Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Birthday Party Crafts

My oldest boy, J, had his birthday party at the end of January and wanted a Lego-themed party. Kara came up with games and did a swell job of it. They built Bionicles, guessed the number of Legos in a jar, and made as many words as they could out of "Happy Birthday." My jobs were to craft a Lego cake and a Lego piñata.

It had been years since I'd done paper mache, and I had to look up a recipe, but I suppose it's like riding a bike because once I got rolling it all came flooding back.

Papier-mâché Paste
Prep
Tear several sections of newspaper lengthwise into roughly 1 1/2" wide strips. I also found it helpful to tear the strips in half crosswise too, to make them easier to apply. I found it hard to manage the full-length strips, but you may want them that long for your project so do what works for you.

Ingredients
4 cups water, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar

Directions
Mix flour and 2 cups cold water in a large bowl--glass would be best, since it will retain the heat of the paste for longer than metal or plastic. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Slowly add flour mixture to boiling water, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add sugar.

You can use it immediately-as soon as it's cool enough to put a hand in it. To use it, lay a paper strip in the paste, then gently pull the strip through your hand between your thumb and index finger to "squeegee" off the excess paste. Apply thin layers of strips and let your creation dry well before handling.

I used a cardboard box and plastic cups to form this Lego piñata--first covering the box in plastic wrap to help in getting the box out when the paper mache dried. As the last step, I took pieces of crepe paper and pasted them on using my paper mache paste.

I must have done something right, because the kids each got several whacks at it and it held up just fine, but wasn't too strong to bust eventually.


1 comment:

Sarah said...

You don't know me from Adam (well, we met once or twice in the late '90s) but I'm a friend of Kara's from the high school era and would love to get in touch with her. My contact info can be found by linking through to my Google profile/blog. Would you mind passing the info along to her? Thanks!!