Friday, April 15, 2011

Bunny To-PEEP-ary Trio


I have had a pile of pails and various other items for building a whimsical topiary hanging around just waiting for something to strike my fancy.  They've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting...  Then, while I was perusing around Made (there is also a link on my sidebar), the perfect topiary topper hopped right into my mind.  I needed to make PEEP-shaped bunnies!

I used the pattern that Dana created to make her PEEPS Bunny Bunting.  (I will make that bunting someday too, but I have to finish my old projects first!)  Thanks, Dana, for the inspiration to finish my project!

Here are the materials and directions for making your own Bunny To-PEEP-ary Trio...

  • 3 small galvenized pails
  • 1 sheet smooth Styrofoam (1" x 12" x 36")
  • Bunny pattern
  • 3 small blocks floral foam
  • 3 dowels 1/2" x 18"
  • excelsior
  • paint & sponge brushes
  • ribbon
  • crafting sand
  • glitter
  • Styrofoam glue
  • Styrofoam cutter
  • sandpaper 
  • assorted ribbon
pails, dowels, 2 kinds of foam, paint, glitter, sand, and glue
the pattern, my ribbon stash, paintbrushes, and the Styrofoam cutter

    First, I enlarged the bunny pattern 146% to go from the 5.5" height the pattern is to the 8" size that I wanted for my project.  Trace the pattern onto the Styrofoam with Sharpie marker.  This piece of Styrofoam is large enough to trace eight bunnies, but I only had enough other materials to make three (and PEEPS bunnies come in rows of three).  Trace two bunny shapes for each topiary.

    Trace the pattern with a Sharpie marker.

    Here is where I take a time-out to talk about a very handy gadget: a Styrofoam Cutter.  (I saw a larger, fancier Styrofoam cutter at the store just recently, it is shaped more like a jigsaw.)  I cannot remember when I picked up this little goodie, but I can tell you that it has stayed securely swathed in its original packaging until now.  I haven't had a reason to use it.  (I am the kind of person who picks up gadgets and then finds a project in which to use the gadget.)  Features of this cutter are are that it heats up in only 30 seconds.  It cools down in 5 seconds or less.  This cutter comes with instructions as to how best to use it, but the biggest thing to remember is to go SLOWLY! 

    The wire heats up and melts the Styrofoam to cut out your design.

    This process is a bit smelly!  Keep sensitive noses out of the room while you are working, and make sure you work in a well ventilated space!

    The whole process of tracing and cutting out all of the bunny shapes took about 1 hour, but that included multiple toddler trips to the bathroom.  :)  When the wire melts through the foam, you are left with mozzarella cheese-like strings around the edges of the work.  Don't worry about them now. 
    The bunny shapes next to the leftovers.

     Next, I used the Styrofoam glue to glue two bunny shapes together.  I didn't like the scale of a single layer of Styrofoam for the bunnies.  I also didn't think that the rougher, thicker foam was the right texture for the PEEPS.  That necessitated gluing two thicknesses of bunny together.

    This glue is THICK!
    The bunnies are drying,
    Let the glue dry for at least 1 hour before you move on to the next step.  The instructions say that the glue is firm after 1 hour but fully cured after 24 hours.  Run a few errands or something to take your mind off the project that is waiting.............and waiting.................and waiting............... :)

    Once the glue is dry, you can begin sanding down the edges of your bunnies.  You will need to do this for several reasons:  one, unless you have the steadiest hands in the world, your bunnies will not be exactly the same size.  Sanding will make them match more closely.  Two, PEEPS do not have sharp corners, they are a bit rounded.  Sanding will make the bunnies look more like real PEEPS.  (This is a great time for helpers.) 

    Thanks helper!
    I did the sanding over the garbage can.  It didn't really make much of a mess.  That may be due to the type of foam I was using.  A sanding block was great for sanding all but the closest part between the ears.  For that I used a small piece of drywall tape because I couldn't find my stash of sandpaper.  I know, that is silly!  You don't have to get rid of all of the marker lines from the bunny because you will be painting the bunnies.  Also, I didn't try to make the bunny shapes completely smooth all over because I wanted them to have the confectionery qualities of real PEEPS. 
    Is that a piece of drywall tape you are using?  Why, yes, yes it is!
    Wipe the excess Styrofoam dust off of the smoothed bunnies with a damp paper towel.  The dust will just make a big mess when you go to paint your PEEPS. 
    SMOOTH!!!!!
    Use your Styrofoam cutter to cut a guide hole in the bottom of the bunny.

    Prepping for the dowels.

    Guide hole about 1" deep

    Glue


    Wait some more.....

    Shove the dowel into the guide hole and gently work it back and forth until you reach the desired height of the topiary.  I pushed the dowels in about 4". 





    I chose to sprinkle a little craft sand over the surface of the bunnies to help them look more like PEEPS.  I used red sand because that is what I had in the craft closet.  I didn't worry about the color because of the painting to come.  To adhere the sand to the surface of the Styrofoam, I used about 1/2 teaspoon of Styrofoam glue diluted with 1 tablespoon of water.

    Wait longer...................

    This is not a project that you can finish in one afternoon.  You really need at least all day if not, two days.

    While you are waiting for the glue to dry, decorate your pails.

    Smash one block of floral foam down into a pail.  Don't worry about cutting the foam to fit the pail,  it crushes to fit easily.

    Crush the top corners a little too. 

    Cover the exposed floral foam with excelsior.  You can find this at craft stores everywhere, but I rescued mine from a Harry and David gift box we got last Christmas.  Awesome!  It was the gift that keeps on giving!

    Tuck the excelsior down the edges between the pail and the foam.  
    DECORATE!

    Purple PEEP
    Pink PEEP
    Yellow PEEP

    Waiting for their PEEPS!  You will notice that I used some tape to hold the edges of the pink ribbon in place until the fabric glue dried. 

    Paint your PEEPS!  While the paint is still wet, sprinkle the surface with superfine glitter.  I used Martha Stewart Crystal Fine Glitter like this.  It really made the surface sparkle like sugar!
    I'm sorry for the sideways bunny, but I can't get it to flip!
    Paint on the eyes and nose, and paint the dowel.  Ironically the color of paint I used is called "melted chocolate."

     
     Wait for more paint to dry....

    Spread out the a small hole in the excelsior, and shove the dowel into the center of the floral foam. 

    Voila!  The Bunny To-PEEP-ary Trio!

    They make the perfect accompaniment to the Monet print above them. 



     I took lots of pictures of the finished To-PEEP-aries, but alas, all of them are downloading poorly.  Still,  you get the idea.  All of a sudden, I really want PEEPS!  If you will excuse me, I have to run across the street to the grocery store.  I'll be back in a minute...

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    If  you enjoyed this fun craft check out these other bits of crazy fun from Greetings From the Asylum:  Ruffle Bum Onesies, Fabric Covered Bookcase, and Homemade Vanilla Extract.  


    To see the parties to which I'm linking, click here!  (Or click on my "Linky Parties" page.)

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