Sunday, August 26, 2012

Project of the Week: Tea Light People

As I was feeding my daughter, Caylin, I kept looking at the empty baby food jar and wondering what can I make from these. As I kept looking around the room for ideas, The ever-growing stack of newspapers to be recycled kept taunting me too! I know we can recycle these things. But I was sure I could make something cool from them. So I looked online for some ideas. I found some pretty cool ideas: snow globes, lanterns, etc... But none of them really got my interest. So I tried to come up with something else. Somehow, my mind led me to people. Then I wanted to try to make them serve a purpose. So that led me to candle holders. Then I figured I could incorporate other recyclable (and maybe some non-recyclable) material too. And oila! This week's project: tea light people!

Here's what you will need:
baby food jar
cereal box (or whatever box similar to that)
egg carton (I used the styrofoam cartons so I am not sure how the other cartons will work. But you can always try)
box cutter (or exacto knife)
mod podge
spray paint
paint brush
glue gun

Here's how to do it:
1. Make sure your baby food jar and lid are clean of any food.

2. In the bucket, mix a generous amount of glue with water. There is no real ratio to work with here. Just whatever is comfortable for you to work with for paper mache.

3. Tear the newspaper into long strips and soak them in the glue water.

4. Cover your entire jar (without the lid) with layers of the soaked newspaper strips. As you work, try to squeeze the paper onto the jar to smooth it out a little. Set this off to the side.

5. Using your box cutter (or exacto knife), cut out two of the egg holders from the egg carton. Then cut around their edges so they look like little bowls. (It's ok if they are not perfect.) Then use the glue gun to glue the two "bowls" together so that it resembles a ball. (Again, it is ok if this is not perfect.) Then cover the ball with the soaked newspaper the same way you did with the jar. Set this aside.

6. Cut out a long strip of your cardboard cereal box. The strip should be more or less 3/4" thick and about 7 1/2" long. The measurements do not have to be exact. Just make sure they are a good enough size to make arms. Cover your piece with layers of the soaked newspaper the same way you did with the jar and the ball. Then place the strip evenly across your covered jar, placing a generous dab of glue underneath it to hold it in place.

 7. Place another dab of glue on the top the middle of your arms. Place your covered ball on top of the glue with the flatter side down. Gently press the head and arms down to secure them in place. Then curve your arms up a little. If they are too wet to stay up on their own, place something underneath them to hold them up until they dry into shape. (I propped one of the jar lids on either side to hold them up.) Let this dry for a few hours or overnight.

8. After your person is dry, use your paint brush to completely cover it in mod podge. You can use your hands to try to smooth out some of the bumps and creases if you want to. Either way, your hands are sure to get messy! You can put as many coats as you want. Just make sure to let it dry in between coats.

9. When you are satisfied with the texture, and everything is completely dry, you are ready to put the "hat" on. Put a generous dab of hot glue on top of the head and place the jar lid on the glue upside down. Try to make sure that the lid is on as straight as possible, as this will be where you place your candle.

10. Now you can spray paint your person with the color of your choice. You can also use a sealer if you

Now you have a fun candle holder for your decor or as a gift! You can make them all different sizes by gluing on other jars to increase height. Have fun! Feel free to show us what your Tea Light People look like!

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