I decided to make gilded fortune walnuts because I wanted to put together something fun to bring to some of our neighbors for Christmas, but something that wasn't too expensive. Gilded fortune Walnuts are a Victorian tradition. They hung them as ornaments on their Christmas trees and then guests got to pick a walnut to crack open to discover their future.
The first step to making these walnuts is to crack them open and hollow them out. Cracking them open is the most difficult step. At the top of each walnut, there is usually a small hole that you can slip the tip of a knife into and then very carefully work your way around the walnut until it breaks in half (Be sure to have extra walnuts on hand. I ruined about 1 out of four.) Once they are all broken in half, clean out the insides using a butter knife or just your fingers. Now, a true Victorian would gild the walnuts at this point, I just used an antique gold, cheap acrylic craft paint that I already had on hand and painted them.Then I made up fortunes (some nice, some funny), printed them out, cut them up and rolled them into tiny scrolls tied shut with bakers twine. Here are a couple of our fortunes.
The next one was funny to us because Larry is just finishing up his infectious disease fellowship.Then I tied a loop of bakers twine to hang the ornament and I was ready to assemble them.
I'm sure there are many way to do this, but I just used simple wood glue and painted it around the edges using a paint brush, making sure to add extra to the top to make sure the loop of twine was secure. When I sandwiched both sides together, a little glue squeezed out that I wiped up, and then I held the walnut closed for a few second to make sure that it stuck.
Then you can make up your own pretty packaging. I used 3" x 3" x 3" clear boxes and stuffed them with wrapping paper I ran through my shredder (which was cheaper than buying pre-made filler). Then I tied them closed with thicker bakers twine and added a label.
I hope that our friends enjoyed them!