Treat-Filled Paper Mache Eggs
Paper Mache Easter Egg Craft
I have always loved Easter eggs! When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents would hold an Easter egg hunt for me each year. They usually got me those sort of marshmallowie eggs with the colorful, hard candy exterior. You know the ones - they come individually wrapped in clear plastic. Anyway, they would hide them, deck me out in my new Easter dress, and send me out with a basket so I could find the eggs. Or most of them...sometimes even the adults forgot where they'd been hidden! Then I would ask the adults to rehide them so I could hunt the eggs again. And again. And again. I think I'd keep hunting as long as they were willing to hide! Because of this, Easter eggs have always held a special place in my memories.
I think part of the reason my family hid those little candy eggs was that plastic eggs usually don't stay shut. They fall open, spilling your candy on the ground or the floor. Then you've got to hang on to the darn things until next year or chuck them out and buy new ones again next year. Both options are pretty silly! Luckily, there is an easier, more eco-friendly way if you create paper mache eggs.
Paper mache, or Papier-mâché, is a fun and inexpensive craft. All you need to make your own paper mache eggs are water balloons (they have a nice eggy shape), strips of paper, and a binding agent. A lot of people use white glue, Mod Podge, or flour to stick the paper together, but liquid starch works just as well when you use tissue paper. This tutorial shows you how to make colorful paper mache Easter eggs and includes optional instructions for how to fill them with treats!
Don't burst capillaries in your face straining to blow up water balloons! They're designed to take the weight of water and take quite a bit of effort to blow up 'the old fashioned way.'
Supplies for Paper Mache Easter Eggs
- Water balloons
- Colorful tissue paper or recycled paper strips
- Liquid Startch
- A way to hang the balloons while they dry (clothespins, tape, etc.)
- Decorative hole punch (optional)
- Treats (optional)
- Balloon air pump (optional)
- Latex/nitrile/etc gloves (optional)
Notes on the supplies: Make sure to get actual laundry starch, not a starch alternative. A starch alternative may work, I don't know, but I know that real starch does work. Also, get liquid starch in a bottle or in a pump spray bottle, not an aerosol can. If you get non-spray starch, you'll need a brush to apply it with.
You do not absolutely have to have an air pump, but it's well worth the small investment! Blowing up water balloons can be surprisingly difficult and you probably don't want to breathe all over the candy. Even if it's wrapped and you're giving it to someone who wouldn't mind, the humidity in your breath can do funny things to it!
- Ideas for Easter Eggs - Candy-Free Fillers
Tired of all of that candy around the house? Fill Easter eggs with other things. Here is a list of candy-free filler ideas for your next Easter egg hunt, along with some alternative location ideas.
What's your favorite Easter tradition?
To Fill the Eggs with Treats
You actually have a couple of options for filling the eggs with treats, but I prefer to pre-fill them. I've seen people suggest cutting the final paper mache open a little to stuff it, but I prefer leaving only a small hole that is easy to patch. In order to do this, I build the paper mache around the treats by putting them inside the balloons. This is a lot easier than it seems!
To get started, stretch the balloon vigorously. Don't worry - they can usually take pretty enthusiastic abuse! Be sure to stretch the neck out as much as possible. Then, blow the balloon up once and let the air out. Trust me, this will make getting the treats in much easier. Then, simply stretch the balloon out and insert as many treats as you would like. I recommend wrapped candy, especially if you're not using an air pump, but I used Peanut Butter M&M's because I knew I would be eating them myself!
Blow up the Balloons
After you've inserted treats (or not), blow up the balloons and tie them off securely.
Get Ready to Paper Mache
Because this method uses liquid starch, there's no mess and no need to mix up tacky glue and flour concoctions! All you need to do is cut your paper paper. I like to make strips that are about an inch across. Any wider and you will probably have trouble getting them to behave on the curved surface of the balloon. Cutting smaller strips will make the final product smoother, but it will also take longer to apply each layer.
Paper Mache with Starch
Applying the first layer is pretty easy. I like to spray the starch straight on the balloon and simply apply strips of paper. You can experiment with paper placement to see what works best for you, but I like to start by making a band around the middle and then move poleward. The bottom will probably need just a small square patch. Be gentle - tissue paper is thin and rips easily if you oversaturate it or move it around too much while it's wet. That having been said, do make sure the paper is pretty saturated to ensure it sticks! I like to put just a bit of starch down, position the paper, and then give everything an extra spray of starch before hanging them to dry.
Some tissue paper is not at all colorfast when wet, so you may want to wear latex or nitrile gloves to keep from turning your hands into rainbows!
Keep on with the Paper Mache
Cover each balloon with a single layer of paper and hang it up to dry. The tied off tail makes it really convenient to clothespin or balloons them to a ribbon or clothes hanger!
After the first layer is dry, add a second layer. The second time around, you may want to spray down the strip of paper instead of the balloon, itself, but it doesn't really matter much. I recommend adding a third layer, too, but you don't have to. Do not try to use a single layer because it will cave in when you pop the balloon.
Decorate the Eggs
This is the really fun part! After you get three layers of paper mache on your balloons, you can decorate them. You can punch paper shapes and stick them on with a bit more starch, draw on them, or even spray paint them. Customize to your heart's delight!
Pop the Balloons
When I was a kid, I hated popping balloons. Do you remember those 'fun' end of the year games where you'd have to run a relay and sit on a balloon to pop it? I hated them! But anyway. Popping these balloons isn't scary and probably won't even make a loud noise. Grip the ballon's tail firmly and pull it up a little to expose a taught section of inflated balloon. Carefully make a small hole in it with a pin, needle, safety pin, etc. Do not simply stab it with a knife. You need for the ballon to deflate slowly and in one piece so you can simply pull it out using the knotted tail end. If you pop it, the balloon will shatter inside the paper mache egg.
Patch the Hole
The last thing you have to do is patch the holes where you removed the ballon. Just take a patch of tissue, spray it down with starch, and cover the hole. You do not need multiple layers. In fact, a single layer is best if you filled the balloons with surprises because you can easily shove your thumb through the weak spot to pull the paper mache open!
Just cut stickers apart, roll them up, and tuck them in!
Paper Mache Easter Eggs
And that's that! Your own Easter egg creations.
Mine look sort of wrinkly because I was manhandling them a bit while getting photos, but it is pretty easy to make them appear more smooth, if you would like. Also, you don't need to fill them with candy; other things work well, too. Why not choose small toys, stickers, or even something like a gift certificate? Get creative! It's amazing what you can force through a balloon's neck.
I hope you enjoy this Easter craft idea and, as always, please let me know if you have any questions about the process. I will be happy to help you out and wish you a fun, successful experience.