How to Make a Roman Amphora Out of Papier Mache

Updated March 23, 2017

Amphoras were vases created with clay used by Romans to transport large quantities of perishable goods. Among other items transported in amphoras were wine and cooking oil. Archaeologists have also found evidence that some provinces transported grains, cereals and salted foods in these vessels as well. The general shape of an amphora is a open top with handles close to the opening, widening middle and then a pointed end. While Romans made these useful pots out of clay, you can make a replica out of papier mache.

Combine the flour, water and salt in the kitchen pot and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.

Cut up the newspaper and computer paper into strips. The newspaper will be used for the inside layers and the computer paper for the final layer.

Dip the newspaper into the paste and place the wet newspaper onto the plastic cooking oil container. This will serve as your frame for the main part of the amphora. Only cover the container with two layers at a time and let the layers completely dry before adding more.

Mold handles by rolling some dry newspaper up like a snake and taping it closed. Next add layers of papier mache over the newspaper and form into a semicircle. Test out the shape against the main piece to make sure it fits properly. Tape the handles onto the amphora's base and cover with a few papier mache layers.

Mold the bottom of the amphora out of mashed up papier mache. Let the bottom dry out completely and then tape it in position. After it's taped, cover it with a few layers to hide the tape and smooth out the overall texture.

Add the last layer of computer papier mache and cover the entire wet surface with clay soil. This will give your amphora the final earthy clay appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Kitchen pot
  • Spoon
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Computer paper
  • Plastic cooking oil container, emptied and cleaned
  • Tape
  • Clay soil
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About the Author

Steven White is a privately contracted software engineer and efficiency analyst. He has more than five years of experience providing technical support for AT&T broadband customers. Along with his technology background, White enjoys carpentry and plumbing.