Leaving a bread trail

Unique hobbies

Leaving a bread trail

The second a loaf of bread crosses its expiry date it is either binned or fed to the birds and neighbourhood dogs (touch wood should we eat anything stale). But there are other ways to recycle (and even upcycle) our charitable leftovers. In fact, Sanjana Dilip prefers expired bread as it is her canvas to exploring her creative side. With a dash of Fevicol and preservative powder, she turns stale bread into magnets, keychains, photo frames and bottle lids.

No, the bread isn’t going to house fungus and rot. And it most definitely isn’t going to turn into food for the less privileged. With a coat of varnish, it can cling to your fridge or hold your keys and photos for the years to come. “I was introduced to bread craft about six years ago. I was going for art classes when I came across someone who was teaching this. I found it fascinating and learnt it,” she says.

What began as the occasional hobby has now turned into a love and passion. For the last three years, she has been fine-tuning her bread moulding craft and comes up with various designs and patterns. A Minion shaped magnet to a themed bottle cap, she makes it all. It surprises most people when she tells them what the dough is made of. “I powder the expired bread and add Fevicol as the binding agent, along with some preservative powder, and make a dough. It’s almost like clay!” Sanjana has moulds ready so they are turned to the required shape and size.

But why does she use stale bread? “The bread has to be hard or else the dough won’t come out well. And it’s a good way to utilise old bread.” Once the moisture content in it reduces, it becomes the perfect canvas. And a loaf can be kept for up to 10 days before it starts to ruin. “One loaf can be used to make at least 20 to 30 magnets, depending on the size of the magnet. The dough stays for a week so I have to be quick about it.” She has made a deal with a local store and they deliver her their leftovers whenever she requires it.

And instead of silicon moulds, she uses handmade ones. “Depending on the weather, it takes about three days to a week to dry.” After the item is dry, she paints it with acrylic paint and coats it with varnish. While it might catch dust, it’s nothing a damp cloth can’t solve. Once finished, the craft work will last for years. An important part of mixing and moulding the dough is to make sure it doesn’t crack anywhere.

She has always related to art and craft so it wasn’t surprising when she fell in love with this technique. “It is unique because most crafters don’t work with this medium,” says Sanjana. Her fridge is covered with magnets, which is her primary focus. “I love collecting magnets as souvenirs from different places. This is why I enjoy making them myself.”

Another innovative product she makes is the magnet with sticky notes on them. This is one of her favourites as it comes in handy. Like the magnets, which are entirely bread, the photo frames have a MDF base and are decorated with bread patterns along the side. And it’s only the lid of the glass jars that have bread work on them — for a coffee jar, there’ll be a coffee-themed lid and so on.

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