One evening at my sister and brother-in-law's house, I spotted a glowing skull lantern sitting on a windowsill. From afar, it looked like it was made out of porcelain but it turned out to be something that my teenage nephew, Jacob, made out of a Styrofoam cup!
I wasn't surprised. Jacob is a lifelong artist/crafter/tinkerer. He is always making things out of found scraps of wire, duct tape, erasers, wood scraps, and whatever he can get his hands on. Long before the duct tape craze he asked for a few rolls of it for Christmas. When he wanted a cell phone, but his parents weren't ready for him to have one, he made one out of duct tape...slide-out keypad, flip top and all. Kids who had their own (real) cell phones asked him to make them his duct tape version!
Jacob came up with this cup lantern while testing ideas for an Olympics of the Visual Arts "reinterpret a lighthouse" project. He rejected the lanterns for that project but kept making them anyway.
To cut the styrofoam cups, Jacob found that using a craft knife with a sharp blade and cutting lightly at first were both key to avoiding jagged edges. He adhered the cut pieces to the base cup with super glue. After much experimentation, he discovered that using a pin head to apply a small amount of glue to the center of the piece being glued on prevented spreading and dripping. The large styrofoam cups he used are from here.
To make the parts that stick out, like arms and tendrils, he cut some pieces from styrofoam plates (which are sturdier than the cups). I love that the cups are translucent and the thickly layered parts are more opaque and darker.
Jacob, thanks for letting me share your clever project. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!