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Next to our Christmas Tree Star, this is probably my favorite thing I’ve helped my children make from Bioplastic. It will be a cherished item we enjoy decorating our home with year after year.
Since our wreath is made of Bioplastic, we will be able to help it biodegrade if it ever breaks by melting it apart with boiling water. After it breaks down, the gelatinous water can be diluted and fed to the garden plants.
Bioplastic creation is fun for both adults and children. It can be tricky sometimes, but you will learn through your mishaps with a bit of experimentation and perseverance.
This wreath is very similar to a Bioplastic sun catcher, just on a larger scale.
- 1/2 cup powdered gelatin (1 part powdered gelatin to 4 parts boiling water)
- 2 cups boiling water (1 part powdered gelatin to 4 parts boiling water)*
- Clay dipped pine cones
- Bio glitter, normal glitter (note that you won’t be able to completely decompose your tree star if you use plastic based glitter) or Autumn Leaf Nature Confetti.
- Dried oranges
- A shallow tray that will fit the size of wreath you want
*If you live in a humid climate, use a 3:1 water to gelatin ratio instead to speed drying.
1.) Add your powdered gelatin to boiling water and mix well.
2.) Pour approximately half the mixture into your shallow tray, so that the perimeter of the tray is covered with a thin layer of the gelatin mixture.
3.) Lay out your snow dipped pine cones and oranges in the shape of a wreath.
4.) Next, pour the rest of the gelatin mixture over your creation to insure that the pinecones will be nice and stuck. Sprinkle bio glitter over all of it!
5.) Bring your creation to a cool, dry place to set. We have a dehumidifier running in our art studio to help aid the drying process.
6.) After a few hours, your Bioplastic will feel like jiggly, edible gelatin. At this point, use a knife to cut away the Bioplastic on the interior of your wreath. You can have fun cutting these scraps, and let them set separately. We made our scraps into ornaments.
7.) Setting times will vary based on humidity levels, temperature and thickness. Whenever the structural integrity of your wreath allows, you can (gently!!) peel it away from the surface of the tray to flip it upside down and let the underside dry as well. It will likely be ready for this on the following day—maybe two days.
Setting your Bioplastic is a race against mold formation. Thin layers set the quickest, but this wreath requires a thicker layer to hold all those pinecones together. Once your Bioplastic completely hardens it will not be able to grow mold, but you’ll have to help it set as quickly as possible to avoid this.
8.) Once your wreath is set, it will be hard, just like plastic!
Bioplastic often warps while it sets. You can experiment with preventing this by weighing it down while it sets, but this will lengthen the setting process and mold could set in. I prefer to embrace the process and imperfections of the material with my little artists. The “blemishes” make each Bioplastic creation unique and exciting.
I learned everything I know about Bioplastic through experimentation AND from the incredible STEM communicator, @muddly_puddly on Instagram. Find her account and watch her highlights if you are curious to learn more about Bioplastic and all sorts of nature magic at the intersection of Science and Art.
Careful: Bioplastic creations are addicting! Peruse our other Bioplastic projects if you need more inspiration.
Happy creating and happy holidays!