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Ring of rabbits ... easy to make with wood or clay.

Ring of rabbits ... easy to make with

Standing paw to paw, rabbits make up these wood and clay baskets. The baskets start with simple geometrical bases; we created a square and hexagon, then cut enough rabbits to cluster around them. The results--with some gluing or firing--are a pine plant container and a ceramic fruit bowl. Both are timely for Easter but suitable any day of the year.

What you'll need to make a basket

For the plant container: lightweight cardboard, a 4-foot length of clear pine 1-by-10 (about $9), four 1-inch-diameter pine drawer pulls, an electric saber saw and drill, clear wood finish, eight 1 1/4-inch-long 1/4-inch dowels, white glue. For the ceramic fruit bowl: a 25-pound bag of ceramic terra-cotta clay (about $8 at hobby shops or ceramic supply stores; one bag is enough for two baskets), lightweight cardboard, a rolling pin, canvas, two 12-inch strips of 3/8-inch-thick lath, Epsom salts; a yard of 1/4-inch-wide ribbon is optional for bows at paws.

Pine rabbit plant holder

First, draw rabbit and square patterns onto cardboard, then transfer onto pine to make four rabbits and one base. Cut pieces with a saw, then sand edges. On one side of the bottom of each rabbit and on each edge of the base, center and drill pairs of holes for the dowels 3 inches apart and 3/8 inch from bottom. Using a 1/4-inch bit, drill 1/2-inch-deep holes in rabbits, 3/4-inch-deep holes in base. Assemble the parts; treat with wood finish.

Terra-cotta fruit bowl

First, divide clay roughly into 2-pound chunks. Eliminate air bubbles (which can cause clay to explode during firing) by kneading, then throwing the clay onto the canvas many times on all sides. Cut out cardboard pattern for rabbits and base. Next, roll and cut clay, following steps 1 and 2 on opposite page. If edges are rough, smooth them with a wet finger. If desired, use a nail or an ice pick to make holes in paws for ribbons. Let clay dry 6 to 8 hours on newspaper (or overnight in a plastic bag) to stiffen. Assemble pieces with "slip"--1/8 teaspoon Epsom salts added to 1/2 cup clay watered down to the consistency of heavy cream. Attach rabbits to vertical edges of base (not standing on top); press pieces firmly together to secure. Let basket dry for six days; to keep rabbits upright during drying, place a drinking glass on the base in front of each one. When dry, take basket to a ceramic shop for firing (our cost was $3).

PHOTO : Wooden bunny quartet rings a primrose in a 6-inch pot. Clumps of sphagnum moss conceal

PHOTO : pot's plastic sides. To protect wood from moisture, pot sits on a plastic tray

PHOTO : Family of clay rabbits joins hands to make hexagonal fruit basket. Ribbon bows are purely

PHOTO : decorative

PHOTO : For clay basket: roll and cut, then glue with "slip"

PHOTO : 1 * Roll out clay on canvas sheet (cloth prevents sticking); to control thickness of clay,

PHOTO : roll pin on "rails" of 3/8-inch lath. Canvas may give clay surface an embossed texture

PHOTO : 2 * Using cardboard templates, cut out rabbits and base with a kitchen knife. Keep knife

PHOTO : vertical to prevent angled edges. Shape six 1-inch-diameter clay balls for rabbit tails

PHOTO : 3 * After drying, score rabbits vertically across one side of bottom edge; also score

PHOTO : tails and edges of base. Use slip (watered-down clay with a dash of Epsom salts) to "glue"

PHOTO : tails to rabbits, rabbits to base. Let dry, then take to a hobby shop for firing

PHOTO : Pine planter goes together with dowels

PHOTO : To assemble wooden basket, drill matching pairs of holes in rabbits and base. Glue dowels

PHOTO : into rabbits, fit dowels into holes in base, and glue bunnies to edge of base. Glue on the

PHOTO : drawer-pull tails. Let plant holder dry, then brush on wood finish

PHOTO : Enlarge pattern onto lightweight cardboard. For clay basket, each square equals 1 inch;

PHOTO : for wood, 1 1/4 inches. For baskets of different shapes, make each side of base equal to

PHOTO : bottom edge of rabbit. With clay, don't increase height of rabbits, since tall ones may

PHOTO : topple
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:baskets
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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