Special Potions Jar

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This was one of my favorite things, even though it’s not really from the Harry Potter universe. It was concept I came up with myself and I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of it. I was so happy that it turned out the way I envisioned it too!

So it’s a special potions jar made to look like it contains live, glowing jellyfish!

I started with a giant jar of pickles. If you don’t love pickles as much as I do, you’ll either have to give them to a friend or you can try going to Goodwill and looking for large glass jars there. It didn’t take me long to mow my way through this bad boy right here though.pickle jar

The next step is to soak off the label and clean the jar. Then you’ll need a special drill bit that works on glass. You can find one at most hardware stores and they can be a little pricey so try asking around first. But make sure it’s the kind specifically for glass or it won’t work. Trust me!

I took a piece of painters tape and cut a whole just a little bigger than my drill bit and placed it over the spot I wanted to drill. his is a precaution to keep the glass from cracking out but hopefully you won’t need it because those jars aren’t easy to come by. You can practice on a smaller jar if you want. I did a test run on a spaghetti jar and that’s how I learned a regular drill bit won’t work.

I chose a spot near the bottom but above the curved part of the jar because that part is thicker and harder to drill through. The key is to go slow and don’t press too hard. This was a learning experience for me because the first time with my special drill bit I pressed too hard and broke my jar which I smartly (aka stupidly) had between my legs. Guess where the shards of glass went. Ouch!

So don’t go fast and don’t press too hard but you will have to give some pressure to get through the glass. Also remember that that drill bit is gonna heat up the glass so don’t put anything cold on it until it’s cooled or the glass will crack. And that would be the worst if you took all that care and you got your hole drilled only to have it crack after all that effort.

Now I had to wiggle my drill bit a little to make the hole large enough to fit my tube through. I used the air tube from an old fish tank I had. The tube fit snuggly in the hole which was nice, but it’s not enough by itself, you still have to seal it. I purchased some special sealant, again, fish tank quality sealant like they’d use to seal fish tanks or boats. Something that will work even when submersed in water. I found it at my local hardware store. Don’t be shy to ask for help in finding the right sealant.

My tube protruded about an inch into the jar but you can do more if you want the air to bubble up into the middle. That might actually work better but mine turned out alright too.

After the sealant was dry, I put in my jellyfish. They attach by a suction cup to the bottom of the jar and are held in place by fishing line. They react to black lights and they are super fun! I put in my large pebbles, which also are black light sensitive. They did an awesome job covering up my hose and the suction cups.

I spray painted the jar lid. Choose whatever color your little heart desires. Then filled my jar with water, put on the lid (once it was dry of course) and turned on my air pump and black light.

And viola!

jellyfish potions jar

I’m thinking about keeping it up all the time, it just looks so great!

Let me know if you have any questions or if you’re brave enough to give this one a try. The effort is totally worth it!

Flying Keys

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I adore the way today’s project turned out! I’m thinking of keeping it up in my room permanently I like it so much. 🙂 Today I will be showing you how I did my flying keys. If you remember from book one, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone. One of the tasks Harry had in order to reach the stone was to find a particular flying key.

So I thought it would be cool to make some of my own flying keys! The hardest part was finding keys to use. I wanted something substantial, so I wanted metal keys. Something big enough but not too big. I searched high and low for the right keys. Amazon, craft stores, local Facebook groups, I searched them all for a rather long time but was unsuccessful in finding a large enough amount of keys that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I finally had a friend point me to some on Ebay that I thought might work. You just gotta have a little imagination because they looked like this when I got them.

Keys Before

They were not a pretty sight but the key (pun intended) is to look past the present state and picture what the final product could look like. Since these keys were so rusty, I bought some Rustoleum primer just to seal them and prevent further rusting. I made sure to sand (and wipe) them down before using the primer just to have as clean a surface as possible to start with.

Keys PaintedThen I spray painted them gold, silver and bronze. It’s amazing what a little paint can do! They look so amazing now! It can be hard to imagine what a finished product might look like but that’s essential for re-purposing projects. Imagining what something could look like once you’re done with it.Key Wing Pictures

After I finished sprucing up my keys, I began work on the wings. I found some pictures of wings that I liked. I chose a few different designs just to keep things interesting. Once I got them to the sizes I thought would look best with my different sized keys, I printed them out.

I thought wax paper would be good for this but I knew just one piece wouldn’t be stiff enough to stand out like wings. So I took some clear crafting glue and glued three sheets together. Once the glue had dried I traced the wings with a gold and silver sharpies.

Key Wings 2Key Wings Done 

 

 

 

 

After cutting them out I hot glued them to my keys. I also tied some fishing line to the keys and hot glued that as well.

Keys Almost Finished

My final dilemma was how to hang the keys. I wasn’t keen to hang them all individually. I’ll most likely be doing that for my “floating candles” so I didn’t want too many things that would need hanging separately.

I took a trip to one of my favorite places, Joann Fabrick’s to see what I might use to help me hang them. That’s when I spotted this!

Wire Circle for Flying Keys

It’s actually for making wreaths but I thought it would serve my purpose quite nicely. It’s the twelve inch one, I thought it would make a good size for my project and it was only $3! A little less with my coupon. 🙂 You gotta love all those coupons they do at Joann’s. I have saved so much.

I attached the fishing line to the wire circle and once they were in spaced where I wanted them, I hot glued them into place. Tied it up to a hook and hung it up. Then sat back and admired my handy-work (*pats self on back). But look how pretty it is!

Keys Finished Keys Finished 3

Letters from Hogwarts backdrop

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Letter from Hogwarts

This next project was a fun one, ok, they’ve all been pretty fun. I loved the way this one turned out.

Stamp Box 2 Stamp Box

To start, I found this stamp set on Etsy. It’s a popular stamp and you can find it both on Etsy and Ebay. When I purchased it, it was cheaper on Etsy. Just be weary of the shipping time, a lot of them had really long shipping times so make sure to order this long before you need it.

I also plan on using the stamp later for the invitations. I will be saving the wax for the invitations (since it’s pretty expensive) so I needed something inexpensive to use for the envelopes (since I planned on making about 50 of them and you wouldn’t really be seeing them up close like you would with the invitations) that would still resemble the wax appearance.

Sculpey Clay Red and WhiteI found some Sculpey clay (the kind you can bake in the oven) at Walmart for just under a $1. I bought a whole bunch of red and a couple packs of white (for another project I’m working on).

I tore off a small piece and balled it up, then pressed it with my stamp. You will just have to experiment to get the size you want. I had to make it a bit thick to keep it from tearing when I pulled the clay off the stamp. Just play around with it and see what works best for you.

I repeated this step about 50 times and laid them on wax paper (the instructions said the clay could stain and I didn’t want stained cookie sheets) covered cookie sheets and baked them according to the directions. Actually I baked them quite a bit longer, I read somewhere that the color would darken the longer you baked it. Mine did but yours may not so just be sure to watch it. I wanted it a bit darker so it would be more of a maroon color then a bright red.

Stamp up closeHere’s a close up of the finished product! I was really happy with how they came out! The details came through really well for such a small stamp. That was definitely something I was worried about. I’m excited to see how it looks with the wax later on. 🙂

After baking my seals and letting them cool, I prepared my envelopes. I used the “Harry Potter font” you can download for free HERE. And made the address from the book:

Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the stairs
4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging, Surrey

Stamp Finished EnvelopesAfter printing the labels on the front of the envelopes I aged them. To see how to make paper look older, check out my post on making your own Daily Prophets.

Once they were pressed, I hot glued the seal on. While the glue was still liquid, I stuck the line in that I would later be using to hang them. I used fishing line, you can also use invisible thread the color of whatever will be behind where you hang this. Fishing line is a bit shiny and catches light so the darker thread might be a better option. I took some pictures with mine and it turned out ok so it’s really up to you.

Envelopes and supplies

For the frame, I purchased dowel rods and made a rectangle about four feet long and a little over a foot wide. I also put supports along the rectangle about eight inches apart. Here’s where you can learn from my experience, make sure your dowels are thick enough to support the weight but not too thick that it makes the whole apparatus too heavy. I tried really thin rods at first because I wanted a nice, light-weight frame. I had it all hot glued together and painted black with a bunch of the envelopes tied to it when I realized it wasn’t strong enough to hold its form.

I had to hoopty rig it (that’s why I didn’t show you a picture of the frame) it’s not very pretty but it’s functional and it’s the part that won’t be seen in the pictures so I didn’t re-do it. But I’m telling you this so you don’t make the same mistake I did. Get dowel rods that are at least 1/2 an inch in diameter, those seemed to be thick enough.

I tied my envelopes on at various heights and then hot-glued the knots and the line to my frame to keep them from slipping. Then I was done! Here’s the finished product. Perfect back drop for your Harry Potter Party pictures.

Envelope backdrop completed

Special Potions Jar

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Special Potions JarSo this idea actually came from watching an episode of Torchwood. As a nod to Dr. Who, Captain Jack Harkness had the 10th doctor’s hand in a jar with bubbles. I thought that something like that might look cool for the potions set up I am working on. So I thought long and hard about how I might go about doing something like that.

I thought it would be cool if I could make a hole near the bottom of a large jar and pump air into it that way. So I did a little research and some trial and error and figured out a way to get it done.

You need a special drill bit to cut through glass. Home Depot has them, they cut glass and tile and it wasn’t that expensive, like $6 maybe? Once I had my bit, I practiced on a smaller jar that I had a lot of. I’ve been collecting glass jars for over a month now and have quite the collection. It worked on the smaller jar so I moved on to my large jar. Broken Jar

That one didn’t go so well.

I was almost done when it cracked in half and I sliced my leg. Yowza!

But I didn’t give up. I toughed it out and tried again… After I ate a whole new jar of pickles of course. Now I love pickles as much as the next girl but sweet baby Moses that’s a whole lotta pickles.

Here are some suggestions that I think helped when I finally succeeded in drilling a hole in my second large, glass jar. The first part was, I left the lid on the jar. I think it helped add stability to the jar and keep it from cracking. The other thing I did was put some painter’s tape around where I was going to drill. I don’t know if one or both of these things contributed to my success but I thought I’d share them with you just in case.

After I finished drilling the hole I sealed my tube in with special putty. You will need to find a sealer that works “below the water line.” You don’t want to go through all this trouble only to have your jar spring a leak. Most caulk isn’t made for below the water line, which seems a little counter-intuitive since it’s used often for showers and tubs. But you’ll notice that the caulk line isn’t actually submerged so yeah, make sure to check that your sealer will work under water. Once that’s dry completely you can test it out.

Next I purchased a little mechanism (I call it a spliter because I don’t remember the real name for it) made for air tubes for fish tanks along with an air pump also for a fish tank. The spliter hooks up (by tube) to the air pump and then has two separate places to hook up tubes so you can supply air to two tubes from one pump. I got the spliter because I have two jars and I wanted the option of being able to hook up both. I also put an air-stone on the inside of the jar just to disperse the air a bit more.

Then I pondered what to put in it. When I was in Walmart picking up my fish tank items, that’s when I saw them and knew they would be awesome! They were these cool looking jellyfish that attached by strings to suction cups. I stuck them to the bottom of my jar and put some pebbles in the bottom and my grand idea was complete.

The fact that they glow under black-light was icing on the cake. I plan on having other potions that react to black-light as well so it was such a great find. I was thrilled with how well it turned out.

What do you think?

DIY Oversized Time Turner

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This project was probably the hardest and took the most time of all the projects I have done to date (and there are a number of projects I haven’t posted yet) but I think it turned out really great! It’s an oversized time turner (or hourglass). I saw this when I was scouring the web for fun projects to do for my fellas’ Harry Potter party. This wasn’t super relevant to Harry Potter but I thought it looked so cool that I just had to try it.

This project took me about a month to do. It shouldn’t take you as long as it took me because I’m sure you’re not a big wuss like me. 🙂 The reason it took me a whole month was because I kept putting off doing the next step when I would finish one because I was so nervous it wouldn’t turn out well. Does that ever happen to anyone else when they’re crafting? Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of steps, and a looooot of drying time. But most of it was me procrastinating because I was a scaredy-baby.

Styrofoam CirclesTo start, I cut out two different sized circles (you will need two of each). You can see on the smaller one, I made an indent with one of the bottles. I did this on both of my small circles, it will be useful when you go to put it all together later.

I just found a couple bowls that Styrofoam Circles Step 2were the sizes I wanted so I could trace nice, uniform circles to cut out. Just keep in mind that for the larger circle, it will have to be large enough to fit the dowel rods you will be using. Note – I pressed the rods in just one of the larger circles. I waited until after I had everything else in place before I pressed the dowel rods into the other large circle. I just wanted to make sure everything would line up and this seemed to be a good way to accomplish it. (It turned out I was right, phew!)

I chose three dowel rods, sorry I don’t remember what size, they weren’t too big though. Since I used Styrofoam, I didn’t want to add too much weight. I knew the sand would add a lot of weight so I wanted to keep the dowels as light as I could. Just don’t go too thin, you want to have some good stability and you want it to look proportional.

I glued the two pieces (let’s call them the lower two circles) together before I sealed them. I didn’t want to waste time sealing the part that wouldn’t be painted. I used an industrial adhesive but you can find a glue that works for you. Just be sure to test the glue on some of your scrap Styrofoam to make sure it will hold together and also to make sure it won’t melt your Styrofoam.

Then I “sealed” them. To do this, I mixed Elmer’s glue and a bit of water together and then painted it all over the circles. I just eyeballed it so I don’t have the measurements or ratio, sorry. I used to work for a company that built model train tables so I used to mix glue and water professionally. Not to brag or anything. 😉 But you want the consistency to be a bit more runny then normal glue.

This is where the majority of the time was spent, waiting for the glue to dry. Even less exciting than paint drying. But I would do a coat on one side, let it dry, flip it over and do a coat on the other side and let it dry and so on. I did about three maybe four coats. I did this for a couple reasons. The first was to help fill in some of the holes so I wouldn’t have to paint a ton of coats. The second reason is to keep the paint from eating the Styrofoam. Many types of paint will eat at Styrofoam (especially spray paint) so if you plan on using that you will want to do a lot of coats of the glue. You can test your paint out on scraps of Styrofoam, it’s always a good idea.

*Side note, I didn’t seal the large, top circle yet. I wanted to wait until I pushed the dowels into it before I sealed it. This added a couple extra steps and extra drying time but I didn’t want to mess up the seal later if I did the glue first and then pushed in the dowels. So I waited until after I pushed the rods into the Styrofoam.

Next I worked on the plastic bottles part of the hourglass. I cut the bottom off of two, Plastic bottle steptwo-liter bottles. I made them as close to the same size as I could so it would look proportionate. I then took some plastic I hoarded, er, I mean, saved from packages and other things for a divider between the two bottles. I traced the top of the bottle and cut out the plastic circle. I poked a small hole in the circle to test it with the sand. I held it in place on one of the bottles and poured some sand into the top and let it fall out into a bottle. I made it a little bit larger at a time until the sand came out at the speed I was happy with.

Once that was done, I glued the plastic disk to one bottle with my industrial glue, let it dry, then glued the other bottle to the other side of the plastic circle. You can see from the picture what it looked like when I was done.

Next I sized my dowel rods. They were way too long so I had to trim them down so they would work. I also sanded them so they would sit nice and flat in the Styrofoam.

Wood Dowels Step 1       Wood Dowel Step 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I painted the bottom two circles, the small, top circle and the dowel rods. When they were coated to the color I wanted, I started the nerve wracking part of gluing everything together.

Time Turner Step 4 Time Turner Step 5I’m not afraid to admit that I was a nervous wreck. And I will also admit that it fell apart, well, a number of times. The dowel rods wouldn’t stand up by themselves and I tried all sorts of things to keep it together (both literally and figuratively) while I worked on the top circle. It was a disaster and at one point the bottles even came unglued and sand went everywhere. But I didn’t give up. I re-glued the bottles, pressed the dowels into the top bigger circle, then finished up the sealing and painting of the final top circle and finished gluing everything together.

Oversized Time Turner

 

DIY Hogwarts a History Book

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Today’s project is once again about books. I mentioned in my previous post about books that I found another book project that I really wanted to try. This is that project! To see the other books I’ve done, click HERE.

I started with an old book I got from the re-sale section of my local library. I found one that was large and nice and thick. I figured the Hogwarts A History would be a thick one but you’re welcome to use any size book you like.

I printed off an outline of Hogwarts and the lettering I liked after I got it sized to fit my book. I taped the print outs to my book with painter’s tape.Hogwarts a History Book Tracing Step

Then I took my Exact-O knife and traced the outline and the letters. I thought that would be the best way to do it since my book’s cover was nice and thick and super shiny. If your book is more of a paper-type surface you can always do the pencil shading method. For that you just cover the entire part to be traced with pencil markings then flip it over and trace the outline, pressing hard enough so the shading transfers onto your surface.

But since my book surface was shiny, I didn’t think the pencil shading would transfer so I decided to use my knife instead. The cuts won’t be seen once your done so I wasn’t super worried about it.Hogwarts a History Hot Glue Step

After tracing all my lines, I then took my hot glue gun and traced the lines I cut with glue.

It’s hard to see because the glue sticks I used, dry clear. You can use glue that doesn’t dry clear if you want, you won’t see the glue once you’re done. But you do need to use hot glue because it gives a nice bump which is what you need.

Next I took a piece of white tissue paper (I’ve also read you can use a wet paper towel instead.) and used some mod podge to stick the book cover. Work a little at a time so you can be sure to get the paper into all the nooks and crannies as best you can. Don’t worry about the paper wrinkling though, these are actually a good thing and will make your book look awesome after you’re done.

Hogwarts a History Book Shoe Polish StepAfter it was dry, I painted it white for a base. Once the paint was dry, I took some black shoe polish and rubbed it all over the cover until every part of it was an aged, grey color. I used a Q-Tip to get the polish into all the smaller spots that my rag couldn’t reach. I let it sit for a few minutes and then wiped off the excess. Then I let it dry.

I did one side at a time and let it dry, then worked on the other side and let it dry. It takes a whole lot of drying time so make sure you factor that in. It’s something that’s easy but takes a while to do. Once the polish was dry I took my gold Rub-N-Buff to rub onto the parts that were bumped up from the glue. I used a Q-tip, though you can use your finger or a paint brush. I rubbed a couple layers on until it was the color I wanted. I let it dry and then I rubbed the side page/edges with tea bags to help age the paper. One last drying time and it’s finally finished!

Hogwarts a History Book Completed

 

Hogwart’s House Banners

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These banners were super simple to make. I just didn’t complete them right away because I was nervous about cutting my foam pieces. I get so weird about my crafts sometimes. Does that happen to anyone else? Some things I can’t wait to get started and some things I’m too nervous so I put them off.

I wish I had a craft buddy that I could just talk things over with and who would be there helping me just for the moral support. I’m sounding a little weird right now, yes? But seriously, I have the stuff for my Monster Book of Monsters but I haven’t started assembling it yet because I’m scared! I’m worried I won’t be able to do it or that it will look horrible or I’ll screw something up and so I’m putting it off.

I just finished a giant time turner (I think that will be my next post) but I put that one off too because I was so nervous about working with the Styrofoam. But now that it’s done, I’m so happy it all turned out. I’m hoping the same will be true for my Monster Book. I’m super excited for it to be done but I’m too nervous to start working on it. I just wish I had a crafter friend here to help me.

Anywho, back to these super simple banners.

Foam PiecesI purchased the foam sheets from Michael’s Craft Store. I got two pieces for each house in the house colors. So that means two yellow (or gold if they have it) and two grey (or silver if they have it), one green, one red (or burgundy if they have it), one blue and one black. You can also use large pieces of felt but I like the way the foam had some structure to it. I really like the cloth banners I’ve seen, but fabric is so expensive that’s why I decided to go with this less expensive option. If you want to purchase pre-made banners you can get them on Amazon, but again, they’re more expensive then making them this way.

Hogwarts House CrestsNext I printed off the house crests for each of the four Hogwarts’ Houses. Just do an image search and find a crest that you like. After sizing them and printing them off on cardstock, I cut them out. And since I plan on using my decorations a number of times, I went ahead and had the crests laminated. But you can save yourself a few dollars if you want because they were nice and sturdy even before I had them laminated.

Then I needed to cut my foam. Like I mentioned earlier, I was nervous about cutting my foam out just because I wasn’t sure I could make it look the way I wanted it to and I only had one shot at cutting the foam (unless I wanted to go buy more). So to make sure I got it right, I first took some paper (my sons have pads of paper that are really large so I borrowed a few pieces) and cut the paper to the size of the foam sheets I had.

After I cut my sheets of paper, I started playing around with the folds. When I figured out how I wanted the final, cut foam pieces to look, I cut the paper along the final folds I liked and then used that as a template for cutting my foam pieces.

With the foam pieces cut, I spread super glue on the edges of the two colored pieces that would be attached to one another. I pressed the pieces together and laid it flat to dry. I carefully moved them a bit to make sure they didn’t get stuck to the surface of the (covered) table beneath them. I would recommend testing your glue on some scrap foam (or whatever material you use) before using it on your final cut pieces. Some glue might not work (I tried craft glue first and it didn’t hold) or it might eat away at your materials. If you’re using fabric then I would recommend sewing or else there’s always special fabric glue you can try.

Once the pieces were glued together, I glued my crest onto the front. Then I cut some dowel rods to fit the width of the banner and super glued them to the top of the banner on the back. Do whatever you think looks best, I just thought mine looked best by not having any part of the dowel rod showing. I can now hook my string or ribbon around the dowel rod and hang them that way or just put a couple hooks on the wall and hang the dowel rod straight on the hook.

Here’s the finished product!

Hufflepuff and Slytherin BannersRavenclaw and Gryffindor Banners

Signs for a Harry Potter Party

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This is the first post of some of the signs I’m doing for the party. I’ve only finished some of them so far but I have a few more planned so I will be posting them later once I get them finished.

These first few are pretty straight forward.

Advanced Potions SignHerbology Sign

DADA SignCare of Magical Creatures Sign

I purchased the chalkboard looking signs from Walmart and then found stencils or appropriate fonts with which to trace out the words onto the signs.

For the fonts, I printed them to the size I wanted them for the signs and then used a pencil to shade the back of the font paper. Then I used a bit of painter’s tape to hold the font paper in place on the chalkboard and used the pencil to trace the letters. The pencil shading on the back transferred to the sign as I traced and then I colored it in with a gold paint marker. The stencils I just used, like, well, stencils.

I picked these classes because I have fun activities to go with each of them for the party, but you could also use them as decorations at a party without doing an activity with it.

Hogwart’s Express

Next, is my Hogwarts Express Sign. This one took some time to do, mostly because it involved a number of coats of paint and finding the right lettering. I started with a board I bought at Joann’s. They have precut craft boards back in their section that has all the wood craft items.

I started with a primer paint for a base, the craft wood really soaks up the paint so I highly recommend a cheap primer paint first. Then I did a few coats of the deep red until I got it to the shade I liked.

Hogwarts Express Sign PrimerHogwarts Express Sign Red

 

The Hogwarts crest I printed out on paper. I didn’t use card stock because I didn’t want it to be too thick so as to make it look like it wasn’t just painted on to the board. I cut it out with my Exacto Knife and then Mod Podged (yes, I love using Mod Podge as a verb) it to my board in the upper left corner.

Hogwarts Express Sign Finished

The hardest part was finding the letters and a good file for the 9 and 3/4 circle. I scoured the internet and just could not find a clean copy of a printable file. So I went old school. I pulled out my Roku projector and hooked it up to my laptop. I found a picture of a screenshot of the sign from the movie. I set my red board and my projector up so it was the right size and traced the letters and numbers with a pencil. Then I went back and painted them in.

The white circle took a crazy number of coats to cover the red so if it’s at all possible for you, leave that part white when you paint the rest of the sign. It will save you a lot of hassle and time spent waiting for paint to dry so you can do yet another coat.

For the gold trim, I used painter’s tape to mark where the gold strips would be and then painted those. I wanted nice clean lines and the tape really gave me that. Then when it was all dry, I did a couple coats of sealer spray paint (high gloss) just to make sure that paint wasn’t going anywhere. I tested it on the back first just to make sure the spray paint wouldn’t look bad. Just be very careful when spraying it, you don’t want to over-saturate it.

Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

The next sign I did was just because I saw it and loved it so much I had to do it. Though I will have some Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes props there for decoration, it will probably just be mixed in with some other décor. I won’t have room to do a whole separate “shop” set up. But still, this sign, I loved it and had to make it.

IMG_20150501_003505The Weasley twins are my favorite characters in HP. I think it’s because I have twin fellas who can be rather mischievous. For the sign, I printed off the picture I saw online. You can google Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and I’m sure this picture will come up in your search.

I made the print-out the size of my craft board and used painter’s tape to tape it in place. Then I used a pen to trace the picture, being sure to press really hard. The craft wood is nice and soft so it took the lines really well. If I had it to do again, I think I would have tried to prime it before I traced it. (Although I’m not sure if I would have been able to see the indents then or not.) Like I mentioned earlier, this kind of wood really soaks up the paint. It took a ridiculous number of coats to get it to the shade I wanted. But it turned out really well and I absolutely love it!

I found some amazing print-outs and ideas for some Wizard Wheezes but I will be showing you those in another post.

Gringott’s Engraved Sign

The last sign I will be showing you today is the Gringott’s Sign I made. This took me for…ev…er… to make. I loved the poem from the Gringott’s bank and wanted to do my own “silver engraved sign” for my Gringott’s display at the party. So I found a cool font and sized it to fit my craft board and printed it out. I taped it on with painter’s tape and traced it with a pen, pressing hard like I did for the Weasley’s sign.

Then came the time consuming and difficult part. I used my wood burner to trace the indents I’d made with my pen. It was slow going let me tell you. And I kept tipping the burner too far and accidently burning places I didn’t want burned so I would have to sand it down a bit and keep going. It definitely tried my patience and at one point the burner slipped and I stabbed myself in the thumb. The only good news was that the burning hot tip instantly cauterized my deep puncture wound so it didn’t bleed all over my project. I would have been ticked! But I did find it prudent to go get a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics when it looked like the wound started to get infected.

Gringotts bank signAfter the wood burning was finished, I painted it with metallic silver to make it look like it was engraved and I was finally done!

I love it now that it’s done, but I wouldn’t do it again that’s for sure!

 

Well that does it for this post. I will be doing another post for the signs I will be doing from Diagon Alley and Hogsmede in the future so keep an eye out for that!

Repurposed Projects

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I have always had a weird way of thinking. I don’t see things the way many people do. Though that makes things hard when I’m trying to explain things to other people but it helps me think of solutions and ideas that are outside the box. I have a crazy imagination that lets me see all kinds of possibilities where others might only see mundane things. I especially love to repurpose items. Taking something old and turning it into something new.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as a fresh coat of paint. Here are a couple items I found super cheap at the local Goodwill store. I slapped on some new paint and they will now fit perfectly into my Harry Potter theme. (Or other types of parties or even just home décor.)

Candlesticks before and after On the left are the before pictures and on the right are the after pictures. With the right spray paint, you can drastically change ugly old metal into shinny silver or strange orangey-copper colors into lustrous bronze pieces. If you’re having and adult party, you can get real candles to fit these candle holders. But since this will be for a children’s party, I’ve opted for the electronic variety.

I have been collecting electronic tea lights for a while now for another project I’m working on that I will share in another post. So I have some that I can use for the spiral holder. (I got a lot of them at Hobby Lobby, I combined a coupon for like 10% off and waited until the candles went on sale and got a huge pack of them for cheaper than anywhere else AND they came with extra batteries. Score!) I ordered ones for the silver candlesticks from my favorite Amazon!

Silver Candle Holder with Candles

Another thing that I purchased for not a lot of money, was a bird cage. I found a really great old-fashioned trunk to set up for my Hogwarts Express display. And no Hogwart’s luggage would be complete without a cage for an owl to go with it! Bird Cage before and afterSo I scoured Facebook, yes, Facebook looking for one. I chose FB because there seems to be a “buy, sell, trade” group for almost every city/area in North America. Or you can try local garage sale groups and check out local garage sales for this item. They have those groups on FB too. I put out the word that I was looking for a round birdcage and posted a picture of one I found online that I really loved, just to give an example of what I was looking for.

The picture helped because I was contacted by a lady that had one exactly like the picture I posted! It was a little worse for wear in the color department, but a couple coats of spray paint later and it looked as good as new!

The last repurposing project I’m going to talk about in this post is my “scales” project. Someone online was talking about how they made theirs so of course I had to try it. It’s how I turned this:

Scales before pic 1

Hanger for scale before

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into this:

Scales pic after

I found the old, wooden candlestick at Goodwill for cheap, cheap, cheap. I just picked one that had a nice wide, flat top that I thought would look good painted gold. A couple layers of spray paint later and it was ready to go.

I took one of my fellas’ plethora of hard, foam Nerf balls and glued it to the top of a plastic hanger with the top hook cut off. I wanted something lightweight so it would stay on the hanger when I glued it and not be too heavy for the glue to hold. I also knew the foam would hold the paint better than plastic would. Spray-paint can sometimes slide off of plastic making it look crummy.Scales before pic 2

I thought the plastic hanger looked a little too much like a plastic hanger so I modified it a bit by cutting off the tabs that hold shirt straps in place, leaving just the open part you can see in the picture below. Then I took my crafting, soldering iron and melted some of the plastic edges down. After I spray painted it gold, it made it look more like hammered metal instead of a plastic hanger.

Hanger for scale painted

Then I scoured the dollar store looking for small plastic disks I could use for the part that holds whatever you’re weighing. I ended up buying some plastic “Champaign” cups because the bases were detachable. The circles were the perfect size. I melted three holes equidistant near the outer edge for my chain to go through. I used my soldering iron because it was the easiest/quickest way I knew to make the holes and they looked nice and round when I was done, versus jagged like they might look had I tried to cut the holes with a knife or something. Then I spray painted them gold.

Disk for scale not painted Disk for scale spray painted

 

 

 

 

Lastly I found the chain at Walmart in the crafting section. I measured my length out and then spray painted them gold so they would match the gold on the rest of the piece and I attached the chain to the disks, hung the disks on the hanger and set the hanger on the candlestick. If you want to glue down the hanger and/or the chains you can do so. I just knew I will have to store mine for a while so it was easier for me to leave it all un-glued for the time being. I might glue it later, but it’s pretty solid without the glue so I’m not super worried about it.

Scales pic with gold and jewels

 

Here’s the final product!

 

Hope you are getting a lot of good ideas. Let me know if there’s something you’d like to see me make. I’m always on the look out for new ideas. I’ve still got more in my bag of tricks though too so stay tuned!

 

Harry Potter Paper Decorations

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For my post today, I will be showing you some of the fun paper projects I’ve done. The first are “shopping packages.” I scoured the internet looking for logos of shops in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I printed these out in various sizes on sticker paper. Then cut them out.

Next, I had a roll of brown packing paper which was perfect for wrapping empty boxes to look like shopping packages. I purchased a roll of twine from Walmart because there are just oh so many things you can do with twine. I used some of the twine in my post about making Daily Prophets and there have been a number of other projects I have or will be using it for so it was definitely a good investment! I used the twine to tie around the boxes I wrapped in brown paper. I hot glued the twine bows on these like I did with the Daily Prophets because I just know someone is going to try to untie them.

IMG_20150502_185431Then I placed my stickers in various places on the boxes. Now I have some great decorations for the party and they were super easy to make.

I’ve been thinking of putting them near my Diagon Alley set-up or I was also thinking perhaps I will put them in an “Owlery” display. I haven’t decided for sure yet so you will just have to wait and see what I ultimately decide to do, when I post pictures from the party. 🙂

 

But here’s an example of what it might look like.

Trip to Diagon Alley

 

I also made my own copy Mauraders Map of the Maurader’s Map. I found the print out on the Harry Potter Paraphernalia Blog. After printing it out and cutting it per the instructions given with it, I then stained it. To learn how I tea-stain paper to make it appear aged, check out my post on making your own Daily Prophets. After they were stained, I glued the pages together and folded it where instructed. The finished product looked pretty cool though it is a bit on the small side. I couldn’t enlarge the file without making it too pixelated. But it still looks great (and I plan on buying one at Harry Potter World when we go there) so I wasn’t too worried about it.

Next I did a spell book which was also super easy. Spell book completed I found the printable file on the Blue Cricket Design Blog and printed it off, then cut the sheets out. There are so many different ways you can bind them so you can be creative and do whatever your pretty, little heart desires. For me, I found these cute plastic photo albums in the clearance section at Walmart. Score! So I bought a few to make them up. I thought about making a book for each of the kiddos but I’m not sure yet how many people will be coming so I just made a couple for the birthday boys. It’s in heavy duty plastic so I know it will hold up well when they pass it around for all their friends to borrow at the party.

I also made about six of these boxes. Bertie Botts Candy Holders I found the printable file from the Uniquely Grace Blog if you’d like to print your own. I printed them off on white cardstock and cut them out. I might make more, I haven’t decided yet. It would be cool to have one for each of the kiddos but I’m not sure how many will be attending so I don’t know if I really want to make 40+ of these things only to have 10 kids show up. They look amazing though so I had to at least make a few if only for decoration. 🙂

For the plastic in the “windows,” I cut out plastic from items I’ve been hording for a while now. Ever since I started planning this party I’ve been collecting items that would normally go in our recycling bin: boxes, thick plastic wrappers from packages, glass jars, did I mention boxes? So I cut out some plastic squares from the plastic I’ve been scavenging and glued them to the boxes before I glued the boxes together.

*Note, I will be putting jelly beans in the boxes but since I used glue (even though it’s non-toxic) I will be putting the jelly beans into little plastic baggies first just cause I’d feel weird about it otherwise.

HP Goodie Bag The last thing I will show you today is an example of the goodie bag I will be using for the party. I saw them and just had to do them!

For these, I made my own stencils. I’m  pretty terrible at drawing so I didn’t trust myself to do it free-hand. I created four separate stencils, 1) the hair, 2) the scar, 3) the glasses, and 4) the scarf. I made them out of cardstock to give them some substance. You could even consider cardboard because mine looked pretty worse for wear by the time I was done.

I traced the stencils onto my bags. Then I just colored them in. It was a bit time consuming but I worked on them while I caught up on some of my favorite shows on Netflix so it was pretty fun for me actually. And now all my goodie bags are just waiting to be filled with fun goodies!

That’s what I’ve got for you today! Thanks for stopping by.