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Paper mache in a new way! Juniper Cooper shares how you can turn paper scraps into a candle holder that's a work of art.

These candle holders are an example of how versatile and accessible paper mache can be There's such a wide variety of colors and u textures available in fiber and tissue papers that you'll Be hard-pressed not to find something to spark your imagination. For the eco-minded, what better way to reuse all those crumpled wrappings from treasured gilts or leftover paper scraps? And. the candle holder can serve double-duty as a vase! Just place a glass cup inside and use the Brightest Blooms of your summer's garden before fall arrives.


Caution: Never leave this candle holder unattended, and be sure your tea lights are in a glass container within your paper mache.

Materials: balloons, tissue paper and art paper, a paintbrush, white craft glue, string, small scissors, a cup from the kitchen cupboard, paper clips, a small hole punch (optional), and tea lights in glass containers

1 Tear your paper into asymmetrical pieces. (You can cut the paper if you'd like, but torn pieces give the project a more natural feel.) A couple of sheets of tissue paper are enough for a small balloon. Blow up a balloon to the desired size for your candle holder. Then, mix your glue and water--about one and a half times water to glue.


2 Balance your balloon on a cup; this allows you to rotate the paper mache without touching it. Remember to protect your work surface with an old newspaper or magazine. Then, dip your first couple of pieces in the glue mixture and place on the base of your balloon. Use your paintbrush to layer and paint glue on subsequent pieces. Make a minimum of 10 layers for stability, or create more if a thicker wall is desired. To create a petal effect, dip only the ends of your tissue in the glue mixture and layer.


3 Next, hang the balloon to dry. You can stretch a string in a corner or doorway and attach the balloon (or balloons) with paper clips. Make sure the piece is completely dry before moving onto the next step. Drying may take up to two days depending on the weather. After dry, pop the balloon carefully. As the balloon deflates, some paper may stick. Gently use your fingers to separate the balloon from the paper.


4 Now you can decorate your finished candle holder! Cut, paint, decoupage; small craft hole punches and needles can be used to create a lacy effect. Let your imagination go!

Note: To light the votive candles inside the holders, use fireplace matches or a long lighter for safety and ease.


Photos by Nathan Jordan

Juniper Cooper is a mixed media artist and food-service aficionado. She loves working with her hands and using tactile materials in new and interesting ways.

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Title Annotation:HANDS ON
Author:Cooper, Juniper
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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