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Papier-Mache Bumblebees

Make one bee — or a whole swarm — and you'll be buzzing with ideas on how to use them: dangling from monofilament for a party display, hanging from a garland, party favors, and more!

Papier-mache bumblebee

Photography: Photography by Leandra

Source: Martha Stewart

Introduction

The idea for these playful bumblebees comes from event stylist and crafter Gina Riano-Brault. They were made to celebrate the baby-to-"bee" of her dear friend at a themed baby shower.

materials

  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Newspaper
  • 30-gauge wire
  • White glue
  • Black paint pen
  • 3/8" black washi tape
  • Rice paper
  • Clear tape
  • Small paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Shallow dish (for glue mixture)

steps

  1. To prepare each egg to be covered, take a small piece of wire (about 3 inches) and fold it in half to create a loop at the top. Twist the ends of the wire to secure the bottom of the loop. Place the twisted end into the Easter egg where it separates, and use clear tape along the seam to keep the two halves together.
    papier mache bumblebee party favor step 1
  2. Next, tear strips of newspaper into moderately thin strands. Be sure to tear the paper rather than cutting it, as this will create smoother coverage. Prepare a pile so that the strips are ready to be dipped into the papier-mâché mixture.
    papier mache bumblebee party favor step 2
  3. Mix water and white glue in a shallow dish to make the papier-mâché mixture. The ratio of this mixture is 1-part water and 2-3 parts glue.
  4. Take each strip and dip it into the glue mixture, making sure that it is evenly saturated. Use your fingers to squeegee excess liquid off of the strips before placing them over the plastic egg. Use care to overlap strips in even layers, creating an alternating pattern of crisscrossed and parallel strips to create complete coverage of the egg. Shorten strips as needed to keep layers as thin and even as possible. (Tip: It's also helpful to use dry strips in areas that become too saturated with glue and then lightly reapply glue with fingers to smooth out.)
  5. Allow the eggs to completely dry on a non-porous surface (such as a plastic lid). It is best to let them dry overnight, but allow for a minimum of 2-3 hours.
  6. Once the eggs are completely dry, apply two coats of paint. Use a small flat brush to coat the whole egg (which will be the body of the bee) and allow it to dry completely before applying a second coat.
  7. To add the bee's stripes, make three lengths of black washi tape. The first stripe goes around the width of the egg right before the wire. The "face" of the bee will be the wider part of the egg, and the tail end of the bee is where the egg tapers. The second and third stripes get gradually shorter. Cut small notches into the strip to allow the tape to lie smoothly on the egg as it tapers. The last stripe will be placed just before the tapered end of the egg.
  8. Cut wings from the rice paper. Fold them over while spreading them to hug the curve of the egg. Use a small piece of clear tape to secure to the egg behind the piece of wire.
  9. Give your bees personality: Using the black paint pen, draw a small upside-down "U" for each of the eyes and a smile underneath. Or use your imagination to make a face for your little bee friend!

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