The Mystery of the "Maple Syrup on Pancakes" Preschool Craft

Not long ago, I became aware of an unsolved mystery in the world of preschool crafts. It involves a pancake craft. This project looks great for preschoolers. Glue some brown circles to a paper plate, add a small square of yellow for the butter, and drizzle on the faux maple syrup. Cute, easy, and fun!

The mystery is what was used to make the maple syrup. There are no instructions of how to make it or what materials to use. Since I've had maple on my mind ever since our visit to the maple museum and maple farm in Vermont, I put on my detective hat, grabbed my magnifying glass, and took a closer look at the original image to see what clues I could find. (Affiliate links here and throughout the post.)

I decided that the pancakes and butter were made from craft foam. The paper plate was, obviously, a paper plate. But then there's the syrup. Surely it's not real maple syrup? Not only would that be a waste of food, it wouldn't dry and would be covered in ants within the hour. That can't be what it is. 

It was time for an experiment, so I removed my detective hat and put on my lab coat. I hoped one of the dimensional adhesives I had on hand might be the maple syrup substitute.

However, after putting a dot of each onto white paper, yellow craft foam, and brown craft foam, I learned that none of them were the answer to the mystery. Just to be certain, I used a pipette to add drops of real maple syrup (two different grades) onto more paper and foam for comparison. None of the adhesives matched the amber color of the syrups. The closest is the Mod Podge.

I had one more idea: Gorilla Glue. I ran my test and it was successful! Gorilla Glue looked just like what was used in the photo and was a perfect match for the darker of the two real maple syrups! I drizzled a generous amount onto the faux pancakes I'd prepared and snapped a quick photo. 

It was so satisfying to have solved the mystery. 

But wait! There's a twist... and you won't like it. Because THIS is what the craft looks like after the Gorilla Glue dries. 

As you can see, the Gorilla Glue puffed up significantly and lightened in color. What a disappointment. 

The mystery remains. Did the original crafter use Gorilla Glue and only shared a photo when it was wet? Or was a different product used? Perhaps we'll never know. 

If you make this craft, use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. It won't look quite as good as the Gorilla Glue while it's wet, but it will look much better after it's dried. If you have another adhesive idea and want me to check it out, let me know in the comments. 

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