Monday, June 30, 2014

DIY Edible Fruit Flower Bouquet

Do you want something different to bring to your next family get-together or pot luck? Or maybe you are looking for an alternative to sending flowers to someone or even a unique gift to give friends or family. You can make your own edible fruit flower bouquet!

These bouquets are completely customizable depending on the fruit you have available and the size you want to make. I'll show you how to make a bouquet like this.

Step 1. Gather your needed supplies.
Container (It was about 4" tall and about 6" across.)
Head of Lettuce
Cantaloupe (1/4 of a cantaloupe.)
Pineapple (You need a whole pineapple. Don't buy the pre-cored pineapple.)
Strawberries (2 pounds)
Grapes (60)
Bamboo Skewers or Lollipop Sticks (50)
Cookie Cutters
Melon Baller
1/2 Bag Candy Melts (optional)
Small amount of Sprinkles (optional) 

Step 2. After you have cleaned your grapes, put the skewer into the stem end of the grape and push it through.

You can put 5 or 6 grapes on each skewer. I like grapes, so I usually use 9 or 10 grapes. You may want to put them on by size with the largest grape at the bottom and smallest grape at top. I don't bother with putting them in any particular order. Make sure that you do not push the skewer all the way through the top grape.

I wasn't certain how many skewers I was going to use, so I made 8 grape skewers. In the end, I only used 6 of them for the bouquet. Once you are done, put them in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 3. Cut your pineapple into slices. Do not core the pineapple first. Ideally, the slices should be about 3/4" thick. I am not good at cutting straight, so I just cut and hope that one side does not end up super thick and the other side ends up super thin.

Center your cookie cutter on the pineapple slice and push it through. Metal cookie cutters make a cleaner cut, but you can also use a plastic cookie cutter.

Put the cut outs on a plate and put them in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 4. Cut your cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. Using a melon baller, make the same number of balls as the number of flowers that you make. They do not need to be perfect, you are only going to use half of the ball. I usually make extra in case I mess one up.

Cut the balls in half. Put these in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 5. Clean your strawberries. You can either leave the leaves on or take them off. I like to take them off. Put them in the refrigerator to chill. You can put them on skewers at this point or wait until later.

Step 6. This is optional. If you do not want candy-coated fruit, then you can skip this step.

I made candy-coated strawberries, but you can use any fruit. Once the fruit is clean, blot it dry with a paper towel.

Once it is dry, put a skewer into the bottom. Make sure not to push it all the way through.

Prepare the candy coating according to the directions on the package. Once the coating is melted, take a spoon and pour the coating over the fruit being sure to turn the fruit as you go to make sure it is covered evenly.

If you are going to use sprinkles, take a spoon and dump the sprinkles over the top. Work fast during this step because the coating dries quickly.

Keep the candy coated fruit upright until the coating is completely hardened. They do sell cake pop holders for this purpose or you can put the skewers into a sheet of styrofoam. I just stick them into an old colander or into the holes on the strawberry container. Put them into the refrigerator to harden and chill.

Step 7. Cut your head of lettuce to roughly fill the container. You want it to be slightly higher than the top of the container. The lettuce will be what you stick the skewers into. 

Step 8. Start assembling your bouquet. I usually start with the grapes. Just push the skewers into the lettuce.

Put the grapes in whatever formation you want. Don't worry, if you decide you don't like the position, you can always move it. If the skewers are too long for a certain location, just break the end of the skewer off to a size that works better.

Step 9. Make the daisies. Take your pineapple flower shapes and push the skewer through the center core.

Take one of your cantaloupe half balls and put the skewer into the cantaloupe. Be sure not to push it through the top of the ball.

Put your daisies into your bouquet. Again, break the skewers to whatever length that you need to get the arrangement that you want.

Step 10. Add your strawberries. I like to add any candy coated one's first.

At this point, it will get increasingly difficult to put the skewers in without moving the other fruit. To make this easier, I usually don't put the strawberries on skewers prior to putting the skewer into the arrangement. I put empty skewers in where ever I want the strawberries to be.

Once the skewers are in position, I pierce the strawberries. If you see empty gaps, you can put a couple strawberries on one skewer. I continue to place the strawberries until I run out of fruit or space.

Step 11. Take the parsley and use it to cover the sticks or any gaps. 

Step 12. Enjoy your Edible Fruit Flower Bouquet!

Here are a few extra tips that I have learned over the years.
  • You can use almost any kind of container, just make sure that it does not have anything on it that could be harmful. I usually just buy something from the dollar store. This container was plastic, but if you use a cardboard container or something with holes in the bottom, line the container with plastic wrap or a sandwich bag or something like that. The plastic will prevent any fruit juices from leaking through the container.
  • You can try other things in the base besides lettuce to stick the skewers into. In the past, I've tried play-doh and floral styrofoam, but I think lettuce works the best.
  • This arrangement was about 12" high. If you want to use less fruit but have a similar sized container, an easy way to accomplish this is to make it shorter. 
  • If you are using the candy coating, make small batches of the coating instead of the entire package. The coating dries very quickly, so unless you work super fast, multiple small batches work better than one big batch.
  • If you are having problems with the candy coating sliding off the fruit, your fruit is probably too wet. Make sure that you blot it dry prior to putting the coating on it.
  • If your fruit slides down the skewer, try putting a raisin or mini-marshmallow on the skewer prior to the fruit to hold it up. 
  • Any fruit can be used. Just think of creative ways to use them.
  • Don't limit yourself to just flower-shaped cookie cutters. Try stars, hearts, ghosts, anything that fits your situation or holiday.
  • There is not a right or wrong way to make these. Be creative and have fun! They don't need to be perfect.
  • These can be made by people of any age. It's a good activity for kids and they like to eat the fun shapes. 
This is an arrangement that I made with my 11 year old Little Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This was at a Halloween event, so we used cat, ghost, and bat cookie cutters. We also used cantaloupe and honey dew slices around the base of the arrangement.

This is an arrangement that my niece made. She was 7 years old at the time and she did a great job! Proof that any age and ability can make these!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Popsicle Stick Sunburst

I've been looking for decorations to brighten one of the bedrooms. I made a couple these plastic spoon flowers. You can see how I made them here.

I think the flowers brighten that side of the room, but I wanted something for another wall. I saw this at Target and I thought I could make something similar.

I was just winging it when I made this. At first, I thought I could use paint sticks, but I could only find about 5 sticks. I could have made a run to Menards to get some, but while I was searching I found popsicle sticks. I decided to give it a try with the popsicle sticks.

Here are the needed supplies to make your own:
Cardboard (I cut mine into a 10 inch circle.)
Popsicle Sticks (I used 36.)
Spray Paint
Aluminum Foil
Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue Gun Sticks

Step 1: Spray paint the popsicle sticks. I found that popsicle sticks are very lightweight and have a tendency to flip over and move around when you spray paint them due to the force of the spray. If I made this again, I would not spray them until they were attached.

I really had no idea how I was going to lay the sticks out on Sunburst, so I just grabbed a handful of the sticks to pay. I spray painted a lot more than I actually used.

Step 2: Wrap the cardboard circle with aluminum foil.

Step 3: Glue the popsicle sticks to the back of the wrapped circle. Make sure the painted side is facing the front.

That's all there is to it! I glued a small piece of yarn to the back and used a small finishing nail to hang it on the wall. It's not the greatest, but it looks alright. It also was completely free, since I already had everything around the house so that can't be beat! 

This would be a great project for kids to decorate their rooms and it is super fast and easy!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

DIY Plastic Spoon Flower

I recently painted one of the bedrooms. I wanted the walls to be a medium gray, but it ended up darker than what I had anticipated. I wanted something to brighten up the room a bit. I hung some bright colored curtains which helped, but it needed more. I found a few metal wall hangings that I really liked, but they were expensive. One of the hangings I found was this flower. It was $45 plus shipping and I really did not want to spend that much on a wall hanging.

I flashed back to when I used to work at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. One day, one of the kids made a little flower out of plastic spoons. At the time, I thought it was pretty cool, but didn't think about it again until I saw this wall hanging.

I thought that I could try and make one for the bedroom and I knew it would not cost me a whole lot if it didn't turn out. This is what I ended up making.

Here are the steps I took to make it.

Supplies Needed:
Plastic Spoons (I used about 80)
Aluminum Foil
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Spray Paint suitable for plastic

Step 1. Cut out two cardboard circles. My circles had a diameter of about 10 inches and about 2.5 inches.

Step 2. Break the handles off the spoons. When breaking the spoons, try not to crack the eating end of the spoon. Be careful when breaking the spoons, because the ends get sharp and can cut your fingers. You may want to try cutting them with scissors, but then the pieces go flying across the room. You can throw away all the handles.

Step 3. Starting from the outside of the large cardboard circle and working inward, hot glue the spoons onto the cardboard. 

Step 4. Continue to hot glue on the spoons until the cardboard is full of spoons.

Step 5. Spray paint the entire thing. You could also use colored plastic spoons instead of spray painting it. I just didn't like the colors of the spoons that were available at the dollar store, so I used clear spoons and spray painted mine.

I thought it looked alright at this point, but I didn't like the center. I wasn't sure what to use to cover the ends of the center spoons. I tried a couple different things that I found around the house, but ultimately decided on making a cardboard middle.

Step 6. Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the small cardboard circle and wrap it. You may chose to tape the back just to ensure it stays wrapped.

 Step 7. Hot glue the small circle to the center of the spoons.

To hang it, I hot glued a small piece of scrap yarn to the back of the large cardboard and hung it with a small finishing nail.

I like how it turned out and it cost less than $5 to make! I actually ended up making two of these and they look really nice in the bedroom. I may make more in different colors.