If you were a school-age kid in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you spent countless hours in the back of class perfecting chains of gum wrappers that once graced all of the Fruit Stripes (and other brands) you had chewed your way through.
Kirsten Frits, a reader from Seattle, Wash., suggested revisiting those elementary school skills by using colorful newspaper pages to make oversized chains that can jazz up any potted plant.
By tweaking the traditional way of folding gum wrapper chains, you create a less bulky version that fits nicely around a pot. To get the full childhood experience, you might even try chewing a stick of gum while doing your folding.
Cut off the bottom four inches of your newspaper.
Cut the remaining page into thirds. Each section should be 4 x 18 inches. Repeat with a minimum of four sheets of newspaper, so you have 12 strips of newspaper.
Working with one strip at a time, place a strip horizontally in front of you and fold it in half lengthwise. The paper should stay in place once folded, but if you’d like a more polished look, add a line of glue to where the edges meet.
Fold in half across the middle, crease, and then open back up.
Fold each outer edge into the middle crease you just made. Crease the edges thoroughly.
Fold in half again. The resulting rectangle will be the unit you use to build the chain. It should be 4.5 x 2 inches and form a “V” shape when you look at it from the side. Repeat until you have at least 12 units made.
Start by working with two units. Place the open ends of Unit 1 inside the loops of the open end of Unit 2.
Gently line up Unit 1 perpendicularly as you push it through Unit 2 from right to left until it stops so you have a backward “r” shape.
Insert a third unit into Unit 1 the same way, this time going from the bottom to the top to create a sideways “Z” shape.
Continue this zigzag pattern until you’ve used all 12 units.
Lay the chain flat on a table and measure how long it needs to be to make it all the way around. Adjust the length of your chain by adding more units or taking some away as needed.
To finish, wrap the chain around the pot and tape together the ends, keeping them snug against the side.