We worked on this for a little more than a day - take as long as you like to enjoy the fun!
The idea began with the animals featured in Martha's December magazine - we changed it a bit to make the process child friendly and very fun for us.
The SceneThe materials we used are plaster of paris, white glitter, two twigs, white paint, blue sparkly glitter paint, two clear shiny plastic lids, and little bits of tiny twigs and dried grass (for the mouse to burrow into).
We began by painting the undersides of our lids with the blue glitter paint. We wanted two icy and smooth ponds in our scene.
We then searched out our perfect twigs - we wanted them big enough too look like trees, and strong enough for our birds to perch upon.
When the ponds are dry, trim the edges off if you like to make it flat.
Place plastic or wax paper on a cookie sheet.
Make the plaster. We mixed two batches – the first one was four cups of plaster to two cups of water. Then we decided we wanted it a little larger, and wanted a hilly area, so we made another batch of two cups plaster mixed with one cup water and added it to where we wanted it.
Set your pond where you want it to go, glitter side down so that the surface is smooth – and ready for skating!
Set in the trees, piling a bit of plaster around your trees to make them stable.
The children can draw in it and play in it as you like – making the winter landscape uneven with snowbanks, hills, etc.When it’s dry, paint with white paint (we didn’t, but it will a brighter white if you do), and sprinkle with white glitter before it dries. If you’re skipping the white paint, shake on the white glitter (snow) while the plaster is still very wet.
PenguinsFor this one we used a pinecone, thin pieces of bark (you can use large pinecone scales), an acorn cap, white and dark brown acrylic paint, and glue – you can use craft glue if you’d like it tidy, I opted for hot glue, as I knew my children would want to play with the animals.
Cut the wings to form the wing shape – a point at the bottom.
Glue the acorn caps to the top and front of the pinecone, and glue on the wings.
I also opted to glue them onto another piece of bark something so they’d stand. If you’re making them for tying onto pretty packages or hanging on the tree, you can skip this step.
Paint a white tummy onto the pinecone.
Paint the face with the white and then brown paint. If your acorn caps are pointed, you won’t need a point for a beak, but mine were not, so I trimmed off a piece of bark to glue onto the face.Paint brown dots for the eyes.****
MouseThe mouse materials are a pinecone, an acorn nut (without the cap), bits of thin bark or large pinecone scales for the ears, white and dark brown acrylic paint, either brown papered wire, floral wire wrapped in brown cloth, or floral tape that you can paint brown.
If you’re painting your wire, prepare it first so that it can dry.
Cut thin pieces of bark or pinecone scales into rounded shapes for the ears.
Paint the centers of the ears white.
Glue the ears onto the head, and glue the head to the top (the pointed end) of the pinecone.
Paint on the eyes, and the nose.
Attach the tail.
The cardinals require red and brown acrylic paint, red glitter, a pinecone, pieces of either bark or large pinecone scales for the tail and wings, brown wrapped wire for the legs, and either an acorn or rosehip for the head.
If you’re making the wire for the legs, wrap the wire in floral tape or cloth and paint it brown.
After it dries, fold it into a u-shape, then bend the ends to make bird feet.
Cut the scales to a point on one side – for a tapered wing. For the tail piece, cut a v out of the end of the tail.
Paint the acorn, if you’re using it and not a rosehip. We’ve used a rosehip here.
When all the pieces are dry, glue the pieces onto the body – the head goes at the flat and wide end of the pinecone.