Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Mission

I mentioned when I posted about our Eat Your Way Around the USA table that I would post later about how we made our mission. The kids REALLY, REALLY had a good time making this!  I would say this is up there in their top 5 school projects we have ever done.  I honestly had NO idea how to make one of these.  First I spent a lot of time Googling and looking for directions, but I didn't find much that was helpful.  I found a lot of places that were willing to sell me instructions.  But, I didn't want to buy instructions not knowing that I was getting.  Next I went to the craft store and found this:

This said it included "Easy Instructions" but the instructions were just general instructions on how to build something.  Not what we specifically wanted to build.  (Even though they had a handy dandy picture of a mission right on the box!  LOL) If I had to do it again I wouldn't buy the kit.  I paid $10.00 for it and all we used from the kit was 2 pieces of foam board, a piece of card stock, a pieces of corrugated paper and a transparency sheet. The 2 pieces of foam board wasn't nearly enough to make our structure.  So I got a poster board size of foam board at Dollar Tree...for a dollar!  LOL  So yeah, we didn't need the kit! (But we still have other materials left in the box for another project. You can see what was included in the kit HERE.)

Finally what we did was look online for the basic floor plans of some missions.  I have been to most of them.  But, for some reason the one I remember best is the San Juan Capistrano one.  So we loosely based ours on that one with adjustments being restricted by that fact that we were building ours on a pizza box!

The fist thing we did was dig 2 pizza boxes out of the recycling in the garage.  One we spray painted green.  The other we used a Sharpie to plan out our design.  We really wanted to show how the mission was very much like a fort with the living spaces in the walls.  So we based our design on that.  We also found a drawing of the center courtyard and did our best to reproduce the San Juan Capistrano courtyard. 

Once the kids had it all drawn out I cut all the parts out of the foam board.  This required using a Exacto knife, so there was no way for the kids to do this part safely.  After I cut it out and hot glued the main church building together the REAL fun began! STUCCO!  LOL  To stucco the building I bought a tub of pink DAP spackle compound. They spread it on THICK!  The way this stuff works in that if goes on pink and then when it's dry it turns white.  It took our mission THREE DAYS to turn white!  LOL

Once the walls FINALLY dried I hot glued them to the pizza box we had already spray painted green.  Then we used the piece of card stock folded over to make a roof for the church.  For the red tiles we used about 10 of the free red paint chips you can get at Home Depot.  (I figure we spend thousands a year there so we can take 10 paint chips to use for a roof, ;^)  To make the paint chips look like tiles my daughter cut them with a pair of my scrapbook scissors to make the rounded edges.  Then she glued them on is rows.  We used several different shades of red because the tiles on the roofs are hand made and very irregular.  (And I didn't want to wipe out all of one color in the color chips.) She also drew a cross with color Sharpies to make a stain glass window for the front of the church. For the buildings around the edges we made a flat roof using the corrugated paper.

My daughter and I also made the fountain in the middle using foam core and rocks.  We cut several circles of foam core and stacked them to get the height we wanted.  Then we used blue fun foam for the top layer to look like water and glues rocks around the edges to make the fountain structure. For the second level we used a 2 liter bottle lid filled with foam core and fun foam. Then my daughter made a small cross from yellow fun foam and we put a stone on top to hold it. I love how the fountain turned out!

My little man helped with all the landscaping.  He selected and laid out the rocks for the walkway.  Painted flowers on the little bushes and decided where all the plant material should be located.  He also designed the gate with craft sticks and then I glued it together with hot glue.

The last step was my daughter making a sign for the front of the pizza box out of Fun Foam.

Everything except the kit and the spackle compound was bought at Dollar Tree.  I looked for plant material that could be cut down to size. I bought 1 bag of rocks and a sheet of moss.  Besides those items everything else was improvised with things we had on hand. 

It really, really looked great! The kids were SO proud of it and had a lot of fun showing it to their friends.

Happy Homeschooling,



If you want to see a bigger overhead pic of our mission click HERE.

For project ideas using the kit we bought click HERE.