Tag: Paper Mache

DIY Man Eating Plant for Your Halloween Decor

 

Sometimes, it feels difficult to come up with unique holiday decor. While I was trying to come up with an idea for some such unique Halloween decor, I thought about the old throwback movie “Little Shop of Horrors”. I was excited about the idea of coming up with my own way to make a man eating plant. When doing a search for popularity on the internet, there weren’t too many ideas on how to make one, so the holiday was a solid one. I was excited to try to make my own from there. 

 

Man Eating Plant Material List

  • Balloon
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Tissue Paper
  • Spray Insulation
  • Cardboard Snack Box
  • Pole
  • Floral Wire
  • Glue

Man Eating Plant Build

My first step was to create the plant head using handy dandy paper mache. You are free to use whatever paper mache recipe floats your boat for this. I tend to go the easiest and cheapest route with a flour and water mixture. It admittedly isn’t quite as strong as a glue-based mix, but it certainly does the job. I used this same technique for my Witch Cauldron. Ultimate Paper Mache‘s site is a great source for recipes. There are five recipes here from which you can choose. After making the paste, cut or tear the newspaper into 1-inch strips. I placed the strips on the balloon in about 3 layers to get the egg shape.  

Clay Covering

Given that it would have taken forever to give the plant head a thick coating with the paper mache, I opted to try to use clay I had made for some other projects, including my witch cauldron Halloween decor. I went through some rough patches with this project, that is for certain. The home made clay I used cracked after drying. I tried to pull some of it off but it was going to take the paper with it some areas. 

 

I ended up covering the clay with more paper mache to smooth it out. It ended up working out in the looks department but was quite heavy after it was all said and done. I would recommended going another route for the thickening layer; something like foam or quilting fabric. 

 

Inside the Mouth

 

Time for spray insulation! I filled the cavity with the insulation to what I thought it should be with some growth. Be warned, it really grows!

 

 

After a little too much expansion, I had to saw it down to a manageable working place. It was pretty easy to cut through, so I was pleased in that regard. I used a utility knife to cut down more in the middle to make room for the tongue. Somthing to be aware of is the insulation loses it’s shinier smoother texture when you cut into it. 

 

 

The veins on one side were added during the paper mache phase. The other side ended up being better as the top, so I opted to use hot glue to create some veins there. I used my airbrush to give it a few coats of different shades of green and some purple for the outside. The inside of the mouth needed a few coats of red to give it a nice deep color. The cut insulation kept the spray paint well.  

 

Time for the Detail!

 

I used cereal box cardboard as the base/structure and the same clay to craft my tongue. The cracking this clay did after drying ended up being a perfect pairing for a gnarly tongue. I set it to dry on top of two paint bottles to give it dimension, aka an in motion look.

 

 

After some red and purple paint, this tongue was ready to taste some prey! White clay teeth were the last to throw together. Hot clue did the trick to get the clay teeth to stick to the insulation gums. 

 

Man Eating Plant Body

 

The man eating plant wouldn’t have been complete without the leaves and tentacles to attract it’s prey. I was running out of time at this point because of the headache the clay had given me. There was no choice but to make quick work of the tentacles. I sprayed newspaper with spray glue and rolled it up. Then, I coated it in paper mache paste to get it to harden. From there, it was just a matter of waiting for them to dry in position and painting them. 

 

 

The leaves were put together with flower wire, tissue paper, spray glue and some spray paint. 

 

Watch Out, this Plant has Quite the Bite

 

I loved the look of the inside of the mouth and the head. If there had been more time before Halloween, I would have take the leaves and tentacles up a notch, but they were enough for the Halloween night decor. As first tries go, there were some successes and some fails. Overall, it was a learning experience. Maybe I’ll try another technique this Halloween. Or maybe I’ll be too pregnant and tired to care about giving it another go. We shall see! Happy Holiday Crafting to you!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Affordable DIY Halloween Witch Cauldron

 

Bubble bubble toiling trouble. Holidays always get me excited for decorating. I think Halloween provides the best opportunity to try something new. This past Halloween, my mind was in over drive thinking about decorations I wanted to make. I really loved the bubbling cauldron look, so was excited to put my own spin on it. Follow along with this witch cauldron tutorial to make your own! 

 

Materials

Witch Cauldron

 

To save on the amount of spray foam needed, I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the inside rim of the cauldron. I usually have a stock of cardboard (supported by the increase in online purchases, thanks to the pandemic). As can be seen in the photo, small gaps are okay. I had to bend the cardboard in the middle a bit to get it into the inner rim. 

 

Paper Mache

My element of uniqueness was to hand a hand reaching out of the potion, which was scaling it back from the thought of using a styrofoam head sticking out as well. My first step was to create the hand using handy dandy paper mache. You are free to use whatever paper mache recipe floats your boat for this. I tend to go the easiest and cheapest route with a flour and water mixture. It admittedly isn’t quite as strong as a glue-based mix, but it certainly does the job. I used this same technique for my Candyland Lollipops for Christmas. Ultimate Paper Mache‘s site is a great source for recipes. There are five recipes here from which you can choose. After making the paste, cut or tear the newspaper into 1-inch strips.

If you have a willing volunteer, I’d definitely recommend using a hand that is not your own. I completed this on my left hand, so only had my right hand to do the work. Anyway, using the paper strips, dip them into the paper mache mixture and scrape off the excess. Wrap the paper mache strips around each finger and the rest of the hand. I recommend putting a solid layer all over.

It may be necessary to stuff it a bit to keep the shape while it dries.

Bubbling Potion

 

After using this “Great Stuff”, I definitely agree it’s great stuff. It could also be called “Super Easy” or “Crafting Gold”.  My 10 and 7 year olds enjoyed giving it a try. I started with spraying the base and spilling it over the sides. 

 

My little soccer player helped me out by holding the hand in place to look like it was reaching out of the cauldron. An argument could be made for the odd proportions, but I wasn’t worried about it. I guess I could have easily used one of my daughters’ hands. Live and learn. I sprayed the foam around the hand to get it to hold in place. With that, the bubbling was complete. 

 

Weather Protection

 

I was worried about the paper mache standing up to the weather outside, so I decided to use clay I made for another craft. To be honest, I shouldn’t have used this diy clay recipe and should have shifted to store bought clay. It was definitely a bit mistake on my part. It was too wet and loose, so it ended up making the paper mache hand soggy and saggy. I had to prop it up and use more clay than desired to give the saggy hand more shape. So, if anything, learn from my mistake and opt for the better store bought clay or maybe just a better recipe than I used that doesn’t included ingredients like baby oil. 

 

 

Using my airbrush, I painted the bubbling potion a lime green and gave it a second coat with darker green. I used my dremel to give the hand a more realistic look. Then, painted the hand and called it a day. To make this project even easier, you could quite honestly use a store bought Halloween hand. The path is yours to choose as far as how much DIY you want to do. 

 

Can Mistakes Be a Threat to Your Mental Health?

“Most people don’t like to make mistakes, but some people are more sensitive to errors than others, and that can make them more prone to anxiety…”

Greg Hajcak Proudfit, associate professor of psychology at Stony Brook University

 

I’m like anyone else and don’t care for making mistakes, especially when it effects my end results. I was kicking myself when I used the clay that I already had concerns. Sometimes, apathy and laziness get the best of me when I just want to knock things off my too long list of to dos. Apparently, there’s a region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex that is stimulated by the recognition of mistakes and when it’s stimulated, the increase in activity is called error-related negativity (ERN). I found this particular paragraph from When Mistakes Are a Threat to Mental Health pretty interesting, 

“What makes some people prone to higher ERNs and therefore anxiety? The ERN is somewhat heritable; for instance, healthy individuals who have immediate family members with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder tend to have a larger ERN. But situational factors also affect ERN. In lab studies, Proudfit has shown that it’s possible to induce a higher ERN by “punishing” participants for errors, for example by playing a very loud and aggravating sound after the participant makes a mistake.”

I think it’s definitely something to keep in mind when considering how you respond to your own mistakes and the mistakes of others, particularly children. As the article goes on to describe, hostile responses to mistakes can increase the ERN tendency, which will lead to higher anxiety levels. Give yourself and others grace for those mistakes. If they can be overcome, then there’s always a lesson to use for the next time. 

 

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Charming Candyland Christmas Projects for the Novice Crafter

As I started to think about Christmas and the same old outdoor decorations I’ve been using for years, I had the strong desire to mix things up. I had a plastic playhouse that my daughters had outgrown and needed to be repurposed or handing to someone else. That fact pushed me to think about turning it into a gingerbread house. Thinking of a gingerbread house made me think of candy and candy made me think of a Candyland Christmas theme. (Do you know the “If you Give a Moose a Muffin” books? I feel like that is how my brain works all the time and I think it drives my husband crazy.) From there, my girls and I were super excited to start with some mommy-daughter Christmas crafting!

Lollipops for Candyland Christmas

Materials:

  • Pool Noodle
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue sticks
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Spray Paint
  • Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Clear
  • Ribbon and/or Twist Ties
  • Dowel
  • Drill

We are currently preparing to move 45 minutes south in a month, so it was perfect timing to use these old pool noodles for a new project. It’s so much better than throwing them out! 

To start, grab your warmed up glue gun and start gluing the side of the end of the noodle and bending a small portion. As you continue to add glue to the outside edge, start to wrap the extra noodle length around the middle bend. I decided to use two noodles for each lollipop, but it could be fine with one. With the pandemic pushing people to get pools, the clearance pool noodle supply was nonexistent.

Creating the Lollipop Covering

If your pool noodles look good, you could bypass this step, given mine were different colors, I wanted to be able to spray paint them. I mixed enough flour and water together to get a cream-based soup consistency. Next, I dipped my newspaper into the mixture. Then I wiped off the excess before smoothing it onto the pool noodles. This dries much quicker in warm temperatures, so I used a small heater to dry them quickly. 

Then I set about with spray painting the dried paper Mache coating with a Rustoleum white I had on hand. 

I hand-painted red and white stripes with cheap acrylic paint. From there, I use a 1/2″ drill bit to drill a hole for the stick. I happened to have some wood posts from tree plantings in the backyard needing to be repurposed. Instead of painting white, I left them as is to save the spray paint. All there was left to do was to tie on the Cello wrapping paper I got from the Dollar Tree. It was a little too narrow for the diameter of my lollipop, so I used clear packing tape to tape the side flaps down.

I used Christmas ribbon I had leftover from the year before. Such an easy and cheap project! I mean seriously, how cute are these?!

GumDrops for Candyland Christmas

Materials:

  • Plastic Bowls
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Glitter glue or glitter paint
  • String lights

Easy Steps:

  1. Paint the inside of each bowl. I got six bowls so did the six different colors of gumdrops; red, green, orange, white, yellow, and purple.

2. Coat the outside in the glitter of choice.  I used some Rust-oleum Glitter Paint I had on hand thanks to Walmart clearance and a previous bookcase refinish. 

3. Place over the string lights.

4. Light it up!

 

Fruit Chews

Materials

  • Plastic bottles
  • Tissue Paper
  • Cello wrap
  • Twist Ties
  • Light string
  • Razor
  • Tape

Steps

1. Cut the top and bottom off with the razor.

2. Thread the string lights through the bottle.

3. Cut rectangles of the cello wrap and tissue paper. 

4. Wrap the tissue and cello around the bottle. Then tape it together. 

5. Twist both ends and tie with the twist tie.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 until you cover the whole string.

Mental Health Benefits

With all this trash repurposing, it’s fitting to point out that being green conscience can also improve mental health. According to Dr. Brian Wind, a clinical psychologist,  

leading a sustainable lifestyle can improve mindfulness and aid in easing depression or anxiety.

Earth 911

So while you are repurposing that trash and getting into your crafting zone, you’re really amping up the mental health benefit while meeting your Christmas décor needs. Enjoy!

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