EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Bread Dough Patio Set


By Elizabeth Hanes

Remember those charming Christmas tree ornaments you made as a child using nothing but flour and water? Well, "bread dough" crafting has become much more sophisticated since those days! Try this project to make a bright, colorful patio set that reflects your own sense of style and personality. All you'll need is a hot, sunny day and the materials listed below. Have fun!

(Note: this project assumes you have a large concrete driveway. If you don't, you'll need to build a very large solar oven before starting. Easy plans are available at any internet bookstore.)

You'll need to buy:

Supplies you'll already have on hand:

All right, let's begin! Pour ¼ of the flour and salt into the wheelbarrow. Stir with the rake while adding enough water to make a stiff dough. Spray a 48-inch by 48-inch area of your driveway with non-stick cooking spray. Turn the dough from the wheelbarrow onto the concrete. Use rolling pin to roll into a 1-inch thick square. If necessary, cut away any excess with the utility knife. This is your table top. Allow it to cure in full sunlight until dry. (This could take several days.)

Next, mix another batch of dough. Turn out onto concrete and divide into 3 pieces. Using your hands, make a 2-inch diameter rope out of each piece. Each rope should be precisely 36-inches long to avoid wobbling. Use the yardstick for accuracy. These are the table legs. Allow them to cure until completely dry.

Mix up the remaining flour and salt into dough. Divide into 2 pieces. Divide one of these pieces into 4 more pieces. Re-combine 2 of these pieces. This will be your chair. Carefully mold this piece of dough into an integrated seat-and-back design. Prop it up against your garage door to cure in full sunlight until dry. Take the other 2 pieces of dough and roll them into 20-inch long ropes. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

After all your pieces have cured, it's time to decorate them! Apply or affix whatever decorations you desire. Or, simply paint the various pieces using colorful latex paint. After the paint has dried, apply a coat of clear polyurethane finish to keep the table and chairs from dissolving in the rain. Actually, you might want to apply several coats of finish.

Finally, you need to assemble your handsome new patio set. Don't be deterred by the fact that the dough pieces have shrunken and cracked during the curing process. This only lends character! Holding all 3 table leg pieces in your hands, fashion them into an asymmetrical "X", where they cross closer to one end. Tie very tightly with rawhide strips.

Now comes the tricky part: apply a lot of super glue to the center of the table top and then immediately stick the ends of the legs in the glue. Hold them there until secure. Affix the legs to the chairs in the same way.

Well, there you have it! A sensational, shiny bread dough patio set! You'll be the envy of all your neighbors.

© 2001 Elizabeth Hanes