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Colorful tulips can brighten day

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A painted egg carton and pipe cleaners can become a beautiful bouquet of tulips.

A painted egg carton and pipe cleaners can become a beautiful bouquet of tulips.

King Features Syndicate

Stop. Don't toss those cardboard egg cartons away after dying dozens of Easter eggs. Save them up, and on a rainy afternoon when you're wondering what to do indoors, create a blooming bouquet of tulips to celebrate spring. In fact, these colorful flowers can be enjoyed in a bouquet just about anytime and anywhere! Mine is arranged in a shiny, empty soup can to brighten my office year-round.

All you need for a bouquet of a dozen blooms are the following items:

1 empty cardboard egg carton

Poster or acrylic paints

Paintbrush or sponge brush

12 long, thick pipe cleaners

Small buttons or beads that can be threaded on the pipe cleaner

Shiny recycled, clean tin can for a "vase"

First, remove the lid of the egg carton. Paint the base. For a multicolored bouquet, paint the individual cups different colors. Let dry.

Cut out each cup to create a tulip bloom, rounding off the edges. Cut zig-zag edges to resemble flower petals. Touch up each bloom with more paint.

Poke a hole in the center of each egg-cup flower. For a stem, insert a pipe cleaner through the hole. Thread a few beads or buttons onto the end of the pipe cleaner that is inside the flower. Twist or bend the end of the pipe cleaner to hold these objects in place.

Makes 12.

Remove the label from a tall tin can. Smooth off any rough edges around the rim. Paint the outside of the can with a few dots, squiggles or designs, if you wish, or simply leave it plain and shiny.

Arrange the colorful tulips in the can for a spring centerpiece the whole family will enjoy. Let them flop in all directions, just like fresh tulips.

Extra tip: Make an extra colorful bouquet in a tin can, attach a card with a greeting and deliver it to someone at a nursing home or hospital. It's easy to transport, and it shows you care.

Note: Small beads may not be appropriate for children 3 and under.

Donna Erickson's new award-winning television series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. Visit www.donnasday.com to find out when it airs on your local PBS station and to sign up for Donna's e-newsletter. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." © Donna Erickson

Dist. by King Features Syndicate