As I said in an earlier post here: Help me make a Rainforest
the theme for my little sister's 8th grade graduation dance this spring is the rainforest. My mom and I, along with several other parents, are involved in decorating the cafeteria for the dance.NOTE: If anyone has old lightcolored pantyhose, we could really use it! PM me and maybe we could work out a personal swap or something.
Two of the things I've come up with so far are big tropical flowers and a giant paper mache butterfly! I figured I'd post the tutorials here so the other decorating committee moms could make some if they wanted and any of you lovely craftsters could as well!Flowers
- Metal coat hangers
- Spray paint
- Pipe cleaners
- Duct tape
- Light colored pantyhose, tights, or kneehighs
First take your metal hangers (4, 5, or 6, depending on how many petals you would like) and bend them into a petal shape. (I generally just grab the middle of the bar and pull, then soften the corners a bit.)
Next, pull the knee highs (if you use pantyhose or tights, cut them right where the leg begins. You can always cut off the excess later.) over the hangers. You might have to pull on the sides of the hanger afterwards, since the tights pull in the sides of the petals. Twist the end of the pantyhose around the twisted-metal end of the hanger and secure with green duct tape.
Now go outside and spray paint! If you have my luck, then it's probably windy outside and the petals and spray paint will fly all over - you know, to add to the excitement.
Any spray paint will do. I went with solid orange for one and yellow with orange spots for the other. It's also fine to accent the petals with sharpie after spray painting.
They should dry pretty quickly. In the meantime, get your pipe cleaners ready. You'll need three per flower - two bent into V shapes with curls at the end and one just in half. For the next few directions, let's call the one bent in half pipecleaner "B"
Put the V shapes one on top of the other and hook "B" pipe cleaner over both.
Twist the "B" pipe cleaner and wrap it around the connected V pipe cleaners once or twice so it all stays in place.
Your petals are probably dry by now, so take each one and bend to a 90 degree angle at the base of the petal. Bend the handle straight down...
...Then in half.
Alright, now either get a friend or get some strips of duct tape ready.
Hold all the petals in one hand with the pipe cleaners in the middle (I like to put the "knot" of the pipe cleaners below where all the petals meet)
Using your other hand, wrap the duct tape tightly around the handles of the hangers. (Alternatively, have your friend attempt to do so without taping your hand!)
Tada! Flower. Butterfly
I dont have as pictures for the butterfly, since I didnt think I'd be making a tutorial. He's pretty easy though.
- Cardboard tube (I used a wrapping paper tube)
- Pipe cleaners
- Paint and/or spray paint
First find a picture of a butterfly on the internet for inspiration. I used this one: Blue Morpho Butterfly
(Decorating Committee moms: I'm going to trace the butterfly and bring the pattern in.) Draw him on your cardboard and cut him out. (I got my little sister to help with this part, she has no idea that the butterfly is for her 8th grade dance!)
If you look closely at the above picture you can see the butterfly's body in the top right. I basically cut the tube to the desired length, crushed the end into a tapered shape and taped it. Then I taped a squishy ball to the top and taped bent pipe cleaners to the ball! Tape all that to the butterfly. (I am aware that his body is on the wrong side of his wings, but I didnt think it would look right otherwise. Maybe if I'm feeling ambitious I'll do another one with his wings mostly closed and put the body on the correct side.)
At this point, I advise cutting apart a wire hanger (cut the middle of the bar and either side of the handle to take advantage of the bends in the metal already) and taping it to the back of the butterfly to hold his wings in the desired position. Unless, of course, you want it to be flat.
Now rip strips of newspaper for your paper mache. Newspaper rips really well in one direction, really poorly in the other. You'll know which is which. The websites I read recommended strips about 2 inches wide, but I found that I preferred mine slightly wider. Paper mache is messy, so you'll want to use the newspaper to cover your working surface as well. It takes a long time to dry, so I dont advise using the kitchen table!
You should also mix up your paper mache glue. I used a simple mix of one cup flour, two cups water. Paper mache molds pretty quickly, so I STRONGLY advise mixing it in a ziploc rather than a bowl, which you'll find a couple days later to be covered in awful black mold.
To paper mache the butterfly, dip a strip in the glue, then use two of your fingers as a squeegee to remove the excess glue. Stick it on where ever you like! Try to get your strips going in all different directions; this will strengthen the paper mache and add to the fragile look of the butterfly's wings. Dont worry about trying to do multiple layers, just cover all the cardboard.
Here's mine, half covered in paper mache!
It takes several hours to dry. It's much quicker if you get a fan blowing on it.
Here's the first part dry! (There's no reason not to do the whole thing at one time, we just got interrupted by dinner!)
Oh and I wrapped the pipe cleaners in strips of paper mache as well. It's tricky, but worth it!
Here's the whole thing covered in paper mache!
Once it's all dry, it's time to paint! I learned that hard way that spray paint is way too transparent to cover the newsprint. What I ended up doing was covering the wings in blue fabric paint (I wouldve used acrylic paint, but I didnt have a lot of blue acrylic and I did have a lot of blue fabric paint!) and spray painting blue over it. I also used brown spray paint and black and blue acrylics paints for accents. I didnt bother paper macheing the back of the wings, I just spray painted them brown.
Once we actually decorate the cafeteria, I'll post pix of them on the walls!