confidence to go large and make a big denim fruit bowl. The technique worked well. The fabric mache bowls are surprisingly sturdy.

There was no sewing involved with this old jeans upcycle. The bowls were easy to make. It was a very affordable as the material used was denim scraps from old clothes that were not donatable.

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What You Need To Make Fabric Mache Bowls

  • Denim scrap: if you can use the denim from three pairs of jeans in different shades of indigo, all the better. Thinner, softer, well-worn denim scraps work better than stiff, thicker pieces. You will also need a denim waistband from a pair of jeans. This is a great way to repurpose clothes that cannot be donated.
  • Bowl to use as a mould – the size of the bowl will determine the finished size of your fabric bowls.
  • Clingfilm (plastic wrap)
  • Mod Podge – I recommend a big bottle as you will need a lot of glue.
  • Bulldog clips and pins

How to Fabric Mache

Step 1: First, cover the outside of the bowl that you are going to use as a mould with clingfilm.

covering the bowl in clingfilm

Step 2: Next, cut the jeans scraps into small squares. The size of the squares will depend on the fabric bowl you are making. I cut the jeans fabric into approximately 5cm squares for my large denim fruit bowl. For a smaller bowl, I’d probably cut smaller squares.

I used the denim fabric from three different pairs of jeans to give the patchwork more contrast.

cutting denim squares

Step 3: The fabric mache bowl was four layers thick. For the first layer of the bowl, I pasted the front of the squares with Mod Podge. They were then stuck face down onto the clingfilm-covered bowl.

Each patchwork of fabric should be covered in glue. Cover the whole of the outside of the bowl with denim. The denim squares will overlap slightly, and you may have to cut some into small pieces to fill small gaps.

Sticking down the denim squares
first denim layer for fabric bowl

Step 4: Cover the first fabric layer with a thick coating of Mod Podge glue.

covering patchwork fabric bowl in Mod Podge

Step 5: Then add another layer of fabric squares. This time paste the wrong side of the denim with glue.

Top tip: There is a lot of glue used with this upcycle, which can get messy. I use a glass plate when pasting the glue, which keeps my work surfaces clean.

Applying the glue to denim squares
Adding more denim squares.

Step 6: Repeat the last two steps until the fabric bowl is covered in four layers of denim patchwork. Combining the glue and fabric layers will help make a stiff bowl. You should finish with a final fabric layer, don’t cover this with Mod Podge unless you want the outside of the patchwork denim bowl to be shiny.

Then, leave the fabric mache to dry for about 24 hours.

Final fabric layer on bowl

Finishing off the Fabric Mache Bowl

Step 7: Once the glue has dried, carefully lift the patchwork denim off the bowl. The denim should be stiff and easily come away from the mould. Then remove the clingfilm from the inside of the bowl.

removing the mould
removing the cling film
Patchwork denim bowl

Step 8: Even out the rim of the bowl with a pair of scissors. To neaten the denim bowl and add character add a denim waistband rim. First, use a seam ripper to unpick a denim waistband from a pair of jeans. Unpick the belt loops from the waistband, but keep the label if there is one.

Top tip: To make the inside of the denim bowl more water-resistant, add another layer of Mod Podge to the inside.

Unpicking a denim waistband

Step 9: Open up the denim waistband and paste the inside of it liberally with Mod Podge.

glueing the inside of the waistband.

Step 10: Carefully place the waistband over the edge of the fabric bowl. The rim of the bowl should be inside the waistband. Use a combination of bulldog clips and pins to hold the waistband in place as the glue dries.

By the way, if the circumference of your bowl is bigger than your waistband, use a piece from another waistband to fill the gap.

Gluing the denim waistband to the rim

Step 11: Remove the clips and pins when the glue has dried.

denim patchwork bowl

The fabric mache bowl is stiff and robust; the insides can be wiped clean. This makes it perfect for a fruit bowl or even a bread basket on the table. It will match the denim table runner and hexagon patchwork placemats I made.

It also goes well with the test mini-fabric bowl I made. As that bowl was smaller, I used the seam from a pair of jeans to create a rim.

mini denim fabric bowl
cool denim fruit bowl

If you want more upcycled denim ideas for the home, check out my A to Z of denim crafts and ideas for upcycling fabrics and these denim kitchen ideas. Or for other things to make from fabric scraps.

Upcycled denim fabric bowls
Yield: Patchwork Denim Fabric Fruit Bowl

Denim Fabric Bowls

Denim Fabric Bowls

This is a really easy way to make fabric bowls without sewing. The method is very similar to Paper Mache but with denim scraps rather than paper. The fabric bowls are hard and sturdy and can be used as fruit bowls or even bread baskets on the table.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Old denim scraps from a variety of jeans.
  • Mod Podge
  • Clingfilm
  • Bowl to use as a mold


  • Bulldog clips and pins
  • Scissors
  • Glue brush


  1. First, cover the outside of the bowl that you are going to use as a mold in clingfilm.
  2. Cut the denim scraps up into small squares.
  3. Paste the right sides of squares with Mod Podge.
  4. Stick each square face down onto the clingfilm covered bowl. Carry on until the whole bowl is covered.
  5. Next, add a layer of Mod Podge to the denim on the bowl.
  6. Paste another set of denim patchwork squares with Mod Podge, this time on the wrong side of the denim. Then cover the bowl again with the squares.
  7. Repeat the last two stages until the bowl is covered in four layers of denim fabric.
  8. Once the fabric and glue has dried, remove it from the mold and the clingfilm.
  9. Next, unpick a denim waistband from a pair of jeans. Open up the waistband and apply Mod Podge to the inside.
  10. Then, place the waistband over the rim of the denim fabric bowl to create a neat edge. Hold the waistband in place with bulldog clips and pins until the glue has dried.
Diy fabric mache bowl

You can find more of my DIY ideas here.

Suzanne McElligott

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

You gave a good suggestion what to do with my husband old and warn out jeans. I shall doing that project for sure. By the way how can I subscribe to get more idea. Have a nice day. Suzanne Mc E.

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Thank you so much, on the right-hand side at the top of the page there is a box you can put your email address to get informed of the latest posts.


Saturday 12th of June 2021

I have (too large for me to wear due to weight loss) denim skirts and pants in lots of different colors. Could I make this bowl with them? The colors include red, grey, lavender, magenta, teal, olive green, coral, black, white, military camouflage, faded blue….. Color intensity ranges from “solid” to “tie dye”.

Or should I stick with various shades of blue?

I don’t have Mod Podge but I do have wood glue. I think Michael’s might carry Mod Podge (I will check it out).

Please advise. This looks like a fantastic project to use my “too large” clothes!!!

Thank you very much😀😀😀

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 12th of June 2021

Yes, you can of course use other fabrics in other colours to make this bowl. Wood glue should work as well with this project, you might need to dilute it with water a little if it is very thick.


Saturday 22nd of May 2021

Well, this is very original. I like it. It would be especially amusing for kids and teens. One thing though: you say not to put a coating on the last layer of fabric if you don't want it to be shiny. You could use matte finish Mod Podge. Anyway, good job.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

Thank you so much. Even with a matt Mod Podge the texture and feel of the fabric does change, but it will still look great.

Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance

Thursday 13th of May 2021

Hi Claire! Thank you for sharing with us at the TFT party! I'm featuring your wonderful post this week. Congratulations! Theresa.

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 13th of May 2021

Thank you so much that is great news.

Michelle Leslie

Monday 10th of May 2021

It's always such a treat when I come to visit your blog, Claire. I just know there's going to be something unique and beautiful to make. Love, love, love your denim fruit bowl. Such a classic and unusual piece of decor. Really cool

Claire Armstrong

Monday 10th of May 2021

Aww, thank you so much, Michelle, that is very kind of you. I do love the denim bowl myself it is sitting in my dining room at the moment with a fresh batch of apples. We eat a lot of apples in this household.

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