Sunday, November 11, 2012

Monday Made: Elmer's story

When we were preparing for baby J's rainforest party, Junior J said he wanted to make Elmer for his brother. For those who are not familiar, Elmer is the story of an elephant that lives in the jungle, and he is easily recognized as he has a whole riot of colours in a patchwork pattern. I love Elmer's story for its underlying message that it is ok to be different, and Junior J also enjoys the story very much.

So anyway, I said yes. And we got down to making him. I wanted to try paper mache instead of just wrapping the base structure with paper (which we did with our previous elephant craft project), so I got two balloons, blew them up (with hubby's help), and assembled his "skeleton":

The whole project hit many potholes. After I had assembled this, the hubby pointed out that everything was stuck onto the balloons and may not stay after we popped the balloons (when the paper mache was dry), so we ended up taking the structure apart and just covering the red balloon with paper mache. When we were disassembling it, the white balloon burst, and we only have two balloons at home... So the project got left to the side for a few days until we had time to buy balloons.

Then the hubby bought balloons, but they ended up being the long ones, which didn't sit right as the head. So I ended up using a big ball of scrunched up newspaper to use as the head. The pasting bit was also really messy (you can get recipes for the paste here), and it took more than 3 sessions of pasting to cover the entire elephant with newspaper (Junior J helped with the pasting, but he made the mess even bigger, which I guess is expected!).

After the newpaper was dry, I tried using crepe paper to cover the body, but when the paper dried it had these white patches on them:

So I ended up having to use construction paper instead. However, since that was much thicker and doesn't conform very well to a rounded structure, I had to make the patchwork squares smaller. By now I was contemplating quietly chucking the elephant out since he was so much trouble! However, I did promise Junior J that we'd make him, plus I thought it would be good to show him that we stick to doing something even though it may be tough... so I continued with the cutting and pasting. I did the patchwork on my own, using PVA glue to adhere the paper, and finishing up with a few layers of mod podge to seal it.

So after a few nights of pasting and pasting and pasting... he was done! We added goggly eyes (insisted by Junior J!):

And finally Elmer was done! Here's how he looks from the back, with his tail of yarn:

And him in his full colourful patchwork glory:

I'm sort of glad we managed to finish this fellow, tough as it was. Have you struggled through any crafty projects before, but plugged on to finish it?


  1. So much for a Mother's love. Elmer looks perfect!

  2. Good job! Elmer's really cute! My twins love elephants, so I've been searching for a way to make an elephant! Thanks for the ideas! :)



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