First off, Amber chose to be an astronaut this year. Yes! And it was all on her own! No prompting or hinting from me, though I was very happy she picked that! Later I asked if Aurora could be an astronaut too. Amber said only if she (Aurora) wasn’t an orange one.
So last weekend (not this immediately past one), Amber and I tried to tackle the helmet issue. Internet seemed to think the best solution was paper mache. Hmm… I’ve never done that on my own, I don’t actually even remember the last time I ever did paper mache! But, recipe and advice from a couple sites set me on a seemingly doable path, and some kind of echo of a memory surfaced enough for me to get it. (See image #1)
I used the “COOK” method:
Amber and I practiced on Aurora’s balloon. 2 layers, then let dry completely, then 2 more layers, was my favorite site’s recommendation. I realized at this point that each layer should go in the opposite direction of the previous, up and over one layer, around for the next, so it would be easy(-ier) to see where the second layer actually started and stopped, so as not to put too many or too few layers in any given spot. Then we, or rather I late that night, got the first 2 layers onto Amber’s balloon. (See image #2)
But I noticed that the paper mache from earlier that day wasn’t smooth anymore on Aurora’s. I thought perhaps using warm “glue” had caused the balloon to shrink a little as the “glue” and paper cooled. The next morning Amber’s was mostly dry, only part not was the part that had been in the bowl all night. Aurora’s was still pretty wet, and smaller. Later that day I tried to slide the paper mache down and push the balloon up inside Aurora’s hoping to get it smooth again maybe far enough to make a short helmet for her. It all moved the way I expected, but the paper mache didn’t straighten out. I pushed and slid a little harder, and heard a distinct hiss…. Argh! Her balloon had a hole! Well, oh well. Amber’s was the more important one. Aurora wouldn’t know if she didn’t have one that it was missing. Plus, given her reaction to Amber’s near finished helmet later, there’s a very good chance Aurora would refused to wear it if it did get made! I got 2 more layers on Amber’s that night, the last of which I did in white printer paper on the advice of that same site. (See picture #3)
I was very glad for that white paper advice. Not only would painting white be easier, but the lines looked very cool. I had somewhat inadvertently done the last 2 layers in the proper directly to make it look great. We ended up not painting at all!
The, finally, we got to pop the balloon and cut the bottom edge even all around. I was worried it wouldn’t fit over Amber’s head and I’d have to get creative with cutting the visor hole so she could get it on. The balloon had shrunk just a little bit as the “glue” dried. But nope. It came out amazing! WOO! (See picture #4)
Lastly, we cut a visor hole for Amber. It all worked perfect. So glad!