Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Tale of Eggs and Flowers

Once upon a time, I pinned this pin of flowers made out of painted egg cartons. I thought it was a charming idea, but would require a lot of egg cartons to pull off. Shortly thereafter, eggs went on sale and our weekly egg consumption tripled, making an easy job of collecting enough egg cartons for a whole slew of flowers. 

I collected clean cartons for about 2 weeks, befuddling 'Stache, and cut them into flowers. Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of the different shapes before we painted, but essentially I cut flowers with long pointed petals, rounded petals, zigzag cups, round cups, and fringe cups (to be the centers of my lilies and daffodills). I also cut leaves from the flat parts of the cartons. Pro tip: it's a lot easier to cut 4 petaled flowers than 5 petaled flowers, especially from an egg carton!

The kids and I painted them ...

And then I glued them to a cardboard circle, which I had also painted green ...

Making a pretty great wreath, if I do say so!

We used this paint, which was very cost effective since we wanted a lot of colors and these came in a set. A few of the colors needed multiple coats (I'm looking at you, yellow!) but most were adequate with one. (Later I tried these paints on wood peg dolls and they had very poor coverage on that surface, so I would avoid glossy surfaces with this paint.) It also cleaned up quite easily.

I have about 20 photos identical to this, courtesy of Mei-Mei.

Things I did right with this project:

1. Draconian color control! I asked the kids which color they wanted to paint, and then I gave them a specific flower shape for that color. Thus, all the flowers are (more or less) recognizable. One shape might have different colors, but each color (except white) only has one shape.

2. Painting in shifts. I would put two kids in their room to play and then invite the other to come paint. They got to pick their color and I would give them 3 flowers to paint. When they were done, I would ask if they wanted to keep painting, and if they did, they got 3 more of the same shape. Mei-Mei had an incredible attention span for this project! She painted all of the leaves (both sides!) at one sitting.

3. Clean up as we went. At the end of each child's turn, they had to go wash off their own brush and I would wipe down the table so there wasn't any wet paint of the wrong color to mess up the next child's flowers.

4. Arranged the colors to be balanced but still random. After all the flowers were dry (we painted them over about 3 days) I divided them by color and placed them more or less evenly spaced around the circle before glueing them down using Elmer's. Because I had different amounts of each color, it still looks organic and random because some are spaced a fifth apart, some a quarter, some a sixth, etc.

Things I did wrong with this project.

1. I started out thinking that the kids could cut the egg cups apart and then I would cut them into flowers, but this proved to be beyond their hand strength at ages 5 and 4.

2. Also, apparently all our non-sewing scissors are crap. Might should fix that.

3. I started out with all the kids painting and me supervising, but this proved too much wet paint to juggle at the same time. Painting in shifts (see above) worked much better and the kids got some one-on-one Mama time.

4. The back of the wreath is made of flat strips of egg carton, cut and glued into a circle. I wish that I had held off until I could find a large piece of cardboard to use for my circle. It's holding up so far, but I'm seriously worried that it may not last.

We hung it in our kitchen. I love that my kids painted nearly the whole thing, and that it makes our daily lives more beautiful.

Egg cartons! Who'd'a thunk?


  1. Love this whole project! G

  2. So bright and cheerful! Something to keep in mind come Easter. I have egg cartons in this country of mine ;), the trick is just hunting down paint when I am in the "big city." :D