The seeds of a beautiful centerpiece

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Everything is coming up sunflowers! Sunflowers are blooming on shirts, ties, sundresses, tablecloths, beach towels, lampshades and even on pillowcases. Step into a country pie shop or a trendy restaurant and you'll no doubt see fresh, giant blooms in pretty vases.

Let your kids make a striking bouquet of paper sunflowers to brighten your home and enjoy year-round. It's a perfect, creative project to keep kids busy on a summer afternoon. Best of all, the blooms are made from recycled cardboard egg cartons and recycled bright yellow tissue paper from gift bags and boxes. The kids can use real twigs for stems or long pipe cleaners from your arts-and-crafts supply box. When complete, arrange the sunflowers in a vase to adorn your dinner table. Here's how:

1. Cut out a cup from a cardboard egg carton. Trim off any jagged or pointed edges. Paint the outside of the cup with black poster paint.

2. Draw a circle 6 inches in diameter on a sheet of yellow tissue paper. Cut out the circle. Make three. Cut 10, 1-inch-deep slits around the circumference of each circle.

3. Squeeze a drop of glue in the middle of the inside of the painted egg-carton cup. Place your index finger at the center of one tissue-paper circle. Press the circle into the cup, using your finger to stick the tissue to the glue. Remove your finger. The tissue-paper circle will stay in place. Now add a drop of glue to the center of that circle and press a second tissue-paper circle into the cup on top of the first circle. Repeat with the third. You should now have a pretty bloom. Glue the end of a pipe cleaner, florist's wire or thin stick to the back of the bloom for a stem.

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