Aren't these paper mache figs and realistic looking fig leaf great? This is what I've been working on with my group of 9-12 year old girls at Crafting A Future, and I'm thrilled with the results thus far!
Honestly this is one of those projects that I've started without actually knowing where it's going, though lets not share that with my students! Two weeks ago we started to make paper mache fig leaves and grape leaves, and quickly realized that the fig leaves were far more successful. For the second week of the project, I fortunately realized that we could make some figs to go with the leaves, unchartered territory for me, but since I had a little practice making paper mache birds with my boy's group, the figs weren't a huge stretch.
Next week, we will be painting the leaves and figs, and then assembing them somehow to make a gorgeous decoration to hang in the Succah! Yes indeed, because summer is the time to work on succah decorations, especially those that are somewhat labor intensive like paper mache!
- real fig leaves, or an actual size print out
- medium weight cardboard from food packaging, preferably not corrugated
- newsprint paper, or newspaper
- thick cotton string
- masking tape
- white flour
How To Make Paper Mache Fig Leaves And Figs:
- Trace around your actual fig leaf onto medium weight cardboard (or cut out your print out and use that) and cut it out preserving the fine details as much as possible.
- Prepare your paper mache medium by simply mixing 1 cup of flour with 2 cups of water and mixing until there are no lumps. I used a soup stick blender for this, but one could certainly stick it in the blender as well! One can add white glue to the medium, but then of course you can't use your kitchen utensils. For the making of the figs, I actually made some medium with the white glue addition, and the girls preferred the simple flour and water.
- Using masking tape, affix string onto leaf where the raised leaf veins would appear in an actual leaf.
- Cut newsprint/newspaper into 1/2" strips, dip the strips in the medium, remove as much of the medium for the strip as possible by holding the strip vertically over the medium container and running your thumb and forefinger down the length of the strip to remove the excess.
- Carefully cover your leaf shape with strips of paper mache, trying to avoid too much build up of the medium. Cover entire leaf with at least two layers, though three is preferable.
- Set aside to dry.
- To make figs make tight balls of paper by using your strength to crumple the paper into a ball. Make the neck of the fig by adding another piece of paper to the outside of the ball, and then twist the top of this piece of paper into a stem that projects from the top of the ball. Not to worry, use masking tape to hold it all together! If the twisted stem isn't working for you, some my students actually just rolled up a strip of paper and tape that to the top of the ball. Cover the ball by following steps 4 through 6.
So many wonderful things can be made from paper mache, so do give it a try!