Easter and April Fool's Day may be far apart in spirit but they're jammed together on the calendar this year. Here's a quick and inexpensive craft project that can carry over from one to the other: faux chocolate eggs.
Given my weakness for chocolate, I know I could never put out a bowl of pretty foil-wrapped chocolate eggs a week before Easter and expect them to last until the holiday. But you can get the same effect — without the temptation — by painting papier-mâché eggs and partially wrapping them with pastel-hued foil. Piled in a glass canister or arranged in a simple bowl, these eggs make a sweet Easter display that will last for years.
Either spray paint or acrylic craft paint can be used for this project. Spray paint provides a slightly smoother finish, and if you use paint with a satin finish, you don't have to follow up with any kind of clear sealant or spray. But acrylic paint is less expensive and less messy, and it can be used indoors, which is a plus given that there is still snow on the ground where I live. It does have a more matte finish, but brushing on a clear glaze over the paint takes just minutes. In any case, there is no need to be too fussy with the paint given that much of the egg will be covered by foil.
I found small gold and silver foil sheets meant for candy wrappers at a large craft supply store, but my local cake decorating supply store had many more colors at much better prices — 35 cents for a 12-by-22-inch sheet, making this project easy on both my waistline and wallet.
When I showed my 8-year-old son an early prototype for this project, he had it to his lips before I could say either "Happy Easter!" or "April Fools!"
■ Papier-mâché eggs
■ Brown satin finish spray paint or acrylic craft paint
■ Satin finish clear sealant or varnish (if using craft paint)
■ Paint brush (if using craft paint)
■ Large cardboard box lined with waxed paper or parchment paper for containing over-spray (if using spray paint)
■ Foil sheets made for candy wrappers
■ White glue or Mod Podge
1) If using spray paint, place eggs in lined cardboard box and, working outside or in well-ventilated area, apply several light coats of paint. Follow directions on the paint canister to determine drying time between coats. Turn the eggs to make sure you are painting all sides. Three or four light coats of paint should be enough for even coverage.
2) If using craft paint, you can work indoors. Use a brush to apply two or three coats of paint, allowing eggs to dry between coats.
3) If using craft paint, apply one coat of satin finish varnish. Allow eggs to dry.
3) Cut a piece of colored foil a bit taller than the height of the egg and wide enough to wrap around it. For the eggs I purchased, I cut the foil into a rectangle roughly 6.5-by-4 inches. Cut slits roughly 1-inch long along one of the long edges. This will make it easier to fold the foil tightly around the bottom of the egg.
4) Brush glue or Mod Podge on the lower 2/3 of an egg, then wrap the foil around the egg, with the fringed edge at the bottom, wider end of the egg.
5) Brushing on more glue as needed, press the foil tightly against the egg, overlapping the cut pieces at the bottom. At the top, squeeze the foil together and twist it tightly. Cut off the excess.
6) Once the egg is entirely covered in foil, peel some off to create the appearance of a candy egg that's been partially unwrapped.