How to Make Fake Coconuts for Decorations

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With their hairy brown outer shells and bright white centers, coconuts are the quintessential tropical summer accent. Make your own and display them in a variety of ways at your next luau party. Use whole coconuts or make halves, and hang them from coconut palm "trees" that you display in corners around the space.

Things You'll Need

  • 6-inch smooth-texture white Styrofoam ball, one for each coconut
  • Dark brown tissue paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Penny

Tip

  • A smooth-textured Styrofoam ball is essential for creating a more realistic-appearing coconut.

Step 1: Sliced or Closed?

The first step in creating an exotic coconut display is deciding if you want a closed coconut display or a sliced-open coconut display. If you want to slice your coconut open, jump straight to Step 7 to begin. Continue to Step 2 for a closed coconut.

Step 2: Tear the Tissue

Heat the hot glue gun while you tear or cut the tissue paper into approximate 1-by-1-inch pieces. Make some pieces larger or smaller, depending on how much brown texture you want on your coconut. The more tissue paper you use, the darker brown and fuller the coconut will be.

Tip

  • Glue a 2-inch square of tissue paper to the center of the top and bottom first so you don't have to cover them later.

Step 3: Glue the Paper

Start at the bottom of the Styrofoam ball, gluing one piece of tissue paper on at a time, side by side, in a clockwise circular motion. Place a drop of glue on the top center section of each piece. Only glue one circular layer on at a time to make one whole circle and then go up to the next circular layer.

Tip

  • Starting at the bottom and going up ensures that all of the top pieces are not underneath the bottom pieces, which could make your coconut look untidy.

Step 4: Overlap the Pieces

Slightly overlap the second layer of tissue paper over the first layer by placing up to half of the second layer over the first. The amount of overlapping depends on how much tissue paper you want on your coconut. Continue gluing on the pieces of tissue paper until the entire coconut is covered.

Step 5: Make the Holes

Once you've completely covered the Styrofoam ball with tissue paper, trace a penny three times on the black construction paper and cut them out. Place the three circles either at the bottom or the top of the coconut. Position the circles in a triangle-shaped pattern, with one black circle centered on top of the other two, much like bowling ball finger holes.

Tip

  • To make an open coconut, you need a long knife, such as a bread knife, dark brown craft paint, and a 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide craft paintbrush.

Step 6: Slice It

To turn your closed coconut into an open coconut, slice it in half with the long sharp knife. Try to cut slowly and evenly, with small saw-like strokes, and little-to-no breakage toward the center of the coconut.

Step 7: Texture the Halves

After you have successfully cut your coconut in half, complete Steps 2 through 6. With the craft paintbrush and the brown paint, paint a 1/2-inch-wide line around the outer edge of the coconut closest to the previously glued-on tissue paper. Let it dry and apply another coat if you need to darken the brown.

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