Making faux coral using salt dough.
I love the look of summer décor using coral and shells.
I love the faux versions that Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel carry, but I am not willing to shell out that kind of dough.
Beth at Home Stories from A to Z showed us how to take faux coral from Wal-Mart’s pet section and spray paint it to look like Pottery Barn’s pricey version. Here’s the problem. I can’t find any of these cheesy plastic aquarium pieces that don’t have a mermaid, sunken ship or skull attached to them. (And I am NOT going to pay $40 for something I need to break apart.) Personally, I think Beth inspired so many people that the good stuff was snapped up in mere days.
So what’s a girl to do? I made my own coral… out of dough. What do you think? I’m going to call it my Daux Coral (geez I crack myself up.)
This is the basic recipe I used, but I decided to use what I had on hand. In this case, an old (really old) bag of whole wheat flour, salt and water.
The dough actually looked pretty promising, because the whole wheat added texture.
I pinched off little pieces of the dough and rolled it into several different lengths then flattened them out a little, making sure they were kind of free-form and random shapes.
If they were longer pieces, I inserted a bamboo skewer to help with strength and stability. I also made sure I added texture using the end of the skewer to poke little dots and randomly “rough up” the dough.
(Yes, I know they look like a really bad appetizer at the moment… I heard enough from my kids already, thankuverymuch!)
Chicken wire was wadded up into a little ball to form the base of the “coral”
I tried letting all the pieces air-dry over night, but they were still a little pliable, so I put them all on a cookie sheet and popped them into a 200 degree oven for a few hours.
I cut out a cardboard base and hot glued it to the chicken wire base.
Then it was just a matter of fitting these little puzzle pieces together.
I started on the bottom and worked my way toward the middle.
Once I got all of the pieces wedged into place, I tried to force extra hot glue into any gaps. When I thought I had it all filled in pretty well, I took it outside and sprayed it with a satin white paint.
Is it perfect….? No. Was it virtually free to make since I had all of the materials on hand…? Yes.
I think it looks pretty good, given the fact it is flour and salt masquerading as coral….
I’m not sure where I want to keep it yet, but I do think if you didn’t know any better, you might think it’s real…
What do you think?
This idea had been bouncing around in my mind for a while, but a couple of notes:
This was definitely a “trial and error” kind of project. If you try it, be prepared to try, try, try again while attempting to “construct” your coral.
I had to mess with it a lot to get it looking what I perceived to be natural looking. The hot glue left some strings and drips that are not noticeable on a shelf but I think they would be under a cloche. (And I’m a little disappointed because I was making it with the idea of putting it under a cloche.) I’ll do better next time.
The bottom line? It’s a Monet…. it looks great from a distance, but don’t get tooooo close, mkay?