Apparently, I enjoy making more work for myself when it comes to planning my kids' birthday parties. For this next one, I thought it would be cooler than cool to make papier-mache cocoons filled with goodies for the kids. I thought to hang them on sturdy branches at the party and as the kids leave, they can pick one right off the branch. I'm estimating that there will be anywhere from 6-12 kiddie guests so I plan to make a dozen of these bad boys. Very ambitious for a stay at home mom of three kids, I know, but I do so enjoy staying up late at night and into the wee hours of the morning as everyone else sleeps all cozy and bundled up in their warm, comfy beds. NOT.
Despite the lack of sleep and walking around like the living dead for a month or two before the party, I still think this idea is pretty neat and so different from the usual goodie bag favors. So of course I'm gonna go for it! The theme is The Very Hungry Caterpillar after all and what better way to send the kids home than with their own cocoons filled with bug candy and a cute little butterfly?
So I decided to make an initial mockup of the cocoon to see how it'd work and it was easier than I had imagined and didn't take very long either. I'm just a really impatient person so I had a difficult time waiting for the papier-mache to dry overnight. What can I say, I prefer instant gratification- don't most people? But this project is well worth it so I will hang in there just because of the effect it will create at the party.
So here it is from start to finish:
I blew up a water balloon which was just the right size and shape that I had in mind for a cocoon and to papier-mache, all you need is a 50/50 mixture of water and glue, newspaper strips, and foam brushes. You can probably even use green tissue paper so you wouldn't have to paint it. I didn't have any on hand at the moment so I used some acrylic paint after the balloon was dry. I also felt that the newspaper would hold together better because of the things I was going to stuff them with for the kids.
I dipped the newspaper strips in the glue/water mixture first and then slapped it onto the balloon.
Once I had covered most of the balloon, I could just slap a dry strip on to help soak up the excess mixture. This added a second layer to the cocoon which is necessary if I'm going to stuff it with candy.
This is one messy job so make sure to layer newspapers underneath your project!
I left the bottom (or would you say the top?) open and this will be where the treats will go inside.
And finally, it's at least 24 hours later and I can paint it any color I want. I used a 'Palm Leaf' green on it and will probably paint the others in different shades of green so when they're hanging on the branches, it'll make for a very watercolor-esque effect.
I cut the opening just a bit wider so that I can fit in a feather butterfly later. Oriental Trading Company sells a dozen colorful feather butterflies for only $6.25. You can check them out here: http://www.orientaltrading.com/feather-butterflies-a2-26_646-12-1.fltr?Ntt=butterfly. That's also where I bought those awesome realistic gummy bugs! They were bought for my son's V-day cards for his classmates. I'll post a picture of that later to show you what they're going to look like! I'm just overly excited because it's his first school Valentines exchange and it gives me another excuse to be crafty. As if this party wasn't enough for me, huh? ;-)
I tried two different versions of the cocoon. One just as it is in the green paint and a second one wrapped in white cheesecloth. The one that was wrapped looked very realistic and I liked it a lot but it was not as colorful as I wanted it to be for the party. So I'm sticking with just the painted version! The cheesecloth version is very neat though and I'll keep that in mind for future educational projects with the kiddos.
Isn't it adorable? Hung from white branches, these will be amazing! Once we get closer to the party and I get it all assembled, I'll update this with a new picture of the entire thing. And just in case you were wondering, the leaf note was leftover watercolor-painted paper from the caterpillar project in the previous post. I also hole-punched three holes to the top of the cocoon for the string to go through. As party favors go, these are my all-time favorites from all the parties I've planned previously! Hope you enjoyed this idea as well!