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Indian Corn and Colorful Dyed Pumpkin Seed Necklaces
Submitted by Pam on Wed, 09/29/2010 - 01:01
This is not how this post was supposed to go!
THIS was what I had planned. A two picture, very quick post about letting your kids make necklaces, hat bands, or bracelets out of Indian Corn and squash or pumpkin seeds!
And this picture - the very easy tutorial!
Indian Corn is appearing on farms and in markets everywhere. It hasn't hardened yet, so it is the perfect time to string the fresh kernels and some cleaned and dried squash (or pumpkin) seeds.
Unfortunately, sitting quietly, feeding the squash seeds and Indian Corn kernels onto my fishing line gave my mind way too much room to start playing with ideas!
And the next thing I know, Easter Eggs came to mind and I am mixing up a strong solution of Wylers drink mix (no Kool-aid in the house) to see if I can dye squash seeds.
After about four hours and nothing significant to show for my effort, I tossed the mixture knowing the squirrels would love feasting on tropical fruit flavored seeds!
That was the ticket! But, it was necessary to leave them in the jar overnight.
For the first few hours, the seeds just floated so only the parts exposed to the liquid actually absorbed color. By leaving them overnight, the seeds absorbed enough dye water to sink to the bottom of the jar and the dye was then able to reach all surfaces.
I started with red. And then thought - well, red is great for testing, but this is FALL! I need orange and black!
Orange was easy - I mixed red and yellow together.
But black? Blue and red make purple. I added green. The solution looked yucky black to me!
As you can see, the red food coloring did a great job of dying the seeds evenly. Although not as even, the dyes did work on the orange and black (I don't care what your eyes are telling you, that is black).
Dry and ready to string!
I decided to use the red seeds along with the orange and purple - er - black. I even added some naturally colored seeds. The combination reflects the colors found in Indian Corn don't you think?
Actually - I love this necklace!
And I think kids would love making their own. Stringing is very, very easy and goes surprisingly quickly.
A few tips!
As soon as you remove the seeds and slimy, yucky pulp from the pumpkin or squash, dump them in a basin of cold water. Magically, the seed separate from the pulp.
Spread the wet seeds onto a non-stick jelly roll pan to dry, stirring them frequently to allow air to reach all surfaces. Use wax paper like I did and you will be sorry! Seeds stick to wax paper. (Drying usually takes most of the day and final drying overnight.)
If you plan on saving your seeds for several months, be sure to thoroughly dry them out in a very low oven for a couple hours. Otherwise, the moisture remaining in the seeds will encourage mold to grow when stored in air-tight containers.
Of course, if you are dyeing your seeds, once clean, dump them in your dye bath! No need to dry them first.
I doubled 6 lb. super soft mono filament fishing line to string the corn and pumpkin seed necklace. And since my sweetie recently gave me a roll of nylon kite string I decided to give it a try as stringing material for the seed necklace. You can't break that stuff! Highly recommended for stringing kids projects if you have some.
For a necklace, use a piece of "string" about 12" longer than the circumference of your child's head so it can be slipped on and off easily. String seeds 2" longer than the head measurement. Tie a little slip knot to hold the seeds in place. Leave 2" - 3" on each end so that the necklace can rest on the back of the neck comfortably. Tie a surgeons knot and you are done!
I didn't try it, but I am thinking elastic used in beading would work great for bracelets.
Since there is the possibility that the dye might bleed onto your child's clothing if the seeds get wet, I am thinking it would be a good idea to spray the seeds with acrylic spray before stringing. But I have been wearing my unsprayed necklace for several days and have had no problems with dye transfering to my clothing. Of course, I am staying out of the rain and sprinkler hoses!
Or just stick to my original idea and string Indian Corn and natural pumpkin seeds!
Thanks everyone for letting me share my adventures playing with Indian Corn. And I invite anyone with more ideas to share them in comments!