Is there anything funner than preparing for a Mad Tea Party in summer? I can't be sure. But maybe, quite possibly, there isn't?
For the past few Mad Tea Parties I have had visions of giant homemade mushrooms.
I am the type of person who works things out vividly in her brain, and then, jumps in and tries to make something out of the thoughts. Whipping ideas up like a mad woman, without a care if things work out or not.
Alas, time creeps up, and mushroom making loses out, year after year.
I have some costly, red and white spotted, prop-store bought mushrooms that fall apart all the time, as the tops are not attached to the bases.
Dare I say...
This one is even better, and bonus, you get to make it yourself.
Hello, Alice calling...
I wasn't sure this would work out when I began.
It was night time, and I pulled out my camera to snap some photos, just in case it was shareable material.
Thankfully, the results were merry, and now, you can use my steps to make some too, if you'd like.
So, here we go....
I began with two sheets of 18" x 24" watercolor paper.
I took one piece, and closed it up end to end, sealing with blue tape.
This will become the mushroom stem.
I also had two large-ish pieces of cardboard at the ready.
They would serve as a top and bottom.
To create the bottom, I drew a rough circle about an inch away from the bottom of the stem, using the paper base as a guide.
I then cut out the cardboard circle.
The circle is not perfect, and this is okay.
Now we must adhere the cardboard to the stem.
I first put the stem back on top of the cardboard circle, and drew the outline of the stem shape on my cut-out cardboard.
I used this pen circle as my guide, as to where to place hot glue.
I then ran a bead of hot glue around the circle, and place the stem on it.
Once this dried, I reinforced the glue, by running more hot glue around where the paper base meets the cardboard, as you see below.
Before working on the top, I decided I wanted to add a little weight into the vacant stem area.
I stuffed the stem with crumpled newspaper (blurry pic, eeks), and...
A half bowl of sand from the driveway.
You can use anything you'd like really.
Beans, junk you don't want.
Anything enough to add a tiny bit of weight so it doesn't blow or fall over easily.
I didn't even put my sand in a baggie, I just dumped it in.
Such a wild child :)
The next step is to cut out your mushroom top from cardboard.
The top of your mushroom can be any size you wish.
Any shape you wish.
My top is about 20" in diameter.
I drew a very rough circle, not perfect at all.
Then cut it out.
Next step, you will want to trace the stem opening onto the center of your mushroom top. Just place your cut out circle top onto the stem, and trace from underneath.
You are doing this in order to know where to place your glue, to attach the top to the stem.
Keep in mind, you are tracing the stem shape from underneath, so just kneel down or sit down to be able to see what you are doing.
After you have the stem shape drawn onto the center of your top, run some glue around it, and attach it to the top of them stem.
Let it dry.
Then, cut a strip of cardboard out that will fit across your top as seen in the image below, and tape it on.
This will help you create a domed shape on your mushroom top.
At this stage you can make the top of your mushroom top as domed or as flat as you wish.
Mine has a small curve in it.
Next take some newspapers, and crumple them up tightly, then begin by stuffing them under your cardboard dome strip.
You will keep doing this, crumpling paper and adding it all the way to the cardboard edge. Use tape strips going across the length of the mushroom, to hold your crumpled newspaper in place.
Once you have the entire top covered in newspaper and tape, turn it over onto your second piece of watercolor paper (turn mushroom over carefully since your stem might be stuffed with sand or beans etc).
Next, on your watercolor paper draw a rough circle about 2 inches away from your mushroom top edge, going all the way around, as seen below.
Cut out that piece of watercolor paper and place it over your top which is covered in newspaper and tape.
Then secure it with strips of tape, all the way across and around, as seen below...
Look underneath to fix any loose tape and press it down securely..
Now, your mushroom base is complete, and you will begin the papier mâché process.
We are not going to use traditional flour as our glue this time around, we'll keep it simple with craft glue instead :)
You can use wall paper glue or white craft glue, and newspaper strips.
I have tried both glues in the past for papier mâché crafts.
They both work, but for this project I am using everyday white craft glue.
I put white craft glue in a dish and add a little bit of water for ease of spreading.
Make sure you stir the water and glue up real good.
You don't need much water, just a drizzle enough to make the glue easier to paint onto your mushroom.
Make sure you have your newspaper strips ready also.
I make mine about 3" wide and 12" long.
You can work with whatever size strips you desire.
Using a brush or your hands, smear some glue onto the top of your mushroom, and add strips of newspaper as you go. I also like to add glue to the tops of the added newspaper as I go. This is so that, if any pieces overlap, they will stick.
I use my hands, smearing glue around as I add each piece of paper, and smoothing out bit by bit...
Once the top is complete, I let it dry.
I let mine sit overnight because I started the project in the evening.
The next morning the top was dry, so I turned the mushroom upside down, and papier mâchéd the rest of the mushroom.
I then put it outside and let it dry completely.
This took about an hour in the summer heat.
Once it was all dry it was time to paint.
At this point, you can paint the top of your mushroom as you wish.
Or, you can be super detailed and use modeling paste for texture. The options are endless in the detail department.
I kept mine simple and headed straight for red and off-white paint.
Once you are done painting, let the entire piece dry completely.
Also note that when painting over dry glue, you will almost always get a faint crackle effect.
I personally do not mind this, and quite like it.
I especially like the crackling on the stem.
Once all your paint has dried, paint white circles onto the red top, and if you'd like, hot glue some moss to the bottom of the stem...
And then, jump around happily!
You can add some extra painted details as I have below...
I put a matte/satin varnish on the top of my mushroom, as you can see below, but did not do this to the stem.
Also, as a side note, you can get as detailed as you want with your piece early on. Adding ribs and such to the stem before you papier mâché.
But, since this was a trial for me, I kept it simple.
Since I know it works now, I will know that I can add more details if I make more.
Although, I am pleased as punch with the piece as it is, what do you think?
I also like that my dome top is not very pointy.
This allows me to use the mushroom as an end table, as well as a prop.
Oh, I love it.
I need more!
Perfect for your Mad Tea Party, indeed.
Remember that, you can make your mushrooms as pointy, as detailed, as textured as you wish.
Any shape, any size.
I hope you liked this, and that you might make one!
Okay, off to finish my second one...
ps: I am working on my second mushroom, and using oatmeal packaging that was headed for the trash as the stem base. YAY!
This one will have a pointier mushroom head.