Tuesday, October 7, 2008

simplified paper bag toadstool: a tutorial


When I chose a woodland theme for the Mama Goose window I knew there would be toadstools. I had been thinking along the lines of paper mache over recycled plastic containers. Last week, Pat from Zen Crafting (and my dear friend), e-mailed me this photo from Ann Wood's flickr photostream. I "faved" it immediately! How perfect is that! Everything I love: recycling, paper, ingenuity, and simplicity. Ann pointed to The Spore Project, by Doug Rhodehamel, for her inspiration for the paper bag mushroom. Doug Rhodehamel began this project to raise awareness about creativity in daily life and promote art education. His introduction says that "The project illustrates the importance of self expression, resourcefulness and creativity - specifically, how to look at one thing (a simple paper bag) and see what it can be instead of merely what it is." It also encourages everyone to make and "plant" mushrooms with the intention of getting the word out... so far 63,000 have been planted all over the world...can you imagine!! That's a lot of paper funghi. Please check out the whole site...it's fascinating! You can find his tutorial here for plantable shrooms if you'd like to spread this beautiful message by making your own.

The original tutorial is quite involved and is specifically for mushrooms planting in the ground. It's also not very child-safe since bamboo skewers and a hot glue gun are needed. I simplified the instructions to make this a craft that is do-able with a young child. Use any combination of instructions to create your own mushroom and then recycle them when you're done.

Materials:


-brown paper lunch pags
-paper towel for blotting
-red and/or white acrylic paint (optional)
-spot stampers (wine cork and pencil with new eraser...not shown in photo)

Make:


1. Open bag and put your fist in.
2. Squeeze bag around wrist.
3. Take your fist out and twist stem in one direction, tightly.
4. Roll the mushroom cap's edges to round them.


5. Tear edges around the stem's bottom for a more organic look. I did this with some, but not all. Keep in mind that you'll need some sort of flared bottom to help it stand up.
6. Paint top red.
7. Blot wet paint with a paper towel to give a softer, more natural appearance.
8. Admire and decide if you want to embellish more. I also attach a loop of tape to help the mushroom adhere to it's surface and stand upright.

9. Add spots with a wine cork or new eraser, depending on desired size.


So sweet! Try making different heights for each toadstool to make them unique.


My aim for making these toadstools was not as altruistic as The Spore Project, but maybe you will consider all of the benefits of delighting children (and some of their grown-ups) a happy excuse to forage for brown paper bags of your own. Make some, plant some, play with some. My 3 1/2 year old had so much fun helping with this "simplified tutorial" and photo shoot, that she ended up going off to her studio and surprised me with a little mushroom completely independently... it's that easy.


Are all of these little toadstools as beautiful as Ann Wood's stunning paper bag art? Of course not, but the many possibilities for open-ended dramatic play are exciting and adults might want to keep some for their own decorating, as well. We will bring them to our nature table and keep some for playing with fairies and dolls.



This entire project combined both my love of simplicity and the joy I find in a little magic and whimsy. So much fun!

Pin It

37 comments:

  1. I'm swooning and fainting. I'm going to snag all the paper bags from recycling I can this week and try to make these this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing your modifications.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I JUST TODAY came across a stack of paper lunch bags that we NEVER use because we homeschool and when we do take lunch with us, it goes straight into a reusable bag, backpack, or car.
    I was wondering what on earth we were going to do with them all.
    Now I think I know!
    This is SO perfect, too, as we've been doing a bit of a fungus/mushroom study lately.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    The Spore Project is so inspiring, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You might like to check out these, too:
    http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=11529
    We made them for our autumn/Halloween nature shelf last year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a fantastic way to encourage play and learning while reusing materials around the home. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

    ~Holly
    Two Cheese Please

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love your simplified version especially with the painted and stamped surfaces. Your daughter's free hand version is precious as well. An interesting project to teach biodegradation to children mights be to make " bag mushrooms" out of paper and plastic bag and plant them outside in the yard and observe how long it takes for the paper ones to degrade. We of course already know what happens to the plastic ones.... A very important lesson for all the little forest fern guild members.

    ReplyDelete
  6. These look fabulous Maya. I really like the brown paper bag left natural.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been addicted to toadstools ever since I saw resurection fern's blog. She cover's her house with mushrooms, crochetted rocks & trees and little hand-made gnomes. Oh my I just love it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. As usual, Maya, you have taken a good idea and made it great! I love how you've made this an easy craft for kids, and the spots are the perfect embellishment. I'm dying to try this one out with the kids!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love these and thanks for the info about the Spore Project. I also love your fairy dolls...did you make them?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so thrilled you're all as excited about these mushrooms as I am! As to the fairy dolls, I do make them. I made these ones last spring and have two posts about them sometime around the second week in June. Thinking about some Autumn ones...I have a very simple version for little children to create almost entirely on their own...another post...not enough time in each day!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I thought the window looked absolutely delightful - I would have rushed inside straight away if I had been passing by! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love that you made this into something kids can do. I know I would have been ENTRANCED by this window. I'm working on a fun roundup of kid's crafts and I'll be linking to this!

    ReplyDelete
  13. So adorable!

    Loving the drawings on the one held by the little hands too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I loved Ann's when I saw it, and I love yours even more! That would be the most adorable window! :p

    ReplyDelete
  15. i want some of those for my room!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Way too cute! I'm going to do this craft w/ my 3 year old. She'll love it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. how sweet are these? your tutorials are pure joy..they make me feel small again...xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is the cutest project I've seen in ages. You know what I am going to be doing with my four year old grandchildren this weekend! And the little hand of your adorable daughter presenting the one she made all by herself in her own "studio" is just amazing and wonderful. You could have heard my AHHHHHHHHHHHH around the world...and probably did.

    I love your tutorials. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. How Brilliant I was hoping you would show us how these were made.
    Great project for me and the children this weekend.Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  20. what a brilliant idea... I havne't actually got any paperbags at the moment but still I can't wait to try making some with my son, he will love it. thank you

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fantastic! I love the brown bag recycling. Two years ago we made jungle vines with a group of fourth graders to decorate 'the Amazon' for International Day at school(Complete with pipe cleaner animals):). So much fun! I think we'll be making some mushrooms this weekend. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Fantastic! I love the brown bag recycling. Two years ago we made jungle vines with a group of fourth graders to decorate 'the Amazon' for International Day (complete with pipe cleaner animals). :) I think we'll be making some mushrooms this weekend! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow! A little magic really goes a long way. So happy you're enjoying this easy little project. Check out Margie's comment in the beginning for a wonderful project to teach biodegradation.

    ReplyDelete
  24. These look terrific Maya! I love the autumn bunting as well in the previous post. I wish I had seen it sooner as we were working on decorations for the Thanksgiving celebration at school and this would have been great. (Canadian Thanksgiving is on Mon.) I might do one for our family celebration though. Great tutorial by the way.
    Thanks for the view!

    ReplyDelete
  25. ooh I can't wait to make these with my children! wonderful

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! Today I and the children made our own toadstools, and it was so much fun! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is the cutest thing ever! I do miniature workshops with children...the next time we do fairies, this would be perfect!
    Thanks for the great tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Saw this via Ann Wood and it is fun to do... what really caught my eye was your Sally Mavor style dollies in a couple of the pics, nicely done!

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just wonderful!!! I love it. We'll be doing this for sure. I love the one your daughter made the best!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Love it! So fun, simple, and ADORABLE!
    Thanks for sharing your clever ideas!
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  32. Linked to this idea here http://siayla.blogspot.com/2011/10/muscaria-mushroom-madness.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. i love it i've never seen any thing more great:)

    ReplyDelete
  34. As being a Newbie, I am continuously browsing on the internet for content articles that may benefit me. Thank you

    Printed Carrier Bags

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails