Pear With Me

July 19th, 2012

I realize this isn’t necessarily the most summery of crafts, but you know that old saying about when life hands you paper mache pears, right?  Make something with them right away no matter what month it is?  I can’t remember who originally said that… but  I have this empty bowl in the middle of the dining table that needed filling, and I happened upon some paper mache fruit at Michael’s for forty cents each.  The other types of fruit looked kind of … special, but the pears were cute, so $1.20 later I had to figure out how to make them into something cool.  Wood stain and an oil paint wash did the trick, I think — they kind of look like they’re covered in leather!  This would also be a good technique to use on paper mache letters, like the ones I used here.

What you need:
paper mache fruit
wood stain (mine was oil-based)
Mod Podge (I used matte finish)
clean rag or stain sponge
wooden skewer or stick
oil paints (optional)
paint thinner (optional)

Before you get started: Read the instructions on the stain you have and make sure to do this craft in a ventilated area, these are neat-looking but they’re not worth passing out or killing brain cells!

1. Stir the stain well and brush on evenly.

2. Just like with wood, you should wipe off excess stain after letting it dry for several minutes, so keep your gloves handy after you’re done applying the stain and use a rag or sponge.

3. The next two  steps are optional: if you want to add a color wash effect over the stain, mix some oil paint with some paint thinner.   Use a metal, glass, or heavy plastic container — paint thinner will melt something like a thin plastic cup (speaking from experience here, sadly!).  The ratio to use depends on how strong you want the color to be — test a little bit on a paper plate before painting on the fruit.  The more paint, the denser the color.

4. Brush on quickly, as the wash will dry pretty fast.  You can add more than one coat depending what you want the finished product to look like — I just did one coat.  Let dry and wipe off any excess that you see.

5. Using a different brush, apply Mod Podge.

6. Allow to dry.  To avoid the pears sticking to the plates I dried them on, I propped them up on a wooden skewer — then when the sides were dry to touch, laid them on their sides to let the bottoms dry.

That’s all it takes!