When was the last time you taught your children a craft from your primary-school days? How about introducing them to papier-mache, an activity that incorporates the basics for family fun: tradition, creativity and a gooey mess!
To make the basic papier-mache goop, stir together equal parts white flour and water in a large bowl. (Two cups of each is a good quantity to start.) Tear newspaper into strips about 1 inch wide. Once you've made the basic form (see ideas below), dip the newspaper strips one at a time into the mixture, remove excess goop with your fingers, then drape strips over the form. Lay the coated strips any which way, covering the entire surface. Smooth out the wrinkles as you go, making the surface as smooth as possible. Let dry.Paint the figure you have created with poster or acrylic paints. The brighter, the better!
FORM FOR A PIG AND PIGLETS:
Start with small-size plastic spring-water bottles for piglets and a plastic liter-size soda bottle for a pig. Place a bottle in front of you horizontally and note how the spout can be the snout of the pig. Poke four golf tees on the bottom of the main body of the small bottle for legs. For a larger bottle, tape four trimmed bathroom-tissue tubes. Make ears by cutting cardboard into two triangles. Tape in place just beyond the neck of the bottle. Poke a spring into the base of the bottle for a curly tail. Apply coated strips.
FORM FOR A SUNBURST PINATA: Tape small cone-shaped paper drinking cups around the circumference of an inflated balloon. As you apply the strips around the points of the cups, tuck in bunches of thin colorful paper streamers, making sure they stay securely in place. Cover the entire pinata with strips. Once the strips have dried completely, cut an opening in the back of the balloon and fill the pinata with treats and trinkets. Cover and tape the opening closed, then paint the pinata.