Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Arnold Grummer Papermaking Blog - Springtime Decorations

Not only at Christmas time has there been a tree used as part of holiday decorations in my house.

Growing up I remember several things about all the holidays and wanted to share my version of one of them.  Each Easter my mother would bake and decorate an Easter lamb cake, there would be bowls of dyed eggs to display in baskets or bowls.  The one idea I remember most and continued to use in my own Spring decorations was an Easter Tree.  It would be fashioned from a large or small branch from a tree or a bush and normally decorated with colored, blown out eggs.

So I had a "brain storm" to try another version of an Easter tree and incorporate Easter ornaments made from paper pulp.  This little tree, constructed from a small branch cut from a dormant hydrangea bush, becomes a  sweet decoration for spring or Easter.

Paper pulp egg, bunny and chick shapes were made into ornaments to hang from the branches.  For casting  the eggs I used a plastic candy mold.  The bunny and chicks are shaped using metal cookie cutters as a deckle.  They all began with processing pulp of course in a blender.

Combine 1/4 cup of cotton rag pulp into a blender container with 4 cups of water.  Pour the pulp into a strainer to remove water and place the pulp into a small bowl.  Repeat this process as many times as needed to make enough pulp to mold several eggs and form the  other shapes using cookie cutters.  NOTE: When creating the chicks, I shredded a piece of yellow cardstock and allowed it to soak in warm water before processing with some cotton linters.  Pour the shredded pieces along with the water used for soaking.

To form the eggs, start by adding the processed pulp into the plastic egg mold, pressing it into and around the mold to the top edge.  Use small pieces of sponge to remove as much water as possible from the pulp. Allow to dry naturally in the mold.  NOTE: Having more then one mold can help hasten the forming of the eggs.  Drying can be speeded up slightly by using a microwave oven.  If using this method, use low settings, nothing higher then 50% and short time intervals, like 30 to 45 seconds.  Dry just till the shapes will release when the mold is tapped.  Set aside and allow to completely dry.  

The chicks and bunnies are shaped using cookie cutters.  Place them onto screen, set inside a rimmed sheet.  Place the processed pulp into the cutters, adding enough

Directions for finishing the ornaments

Fill the hollow back of the eggs with hot glue, almost to the edge.  Form a loop  from white wire and place at the top of the egg for a hanger.  Add more hot glue over the wire to hold the hanger in place.

Bunnies/Chicks:  Form hangers from white wire in the same fashion.  Place near the top back of each shape and cover with hot glue.

Place soy wax into a microwave safe container (like a canning jar) and melt according to directions for melting wax.  Dip each of the shapes into the melted wax (holding on to the wire hanger) allowing the wax to drip from the bottom.  Place onto a piece of parchment paper till hardened.  If necessary, repeat dipping and drying.

Chicks: Tie a length of yellow ribbon around the neck of the chicks, trim.  Glue a small black bead in place for an eye.

Bunnies:  Paint a thin layer of white glue onto the top surface, sprinkle with white iridescent glitter.  Allow to dry.  Tie a length of pink ribbon around the neck, trim. Glue a small black bead in place for an eye.

Eggs: Embellish with stick on jewels, cut to fit. Add a bow to the top by tying it around the hanger.

Place a cut branch into a plastic pot, center and hold in place with tape; fill about half full with prepared plaster of paris, allow to harden.  Hang the ornaments.

You can read about other similar projects that I created in the past using both the mold technique and cookie cutter technique. Find the mold link here and the other cutter link here.

When visiting the Arnold Grummer website and making a purchase use this 20% saving code when placing an order - MAR20

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