Monday, October 21, 2013

It's a Circus in Here! Circus Birthday Centerpieces

My niece's first birthday was in September and we threw her a vintage circus themed party. One of the cutest outcomes of the decorating frenzy were the table centerpieces. You may notice the second centerpiece from the left has a number one. Here I will only address how to make the silhouette centerpiece. You will love these centerpieces and all of your guests will want to take one home with them!

  • Popcorn containers (these circus themed boxes were found at Michaels)
  • Circus silhouettes from The Graphics Fairy
  • Graphic 45 Le Cirque scrapbook paper
  • Patterned scrapbook paper, for backs of silhouettes
  • Striped plastic bendy straws
  • Floral foam
  • Lollipops
  • Crinkle Paper Shreds (I found mine at the dollar store)
  • Hot glue
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors and X-acto Knife

Step 1: Assembling the Images

Choose your images or silhouettes (I got my silhouettes from the Graphics Fairy) and print them out. Cut out the images using an X-acto knife. After the silhouettes are all cut out, you may want to trace around the edges with a black marker. This is done to cover up any white paper edges that may be showing.

Once the silhouettes are ready, you can paste them onto the patterned scrapbook paper you have chosen. Finally, cut the patterned paper by following the contours of the silhouettes. Choose some images to cut out from the Graphic 45 Le Cirque paper and cut these out as well.

While you are cutting out all of your circus images, you can start warming up your hot glue gun so you don't drive yourself crazy waiting for it to heat up up like I always do! When all images are cut, you can attach them to a striped straw. Cut a small slit at the top of the straws. This is where the images will be sitting. But first! put a little bit of hot glue inside the straw - near the slits - and then insert your image. When all straws are attached you can set everything aside for final assembly.

Step 2: Lollipops

The lollipops that I used had a big label that covered most of the swirled pattern of the candy. If your candy does too, simply unwrap the lollipops and replace with clear saran wrap. This way the candy stays clean and you can see all the colors and swirls.
Now that you have your candy prepared, pick out some of the "stamps" from the Graphic 45 circus pack. Glue one stamp to the front of each lollipop. Now we are ready to put it all together!

 A note about the lollipops: The candy I chose ended up being a little heavy for the centerpiece and, as a result, tipped over several times. You can buy a smaller lollipop (Which I couldn't find anywhere!!! But I digress...) or put something heavy at the bottom of the popcorn container when you piece it all together to prevent this from happening.

Step 3: Piecing the Puzzle Together

Glue a good sized piece of floral foam in each popcorn container. My piece went up about halfway through the container. Place the silhouette in the back/center by sticking the straw into the foam. You may need to trim the straw down, depending on the size of you container and image. The lollipops will go in the middle on either side of the silhouette, and finally, the scrapbook image will go in the front.

Finish it off by adding the crinkled paper shreds as filler.

TAAADAAA! Now your centerpieces are complete and you can sit back and enjoy the compliments!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Just In Time For Halloween: Decorative Coffin Boxes

I have made these cute wooden coffins for the past two Halloweens. These are great for decorations, to fill with candy and give out to friends and family, or for getting into the Halloween spirit. They are easy to make and will not put a strain on your wallet. If you would like to follow my design, I list the paint colors I use in the instructions, or you can create your own fun coffins and skeletons!

Vampiress in Coffin

  • wooden coffin from craft store (I found mine at Michaels)
  • paint (I use acrylic paints)
  • felt material for lining the coffin (optional)
  • plastic skeletons
  • small piece of yarn (if adding hair to the skeleton)
  • fabric scraps (if adding clothes to the skeleton)
  • varnish (I use Delta Ceramcoat Matte Varnish)
  • fine sand paper
  • hot glue and white glue

Step 1: Preparing the Coffin

Unscrew the hinges and latches from the coffin so that sanding, painting, and creating is easier. We will put them back together at the very end. Sand down the coffin with fine sand paper to get rid of any flaking wood and to make painting easier. Once this is done, you can quickly dust off the coffin and get ready for painting (sorry my cutting mat is a little dirty, but it is well loved!!).

Step 2: Painting and Detailing the Coffin

Paint the coffin with the color of your choice. I chose Apple Barrel Black Craft Paint. You will want to put at least two coats of paint on. If you plan on adding felt material to the insides, you do not have to paint the inside of the coffin. I like to paint the top edges of the interior to ensure that no wood shows after I add the fabric.

Once the paint has dried, you can add a little detail. I added lines around the edges of the coffin with Apple Barrel Country Grey. After this is done, you can then apply two coats of varnish and let dry.

Another cute detail is to add embellishments to the outside of the coffin. Here I have added a cross to the lid.

Step 3: Lining the Coffin with Fabric

Now that the coffin is completely dry, you can measure the insides of the coffin. I have found that the easiest way to do this is to use a vinyl measuring tape, the kind used for sewing. Once this is done, you can cut out the pieces of felt material. I am using grey felt for this design.

When the pieces are all cut out, you can glue them down with a hot glue gun. Now you can reattach the hinges and the latch.

Step 4: Creating the Skeleton

Whenever I design a coffin, I usually have a character and a story that goes with it. If you couldn't find a skeleton (mine came from the dollar store in a pack of four skeletons) or if you just wanted to decorate the coffin, a great idea is to fill the coffin with Halloween candy or any other number of items (my mom uses hers to carry around some gems she uses as Bingo markers!).

One detail that really makes the skeletons come to life - so to speak - is by adding wisps of hair using yarn. I like using white yarn or a grey/black yarn. Simply cut a piece of yarn to your desired length. I usually cut the yarn several inches long. Pull the yarn apart until it begins to look thin and hair-like.Dab some white school glue on the skeleton's head and begin to place the wisps of yarn

 While this is drying you can begin to make clothes for the skeleton if you wish. This is a great use for the fabric scraps that you can not bear to throw away! When I make pants, or dresses, or shirts for the skeleton, I cut out a general shape for that item and sew it together.

Do not worry if it looks uneven or if the stitching is not perfect; once it is on the skeleton it will look as though it has been buried for a while and will really make the whole craft pop. Try and make the clothes a little loose fitting (I always eyeball this process, but it might be a good idea to place the skeleton on the fabric before cutting and sewing) so that you will have an easy time putting the clothes on.

To really give her the appearance of a vampiress, I cut the pointy end of a wooden skewer and stuck it where her heart would be. Now we know how this vampiress came to be a skeleton!

Now the skeleton is complete! You can place him or her in the coffin and display for everyone to enjoy! For more fun and spooky skeletons, you can visit my Etsy store: Ersatz Emporium