Sounds like a Marie Osmond song, or a movie-of-the-week starring Meredith Baxter-Birnie.  Maybe a very special, must-see episode of “Blossom” for the entire family.

However–nah.  It’s a very simple, cheap, and super-cool artsy-crafty project.  Witness the coolness:

In this case, they’re Christmas ornaments, but you don’t have to use angels to adorn a pine tree if you don’t want to.  You can use whatever mold you find (might be a fire-plug or a kokopelli, for all I know) to adorn whatever you want.  Let yourself get loosey-goosey and creative, and live it up.

If you snoop around the Internet, you can find some pretty cool molds.

Your local kitchen store can be a good source for such molds, as can Goodwill or whatever thrift shop you have up in your ‘hood.

A lot of good molds are terra cotta, but you can also get very nice ones made out of wood.  Don’t be nervous about trying this project with wooden molds; they sound awfully delicate, but we’re not putting them through the wringer, so they’ll be just fine.

So anyway, here’s what you’ll need to get the job done (most of which you probably already have lying around; the rest is cheap and readily available):

  • cookie molds, either terra cotta or wooden
  • art paper–the kind with a high rag content, like for watercolors or charcoal
  • tissue paper, if you want to add some pizzaz (purely optional)
  • some cheesecloth
  • a paintbrush
  • beeswax
  • an ordinary kitchen blender
  • an ordinary bowl
  • a double-boiler setup (for melting the beeswax)
  • a very ordinary kitchen sponge
  • some spray sealer

Right.  First thing we do is make paper (out of existing paper).  Tear all the paper up into little bits–maybe about the size of your fingernail.  Also tear up the tissue paper, if you’ve decided to go that route (stick to one color of tissue paper per batch, or you’ll wind up with a muddy and indeterminate mess).

Soak all that paper in water overnight, or, if you’re in a hurry, boiling water for about an hour.

Take a little handful of the paper and put it into your blender along with about two cups of water.  Give it a good zap for fifteen seconds–maybe thirty; however long it takes to get it to a pulp.  Don’t over-process it, or you’ll wind up with paste.  If anything, it’s better to under-process it a bit, as you might wind up with bits of paper that haven’t been broken down, and they add character and texture to the final product.  Monkey around with it a few times, and you’ll see what I mean.

Do that over and over until you’ve processed all the paper into pulp.

Note:  “Moist” and “pulp” are two of my least favorite words.  I also don’t like “panties,” “rural,” “knuckle,” “Julie Newmar,” and “snacks.”  Go figure.

I guess my greatest nightmare would be knuckling Julie Newmar’s moist and pulpy panties while rooting around for rural snacks.

Be that as it may . . . .

Put the cheesecloth over the bowl and glomp the paper mix onto it, to drain the water.  Press it and squeeze it to get rid of  as much of the water as possible.

Now, the fun (meaning “potentially fatal”) part:  Melt the beeswax in your double-boiler.  Do not try to melt the beeswax directly in a pan on your stove-top, or you will probably burn your house down.  Beeswax is flammable, and as pretty as you are, you wouldn’t be nearly as pretty if you were on fire.  Got it?  Good.

Take your paintbrush and give the business-side of your cookie molds a nice thick coat of beeswax.  Let it set, which won’t take long at all.

Now press the pulp into the mold.  Press it well into all the nooks and crannies, and cover the mold completely.

Take your dampened sponge (is “damp” really any better than “moist”?) and press all over the whole thing, which will help push the pulp into the details of the mold and also–ironically–wick out the moisture.

Wring out the sponge now and then, and keep pressing on the inside of the mold until the pulp is as dry as you can get it.  By the time you’re done, the paper pulp ought to be about as thick as that cardboard that comes packaged inside men’s dress-shirts.

I know that’s an awkward comparison, but it’s the best I could think of.

Okay, now put your pulped mold (ick!) into your oven, at its lowest setting, and leave it there for thirty minutes or an hour–however long it takes to get the paper totally dry.  When the paper starts to separate from the mold, that’s a pretty good sign that you’re done.

If you want, for whatever reason, you can let it air-dry instead, but that’ll take a good twelve hours, at least.

Take the paper carefully out of the mold, make sure that it’s completely dry, and then spray it with sealer.

All you have to do now is punch a little hole in it, run a ribbon through, tie a pretty bow, and you’re done.