Friday, April 10, 2009

kid craft: egg cartons into eggs

egg carton eggs

recently, our city switched over to a single stream recycling system with lovely rolling blue bins. it's great, you can recycle... well, pretty much everything. paperboard. (ooh!) every number of plastic. (ahh!) combine that with our backyard composter (which is where our flushable diapers end up, along with the usual kitchen scraps and such), and we now have to take the trash out because it starts to get gross rather than because the trash can is full. weird.

the exception to this is egg cartons (the cardboardy kind). i find them consternating -- can't recycle them (hmm, or can i? keep meaning to check on that, their website leaves it open to interpretation), don't want to throw them away. i've taken several to my daughter's preschool for art projects, and we've used them for a few things at home, but somehow we always have at least three floating around the house. until the baby chews on them, generally.

we have an annual egg hunt with friends in the park -- everyone contributes eggs then we hurry to "hide" them while barely holding the kids at bay, then they run around like crazy scooping them all up. who knew something so simple could be so fun? last year, i made fabric eggs. this year i was stumped.

until i spied those egg cartons in the corner.

i don't really know what to call these things. they make me think of wee tiny pinatas, but they also work a bit like cascarones if you fill them with confetti. they're papier-mache. they're fortune eggs. how about "recycled egg carton fortune egg hunt eggs"?

who cares what they're called. here's how we made them (the quick version, because there's not much to mess up, and also because i'm sleepy).

in progress:  egg cartons into eggs

cardboard egg carton(s) -- each carton yeilds 6 eggs
newspaper or a paper bag
paper confetti (optional but fun)
tissue paper (optional)
paints, stamps, crayons, etc (optional)

1. cut & trim egg cartons
remove the lid and flap from the egg carton, leaving just the egg holding part. cut apart each of the 12 egg cups. trim off the extra bits to yeild a nice round egg half that doesn't have anything sticking out to the side. (the parts that stick straight up are fine to leave if you just round them off a bit -- that can help the egg halves to lock together.) the trimming is not absolutely necessary but yeilds a smoother more egg-shaped egg in the end.

2. fill the eggs with a surprise
my 3-year-old assistant decided to fill the eggs with "jokes", which eventually morphed into suggestions for fun activities ("hug a friend that you love", "run up the hill and sing a song", "jump up and down on one foot", you get the idea). you could make up fortune-cookie type fortunes, coupons for favors/activities (particularly within the family), scavenger hunt clues, or trinkets of some sort. or candy. there's always candy. don't forget the confetti if you like that sort of thing (the biodegradable paper kind, please).

3. seal them up
we papier-mached (hey is that a legit verb?) them closed. we used a paste made of slightly more water than flour applied to strips of paper bag (because the newspapers had just been part of the recycling pick-up the day before). just dip your strip of paper in the paste, wipe off the excess (you know the drill), then wind it around the seam between the two egg halves and smooth it down a little. you can let them dry at this point, or continue immediately to the next step. if it needs more structure, you can add a second strip of paper, but i found that they held together just fine.

4. decorate
to cover with tissue paper, dab a bit of paste onto the egg (because you can't dip the tissue into the paste directly, it disintegrates). wind the tissue -- assorted colors or not -- around the egg until you're happy. one layer or many, it doesn't matter for structure, it's purely decorative. once they dry, you can further decorate with paint, crayons, etc. we used some dot ink stampers.

that's it! assuming you don't add too many layers of tissue, these dry pretty quickly so you don't need too much advance planning (says the woman posting this the day before easter). they're ready for all your fake egg needs, easter or otherwise. you probably shouldn't whack anyone on the head with them (as they're harder than you might think -- the eggs, not the heads), but they're perfectly suited for some gleeful stomping. enjoy!

15 comments: said...

Wow, I love these! Thanks so much for sharing, I'll be linking.

Eliza said...

those are great! And fun!

(I'm pretty sure you can recycle those with the paper. I always do. They look so pulpy and recyclable.)

TeachKidsArt said...

I LOVE this idea - can't wait to try it!! I always knew I'd find something to use all those egg cartons for! I like the dots, too. Was that a pre-inked stamper?

Kristy said...

the stampers were something called do-a-dot, and were a gift from grandma. don't know if they are technically paints or markers or what, but they're very similar to bingo blotters. a word of warning, they say they are washable, but i find it's far more difficult to get this stuff off of hands and the furniture than standard washable markers/paints. other than that, they've been fun. and were perfect for this project...

Kristy said...

okay, i emailed solid waste services, and just got this back (i love the efficiency in the reply):

K. Anderson-Ewing,

Thank you for contacting Solid Waste Services.

We do not accept egg cartons.

Solid Waste
Customer Service

Unknown said...

Hi Kristy,
I write in a Spanish blog that cater for home and kids style, craft, food and eco-friendly issues. We have seen your recycled cardboard dollhouse ( and would like to use some photos for a post on “cardboard dollhouse”. We were wondering whether you would mind us using it and referencing it in our blog Hope to hear from you soon. Elena (elena at

Kristy said...

Yes, feel free to use the photos as long as you link back to my post. Thanks for asking, and glad you liked the project.

Unknown said...

Thank you!

Raskills said...

Hi there,

I came across your blog through a google search. I'm trying to plan for my children's Halloween costumes this year (I know, early!) and came across your post about the Seuss costumes you made for your children last year for Halloween. These are *exactly* what I am looking for! I am super nervous about trying to make them myself (I'm not very crafty). Do you ever take orders for pay? :)


Kristy said...

Liz --

I don't, because I don't really have the time to devote to it right now. But don't be too nervous -- that's the beauty of halloween costumes, they only have to *sort of* look like what you're aiming for, and they're still a big success. I tried to copy every detail of Cindy Lou Who, and of course not one person knew who she was without being told. (I think that's true for anything other than "witch" or "princess", you know?)

Anyway, my point is, halloween costumes are a good way to try out new crafty avenues... good luck! (And if you remember, post back with photos, I'd love to see the results.) Oh, and my nearly-4-yr-old announced a few weeks ago that she wants to be a princess knight for halloween. Hmm. I guess the era of mama getting to nudge her away from costumes I don't want to make might be drawing to a close. :)

Heather - said...

I just read back over your whole blog. :) You should post again. You seem like a creative & intelligent person who I'd like to hear more from! Of course, I know how life can be w/little ones!

I wonder if you can compost egg cartons? I think you can use them to make firestarters and also to plant seeds in (and then just plant the whole egg cup in your garden).

Wendy Piersall said...

Hi Kristy - I see you've sadly given up on this blog - would you be interested in selling the content to me by any chance? I would like to move it to my blog at

Please let me know! :)

Best email to reach me is wendy (at) wendypiersall (dot) com.

Kristy said...

i can see how you'd have that impression since it's been so neglected for so long... just having some life interference lately, but hope to find the time/energy to start it back up again sometime soon.

thanks for the interest. :)

Wendy said...

OK, even though it's no where near time to make these, I'm lovin them!

Will definitely need to bookmark for later.

Also, instead of recycling these, you could easily compost them.

MaGreen said...

I'm definitely stealing this one. I teach creative writing and always wanted a good fortune cookie venue. I admire that you post as much we do!