May Day celebrations go back to ancient Roman times. Although the centrepiece of the celebration was the maypole, May baskets were an important part too. The ancient Romans would place branches and flowers in the baskets to symbolise May's arrival. Today, May baskets are filled with flowers, candies and other small treats. You can purchase small baskets at craft stores, or make your own at home with your children's help.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tissue paper
- Liquid starch
- Disposable pie plate
- Clear plastic drinking cup
Tear the tissue paper into strips about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.
Pour liquid starch into the disposable pie plate to make dipping the tissue paper easier.
Blow up your balloon, tie it off, and cover it with the strips by first dipping them in the liquid starch and then placing them on the balloon. Lay them so they overlap randomly; this will give you more stability in your structure. Cover the entire balloon, except for the tied-off end. Repeat this step until you have four layers of tissue paper.
Use a piece of string or twine to tie your balloon up, and let it hang overnight to dry. In the morning, if needed, apply more strips to thin or bare places, and hang it back up to dry again.
Deflate you balloon by cutting the end right below the knot, and discard the balloon. The inside will still be damp, so leave it until it is completely dry.
Use scissors to cut off the top inch off a plastic cup. This will be the base of your basket.
Cover the entire base with two layers of paper mache strips, inside and out. Attach the base to the closed end of the dried basket with strips of tissue paper.
Cover the open end of the basket with four layers of tissue paper. Allow the basket to dry thoroughly.
Draw a circle around the middle of your basket to mark its top half. The easiest way to do this is to turn a mug over and place it on the table next to the basket. Place a marker on the upturned mug and leave it in place, while you turn the basket.
Mark the lines for the handle of the basket by drawing two parallel lines that are 1 inch apart, from the line on one side of the basket to the other side.
Use scissors to cut along the lines.
Tips and warnings
- Use a small to medium size balloon. Since tissue paper is fragile, a smaller balloon will help ensure it's strong enough.
- If you want to give your basket multiple colours or a pattern, do the first four layers in white tissue paper and the final layer in coloured tissue paper.
- If children are helping you make your May basket, supervise them when they use scissors.
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