Thursday, April 17, 2014

Show & Tell: Homemade Indoor Snowball Fight


Looking for a fun gift idea or family activity? This DIY project is super fun. I made it for the party, but you could easily make it for your family or make it as a fun gift idea. It works as a gift at anytime of year and is a good way to get your family up and moving. Add in a cute homemade sack, and you have a fun unique gift idea!

I had heard of indoor snowball fights through a local store. They sell kits and host monthly snowball fights. There are several ways you can play this game. You could create some cool box forts to hide behind, or you could do what we're going to do and put down a masking tape line. After a set amount of time, the team with the least amount of snowballs on their side wins.

Creating the snowballs is pretty easy and cheap. You just need white nylons and poly fill. I found the gumball nylon knee highs at Wal-Mart for $0.33 a pair. I could only find three pure white pairs at my local store. One 16 ounce bag of poly fill is almost twice what you need to make 24 snowballs. I used Just One Mom Trying's tutorial on how to create the snowballs. Basically, you knot the nylon twice after stuffing and cut in between each knot. My daughter even helped me stuff the nylons!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIY Sunday: 8 3D Trees for 10 Bucks -- Frozen Decorations


Another tutorial involving foam board & an Exacto knife. You can do quite a bit with these two supplies. That's pretty much been my theme for this party.

I was going through my Christmas decorations since I'm planning on reusing some decorations for the party, and I found some tabletop Christmas trees. They were the wrong color, but they gave me an idea to create my own standing trees. I figured since I was going to use foam board, I may as well make big trees.

With just four pieces of foam board, you can create 2 large trees, 2 medium trees and 4 small trees. Don't think this is just for a Frozen party. You can create these trees for Christmas, prom decorations, camping themed parties or even change up the shape and create stars, people, or other characters. As long as you can draw the design, you can make a 3D shape.

Foam Board (4 pieces @ $1.49)
Exacto Knife
Cutting Board (you could use a spare piece of wood as well or cut off the side of a table)
Glitter & Mod Podge/White Elmer's Glue OR Glitter Blast Spray Paint
Paint Brush
Clear or white tape (Clear packing tape works well)
Optional: Snowflake Die cuts & Hot Glue.

Step One: Outline & Cut

You will want to outline a tree with your pencil. I marked center and did straight lines using a metal meter stick, although you could just free hand the tree. Using your Exacto knife, cut out the tree. After you have completed one cut out, use the cut out to trace a second tree. Keep the scraps! That's how you're going to make all those trees. Repeat on the other two pieces of foam board. You will now have four cut outs of trees, which will be enough for two standing large trees.

Outlined and ready to cut!

One shape cut out!
Step Two: Cut Slits

This the step that I had a learning lesson after my first one. On the first one I didn't slit the top of one of the trees. You must do that!

On the first tree, cut a slit no bigger than the thickness of the foam board down the center of the tree. It's best to error on the small side. Start at the bottom and go up to the top branch of the tree. Hindsight being 20/20, I would take the extra time to measure a straight line down the center so the tree wouldn't tilt. I got lazy towards the end of my tree marathon.

My cut down the middle up to the top branch.
On the second tree, cut a slit from the top down to the first branch of the tree. Again, error on the small side. If you go too large, the tree will be wobbly and will probably need to be secured with tape.

Now your two trees should slip right into one another. Ta da! A standing tree! Repeat on the other two pieces of foam board. Now you have two standing large trees. Good for you!

This was my first "mistake" tree. It works just fine, but I didn't do the slit at the top so I had to rig it to be a snug fit.
The mistake top! Make sure you do the top slit.
The correct way! Top slit so everything slips together nicely.
Step Three: Create Lots of Trees!

I did promise 8 trees with just 4 sheets of foam board. You can make 2 medium trees and 4 small trees from what remains of the scraps.

2 Medium Trees

Now you'll want take the negatives of each tree (bottom branch up..cut off any excess remaining from the base of your large trees) and tape them together to create a medium size tree. The medium size trees won't have a base like your large trees. These are the only trees that won't slip into one another.

4 Small Trees

You'll have a bit of scrap left over from where you cut the base of your large tree out. Use those eight scraps (two from each sheet of foam board) to draw small trees. Follow the same steps you used to create the large trees i.e. cut a slit up the bottom and down the top.

A small tree completed! I free hand drew each of these small trees.
A family of small trees! Perfect for tabletops!
Step Four: Glitter Explosion!

Now you'll want to jazz up those trees. If you're going to do some Frozen trees, you can glitter blast them. If your doing something else, just give them a good coat of paint.

I did two different methods and both worked out about the same. First, I took some Mod Podge I had sitting around and mixed in a ton of iridescent glitter and some blue and purple glitter. Then, I painted on the glitter mixture. The iridescent glitter makes the mixture a bit chunky so it looks a bit more like snow and the entire thing will sparkle. This was the most time consuimg step.

After I used up all the Mod Podge I had in the house, I decided it was silly to spend the big bucks on Mod Podge and went for the cheaper route. I grabbed (and used) two bottles of white Elmer's glue. It worked about the same as Mod Podge and was about half the cost.

After spending hours painting glitter and having a glitter explosion all over my living room, I would recommend trying the glitter blast spray paint. I think the extra cost would totally be worth the time you would save. If you try that method, let me know! I'm curious to see how well it works.

Prepare for glitter everywhere and paper shavings on your floor!
Step Five: Optional: Create Glue Ice

You could definitely be done at this point. I decided to go a bit further and use some snowflake die cuts I had sitting around to jazz up the tree. Using hot glue, I stuck the snowflakes to the tree.

I wanted to create the appearance of icicles, so I gobbed a ton of hot glue on the edge of the branch and let it drip off. After the glue was dry (or close to being dry), I cut off the excess. A nice little icicle remained.

My trees are complete! I'm very happy with the way they turned out.

A large tree completely done and ready to party!

The small trees even got some snowflakes and icicles.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Show & Tell: Olaf Cutout


I swear I'm almost done with Frozen related posts. There is only two or three more projects left before the party. My apologizes to those out there without obsessed little girls.

I wanted to buy some Frozen characters cutouts for the party, but at around $40.00 a piece, that was a bit of out of my price range. I had some left over foam board from trees I made (post coming on Sunday about the trees), and I decided that white foam board was perfect to make a little Olaf.


Foam Board ($1.49 for 1 piece)
Exacto Knife
Black marker
Mechanical Pencil with no lead or lead pushed up in it
Orange and brown scrapbook paper (Free to me since I had some scraps sitting around)
Tape (I used some permanent double sided tape I had, but you could use rolled up regular tape)
Computer & Printer
Cost: $1.49 (In other words, about 3.75% of the original cost)
Time: About 3 hours


1. Find a Olaf Image

It's fairly easy to find high resolution images. You can Google it and find something pretty fast. If you can find a PNG image, you are in luck. That makes it easier to isolate the image into a outline because the background is already eliminated. Download image and save to your computer.

2. Create Outline

If you're willing to waste some ink, you can skip this step and go straight to step 3. I didn't have much ink to spare, so I decided I wanted to create an outline. I use Photoshop Elements when I can. It's a great alternative if you don't want to splurge for the Photoshop itself. I used the "Photocopy" filter to create an outline of the picture I found. You can play with the settings to get the desired darkness.

If you don't have Photoshop, you can find other less expensive/free alternatives. It can be helpful to search for software that creates coloring pages, since that's essentially what you're doing.

Save your new outline image to your desktop in a JPEG format.

3. Print Outline on Multiple Pages

Now here's where PC and Macs will split. I have printed across several pages on my PC many times usually using some sort of "Poster" or "Banner" print option. Now I have a Mac so I had to do some research about printing large images across several pages. There's a free program called "PosteRazor" that is awesome. You upload your image, pick your margins, the size of the image and then it converts that image to several pages in PDF form. I measured my piece of foam board and then used those measurements to fit Olaf on the poster board. Obviously Olaf is taller than he is wide, so I had extra foam board on the sides to cut out his arms and nose. Tape up the sheets and create your "poster."
Our Olaf print out with some extra marker art from my daughter

4. Trace your Outline Onto the Foam Board & Cut

Since foam board will keep a indent when you rub something across it, you don't have to use carbon paper to trace (which is what I normally do if I am doing an image on wood). Lay your outline on to the foam board, tape in place and then using your mechanical pen with no lead sticking out, trace the outside of his body. Afterwards, you will have an indent to use as a guide as you cut out your Olaf.

When you're doing this, you should work the outside in. First do the outside of the image, cut, then relay the outline down and trace the inside parts. I used a black permanent marker to separate the different snowman parts and for the buttons. Once you have the main body of Olaf cut out, you can cut out arms, hair and nose with the remaining poster board.

5. Attach Scrapbook Paper to Arms, Nose and Hair

Put tape on the arm (or nose or hair) and press down on paper. Use your Exacto knife around the piece to cut it out. Attach the body part to Olaf with tape.

You have a finished cutout! I may, if I have time, try something similar with Elsa and Ana. Until then, Olaf greets us with a wave.