Event: Fall Banquet for High School Dance Team
Concept: School colored acorns scattered on tables
Cost: Free with spray paint I already had
My folks own a cabin up north that the entire lot is covered in oak trees. Come the fall, it feels like the trees are throwing acorns at you. When walking up to the cabin, I was hit on the head with one, it really hurt! It is like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is being pelted with apples from the trees. They need to be raked up anyways, so I figure why not try to use them.
So the start of this adventure was with me picking a paper bag full of acorn tops and the most perfect acorn nuts I could find. I spent almost two hours picking the perfect acorns and tops I could find so that I wouldn't have to throw many away. I even had help from two of the kids to pick them with me.
Once home from the weekend at the cabin, I placed the bag right outside the garage door so that I could bake them in the oven in the morning. I didn't want them inside the house because the bugs hadn't been baked out yet. So now fast forward to Monday morning before work. I figured I should put the bag inside the garage because it was going to rain that day and I would bake them that night after getting home from work. As I grabbed the bag, a chipmunk jumped out of the bag. NOOO! I looked into the bag, and it was now a freshly picked bag of acorn tops. Those stupid chipmunks took every acorn nut out of the bag. They must have been working all night long to grab them all with their tiny little hands. I had to laugh after being mad, I had just single handily stockpiled every chipmunk in the neighborhood with food for the whole winter.
Plan B. I called my Mom who was still up at the lake. Asked if she could rake a large pile into a bag and bring them home with her. No need to sort through them, just rake a bunch in, I will sort them later. There was no shortage of acorns to pick up, so I was hoping with a large pile there would be enough to find a bunch of good ones.
My folks then brought home the new bag that Friday, and I sat outside on the deck sorting through them throwing the bad ones in the yard, figuring those chipmunks were already smelling the new bag. I got a whole cookie sheet full of good acorn nuts out of the bag. I was back in business.
I then baked a sheet of acorns and acorn tops in the oven. 200 degrees for two hours. I wanted to make sure that every last living bug in them was dead. After cooking them all evening, I then turned off the oven and went to bed happy that they would not be stolen that night. I woke up the next morning to the smell of something burning. I sat up and thought about it for a minute, THE ACORNS! I ran downstairs to smoke coming out of the top of the oven and started yelling at the kids. "Who turned on the oven?" The girl ran in, "I was pre-heating the oven to make a pizza." I then screamed, "My acorns are still in the oven!" She opened the oven door, and smoke was billowing out, "Who the hell leaves acorns in the oven?" was her response. At that point we were yelling back and forth as to why they were still in the oven, while using anything we could find to make air circulate around the smoke detector that was blaring throughout the house and the boys were opening all the windows and doors in the house.
At that point the acorns themselves were still ok, but the tops had turned a nice deep brown almost black color. I wasn't planning on painting the tops, but I guess I was now.
The next weekend I took the acorns outside and dumped them into a paper ream box top. I started spray painting the tops brown. The brown looked horrible. Once they were dry, I then painted them a bright blue. Not a normal acorn color, but it is a school color, so that will work too. The acorns themselves were spray painted silver metallic. They were really fun to paint. They took the color much quicker than the tops did. I sprayed them, let them dry, wiggled the box to get some of the underside, and sprayed again. I did that until I could no longer see any brown on the acorns.We were cleaning out the garage that weekend and I was painting in the front yard. If any of the neighbors were watching, they must think I am nuts. I saw a chipmunk in the yard, and I went screaming "NO!" across the yard while flapping my arms around. I didn't want that horrible little chipmunk to take my, now silver, acorns. It would make me have to start over again, and would most likely kill them from the paint. I put them on top the boat so they could no longer get to them.
Once everything was really dry, the gluing would then begin. I used E-6000 because that is what dance mom's use for everything. Don't use E-6000 if you are planning on trying this project. The glue "ate" the silver paint and made the paint start to run. That glue is pretty powerful! I then switched to Tacky Glue, and that worked much better. I roped everybody that was home into helping me find acorns that fit nicely into a top and glued them in. I even made my daughter friend help out! It took quite awhile to get them all matched up, and had a few extra acorn nuts left over in the end. I think they are very unique and interesting to look at. They were scattered in the middle of the tables at the fall banquet for the dance team. I did notice the girls looking strangely at them, kind of wondering what they were. But the mom's were grabbing some of them to use in their daughter's senior shadow boxes in the years to come. I know I kept some of the best ones to use in my daughters shadow box in two years. The story of these acorns was told at the last booster meeting, so I did notice some of the parents laughing at them when they saw them. Many parents came up to me telling me how cute they turned out, and I then told them that I would NEVER be doing this project ever again!
So what did I learn from this?
- Don't ever leave acorns outside over night
- Don't ever leave acorns in the oven over night
- If you don't like the color, change it
- Acorn nuts are super fun to paint!
- E-6000 and silver paint don't go well together
- Matching acorns and tops is alot of work
- I will leave the acorns for the squirrels and chipmunks and never paint them again.
|Spray Paint that I used|
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