This year, I have finally decided to participate in the NYC Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival! The parade and festival date back to the 1800s and is an annual tradition on Easter day here in the city. People walk the parade in all kinds of wild get-ups and creative head gear. How fun! A prickly pear cactus makes a great bonnet, don't you think? It is modeled here by my gal pal, Audrey.
What you need: a wide headband, a small plastic container, 2 zip ties, masking tape, hot glue gun, 1" thick foam (I use the dense insulation foam from Lowes), toothpicks, cardboard, knife, news paper, flour and water for the paper mache, gesso, acrylic paints, and paintbrushes.
1. Attach your plastic container to the headband by cutting small slits in the bottom of the container and securing with zip ties.
2. Cut a circle of foam and insert it into the plastic container. This is what forms the surface of the "dirt" in your pot and what you use to build the cactus from.
3. Cut a 1" wide strip of cardboard. Use your glue gun to secure it to the container to create the "rim" of the pot. Reinforce with masking tape.
4. Using the same foam cut out the paddle/tear drop shapes that create the cactus. (The proper botanical name for these is cladode!) I like to trim off the straight edges as well, to make it more rounded. Cut 3 or 4 in various sizes.
5. Use toothpicks to secure the cladodes together.
6. Once you have connected all the pieces with the toothpicks, reinforce each connection with masking tape. Find something to secure the headband to for the next step. I used a brick, but you could use a coffee can or a small cardboard box, anything really.
7. Cover entire cactus and pot with 2 layers of paper mache. Make sure to let the first layer dry completely, preferably overnight. (To make the paper mache paste, simply mix flour and water together until you get a consistency similar to that of pancake batter.)
8. After the paper mache is dry, gesso your hat and paint to your liking. I painted my pot a pale pink and the cactus a vibrant green! Finish it off by adding dots to mimic the spines.