I wanted to design a project that is easy for the kids to do before they have to return to school. Something summer-like. And of course, something fun and colorful. This necklace can easily be adapted if your son would prefer not to wear a necklace made of fruit. We'll get to some ideas on that later in this tutorial.You won't need much for this project, as far as tools go. Just a few household items, such as an ink pen, a skewer or needle tool, and your hands. Then a little paint after the pieces have dried.
Rather than using the standard Creative Paperclay product, we'll be using Delight, which is a lighter, fluffy product, similar to marshmallow fluff, without the stickiness. It's also an air-dry medium, but you don't want to try to rush drying in a low oven, so give yourself at least a couple of days to dry, before attempting to paint it. Three days in humid weather. You can add color to the clay before molding it, but I would only use food coloring, if little hands are going to be in it. An adult could probably try powdered pigments, or even a bit of paint. I'll try it later and get back to you on that one.
Start by making balls of Delight about an inch wide. Roll on one side of a ball to taper it slightly into an apple shape, and a bit more rolling on another ball to shape it into a pear. Do one at a time to avoid drying. I found that wetting the palms of my hands a bit with a damp sponge really helped to make the balls smooth, and keep it from drying too fast.
After getting the apple and pear made, use the ink tip of a cheap pen to create the stem opening on the top, and a small bud opening on the bottom. Then insert a small stem made from Delight. Use the ink tip of the pen to gently poke small dents all over the ball that will be an orange. An optional stem would be a whole clove glued in after painting. You could insert it, then remove it while the drying and painting are going on. On the orange, you would want to insert it deeply, and just leave a bit out to be seen.
Here I have made a wedge of watermelon, too. Try to get the edges sharp on it, so it will look like it was cut. Then to make a cluster of grapes, you will make a 1/2 "cone shape from Delight, and cover it completely with small balls. I found that touching them against the damp sponge helped the ball to stick. When you are done,it will be about an inch high. Insert a small stem of Delight in the top of the cluster.
Now you will want to decide whether you fruit will become beads for a necklace or perhaps a keychain before making the holes. If you want to make a keychain, I would drill the holes more top-to-bottom, than from the side. You could stack all the fruit on top of one another for a keychain, or just use one piece per keychain. It could be a bookmark if you string a cord through it that is long enough, like about 8 inches at least. Or a cell phone fob, etc. Your kids might have ideas all their own.
But if you are going to do a necklace, it would be best to drill the beads side-to-side. And don't make the holes half-way up, but more toward the top of the bead. To make holes, use a skewer, toothpick, or needle-tool and wet it first. Using a drilling motion, insert it into the fruit until you feel it drilling through the other side. Remove it, and complete drilling the hole by inserting the tool into the hole on the opposite side, where you felt the tool coming through. Again, wet the tool first. That will make drilling a breeze, and be less likely to distort your bead. And keep the tool rotating as you go. Once the tool is inserted completely through the fruit, remove the fruit, and place it in a safe place where it won't be disturbed for up to three days if necessary.
Once dry, the fruit can be painted. I found it easier to re-insert the skewer while painting, and then you can leave it on while the paint dries.
Mine was made into a simple necklace with a hemp cord, but the possibilities are endless. I think some brightly colored pony beads would look nice, or perhaps it could become a lei, by threading on some smaller silk flower sections.
Don't limit the fruit to what I have made. I think a lot of kids would like bananas (perhaps accompanied by a monkey head?), kiwi, plums, peaches, etc.. Even limes and lemons would be nice. And by using Delight, you could put fruit on a necklace by the dozens, since it is almost weightless. You could even make a fruit hat like Carmen Miranda wore and it wouldn't be heavy at all.
Find Creative Paperclay products at Hobby Lobby and Dick Blick's, as well as ordering them direct from the company at http://www.paperclay.com/
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