Those of you with more than five St. Patrick’s Day celebrations under your belt will hardly be surprised to learn that the leprechauns did not leave The Five-Year-Old a stash of gold in her leprechaun pot on St. Patrick’s Eve. The Five-Year-Old, however, was bitterly disappointed on finding an empty pot on St. Patrick’s Day, and no amount of boiled spinach could soothe her.
But The Five-Year-Old is rarely upset for long. “We can make our own leprechaun money, Mommyo!”
So we did. I forget which of us thought up the final formula. I suspect the brilliant idea of adding glitter to homemade play-doh required both our brains. But now that we’ve had it, I’m going to share the process of making leprechaun money with you.
Step 1: Acquire gold, silver, and copper food coloring.
Golden yellow and copper colors were relatively easy to find, but our local store didn’t have silver. Rather than go on a lengthy hunt for silver food coloring on St. Patrick’s Day, I substituted black in hopes of creating a grey play-doh base for the silver coins.
Step 2: Make homemade play-doh.
The Five-Year-Old loves making play-doh. We’ve had great results with the cooked play-doh recipe from Instructables. The recipe requires only flour, water, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, food coloring and every grain of salt in our house, and the texture of the final product is truly fabulous. Even better, the only bit The Five-Year-Old can’t do herself is the actual cooking on the stove. Fortunately, cooking the dough doesn’t take that long.
Adding the food coloring went well in 2 of 3 test cases (hint: wear disposable gloves for this bit). The gold and copper bases were adequate to the task of becoming leprechaun money, but the black food coloring turned the play-doh green. Must be that St. Patrick’s day magic.
“Mommyo, we can use the green dough to make shamrock coins! They’re really rare!”
Step 3: Add glitter. So much glitter.
One or two tubes of it per color in our case. Knead it in after working through the food coloring, while the dough is still warm.
Step 4: Shape the dough into round coins.
We used a small round cookie cutter to get the perfect circle shape. The Five-Year-Old added the innovation of squishing the edges a bit to make the coins look worn by years of leprechaun trading.
Step 5: Use another tiny cookie cutter to stamp a shamrock on the top and bottom of your coin.
I didn’t have a shamrock cookie cutter on hand, so we used a tiny flower.
Step 6: Leave the coins out to dry overnight.
This was the hardest part for The Five-Year-Old, who wanted to immediately store the coins in her leprechaun pot. My husband and I debated using the oven to dry them faster, but in the end I had to vote against putting glitter in the oven. There ought to be one glitter-free zone in our house, after all.
Step 7: Spend the next five days vacuuming your house.
- Leprechaun money (caterpickles.com)
- St. Patrick’s Day activities for kids (justmommatters.wordpress.com)
- Beware all ye who enter here! (A St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun tale) (thecvillean.wordpress.com)
- St. Paddy’s Day 2011: AKA “Swiper, No Swiping!” (lovelylovelythings.wordpress.com)