We're still on a fairy kick here. I saw quite a while ago on Dollar Store Crafts, a link to a guy called Doug Rhodehamel who makes toadstools out of brown paper lunch bags. He makes hundreds and hundreds for outdoor displays. They look like a lot of fun, and I'm sure I'll be able to get the kids involved in making them when the weather improves, but for now, it's just too wet outside for them, so I needed to find an alternative approach if we were going to have a weather proof fairy circle.
For those of you that haven't heard of fairy circles or fairy rings, they are naturally occuring rings of mushrooms or toadstools. There is a lot of Welsh folklaw surrounding them. They are supposedly the places where fairies gather to dance and make music. many magical happenings are attributed to them. Step inside one and you might dissapear or be compelled to dance by the fairy music until you collapse from exhaustion. Rather exciting!
I figured the easiest way to make these resistant to the nasty rain we have at the moment, was to use a combination of plastic easter eggs left over from last year's easter egg hunt, aluminium foil and acrylic craft paint, with wooden BBQ skewers to stick them in the ground.
I think that these plastic eggs that are used for easter egg hunts might just be an American thing. I'd never seen them back in the UK, but they are everywhere at the moment here in the US and I'm sure squillions of them get thrown in the trash each year when easter is over too. Well, now you can re-use them, even if you only have one half of the egg.
Older kids can make the mushrooms themselves, but it was a bit fiddly for my four and five year olds, so I made the mushrooms and they painted them. I took a square of aluminium foil and places the egg in the center then pulled the foil up around it, holding it like a little cup.
Then I held a BBQ skewer in the egg lid as I scrunched the foil around it. All those with dirty minds can now leave this post.
Try to make a loose kind of toadstool stem type shape and as the shape looks like it's coming together, compress the foil to make it as sturdy as you can, but leave the area around the egg opening a little looser.
Once you have shaped the stem, you can slide it up the skewer into the cup of the egg to make a finished toadstool shape.
I had two different sized eggs to use, and I also used a couple of old apple sauce pots for some bigger ones, and a few of the clear plastic dome lids from the quarter machine toys to be teeny tiny mushrooms too.
I'm a very lucky lady, because one of my friends Mona, gave me a whole load of teeny little individual pots of acrylic craft paint. Someone at her workplace was getting rid of them all and she got them for me, knowing that I'd be elated to have so much mess making equipment at my disposal. Thank you Mona!
I let the kids loose with some of those little pots of paint, and they did a lovely job of painting the toadstools all different colours. They aren't realistic, but I think they are very bright and pretty. I like the whole wonderous make believe fairyland colours they plastered on.
I made sure that they had aprons on this time, because once acrylic paint dries, you can't wash it out! We used a load of our old playdough for them to stick the painted toadstools in to dry. The sticks on them made it easy for the kids to hold them to paint too.
The next day when they were dry, we put them out in the garden in a fairy circle and what do you know! A fairy came to play! (Thank you Jennifer, for that very appropriate birthday present!)
Here's my youngest in her fairy garb. Those wings she is wearing are way older than she is. I think I bought them back in 1999, when I dressed as a fairy for a university event I was volunteering at. They are a bit bedraggled, but have survived well!
I'll let you know how long these shrooms last for. I'm hoping a long time given the materials used. We can always repaint them. The other good thing about using the plastic egg parts is that even if a kid treads on one of these mushrooms with bare feet, then they won't get a BBQ skewer in the foot!
If you want to play with them indoors then just leave out the skewer and squish out the shape of the foil at the bottom to stand them up.