As I may have mentioned a few times, J has a slight obsession with Super Mario right now. He has also noticed me pinning cute pictures of Fairy Gardens and he immediately wanted one! So, I put the two together and came up with this Mini Mushroom Kingdom Garden.
I also thought it would be a great time killer project for Spring Break. And there was the fleeting hope that if he helped make it he would take care of it better.
We went to our local home improvement store and bought:
- seven 4″ clay pots
- seven 6″ clay saucers
- one quart of “oops” glossy white paint
- samples jars of red (Calypso Berry), green (Peacock Green) and brown (Rich Chocolate)
- cheap sponge paint brushes (I already had small paint brushes for the details)
After conferring with the “paint guys” at the store we opted for the samples even though they were interior paint which were planning on using outside mainly because of the price. The cost of the samples was less than $4 each and exterior would have been much more. I splurged on the white because I wanted leftovers to touch up some baseboards in the house. I also knew I had a can of Glossy Clear Polyurethane that I was going to use to spray the pots inside an out.
You can choose exterior paint, or get acrylic paints at the craft store specifically for outdoor crafts. I wanted one stop shopping.
Cost for these supplies was about $40, $16 for the pots and saucers, $21 for the paint and poly, $3 for brushes. But, I have plenty of extra paint despite the big OOPS! details below.
The very first life lesson I mentioned in my post 5 Life Lessons Crafts Can Teach Children is “Life is messy, clean it up”. But there is a very important codicil to this.
If you do some pre-planning and preparing you can avoid some of the bigger messes.
First, I set up to paint outside both for the smell and because paint spills outside are not going to upset me as much as they would inside. Then I covered EVERYTHING, the table as well as the ground underneath it, with an old drop cloth.
And I covered the kid!
|look at that concentration!|
And despite all of my precautions, we still managed to get green paint on the patio.
Did I forget to mention that you want to have wet rags on hand for quick cleanups? Luckily I managed to dash into the house and get one before that dried. Learn from my mistake, have clean up materials ready before opening the paint cans.
And another little tip for those that want to work with children: always follow the “spill rule”. Only give a child as much liquid (to drink or to paint with) as you are willing to clean up.
|half a jar of red decorating the drop cloth|
Ugh! Despite that OOPS, we still have plenty of red left over. Which is a good thing because less than 24 hours after showing it to him…
This is why I bought seven pots and saucers even though I only planned on using six: 3 for the Toad Houses and 3 for the Koopa Houses and 1 for the inevitable breakage. I know my kid.
I let him do the base coat for the houses and roofs and paint the white circles on the Toad Houses with a circular sponge paintbrush we have. I did the rest of the details: doors, windows and the pattern on the Koopa houses.
|top view of the Toad Houses|
|top view of the Koopa Houses|
Then I sprayed both the inside and out with the Polyurethane to protect it against the rain and sprinklers.
I used what we had around the house for the extras:
- a piece of 2 x 4 for the road
- a green bubble bottle with the top sawed off for the pipe (I still may get some PVC pipes to add a few more).
- figurines from the toy store
|The Toad Town section of our garden|
|The Koopa Village section of our garden|
I set it up while J was otherwise occupied. When I finally showed him he was thrilled with all of our hard work! Ten seconds later he announced we needed to make Shiver City and Bowser’s Castle and… sigh! no rest for this weary Mama. 😉