Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – making a Mandrake.
Mandrakes are Mediterranean plants of the nightshade family.
They were made famous in the Harry Potter movies because their forked, fleshy roots resemble the human form.
Formerly used in medicine and magic, these remarkable plants are said to shriek when lifted from the ground.
In the Harry Potter movies, the Herbology students studied Mandrakes and how to make their Restorative Draught, which was a cure for those who had been petrified.
I’m going to show you how to make your own but be warned, this project is a bit creepy.
MAKING A MANDRAKE
I’ve seen several pictures of homemade mandrakes but was unable to find any instructions.
From the images I saw it appeared the base of the plant had been made with a doll. That’s the creepy part. The project works best if the doll has no legs, so an amputation is in order.
I found this extremely difficult, not only physically as the doll I used was jointed and fully connected so I had to resort to a saw, but also psychologically as I was destroying a little doll I knew each of my little granddaughters would love to adopt.
The thing we do in the name of arts and crafts! At least it wasn’t adding to the mounds of plastic rubbish at the local tip.
Are you ready to start making a Mandrake?
- Old, second-hand doll – I recommend the kind with legs you can pull out.
- Saw – yikes!
- Brown rope
- Wire cutters
- Plant – I used a fiscus
- Potting soil
- Put your plant towards one side of the pot (so you have room for the Mandrake) and cover with potting soil.
- Prepare the doll by removing its legs.
- Drape hessian over the doll head and mark where the eyes go.
- Cut out the eye holes.
- Cover the doll’s head in glue and then drape the hessian over.
- Secure at the neck with some brown rope.
- I made a hole in the Hessian at the back of the doll head and gently thread part of the plant through the hole so it would look like it was growing directly out of the doll head.
- Cover the body and arms with glue and hessian and secure with brown rope.
- At this point, the doll will look a bit like a soldier in camouflage. To get the ‘root’ effect, wind the rope around the doll, securing with glue.
- When you get to the end of the arms, wind some wire strands around the hands.
- Cover the wire with glue and then wind the rope around the wire, leaving some of it dangling from the ends.
- Unravel the end parts of the rope to form smaller ‘roots’.
MAKE YOUR MANDRAKE WEATHERPROOF
My mandrake is living outdoors and my biggest fear is that rain will wash away the glue and reveal the doll underneath for the Goddesses to see. What on earth will they think of me?
So I went over the whole thing with some Tough As Nails glue which is supposed to be weather-proof.
I added some moss to the top of my mandrake’s head.
The end result looks pretty creepy making it a perfect Halloween decoration.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.