How to Make Gesso Papier Mache Trays

Today we will show you how to make papier mache trays that are made with something called Gesso. Gesso is a compound that is normally used by painted to primeĀ  canvases…but it has plaster of paris in it and is actually quite amazing to use to make papier mache items. Find out how to make these trays that are finished with enamel paint. Find out how to make it below.

How to Make Gesso Papier Mache Trays


3 Paper plates (same size)


Enamel paint

(optional) Magazine pages



How to Make the Papier Mache Tray

Step 1


Coat the three picnic plates on both sides with gesso, as in picture above.

Step 2



Place plates, one into the other, and press together tightly. Allow to dry. When thoroughly dry, trim edge of tray with a scissor.

Step 3


Apply several more gesso coats until desired thickness is attained. When last gesso coat is dry smooth surface and edge with fine sandpaper as inĀ  the image above.

Step 4


Apply coat of glossy enamel paint. Allow to dry and sandpaper lightly. Apply three coats in all following same procedure, as in the illustration above.

Step 5


When last coat is thoroughly dry, decorate with a different shade of paint. When paint is dry, apply protective coat of clear shellac. Or glue magazine picture to tray and when dry apply shellac.

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