Playing with paper #1

Nothing to beat schoolroom pursuits…

A balloon, a bottle of school glue, a brush, a newspaper and the cardboard ring from inside a roll of masking or packing tape. It sounds like the ingredients for a classic Blue Peter TV craft project, only without the egg boxes (UK residents need no explanation, all others, go here). And indeed, it’s exactly the sort of thing they’d have done on the show, whipping out a perfectly-executed finished item with the famous catchphrase “And here’s one I prepared earlier”.

It was pretty easy. Blow up your balloon. Cut or tear your newspaper into 3 or 4cm strips (say 1½ inches). Put the cardboard ring on the top of the balloon. Brush a newspaper strip with glue and use it to stick the ring to the balloon (having a bowl to put the other end of the balloon into is really helpful unless you have three hands). Work outwards, adding more strips of newspaper (keeping them short helps reduce wrinkling) until your bowl has reached the depth you want. Leave to dry overnight. Wash out your brush. Next day, add more strips to firm the whole thing up. Leave to dry again. Repeat until the bowl is firm and rigid enough not to bend when you press the edge with your finger.

That’s it for stage 1. For stage 2, I’ll be popping and removing the balloon, covering the indentation in the bottom where the ring is with more glued strips, levelling out the top edge, giving any ridges or bumps a light sanding, and then introducing the next layer. For this stage you’ll need a sheet of fine grit sandpaper, a good assortment of fabric scraps, some scissors, some fabric glue and some Mod Podge® or other clear sealer. Don’t forget to watch next week’s episode… er, I mean, look out for the next post.

Old habits die hard. I always wanted a Blue Peter badge…