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Nice & Simple

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What's red and white and glows all over?

This is a step by step tutorial on creating Paper Mache Mushroom Lamp(s), which are just perfect for mischievous little gnomies to wander about the woods by. Materials are few and inexpensive, and although a bit time consuming (drying time), is overall a very simple project to do. So little gnomies, follow along as we craft some glowing mushrooms to help light the way...




  1. Step 1 1

    First, you use your wire snips to cut off a piece of chickenwire that is large enough to cover an upside down bowl. Bend and pull the wire until it takes on the shape of the bowl itself.Bend the edges under the inside of the bowl, to create a rounded mushroom edge. This will be the cap.

    Snip off a bit more wire and curve it into a conical/cylindrical/tubular shape. This will be your stem.

    Use small pieces of wire to attach the cap to the stem, and make sure to bend the pointy ends under, so they don't poke the paper that we'll be putting on here in a couple of steps.

  2. Step 2 2

    Cover the entire exterior with masking tape. The gluey paper mache material won't stick to the wire itself, so this is a necessary step. One layer will do.

  3. Step 3 3

    Use 2/3 of a 7.62 oz bottle Elmer's School Glue and mix it with three parts warm water in a bowl. Tear strips of newspaper into four to five inch by 1 1/2 in strips. Its not an exact science - tear paper however you want. =)

    Dip the paper into the glue mixture and squeeze the excess glue off between two fingers. Layer one or two layers and let dry, preferably in front of a fan. This is the time consuming part!

    Layer once again with newspaper, then one last time with white paper or blank newsprint. The white makes it a lot easier to paint. Let dry overnight. If it feels cold to the touch, it's not dry yet.

  4. Step 4 4

    Using an exacto or a cardboard cutter, cut circles/spots from the paper/tape body. Then, using the wire snips, snip out all of the wire in these circles, leaving only empty space inside of the holes/spots. Cut wax paper to fit the holes (leaving not more than a half inch of paper around the edges) and glue one or two layers onto the paper mache body. This is where the light will shine through.

    BTW,I noticed that by cutting holes on the cap, there was an added benefit of making the lamp lighter and therefore, less fragile. Yay!

  5. Step 5 5

    Paint that shit.

    I recommended plain old acrylic paint that you can buy for two dollars at any box store. An eight oz bottle of crimson (red to you guys) for $2 paints at least five mushrooms. I bought an ivory bottle too, for the stem.

    I used two layers of paint.

  6. Step 6 6

    Take a string of battery operated lights* and stick them inside of the stem. Push them to the top and pull some through the wire mesh, so they stay and illuminate better.

    Also, you can cut out felt or black paper to border the spots, so you can't see where the wax paper was glued on. It gives everything a nice, cleaned up look when all is said and done.

    *Totally open to suggestion, here. Would love to use solar powered lights, but they're a bit pricey. The battery operated ones stay lit for 72 hours or so, and could be recharged. Led's would work, but you need a few to get the illumination effect. You can find battery operated string lights online for about five bucks. I used red in this picture.

  7. Step 7 7

    Victory Baby Approves.

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And you're done!



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