Monday, 25 February 2013

Make me! The Milk Bottle Easter Bunny

My brother and I differed in our approach to the chocolate bounty that was Easter Sunday.  He was a saver. I was a scoffer.  By Sunday brunch I always felt decidedly ill as I had greedily consumed my finds from the Easter Egg Hunt within a very short time, that is, the time between the Egg Hunt and brunch… oh dear…

Philip kept his stash of Easter eggs for ages and I would find him some months later in his bedroom, stoically setting up complex battle scenes with hundreds of Playmobil men and, to fuel this laborious effort, nibbling on chocolate he had set aside from Easter.  I remember admiring his fortitude and regretting my impulse to devour every single egg on Easter Sunday.  And making a solemn promise to myself that next year, I would be stronger.

There have been a few years where the family Egg Hunt has failed miserably.  One year, my beautiful Russian grandmother carefully placed Easter eggs in our garden the night prior to Easter Sunday and I think the wild animals had a feast of chocolate that evening.  We walked around the garden in the morning with Grandma and couldn’t find one egg.  Somehow I don’t remember being very upset about it, more fascinated that all the eggs had disappeared.  Completely.  No foil remains.  Nothing.  I had an image of a very fat possum sitting on a branch with his chocolate plunder carefully stacked in a handy fork of a nearby limb, peeling the foil off each egg, shoving the chocolate into his mouth with one paw and dropping the foil with the other, releasing the wrapping to float to the ground like an Autumn leaf.  I was sure that if I looked around enough I would find a big Eucalypt with the foil husks of the stolen Easter eggs gathered at the base of the tree.

Over the years we have become more canny and now the Easter Egg Hunt I arrange for my little girl takes into account the local wildlife’s predilection for pretty foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and I tip toe outside in the early hours of Easter Sunday like Easter Bunny himself, except I have no ears or tail and I’m wearing a nightie and gumboots.  (And I don’t hop of course).

The resident corvidae (our family of crows) watch me with a keen eye and I dash back to the cottage and yell out “he’s been, the Easter bunny has visited” and we have to rush into the little forest and begin the hunt straight away or Mr and Mrs Crow and their progeny will expertly extricate the chocolate from the foil and make away with all the unnaturally sweet and energy giving chocolate eggs, teasingly leaving the foil behind.

As an adult I’m not so wild about chocolate now, but the pretty foil coverings do have me enchanted and I’m an avid decorator of the Easter Sunday table.  So, to that end, I have designed a simple Easter Bunny to use as a decoration on your Easter table, using plastic milk bottles and a few things that you should be able to find about the house.  You’ll just need to download the PDF of the pattern, print it out and begin collecting your milk bottles.  Written instructions are provided below.

Please visit this blog again as there are more Easter themed blogs to be published quite soon.

Lara Jane.

Instructions to make the Milk Bottle Easter Bunny

One standard (Australian) 2 litre milk container makes one Milk Bottle Easter Bunny.  So if you would like a table full of Milk Bottle Easter Bunnies, start collecting milk bottles now!  Once you have made your first Milk Bottle Easter Bunnies you will see they are quite quick to whizz up, so a dozen could easily be fashioned in an hour or so.

Click on the link below to a shared 'Milk Bottle Easter Bunny pdf pattern' (check that you size the pattern to 12cm wide x 15cm high) then  print out on a sheet of A4 plain paper.

Milk Bottle Easter Bunny pdf Pattern

What you will need to make one Milk Bottle Easter Bunny

adhesive dissolving liquid (I use ‘de-solv-it’)
rubber gloves
hot water
sharp scissors
an empty 2 litre milk bottle (no lid required)
downloaded PDF pattern printed onto plain paper
a piece of light cardboard (think cereal box)
glue stick
a sharpie texta for tracing
a few sheets of kitchen paper to remove the tracing marks made by the Sharpie
a small blob of blu-tack
standard single hole-punch
small single hole-punch

a pretty foil wrapped chocolate Easter egg!

Preparing the milk bottle

Firstly wash the milk bottle out thoroughly using detergent.  Fill the milk bottle with very hot water and wait a few moments.  The heat from the hot water will allow you to peel off the labels.  Remove the labels and discard.  Tip out the water and spray ‘de-solv-it’ onto the remaining sticky residue.  Use your gloves to rub the ‘de-solv-it’ well over the sticky areas.  Use a little detergent to dissolve everything and rinse clean.

Cut through the top part of the bottle and down one side to the base ridge.  Cut around the ‘square’ of the base following the ridgeline.  Discard the base cut-off.  Cut off and discard the top part of the bottle following the upper ridgeline (cut above the line).  A long rectangle of plastic should remain.

Preparing the pattern

Download and print out the PDF pattern provided.  Stick your paper pattern onto the cardboard using the glue stick.  Cut out the pattern.  Punch the holes shown on the pattern into the cardboard pattern using the appropriate sized hole-punch (i.e. only the eye uses the large punch, the rest are small).

Cutting out the Milk Bottle Easter Bunny

Place the plastic in front of you lengthways and notice the 3 bends that were the corners of the container.  Fold the plastic in half on the centre bend and rub your thumb down the fold to flatten it out some more.  Line up the base of the cardboard pattern with the bottom ridgeline of the plastic and place the spine of the bunny on the fold you made.  Pop a little blu-tack under the pattern to help hold it in place while you trace around the perimeter using the Sharpie texta, remembering to mark the hole-punch positions by pushing the tip of the sharpie through each hole. 

Remove the blu-tack from between the pattern and the plastic and re-stick it between the folds of plastic.  Assuming you are right-handed, once all the marks have been made, set the pattern aside, hold the folded plastic firmly in your left hand and cut out the bunny body.  Before you unfold the bunny body, hole-punch through both layers where indicated, except the small hole on the spine. Once you have done this, you can open out the bunny body.  Hole-punch on the fold of the spine at the mark (this will eventually hold the tail piece).

Cut all the incision marks (shown in orange on the pattern) from the outer edge to the hole-punch point.  The left paw should have an incision made from the bottom of the paw up to the hole-punch and the right paw should be cut from the top of the paw down to the hole-punch and so the orange marks have been omitted from the pattern to avoid confusion.

Make up the remaining pieces (inner base support, tail and ears) by tracing the shapes out onto the plastic, cutting them out, hole-punching where indicated and cutting the incisions as per the pattern.  You might like to use a tiny piece of blu-tack between the pattern and the plastic to help you keep the pattern in place while tracing.  You will need two ears, so trace one ear, mark it and then flip the pattern over and repeat for the second ear.  Make the holes and incisions as per the other pieces. 

Spray each piece with a little “de-solv-it” to remove any Sharpie texta marks before you construct the rabbit.  Check every punched hole and remove any tags remaining from the hole punch.

Constructing your Milk Bottle Easter Bunny

Link the paws together by slipping the incisions together.  Slip the inner base support up into the incisions in the bunny’s legs.  Slip the tail in place at the back.

You’re almost done; now you need the whiskers

Cut 3 strips of plastic into 6cm lengths, the width being just a little wider than the diameter of the small holes made in the bunny’s nose.  These are the whiskers and it is important that the width of the whiskers is just a tad wider than the holes as when the whisker is fed through both layers it holds the bunny’s head together.  You might need to cut a few to get the perfect size.  Pinch the bunny’s head together at the nose and thread the whiskers through both holes through both layers.  It helps if you cut the ends of the whiskers to a point. The width of the whisker is correct if you need to tug the strip through the hole a little.  This will hold the head in place. 

And finally the ears

Fold the ears vertically to make a nice rabbit ear shape and slip each ear into the incisions on the bunny’s head (one on each side).  The ears will sit naturally at a jaunty angle once the whiskers are complete.  Trim the whiskers to the length you find pleasing.

You can alter the rabbit’s ability to hold different sizes of chocolate foil covered egg to some degree by experimenting with lengthening or shortening the arms to fit.

Pop a pretty Easter egg in the bunny’s arms and your Milk Bottle Easter Bunny is ready to decorate your Easter table!

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