Friday, March 22, 2013

Handy Tip: Easter Egg Dolls

There are plenty of crafts around Easter, but coloring eggs can get messy, and if no one in the family eats hard-boiled eggs, they can go to waste. To incorporate an egg-themed craft into the holiday without having to boil any eggs or break out the coloring kit, try this activity from The American Girls Handy Book.

The authors of the book preface this activity as a means to mimic the dolls and toys in the toy stores of New York. For those unable to visit the Big Apple or who can’t afford such a luxurious toy, Lina and Adelia Beard recommend this creative Easter craft.

Step 1: Prepare the egg
  • “Begin with several nice large eggs … blown or emptied of their contents
  • To do this, “make a small hole in each end of the shell … put one hole to the lips; then blow, not too hard, but steadily until the egg has all run out of the other end.”
Step 2: Paint the egg
This is where we can get creative with materials or design. For classic, vintage looks, try these instructions:
  • Lay tracing paper over a face from a picture book and trace the lines and features of the face with a soft lead pencil.
  • Place the tracing paper (pencil-side down) on the shell (with the more narrow end of the egg facing down so that it mimics the shape of a face). Transfer the lines by tracing the lines that you’ve drawn on the tracing paper with “a hard pencil” or “knitting needle.”
  • “Touch up and strengthen the features with a fine paint-brush and india-ink” or with the medium of your choice.
Step 3: Decorate
  • Use a small box (or make one) and cut a hole in the bottom large enough to fit the small end of the shell (this supports the head and makes shoulders)
  • Add material for hair if you’d like (The Handy Book suggests raw cotton dyed with india-ink)
  • Create clothing, headdresses, or a hat for your egg doll. This can be done by creating a diagram like the one illustrated in the book, pictured here. Use materials like wrapping or tissue paper.

Be creative with your designs. The authors suggest a few friendly characters seen above, like an owl, Miss Roly-Poly (who cannot be knocked down!), Humpty Dumpty, and so forth. Enjoy!

The American Girls Handy Book, first published in 1887, was written by two of the founders of the Girl Scouts of America. It's a beloved, vintage Americana guide book, filled with activities that transport readers back to a time before TV and are guaranteed to keep kids busy and entertained. You can purchase it on the Godine website.

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