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Lara Neel | The Journal Gazette
This egg-shaped basket begins with a balloon.

Build Easter egg basket around balloon

I wanted to do a quick and easy Easter-related craft for a column this month and struggled with what to do. Until, that is, I remembered a project I did as a schoolchild. This project occupied a spot in our living room every Easter.

It was a papier-mâché egg that was always filled with Easter grass and some plastic Easter toys (a bunny, a chick) plus jelly beans. I have fond memories of this item, so I thought I’d replicate it for a column, and maybe some other children can make one for their home’s Easter decorations.

The one I made in school was decorated with square pieces of tissue paper wrapped around the eraser end of a pencil and glued in place to create a kind of ruffled effect. For this project, because I just didn’t feel like cutting up a bunch of tissue paper, I used torn pieces of tissue paper in varying colors, spray adhesive and Mod Podge.

What you’ll need:

•12-inch balloon

•strips of newspaper

•all-purpose flour

•water

•paint or tissue paper and glue

•Easter grass (whether you prefer the shredded paper, cellophane or the edible)

•Easter-themed plastic toys and other fun stuff like jelly beans, candy

What you’ll do:

1) Blow up the balloon.

2) Make a paste using the flour and water. I dumped about a cup of flour into a plastic container and added enough water to dissolve the flour while still keeping it kind of thick and paste-like.

3) Dip the strips of paper in the flour paste, and place them on the balloon until the whole thing is covered.

4) Let dry completely. I did this by placing the balloon on a cup, but the part of the balloon that was on the rim of the cup sank, and I had to repair it (see below).

5) Puncture the balloon with a pin.

6) Cut the “front” of the balloon until you have a decent-sized opening in which to create a display.

7) Decorate it however you wish.

8) Fill with Easter grass and goodies and toys.

Some notes:

By placing the balloon on the cup, with the newspaper and paste on the rounded end, I caused the balloon to be dragged down into the cup. This meant the papier-mâché didn’t stick to it and was a mess.

I struggled with how to fix it before realizing that to do so, I needed to have something for the paper to sit on. So I blew up another balloon inside the broken shell. Then, I patched the papier-mâché and let it sit overnight. This time, when I let it sit, I put it tie-side down into a large coffee can (the plastic kind).

Once it was dry, I started tearing apart my pieces of tissue paper and spraying adhesive onto the shell, then adhering the tissue paper. I left the balloon that I used to make the repairs intact in doing this.

Next, I used the Mod Podge (clear-drying) to cover the entire thing and to make sure the exposed edges of tissue paper were patted down.

I confess, if I were to do this project over again as something to keep (I won’t be keeping this one; it was just completed for purposes of a photo for this column), I would do the squares of tissue paper twisted on the eraser end of a pencil to decorate.

Or I might try my hand at painting to make it look like a decorated egg. Using just a single layer of tissue paper did not hide the newsprint. I also would probably try to paint the inside of it so the newsprint is covered.

I looked up directions online after doing this project and learned that three layers of paper strips are ideal for creating papier-mâché (which explains why my finished egg seemed so flimsy).

Have fun with this and, if you make it, we’d love to see your pictures. Just email them to craftyliving@jg.net.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or email craftyliving@jg.net. Also, visit her blog at www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving. There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.

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