Home made Halloween decorations (toddler friendly)

11 10 2013

If you didn’t know, I have a two year old, and I am a little paranoid about my little child being in touch with chemicals… Okay, I know technically everything is a chemical, but I don’t like not to know what he is in touch with. Some day I will just buy stuff, but for right now, a period in which his organism, his neural system, is undergoing such a rapid development; a time in which industries just dump substances of dubious effects in everything, I am making a lot of things myself: play dough, paints, and today we did some home made plaster to make some Halloween decorations.

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Cute ghosts and Jack-o-Lanterns to decorate your home.

The recipe was simple, I took it from a website:

Two cups of flour

One and a half cup of boiling water

One cup of salt.

Dissolve salt in boiling water, mix everything, knead, voila!

… Except that it didn’t work, I was left with a mess of very thick bubbling salt. It looked like some prehistoric swamp. So I went ahead and started reading about making brine, and it so happens that different salts occupy different volumes so you should actually work with weight. Since I don’t have a scale, I had to eyeball it, and since I don’t know what kind of salt you will use I cannot give you an exact recipe, so I will tell you what I did and you can work things out in your nook in the woods.

In a bowl add two cups of flour. Boil one cup of water and start adding salt (I started with 1/4 cup) stirring to dissolve, stop adding salt when the water cannot take any more. Add this water to the flour, mix with a spoon and once the mixture is cool enough, knead with your hands as if it was bread.

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Cutest little helper

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Cutting shapes

Before doing this, I separated the dough in three and added some food coloring. I used orange and purple to evoke Halloween colors. As I kneaded to integrate the color and make it uniform, the plaster took a good smooth and elastic consistency.

Then I took the rolling pin and stretched the dough thin, as if making cookies. We used cookie cutters to make shapes: pumpkins, ghosts, and just because my son loves them also hearts and stars. With the help of a straw I made holes to pass string. We put the cut shapes on cookie sheets covered with aluminium foil (the tray and the cookies) and put them in the oven at 200 ¤F for three and a half hours, I turned them half way through. Poor Ignacio, he truly though we were making cookies, it took a lot to convince him that the plaster is not for eating.

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Before baking, nice pastel colors

The dough baked, and even at such a low temperature the colors became muted and dry. I didn’t much care because I wanted to evoke fall, but if you want vivid colors, which I will want for Christmas, I would suggest to use a lot of coloring.

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After baking….:/

After the shapes cooled off we proceeded to decorate them. I didn’t have a lot at home that was toddler friendly, and my other baby was napping, so I wanted to be quiet, therefore I took pencils and crayons. You could use markers, paint and brush, anything you want. We also used stickers…. because stickers are awesome.

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I used pencils for simplicity, but use whatever you fancy!

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The last thing was to pass some string through the holes and hanging the shapes.

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We made holes with a straw before baking, then we passed some red yarn through them.

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While these are definitely not pinterest perfect, we enjoyed making them, especially since I could keep my child quietly entertained while the baby was napping. And he loved picking where to hang them.

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18 10 2013
Decorating pumpkins with a toddler (plus home made glue recipe) | Sensibly Green

[…] week we made some plaster decorations, you can see the how to in my art blog. Be warned, anything I post that I do with my toddler looks […]

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