How to Make a Papier-Mache Cornucopia

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Make a Papier-Mache Cornucopia
Make a Papier-Mache Cornucopia (Image: OG Vision)

The cornucopia, meaning horn of plenty, has become a symbol of Thanksgiving. It was originally made from a horn of a goat and filled with the earth harvest. The cornucopia has now become a Thanksgiving decoration placed in many homes in America. By making your own cornucopia, you can fill it to overflowing with fruits and vegetables and make a beautiful decoration for your table or hang it on the wall full of fall flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • White glue or liquid starch
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Balloons, round and long
  • Rubber bands
  • Silk leaves
  • Artificial fruits and vegetables

Shape the chicken wire into a cornucopia. Start at the open end and make sure you get that large enough, then work back to the pointed end and turn it up a little. Cut the wire and, using the pliers, bend the ends of the wire on one side over the wire from the other side and in to hold the shape together. Work inside to bend the wire flat so there are no points that will scratch you if you reach inside. Cover the entire cornucopia with newspaper using masking tape to hold it on. Fold the newspaper over the lip of the opening and partially cover the inside.

Mix your papier-mache. Use three parts white glue and one part water. Tear strips of newspaper and dip them in the glue mixture. Place them on the cornucopia until it is completely covered. Remember to put some strips over the lip of the opening to the inside. Repeat with a second coat. Let this dry overnight and repeat with a third coat. Let that coat dry for several hours.

Paint your cornucopia a light brown color. You can give it a more decorative exterior by stamping on leaves in green or using silk leaves and gluing over them.To make it look more like a basket weave, use dark brown, golden yellow and light brown paint. Start at the opening and go around it. Put a glob of each color of paint just overlapping the other and pull the paintbrush through the paint and around. The next time, put the paint on and pull the brush toward the point. Go back and forth until the entire project is painted. Let the paint dry for a couple of hours.

Take your balloons and blow them up to the size of the vegetable or fruit you want to make. Use rubber bands to put around a round balloon to make it look like a small pumpkin. Use masking tape to shape a long balloon to make it look like a squash or a piece of Indian corn. You can make apples, gourds and tomatoes.

Mix your papier-mache using three parts white glue and one part water. Tear pieces of newspaper and cover your balloons, keeping with the shapes your formed. If your fruit of vegetable has a stem, use the end of the balloon where you tied it. If it doesn't require a stem, tuck the tied part in and paper over it so it doesn't stick out. Repeat for a second coat. Let them dry overnight and give it a third coat the following day. Let dry for a few hours.

Paint your fruits and vegetables. You may have to mix some colors to make them look realistic. For the Indian corn, dab on the colors to make it look like individual kernels. Let your paint dry for about 2 hours. Arrange your fruit and vegetables coming out of your cornucopia for a wonderful fall decoration.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use premade artificial or fresh fruits and vegetables instead of making papier-mache to make this project quicker.
  • You can also fill your cornucopia with fall silk flowers and hang on a wall.

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