Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Halloween Paper Mache!

Supplies -

Oval shaped balloons
Paper mache paste
Old paint brushes - wider brush is easier
Rolls of crepe paper - we used yellow, orange, and "gold" (didn't look very gold to me)

This paper mache project was inspired by the Oct. 2001 issue of Martha Stewart Living and it has probably been that long since I have made them. Gather your supplies, and prepare areas and children for a sticky mess.

You start with a balloon - a regular oval shape works great for pumpkins. For a skull I used an oval shape that I then wrapped masking tape around to give it more of a skull shape (below). For rounder shapes you can blow up the balloon to size and then tape down any protrusions. Don't worry about covering the tied knot - later you will need a place to cut the balloon out and and insert your light or candle.

With your paint brush, brush a thin layer of paste onto the balloon, then place your strip or piece of crepe paper on the paste and cover paper with another thin layer of paste. It is like using a decoupage technique. Below Hannah is crafting covers for our lights in the dining room using ripped pieces of crepe paper in different shapes. She has also used some bats that were cut out of black tissue paper.
For the pumpkins you use longer strips in overlapping colors -
For the skull I used shorter strips in different directions and gave it more of a massage with my finger tips to get the look of fine lines.

I recommend three layers of crepe paper - it goes quicker than you would think - no need to let layers dry in between new layers. Once you have your layers finished, hang by the knot to dry (we used a bit of string hung across our bay window). I would give the forms a good 24 hours or more to dry - drying time may be more or less depending on the moisture in the air and also the thickness of your paste. Then comes the scary part...
Pinch your knot and cut a hole in the balloon - allow the air to escape slowly - your form may collapse slightly but don't worry - after you remove the balloon you can simply blow air back into the form restoring it's original shape.

Here's some of our finished products -
For the above light covers a large hole was cut both in the bottom and the top of the dried form - use light bulbs of 40 watts or less (ours were candle flame shaped.
The pumpkin shapes were turned into lanterns. We sketched the faces with pencil and carefully cut them out - the hole at the top was enlarged. I hot glued a metal canning jar rim to the inside bottom of each pumpkin. On the replaceable lid I hot glued a small tea light. The handle is a length of florist wire thread through each side that had been reinforced on the inside with a bit of masking tape. Our boys carried these on a lantern walk and this picture doesn't quite do them justice when they are lit up in the dark.And finally the skull was used as a decoration for Hannah's Eerie Evening With Edgar Allan Poe.
The face was cut out and a hole was cut in the bottom and the top (to let out heat). The skull was placed over a tea light in a votive glass and set in a Terra cotta pot.

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