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Monkey Bowl

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

About three or four years ago, I was reading a magazine and saw a picture of the mosleymeetswilcox "War Bowl" - there's a pic of it here. I thought I could figure out a way to make a similar one, but use little happy pieces instead. To start, though, I wanted to try to see if I could get the same effect, so I went to the grocery store and bought a couple of packs of little plastic soldiers.

Here's how it turned out:
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I liked the way that it wasn't melted as much as the original inspiration piece, and had more definition:
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Pretty different, but same idea.

So since I figured out how to do it with little plastic soldiers, I thought I would try it with something happy - so I decided to use...
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Barrel of Monkeys!

Use the outside grill to do this project - it's what I've used every time, because there's no telling what kind of nasty fumes are given off from melting plastic.

The outside grill is set to a medium-high temperature -- but keep in mind that before you get the temperature **just right** that you might ruin a couple of tries, so buy plenty extra of whatever you try this project with.

Take a sheet of tin foil, and arrange the pieces in a circle. You want the pieces to touch each other in at least two places - three is good - so overlap the pieces by a little bit. I usually use two or three packs of monkeys to make the bowls.
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Have some parts of each piece resting on another - when these parts melt on the grill, this is what keeps the whole thing together after it's cooled:
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The next step is to carefully lay the piece of foil with the plastic pieces on the grill - make the sides of the tin foil fold up several inches so that you have something to grab the foil with when you take it off (I've also put the foil on a baking sheet, so you can just grab it with tongs).

Keep watching it constantly while it's on the grill. Once it starts melting, it can go too far really fast. When I use the monkeys, it's easy to let it go too long, and they melt so much that the monkeys lose their features - so you want to get it to the point that the parts where the monkeys are joined are melted enough to keep it together, but the whole thing is not melted so much that you can't tell they are monkeys anymore.

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Once you get to the point where the pieces are melted together, carefully lift the foil and put it into a bowl, then put another bowl on top so they "nest". This is what makes the upturned bowl shape.

Once it's completely cool, just peel away the foil (I haven't used the non-stick foil on this project, but that is probably the perfect thing to use), and the monkey bowl is done!

I've given away my best monkey bowls, so this one I've kept isn't great, but you get the idea. To get more of a bowl shape, use small bowls, like cereal bowls - not big mixing bowls...I think this is one of the first ones I made, where I used a bowl that was a bit too big so it didn't turn up as much as I was going for, but I still like it!
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