I went to see Toy Story 4 to accompany a big fan, and to eat a tub of popcorn. I was trying to do single-use plastic-free July this year. And whilst I don't eat that much processed food, it did mean having to do without snacks like crisps. But - hurrah! - cinema popcorn comes in recyclable cardboard (do they recycle it? I should find out or take it home to my own bin I suppose).
I was delighted to see that the Toy Story characters' new owner, Bonnie, is a fan of recycled crafts. When, during her first nervous day at school, her craft materials are snatched by another child, Woody, who has secretly accompanied her, fishes out some bits and bobs from the rubbish bin. And behold: Bonnie transforms a plastic spork (that's a cross between a spoon and a fork), some plasticine, a bent pipe cleaner, a broken lolly stick and two mis-matched googly eyes into her new favourite toy: Forky.
After some initial confusion over his identity during which Forky tries to hurl himself back in the rubbish bin, he begins to realise who he is as a character and is important to Bonnie and the other toys. It’s actually a lovely story about loyalty and understanding oneself.
Back to recycled crafting. Whilst my ideal is not to have single use plastic in the first place, I do try to re-use things as much as possible. And I happen to have a large bag of plastic cutlery and plates that I rescued from an office clear out on its way to a skip!
With a number of summer workshops on the cards, at festivals and for Manchester Libraries, I decided to devise a Forky craft. I had virtually everything needed, or some kind of equivalent. In fact I did not have any sporks so I used spoons and added a ‘sporky’ hairstyle. The only item I didn’t have was the plasticine to attach the lolly stick feet to the body. I looked up some home-made playdough recipes and trialled one that worked well in keeping the body and feet attached, then drying out. Unfortunately it needed cooking oil and I only had lovely virgin olive oil (and coconut oil which I thought might be too smelly). So I bought some air-dry clay and some plasticine. All three work fine.
Here is a link to a guide for you to make your own Forky. Do experiment with different materials and also different characters.
After our first workshop at a family fun day we found that it took too long for the PVA style glue to dry, but the stick glue was not strong enough on plastic. So we used small pieces of double-sided sticky tape for the googly eyes and the ‘fork’ hair. We also found that some younger children found it tricky to make hands from the pipe-cleaners, so created a version where the hands are made from buttons or beads. These look pretty cute too.