Peep art

April 17, 2012, 9:39 p.m. | By Sarah Harper | 12 years, 1 month ago

How to build an authentic Peeps diorama

The annual Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest has announced this year's winners and posted a photo gallery web site, if you'd like to take a peep! Luckily, store aisles are still brimming with leftover boxes of marshmallow bunnies and chicks, and SCO has created a step-by-step guide to constructing a Peep diorama for those looking to gain a head start in the 2013 contest, or for those simply looking to make a fun (and edible) project.

Hatching plans

Before you rush into gluing and pasting, you need a theme for your model. All of this year's winning dioramas had distinctive and clearly identifiable themes inspired by current events ("Occupeep D.C."), history ("Peepius Maximus"), literature ("Goodnight Peep") and everything in between. This is your chance to stretch your creativity. If you love "Downton Abbey," why not turn it into "Peepton Abbey"? Or, if you're a fan of J.M. Barrie, why not restyle his most beloved character as "Peeper Pan"? Find a theme that speaks to you, whether it's a topical reference or a social commentary, and your enthusiasm will shine through.

Peeps show

After you've selected your theme, collect supplies and sketch the scene. For a diorama platform, think outside the traditional shoebox by using a broken flowerpot, a fishbowl or a sideways hatbox. Then, don't bother wasting big bucks at crafts stores buying miniature items. Instead, look around the house for basic materials that can be transformed into Peep-size accessories. Colored paperclips, for instance, can be shaped into tiny coat hangers. Bits of sponges can make excellent sandwich bread. Plastic baggies, when threaded along the edges and pulled tight, can become shower caps. The more original and inventive you are with everyday objects, the more your audience will appreciate your craftsmanship.

Fostering the Peeple

Once the diorama is arranged, your Peep characters will bring the scene to life. Googly eyes, moustaches and fancy attires appear frequently in contest entries; you get to choose how to present the personalities of your Peeps. Itty-bitty costumes, sewn or glued from scraps of fabric, can have a dramatic appeal, but only if the execution is simple and the design is clean. For example, in "Peeping Peep," an entry from a previous year, both bunnies have no facial features except for their wide eyes, which perfectly captures their discomfort and shock.

A winner from past years, entitled "Peeping Peeps," features just two characters, one of them a "Peeping Tom" caught in the act. Photo courtesy of Washington Post.

Fluffing it up

In the end, no detail is too small to overlook. In "Eep," an entry based on the movie "Up," the house is attached to springs and appears to be floating above the ground. The garden in which "The Mad Hatter's Peep Party" is being held is shaded by a tree decorated in Christmas lights, with each light concealed by a cutout paper lantern. One of the protesters in "Occupeep D.C." is holding up the familiar V for Vendetta mask. When crafting your diorama, the scene should encourage your audience to look closer, to try and figure out how you made that barbecue grill or how you managed to fit a replica image of "Starry Night" onto such a tiny canvas.

Most of all, no matter how you approach your diorama, remember to have fun! Also keep in mind that Peeps are made for eating, so if all else fails, just pop them into your mouth and enjoy.

Tags: creative Peep washington post

Sarah Harper. Sarah Harper loves blackberry pie, beach trips and Pushing Daisies. More »

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