A different and very trendy gift for Easter is to give Egg decorations in a shredded paper nest. Upcycled and re-purposed from waste, they are used year after year to instill a spirit of Easter festivities WITHOUT harming the environment or adding to the hip spread (darn those calories in chocolate!).
Paper mache eggs are quick and easy for kids to do.
Choose a paper mache base. For kids I like to use a flour and water mix (add salt if you live in the tropics to inhibit mould growth and borax to inhibit cockroaches) or, for we big people, a watered down PVA glue mix.
Use only material destined for landfill: household or corporate waste that can easily be re-purposed into something beautiful. Newspaper is the traditional medium for paper mache but you can also use:
- shredded paper (use coloured shreds and you don't need to paint)
- shredded plastic food wraps (outer covering): it's really colourful
- tissue paper from packaging/shoe boxes
- serviettes compliments from all the take away meals you've enjoyed
- junk mail or magazines
- school report cards (just joking)
For an outer egg skin you need a base to build your paper mache upon. Traditionally balloons have been used. But, a new balloon adds to plastic landfill rather than decreasing land fill. Look for recyclable alternatives.
Eggs from plastic drink bottles:
The drinking ends of plastic bottles work well. Choose two same type plastic drink bottles (water, soft drink, juice, milks, etc). Cut the tops off at the point the curving ends.
Cut the mouth piece off (need heavy scissors, small secateurs or tin snips for this) and tape the two tops together to form an egg shape.
Paint the egg frame with a layer of glue. Lay your shredding or paper scraps onto the painted surface (and over the holes at either end where the drinking piece used to be) and repaint with your mache mix. Repeat the process for a few layers.
Shredded paper eggs look nice when there are still plenty of peek holes showing between the shredded bits. The egg pictured is a loosely shredded egg made around the tops of two taped together drink bottle tops.
Leave to dry in a sunny, warm or airy position (under a fan, breezy spot). Paint or use a sealer mix of watered down PVA glue to finish your eggs.
For a solid egg, add your ripped up or shredded paper to the glue mix. Hand fashion into an egg shape, smoothing the edges before leaving to dry in a very warm spot (sun and breeze, under a fan, beside a heater). Warning: solid eggs take AGES to completely dry so don't make HUGE eggs.
Before drying, you may decide to decorate your egg with other recyclables: bits of aluminium foil scrap, scraps of coloured plastic, colourful plastic rings from milk/drink bottles, feathers, seeds, cute magazine pics, etc. There is no need for additional glue. Simply position your recyclables on the already wet surface of the egg.
To complete: Place your dried eggs in a shredded bowl: How to make Shredded Paper Nests