Sometimes the only way to fulfill a vision is to make or create the things you cannot purchase. The creation of this teapot was time consuming, and an act of love, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t hesitate.
For our youngest Daughter’s bridal shower I decided on a “Tea Party” theme. I wanted a teapot for a wishing well but finding one already made proved to be impossible. My next option was to make one. Here are the materials I used and the steps I followed to create the perfect teapot for my occasion.
- newspaper (torn into approximately 12″x2″ strips)
- flour and water to create a paste
- chicken wire (I purchased a yard and a half)
- floral wire (or craft wire)
- wire cutters
- my exercise ball
- an empty cereal box (or some similar cardboard)
- masking tape
- small paper clips
- extra newspaper in its full size
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- large corrugated cardboard cut into a circle for base
- Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso (found at Arts and Crafts Store)
- assorted acrylic paints
- One 2″paintbrush an assorted artist brushes
First I sculpted the chicken wire around my exercise ball and I tied the sides together with floral wire. I clipped off the excess chicken wire.
I wanted to have a dainty teapot so I pinched the bottom wire that extended past the ball and wove my floral wire through. Once the floral wire was completely woven through, I was able to pull it tightly to form a fluted base. I knotted the floral wire and clipped off any excess. See illustration below.
I repeated the steps above at the opposite end of the ball to form a fluted rim at the top of the teapot.
Next, I removed the plug from my exercise ball and deflated it completely, allowing me to remove the ball from the now formed teapot frame.
Next, I cut a circle of sturdy cardboard a little larger than the base, folded it slightly, and placed it inside the base. After that I wired a few criss cross lengths of wire back and forth, both under and over the cardboard circle, and through the sides of the chicken wire, holding the cardboard in place. This provided a firm base that could withstand the weight of wishing well type items.
After that, I took the uncut portion of newspaper and folded it over and over again, from side to side, until I had a sturdy shape about 2 1/2″ wide by 28″ long. I wrapped a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil around the folded paper to maintain its fold. I shaped this like a handle and wired the top and bottom of each end to the wire frame.
I then sculpted the cereal box into a spout by cutting it from top to bottom at one corner. I brought the sides around each other and stapled them into a 4″ cylinder shape at one end and a wider shape at the other end. I secured the entire shape of the spout with masking tape. I cut 2″ slits around the base of the spout and paper clipped them to the chicken wire frame, using small paper clips. This was a messy way to hold the spout on to the frame, but would soon be covered with papier mache.
Once the form was secured, I made a paste of flour and water. I ran individual strips of newspaper through the paste, and then wiped the excess off into the bowl. I worked from the top of the pot, around the flute shape, criss crossing the paper in thin layers. This was a bit tricky and I worked in small areas at a time. I placed the partially wrapped form in my boiler room because it was the warmest, driest place in the house. When the papier mache dried, I worked on another patch. I held the wrapped edges of the fluting tightly together with spring type clothespins.
Once the edges were completed and dried, I was able to work on a third of the globe shape of the form at a time. Again, after wrapping in papier mache newspaper strips, I had to let it dry section by section. I chose to thicken the form by repeated layers of papier mache after the original layer was dried. I worked on the spout along with the process of covering the globe but covered the handle with papier mache, last. This process of layering with papier mache, and allowing to dry, was a several day process but the partially finished result was exciting. See illustration below.
When the teapot was completely dry, I painted it with a hardening solution of “Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso.”
While the teapot was left to dry I made a lid using a beach ball for the dome shape and a cardboard disc for the base. I repeated the process of layering newspaper strips around half of the beach ball. **(Remember to leave the plug exposed for purpose of deflating the ball). Once the ball was deflated and removed, I cut the dried dome carefully. (Small parts of the papier mache broke but were repaired when I added the bottom disc and covered with new papier mache strips.
Once the Gesso was hardened and dried, the teapot was ready to paint.
My daughter is a middle school teacher and her students wanted a hand in this creation so I sent the teapot to school with a teacher friend who commissioned the students to work their “artistic magic.” See illustration of finished teapot.
So many of the students wanted to participate, yet only a few could actually do so. My daughter’s teacher friend handed out coloring art supplies, card stock tags cut into tea bag shapes, and brown raffia for the end of the tags. The students made tea bag tags with adorable sayings wishing the happy couple all the best in life. Her teacher friend took photos of the children working and made a poster for display at her shower. See photo below for the finished product.
The finished teapot was delicate. We held it by the base and the sides careful not to hold its weight by the spout or the handle. I made a cylinder of doubled oak tag for the interior and to mask seeing the papier mache from the inside. The shower was a hugh success and the teapot was a great conversation piece.
While my purpose for creating this teapot was for a bridal shower, it would also serve as a great prop for a Mad Hatter Tea Party 😀