Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Upcycle // Papier Mache Roses from an Egg Carton

I'm craving flowers. Which can only mean one thing… Spring is almost here. Next week, March 20th!! With the kids' schedules and my own responsibilities, I haven't had much down time lately. I'm definitely someone who needs some quiet time in order to function properly and it just hasn't been happening lately. So, after several weeks of feeling uninspired and burnt-out, when a little free time presented itself, I knew it was time to remedy the situation. For me, the remedy usually means "creative therapy" --  Forget all the other stuff for a bit and create something.

On Monday morning at 8:00 sharp, right as the kids were being carted off to school by my hubby, I pulled out some supplies and got to work. I didn't feel like waiting for the stores to open, so I dug into a bag of recyclables that I've been saving for a future project. Since Earth Day is next month, what better time to start an upcycle project.

At first,  I didn't have a clear plan, but I did know that I wanted a hands-on project that is easy to make, uses recyclable materials, and breathes a little Spring into our home. I think these egg carton roses hit all the marks.

Click "Read more" for the tutorial

How to Make Flowers from an Egg Carton

materials needed:
"cardboard" or papier mache egg carton -- one carton makes four 2-inch flowers
hot glue gun and glue sticks or other strong adhesive
acrylic or spray paint (optional)-- I used this matte white acrylic paint for a "chalk paint" look


Gather supplies. Start by cutting off the tall, pointed tips that divide each egg compartment. All egg cartons are NOT created equally but, after a quick survey at the market, the cartons that I looked at all had this feature. These tips will eventually be the center of the flower.

Then cut out the 12 egg cups. There are 4 petals on each flower layer. If there are any natural, petal-like forms, try to keep those intact.

Sort through your egg cup pieces. I saved the pieces with "nicer", tall, formed petals for the bottom layer. The inner layers will be have shorter petals, and will be cut down to size, so the form doesn't need to be as perfect for those pieces.

Petals, Layer 1--

Layer 1 - These are the Outer Petals of the flower. Using the natural shape of the carton, cut out four petals, from top to the bottom of the form. These petals should be kept as long as possible (my petals measure 3 cm from base to tip). Smash it down so the petals lay flat.

Petals, Layer 2 --

Layer 2 - Using the natural shape of the carton, cut out four petals, from top to the bottom of the form. Keep these petals as long as possible (my petals measure 3 cm from base to tip). Leave it as is.

Petals, Layer 3--

Layer 3 - Cut out four petals and make them a little shorter than the first two layers (my petals measure 2.5 cm from base to tip). Since this layer needs to fit inside layer 2, you'll need to "massage" the carton into the desired shape. The material is pretty strong and resilient so don't be afraid to really shape and mold it so that it nests properly.

Petals, Layer 4--

Layer 4 - This is smallest piece (the pointed tips that we cut out first) and is the innermost part of the flower. Make a cut into each corner of the form, then shape it with a rounded top (my petals measure 2.5 cm from base to tip).

For size perspective, these flowers measure around 2-inches in diameter.

The flowers look nice in their natural papier-mache color or you can paint them. For a "plaster look", I decided to paint some of them with a satin acrylic white paint. Hmmm… Not sure if I'm in love with it though. I'll probably hit them up later with a coat of glossy white.

Wait until the paint dries and assemble the pieces using a strong adhesive. I used my hot glue gun. To avoid a "square" look, stagger the petals for each layer.

I have a project in mind for these egg carton roses. I just need to eat more eggs and make a few more flowers. I'll be back in a few weeks with the final project. What say you? Any Earth Day projects in your near future?

edited to add…
Here's a peek at what I ended up doing with these egg carton roses.