Sparkly Paper Mache Decorations

It’s very close to Halloween, which means lots of sales on Halloween inventory. WooHoo! I picked up these paper mache pumpkins and witch’s hat at a sale at Michael’s and figured I could decorate them with whatever I have in my crafting supplies. Glitter, glue, and paint is all you need.

I used a pencil to draw swirls all over the hat and pumpkins, then I used hot glue over the swirls I drew. You could use caulk for the same effect. I painted the pumpkins orange, the bottom of the hat purple, and the rest of the hat black. Spray paint works well for this and is the easiest way. I love to change furniture and decor with spray paint and rarely ever use a whole can, so I actually have a bin full of spray paint colors.

After the paint is dry, use a paint brush to brush on regular Elmer’s glue over the raised areas where you hot-glued. Sprinkle on glitter and tap off the excess.

I went with orange glitter on the pumpkins for more subtlety, but I love the contrasting purple on the black hat. I’ll probably leave the pumpkins out through Thanksgiving. Let me know of any other last minute/sale Halloween crafts you’ve done!

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Have Your Pumpkin Forever! Carve Foam Pumpkins with a Hot Knife

Welcome Halloween!

On the way to Halloween! I finally finished decorating. I wonder how long my spider webs will last before my cat eats them all…Unfortunately a basement flood (and not even from Sandy) ruined a lot of my outdoor decor. That’s okay, though. That just means at the end of the season I can go nuts and get what’s on sale.

OoOo

Last year, Matt and I carved some foam pumpkins. We figured it’d be less messy and we could keep them forever. We used the same tools that came with a regular carving kit. We Carved a haunted house and a werewolf. This year, I discovered the hot knife tool.

Hot Knife

The hot knife made foam pumpkin carving one hundred times easier.

Wtch with the Hot Knife

The hot knife is an electrically heated blade, and you can find it in the wood crafting section of the craft store. I actually had to go to Michael’s twice to get the hot knife because it was sold out the first time.

Fixing up the werewolf!

 The knife cuts through the foam like butter, and the edges are nice and smooth. I even went back and cleaned up last year’s foam pumpkins.

Before and after - fixing last year's pumpkins with the hot knife

Make sure you have a glass cutting board to cut on, just in case you drop the knife. (You won’t burn glass). First cut out the hole in the bottom for the battery candle. Cut a little smaller than you think. You want the candle to be snug, plus you can always cut more out but you can’t put the foam back.

Carve a circle for your candle

Tape your pattern to the pumpkin and use the scoring tools to score the pattern onto the pumpkin.

Score Pattern

Carve the pattern with the hot knife. Don’t use a sawing motion, just guide the knife across the pattern.

Carve

Now I want to  carve more foam pumpkins! I was thinking of doing our home address and/or our last name for outside.

 Happy Halloween!

The Cutest DIY Baby Gift Ever: A Book Birdhouse

Lately, the baby showers I’ve been to have encouraged guests to use a children’s book with your own message on the front cover in place of a card. I think it’s such a fantastic idea. The earlier we can encourage kids to read, the better.I like to put my own twist on this request. Along with one of my favorite children’s books (usually either The Monster at the End of this Book or I Love You Forever), I make the cutest baby gift ever: my Book Birdhouse.  Please note that the birdhouse is an indoor piece, and shouldn’t be used as a real, outdoor birdhouse.

Book Birdhouse

Supplies needed:
Small children’s book (Golden Books work well)
Craft Birdhouse . You can get one at any craft store, like Michael’s or A.C. Moore
X-Acto® Knife
Scissors
Staple gun
Foam Brush
Modge Podge®
Modge Podge® mat & smoother

Birdhouse Supplies

If your birdhouse has a chimney, you first need to take it off. They come off pretty easily if you turn it sideways and hit it off with the hammer. Don’t throw it out – you can put it back on later.

Use the X-Acto® knife to cut out all the pages on the book. Save the cover, it will be use for the roof.

Cut out all the pages of the book

Pick the pages with the best pictures to use. Also, pay attention to the text and cut out the best phrases.

Pick your pages

Press the pages against the sides of the house and figure out where each picture will go. You want to know the placement of the pages before you start gluing. Mark the page placement with a pencil on the back of the page (back, bottom, right side, left side, etc.)

Figure out where to place your pages

Prep the pages for gluing my folding over any corners that overlap the edge of the wood.

Cleanly fold over the corners

Carefully cut a small hole for the bird ledge to size your page over the front of the birdhouse. Once you get your page in place, use the knife to cut the birdhouse entrance.

Cut out the entrance and the bird ledge

Use a Modge Podge® mat and start gluing. It’s important that you don’t skip the bottom of the birdhouse, and you always want to start there. Don’t skip the bottom! It gives the house a finished, polished look. And anyway, just because you won’t see the bottom of the house when it’s on the shelf, that doesn’t mean baby won’t see it when he wants to play with the house. – Rant over.

Brush a thin layer of Modge Podge® on the bottom of the birdhouse, and glue down the book page.

Base coat of glue

Paper is porous, and the glue will make the paper expand, so you WILL get some air bubbles. Don’t worry, just use the smoother to push out any air bubbles, always smoothing from the center to the edge.

Smooth out your bubbles

Now, use another thin layer of Modge Podge® over the paper and very gently smooth again. You’ll have to wait about an hour or two for the glue to dry so you can finish the birdhouse.

Another coat will serve as a protective layers

Repeat the gluing process on the rest of the house, starting with front and bottom of the roof. You don’t have to worry about the top of the roof. Once all the pictures are glues on the house, glue on some of your favorite phrases. Remember, this is a book house – there should be some text!

birdhouse13 birdhouse12

If you plan on using the chimney, don’t forget to glue some pages on that, too.

Chimney

Now that the walls are finished, staple the book cover as the roof.

Cover Roof

If you’re using the chimney, hot glue it in place, on the cover.

Glue your chimney on!

Isn’t that the sweetest birdhouse you’ve ever seen? If I ever have children, I am going to have a ton of these (and a ton of books) in their rooms.

birdhouse2 birdhouse wardrobe and birdhouse

Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all