Paper mache Easter crafts can be fun to make and are great to give as gifts.
We thought a basket lent itself to Easter crafts so we decided to make one from cardboard and strips of newspaper.
Although it can be a little fiddly in a few places, it's actually very easy and a lot of fun to make.
You could make it as a gift and fill it with chocolate eggs and bunnies, as we did in the photo, or you could use it for something different like pot pourri.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to make this project.
I wanted to make an oval basket and the best thing I could find to get the shape I was looking for was a ceramic chicken designed to keep eggs in.
I placed it on my piece of cardboard and drew around it. Don't cut it out yet as there is still another stage before we do that.
It's important to leave plenty of space around your base to make the supports for the sides.
Creating the supports for the sides:
You may be able to see from the photograph that I initially tried to work out where my supports should go by measuring round the edge of my oval then drawing them in.
This proved to be more complicated than I thought it would be so I abandoned the idea and cut strips of paper out and laid them across in the pattern shown.
I find it easier to make the supports longer than you need them to be and then trim them down. That way you still have the choice if you decide you want the sides of your basket higher than you initially planned them to be.
Once you begin the weaving, your basket can end up looking quite different to how you imagined it would. Mine was a lot bigger than I expected it to be.
A word of warning:
This method appeared to work perfectly until I started the weaving stage. I then discovered that after each round of weaving I was ending up with my paper 'twig' going the same side of the support as it did on the previous round.
This wasn't a major disaster and I managed to just start my new paper twig the right side of the support, tuck the other end in and carry on weaving. However, if you want to avoid the fiddly bit, it might be a good idea to fit an extra support in there somewhere so that you have an uneven number of supports.
Once you've planned where you're going to place the supports, cut the shape out and paper mache the whole thing. You don't need to go the full length of the supports as you will be trimming them down later. Just paper mache them a bit higher than you think you'll want your basket sides to go.
Weaving the basket:
Once the paper is dry enough to touch without feeling sticky, but the cardboard underneath is still pliable, it should be ready to weave.
Preparing the paper 'twigs':
I'm not sure that the word twigs is the right one to use, but I couldn't think of anything else to call them.
To make them I used a paintbrush to spread glue onto both sides of the newspaper strip and then twisted it between my fingers to form a sort of paper rope. You may have to keep giving it a twist as you work it round between your supports. It's surprising how the paper likes to unravel and straighten out.
To begin, weave the paper between the supports threading in front of one and then behind the next. This can be a bit fiddly at first, but as you keep working round the basket the twigs will begin to hold the supports in the right place.
As you get to the end of a twig you can either twist the next one into the end of the one you've just woven with, or you can tuck the end in and begin the next one separately.
Once you're happy with the height of your weaving you can trim your supports and leave the basket to dry. It should look, more or less, like the picture below.
Making the handle:
Now, I have to confess that I didn't initially intend to put a handle on my basket, but my mom walked in and saw it drying on the dining room table and she suggested it would look good with one.
I thought she was probably right so I set about making one.
To do it, I tore three long strips of newspaper (the full width of a double page from a tabloid), pasted them front and back and twisted them into twigs. I then braided them together to form the handle. Once it was braided, I curved it into shape and set it aside to dry.
Attaching the handle:
If I had thought about the handle sooner I would have used the ends of it as supports and actually woven it into the basket. As it happened, I had already made the basket when my mom suggested it, so I had to think of another way to fasten it on.
I did think of using ribbon and threading it through the weave and tying each side on with a big bow. I still think that might look good but I didn't have enough ribbon.
So, I opted for string. I used a large darning needle to thread the string through the weaving and through the handle, then tied it securely in place.
Once it was firmly knotted, I cut the ends and used a little of the yellow paint to touch it up and cover the string.
I painted the basket and the handle with yellow acrylic before fastening them both
together, as I thought it would be easier to get into all of the fiddly areas if they were still separate.
Adding the finishing touches to your Easter crafts basket:
Once your basket has its handle, and your paint is dry, you can add any other finishing touches you fancy. I tied a yellow ribbon round my handle.
For the interior of the basket I made a little cushion of scrunched up white paper kitchen towel. I was planning to use tissue paper but the only yellow I had clashed horribly with my paint.
No Easter crafts would be complete without chocolate and the kitchen towel made the perfect cushion for the chocolate eggs and bunnies I put in the basket. I also found a little nest with some fluffy chicks in it which I thought my little niece would love, so I added that too.
Here is the finished Easter crafts basket:
More Easter crafts
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