Tonight the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins. This is the sixth year that we have built a Sukkah on our patio. We got a new Sukkah-building kit this year from here. The boards of our old model had become warped and it was always rather fussy to put together. The new one is very easy, requires no power tools and came together in an hour. Perfect. We still had lots of energy to decorate this year, and of course we are gearing up for some dinners with friends in this incredible fall weather in our new Sukkah!
Talking with the kids a few weeks ago I realized that they had never done paper mache. Oh my. I told Charlie that I better rustle up a project soon! I decided each girl could make a paper mache etrog as a Sukkah decoration. An etrog is a citrus fruit, similar to a lemon, that has ritual significance during Sukkot.
"Perfect" etrogim sell for hundreds of dollars. We usually get the $30 variety when we purchase the real thing. After Sukkot, we hang onto them and they dry out and look (and smell) really cool!
The girls were very excited to give paper mache a try.
I blew up two small balloons and then made a simple paste with flour and water. I wanted to buy some paper mache paste, but was too tired to go to the craft store. The flour and water worked really well and I was sort of glad I went with it because Roxanne decided to taste it after a little while.
We coated the balloons with newspaper strips dipped in paste and let them dry overnight. Popping the balloon with a pin was very exciting.
Then we painted them with two coats of yellow acrylic paint.
The girls put little brown dots with marker to simulate the real pock marks on the fruit.
I coated both etrogim with glossy ModPodge and after it dried we pushed small stick in the top for stems. I cut two leaves from green wool felt and glued them to lengths of floral wire which we wrapped around the stems.
They look great hanging in the Sukkah and it was fun to take on a multi-day project this year.