How to Make a Small Gift More Awesome
Kids have an innate sense of fairness. They want everyone to have the same number of gifts AND roughly the same size. Teenagers are old enough to understand that good things come in small packaging, but young children are often wowed by the sheer size of things.
This year I found an awesome gift for A. He’s really into construction vehicles and Costco had this:
Super awesome. He tends to get shafted on gifts since his interests are limited and we already have stuff leftover from when V was into the same thing. Why get more dinosaurs? We already have dinosaurs. This is a chance to get him something that’s his and his alone.
The problem is that V asked Santa for blind bags and Kinder Surprise Eggs- things that fit into the palm of your hand. How do I spruce up her gifts so they aren’t dwarfed next to her brother’s massive box?
It’s all about presentation.
The YouTube videos she watches often have kids digging toys out of play-doh. Well that’s not going to work. It would dry out and get hard overnight and I sure as hell don’t want to craft something at 5am Christmas morning before she wakes up.
I decided to try making an egg out of paper mache, using this site as a guide. It was actually pretty cheap. They tell you how to make your own glue. I already had newspaper and paint. All I needed was a balloon for the shape. I chose one of those heavy-duty balloons because they’re larger and got to work.
I cooked the glue and allowed it to cool. Then I cut strips of newspaper and inflated my balloon. I needed something to hold it steady so I used V’s drum. I applied glue with a sauce brush thing and laid the strips on the balloon. I tried to put on two coats and change the directions of the strips periodically to add support. I left a section open on the bottom so I’d be able to put the toys in.
I popped the balloon and removed it. I then made the mistake of trying to paint the newspaper, but I could see right through the paint. The site recommended using computer paper for the final layer so I cut more strips and added a white layer on top. Next I got the toys (Shopkins, blind bags, overpriced surprise eggs) and placed them inside before sealing the gap. Obviously the seal is flat since I’d removed the balloon. I’ll be putting that end on the floor. It’ll actually help the egg stay upright.
Next I got out the paint and tried to do the best approximation that I could. The SURPRISE came out a little long but whatever. V is five I doubt she’ll care. I’ll probably go back once the paint is dry to outline the SURPRISE with a Sharpie.
This project took several days as I had to allow the glue time to fully dry and I could only work while the kids were in school. The glue stored quite well in the fridge. I just put the pot in there with the lid on and it was still good after a week of use.
I’m quite pleased with the results. Normally I don’t get super crafty with my kids but hey, it’s Christmas. I can’t wait to see how V reacts.
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