Category Archives: DIY

Fairy Toothpick Doll

Hiya!

Today, I am sharing the latest creation to find her way out of my studio. This is a little toothpick doll fairy. She was so much fun to make. As with the other toothpick dolls, she was created using toothpicks, glue, and embroidery floss. I tried out a new technique to create the wings and overall they turned out pretty good. This is something that I will have to keep experimenting with.

Toothpick Fairy

I started her creation with the tiered skirt. This took lots of time and patience. Once that was complete, I added her two-tone bodice.

Left-Side View

I added a tiny braid to the top and bottom. Embroidery floss is made of six smaller strands and I used to individual strands to create the braid.

Right-Side View

Next, I started creating the roses. These are created by wrapping small amounts of floss in the tip of a toothpick. The vines are created by wrapping dampened floss around a toothpick and allowing the floss to dry.

By Jennifer Miner

I also added tiny knots as accents. I used the same pallet of colors as the skirt.

Next came the arms, which included pink upper arm braces and more vines.

A Back View

Next, it was time for the hair! Thanks to Pinterest I knew that I wanted to create a faux-hawk braid. I used two shades of pink. I split each strand into individual pieces before bringing them back together for the hair. Again I added some more roses for the hair.

Tiny Fairy

I created the wings using individual strands of floss and regular glue. As I mentioned this was a new technique and needs a little more finesse, but pretty good for a first attempt.

View from the underside

Above you can see a view from the underside. This shows all the many layers of floss that go into creating the skirt. The little void in the middle is here her toothpick legs are.

This little doll was so much fun and it was really nice just working from my own imagination. This is my first doll with pink hair and I think that this might be a little trend in the doll studio.

I am still working on slowing down and taking my time and I am really trying to enjoy the process.  This is certainly one of my favorite creations. Thanks for visiting – off to the studio!

 

Harry Potter Wands DIY

Back again with more Harry Potter Magic! One of the events at our party was the wand selection. This was so much fun! I created each unique wand and they were all very different. Some were inspired by the films and some from my imagination. The kids had a great time picking out their wands and I had a great time creating them.

All the pretty wands
Inspired by Dumbledore’s Wand

I had seen a lot of the hot glue wands online and while they looked easy and quick to create I really wanted to create something that gave me more control over the shape of the wands. In addition, I really don’t need any more hot glue burns. So I came up with these Harry Potter wands for our party!

Under the Sea Wand
Medieval Wand

Each wand started as a plain wooden dowel. I bought a pack of 12″ wooden dowels and trimmed a few from dowels I had laying around. (Yes, you read that right I do have dowels just laying willy nilly around this place.) I trimmed them using my scroll saw after the sculpting dried. This allowed me to make the length match the wand since some of these took on a life of their own.

Unicorn Horn Wand
Inspired by Minerva McGonagall’s Wand

To start, I used 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface of my wood. I then mixed up some Apoxie Sculpt. This was my first time using this product and I was really pleased with the end result. It was easy to work with and I liked the way it smoothed out with a little bit of water. One thing that I struggle with when using polymer clay is fingerprints.

Copper & Midnight Wand
Red & Gold Band

Some of the wands had clear plans and I looked up photos online to find exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t have any flat spots on my wands so I filled an old paint water cup with leftover decorative sand from my cauldron and I stuck the wands in there. this held them up while they dried – voila no flat spots.

Inspired by Sirius Black’s Wand
Hedwig Wand

I will admit that the dragon was my favorite. It was so much fun. Once all the wands were cured I used my scroll saw to trim down the wands. I also sanded a few of the wands where they needed it, mostly to smooth the transition from sculpture to the dowel. Now I was ready to start painting. I used craft acrylics, for some of the “wood” looking wands I really thinned down the paint to make a wash. Again, I used my cup of sand to hold them while they dried.

Spring Wand
Lizard Wand

I used craft acrylics, for some of the “wood” looking wands I really thinned down the paint to make a wash. Again, I used my cup of sand to hold them while they dried. It was so much fun to see the wands take shape. The paint made the wand’s personality just jump out. It was really fun to think about which kiddo would go for which wand.

Inspired by Harry Potter’s Wand
Purple Jewel Wand – this one has a tiny gemstone on the end
Elder Wand with Dragon Wand

When all the wands here cured, trimmed and painted I was ready to seal them. I used a high shine spray sealer and gave each wand a few coats. In the end, I created 20 wands and managed to use one 1 lb  Apoxie Sculpt. It comes in two 8 oz containers that you mix equally, in the amount you need. It is air dry medium but I felt like I had a length of time to work with it before and as I mentioned above, I loved that you can smooth it out with water.  I really liked my Hedwig Wand but my daughter’s first guess was that it was going to be a penguin and then once I had painted it she kept calling it a pigeon. I think she was just giving me a hard time, however, I really liked that one.

Sea Snake wand
Inspired by Luna Lovegood’s Wand

For the party, I created an Ollivander’s Storefront that held the wands, I will share the creation of the project down the road! Thanks for stopping by!

Fire Twist Wand
Red Lacquer Wand
Dragon Wand Close-up

Harry Potter Party – Golden Egg

That’s right today’s Harry Potter Party project is the Golden Egg! When Harry opens the egg underwater it gives him the following clue in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you’re searching ponder this;
We’ve taken what you’ll sorely miss,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour, the prospect’s black,
Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.

Harry Potter’s Golden Egg

Now, my egg didn’t open and I am not sure that you would want to put it underwater, but it was fun to create. Per usual, I started my creation with lots of research. The Noble Collection has a beautiful Golden Egg for sale and they had great photos.

Inspired by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I started by sketching my design based on the photos I found on the internet. I was able to find an unfinished paper mache egg at Target that was the right size. The egg has a slightly flat bottom which allows it to stand without falling over.

My Golden Egg

My next step was to apply air dry clay all over my egg. I sculpted the owl at the top and then started carving. I used my sketch as a guide. I’d love to tell you that I had everything laid out perfect and that it just worked out but that would not be the truth. I got about 3/4 of the way through my carving and realized that I was going to have too much room. So, I just had to make it work. I added a few additional buildings and my “secret” message. I tried to keep with the style of the rest of the egg.

Special message for the Birthday Girl

These things just happen sometimes and I really believe that they are just a part of the process. The air dry clay cured very quickly so there wasn’t much time to mess around trying to fix anything anyway. Once it was done, I was pretty happy with the overall look.

View of the top
Another View of the Golden Egg

I left my egg to cure. Once dry, the owl and wings had popped off but I just re-glued them on without any issue. I find that air dry clay doesn’t like to stick to itself and I just plan to glue things back on. A little more time to let the glue dry and then it was on to painting. I started with a coat of black acrylic paint, making sure to get down into the carvings. I gave my egg two coats of black. Again, more time to dry and then onto the gilding! This was my favorite part of the egg. I used DecoArt Metallic Lustre in Gold Rush. It is a wax and I just rubbed it on using a paper towel. Super easy! I made sure to just add the gold to the top of my egg and not into the carving.

Decoration for our Harry Potter Party

I really liked how the egg turned out and the primitive style carvings made it an easy project. Good luck with your own Golden Eggs – super fun!

What mysteries are held in this clue??

 

Harry Potter Party (Part One)

Yeah, I am finally back! This party was a success and I have nearly recovered. We have the bulk of the decorations down and boxed away and nearly all the items that were moved have been returned. So, my plan for this series of post will be this, I am going to walk you through the party. I will share what all the kids did and the order. Then any projects that I haven’t shared will be shared in individual posts. Without further ado!

Ready for Hogwarts

To start, we decorated our front porch. I made a Beware Whomping Willow sign that I staked out in front of our tiny tree. I also made one that said, “Wizards Welcome, Muggles Tolerated.”  The second sign was placed in our large empty flower pot that lives on the front porch. Initially, I thought about getting flowers or some other plant for it but the sign, a last minute addition, became one of my favorites signs from the party.

Party entry – Harry Potter Party

We had our Bentwood Trunk (ordered on Ebay from the UK), a new trunk I purchased locally at a discount outlet, a brown wrapped package (addressed to the birthday girl and from Flourish & Blotts), Hedwig in her cage, the Gryffindor scarf, aged cauldron, Nimbus 2000, and Quidditch goggles all decorating the front porch. I hung our Hogwarts Express sign from the eave and added the Hogwarts House Bunting that I made. The big draw was the “brick wall” the kiddos passed through to enter the party. We also had out our directional sign posts. I created each of the signs and just put on as many as I could manage!

Directional Signpost – Harry Potter Pary

Once they entered the house, our guests were greeted by the House Banners and Always canvas down the hallway. To the left, in my studio, we had set-up a photo booth. I used a black cloth backdrop and stands that I have for my photography as the backdrop. We had props that I printed from the WB site. That I glued to foam core and added handles. I also had a wanted poster, complete with Azkaban Prison number card and then our Ford Anglia cut out. The kids had a blast getting their pictures taken. We did the photo booth area as they entered in order to give the guests time to arrive. We also used it again when one of our classes ended a little early.

Have you seen this wizard?
In the Flying Car

Once all of the guests arrived we performed our Sorting Ceremony. Now, I figure that nearly all of the kids would want to be in Gryffindor so a true Sorting Ceremony wouldn’t net me the three classes that we needed. What I did instead was to create badges each with a dragon on them. We had green, red, and yellow. Each kiddo came up and put on the hat, the reached into my cauldron and pulled out their badge. This divided them up into groups of six each.

Sorting Ceremony

Then we sent them off for their first class. We sent one group to the basement for Portions, one to Quidditch, and one to Herbology. For Quidditch, we set up the Quidditch Cornhole boards on the side of our house. The weather was perfect! On the back porch was Herbology, here the kiddos were planting Mandrakes. In the basement, Snape was teaching the kids to make slime. Each session was 20 minutes and then they switched.

Quidditch Cornhole
Herbology
Snape on the way to Potions

Once we had worked through our three classes, it was on to Defense Against the Dark Arts as a large group. We had black balloons, filled with helium. In each balloon was a Patronus. I had cut each animal out of glitter cardstock and then inserted them into each balloon before I inflated them. We had:

  • Pheonix
  • Dragon
  • Dog
  • Otter
  • Stag
  • Rhinocerus
  • Lion
  • Tiger
  • Owl
  • Ram
  • Wolf
  • Horse
  • Fox
  • Cat
  • Shark
  • Dolphin
  • Eagle

I brought out the balloons and each guest selected one balloon. Then we went around the room and each kiddo used the special wand ( a spare wand with a large pin taped on) to pop their balloon and find their Patronus, making sure to give a loud “Expecto Patronum” before the popping. I held the balloons for each student and managed to have no one stab me. So a victory in my book.

This gets us to about half-way on the party activities. The next post will detail our trip to Gringotts and Olivanders and then the food!

 

 

Quidditch Cornhole Boards

The Quidditch Cornhole Boards are finally completed! Between retouching, cold weather, and paint that took forever to dry these took way longer than I was anticipating. In fact, the process of building the actual boards took way less time than painting them. Despite all of the setbacks they are finally complete. Now, I just have to either make or purchase bean bags. 

Without further ado, here is how I made these. To begin, I made a trip to my local hardware store to purchase my wood. I was in a hurry and didn’t have them cut it for me, which was probably not the best idea but these things happen. I managed to find three 2x4s in the miscut bin so I got those at 70% off. They each had about 3″ cut off the end but I knew that I had a spare 2×4 at home to make up the difference. In addition to the 2x4s, I also purchased a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood. I dragged my wood home and began the process of cutting everything.

Trimming the legs

The 2x4s were cut as follows:

  • 21″ short sides (4)
  • 48″ long sides (4)
  • 12″ legs (4)

I cut the sheet of plywood to 24″x48″

Prepping to cut the goal

I did use a circular saw to cut all of my wood, which always makes me a little nervous. If you use a circular saw please be very careful and follow all of the safety guidelines. I used 3.5″ screws to assemble my frames.

I added the goals to the plywood in two different ways. For my first board, I screwed my plywood deck to my frame first and for the other, I cut it out before I screwed the deck down. I actually think that adding it after it was screwed down was easier but it is up to you. I used a 6″ circle drill. This is a lot of work for a drill, so use caution and be sure to keep an eye on your drill. Mine got very hot cutting out the holes.  For the second board, once the hole was cut I screwed the deck to the frame with 1 1/2″ screws.

Cornhole – Drill fit with 6″ hole cutter
After cutting

Now, I went about shaping my legs. I used a circle cutting tool in my crafting arsenal to cut out a 3 1/2″ circle from paper to use as my curve template. Using my paper template, I  traced the curves onto one end of each leg. I really should have used a jigsaw to cut these out, but since I didn’t want to borrow my neighbors I thought that I could cut it out with my scroll saw. Now, I will tell you that this was not my best idea since the scroll saw isn’t really made to cut wood this thick. I babied it through and cut out some of the ugliest curves but they worked. and since you really won’t see them under the frame and decking I just left them. I drilled through the frame and legs and added my carriage bolts.

Paper template
Traced circle
Legs rounded
Legs – rounded and drilled

Now, came the fun part, PAINTING! I designed my paint template in my Silhouette Software so I would know what was going where. I used a new brand of paint (for me) on this project. ArtMinds Outdoor paint. I purchased black, teal, yellow, and white. We decided that we needed to paint the snitches gold, not yellow so I also purchased gold outdoor paint by FolkArt. I started by priming my boards and then once dry, I used painters tape to create my design.

First layer of paint
Design Layout in Silhouette Studio

The add the graphics I created stencils using my Silhouette Cameo. These were big and gave me lots of trouble. I probably should have purchased a higher grade of plywood and/or done more sanding but the stencils were a challenge to cut and to paint. This caused me to have to do a lot of retouching where paint seeped under the stencil. Below you will see a few photos from the process.

One other issue I had was that on one of the boards the black paint just wouldn’t dry. While the cold weather kept me from painting on these for almost a week, it took about that long for the deck to dry. I painted the boards at the same time, the same way, so I have no idea why only one was giving me trouble. The black paint was much thicker than all the other colors and I am sure that was what led to the issue.

Stencil cut using Silhouette Cameo

I added the central image and then the lettering. I used white paint and then on the snitch, I painted over this with the yellow paint, but that was overruled necessitating the purchase of the gold paint. This was really much better. As I mentioned, this was not an easy process and I fought with the stencil material as much as I did the paint but in the end, it all worked out.

After the first stencil
Adding the lettering

Once I had my main designs done, I used painting tape to add the yellow stripe and then the stands up to the Quidditch rings. I also cut out the goal circles and added those. I took my legs off the boards and painted those with the black paint.

Completed board

The final step was to add the varnish. The paint says that it doesn’t need a sealer but I wanted my boards to hold up during the party and for years to come so I added four coats of Varathane to the tops and one coat on the legs and sides.

After varnishing
Quidditch Cornhole Boards

 

Completed Quidditch Cornhole Boards
In this photo, you can see the contrasting legs,
Created by Jennifer Miner
Cornhole – Painted for Harry Potter Party
Hogwarts Quidditch Cornhole Boards

 

Overall, I think that they turned out pretty decent. If I were to do it again I would get the wood cut at the store, borrow the jigsaw, and do a bit more sanding. The outdoor paint was very thick and I don’t love that you can see brush strokes but I don’t hate it enough to redo it!The other thing was that on one board the varnish did a funny thing on the last coat and got really streaky, this was another one of those things that I am not sure what went wrong but I don’t hate it enough to start all over.

 

 

 

 

Hogwarts House Banners

Hi Everyone!

Back again today with more Harry Potter love. Today I will be sharing our latest creation, Hogwarts House Banners! My plan is to have these hanging in our hallway as the kiddos enter. These were pretty easy to create using my Silhouette Cameo and some felt. So, let’s get started!

Harry Potter House Banners

To begin, I purchase felt from my local craft store. This is not from the precut squares but by the roll. I purchased half of a yard of each of my colors, burgundy, yellow, green, and blue, this gave me a little more than I needed but I will use the extra for another project. In addition, I also bought three spools of 1/4 in. ribbon in silver, yellow, and black.

“Felt glorious felt”
1/4 Ribbon

I trimmed by felt into 15 in. by 19 in. squares and trimmed the bottom by cutting out a 3.5-inch tall triangle.

Black cut felt

To do this, I measured to the center of the banner and then up 3.5 inches and folded my rectangle in half and cut the points. Once I had the first one done I used it as a guide for the others. Since I am using felt for these there is no need to seam!

Cutting the bottom – Measure

Once I had the first one done I used it as a guide for the others. Since I am using felt for these there is no need to seam!

Cutting the bottom
Bottom cut

Now on to the design portion of our banners. This was really the hardest and most time-consuming part. I really wanted to used printable heat transfer material to print our house logos and then iron that onto my banner. However, I was unable to find what I was looking for in a high enough resolution to print at 12 inches tall. I looked and looked and looked and I couldn’t find what I was wanting.  I finally gave in and realized that I need to go simpler. So, I decided to create a shield and cut out the animal sigil for each house out of the center. It was back to the internet where I found just the right shapes. I will confess that the Hufflepuff is my favorite!

Gryffindor design in Silhouette Software

Now that I had my designs created it was time to cut these out. I made sure to reverse my designs so the would be the way I designed when ironed on. Really for these designs, it wouldn’t really matter which way the animals faced, but it is always good to remember to flip.

Be sure to flip that design prior to cutting

I used Cricut iron-on material for this project. This was my first time using that particular brand and I have to say I was impressed. It was easy to cut and I had no trouble cutting it with my Silhouette Cameo, even without a cutting mat. At this point, I had my sigils all cut-out and ready to go.

Ribbon glued in place (I actually ironed on the sigil first, just pretend it isn’t there)

I broke out the sewing machine and sewed the double ribbon edgings to my banners. I used Aleene’s Tack Glue to glue them in place and once they were dry I just ran a stitch down the edges. This was a little trickier than I had thought but I think that they are okay.

Back of the iron-on transfer – after weeding

Next, I ironed on my shields. This Cricut Iron-On Vinyl was so easy to work with and adhered like a charm. One word of caution when using an iron on felt, be very careful as high temps can melt the felt. This is eco-felt and it seemed to be a little more sensitive to heat. As long as I kept moving my iron everything seemed fine and the iron on went down very easily.

Ready for ironing
After ironing and removing the carrier sheet

Almost complete! To complete the banners, I folded over the top edge of my banner and sewed a little tube. This created a pocket for my  .3 inch dowel rod, which was cut to 16 inches.

Pinned dowel pocket
Completed banner on dowels with caps

Now, I really liked them at this point but they needed something more! I found some wooden dowel caps and using wood glue added them to the ends. They were just the look the banners were calling for. I really think that these are going to look great and I had enough felt left over that I will have plenty to make my bunting! I may still paint the dowel caps but for now, they will stay plain.

Ravenclaw Banner – Harry Potter Party
Hufflepuff Banner – Harry Potter Party

Harry Potter Party – Slytherin Banner

You can totally whip these babies up! For a sewing project, they are pretty forgiving and you could always use glue for the ribbons and top closure if you really didn’t want to sew. I hope you enjoyed today’s tutorial!

Materials

  • Felt (9×15 per banner)
  • 1/4 inch ribbon
  • Cricut Iron-on material (I used Foil Gold, Foil Chrome, and Black)
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • .3 Dowel Rod (1/2 per banner)
  • 1 inch 3/8 inch Dowel Cap (2 per banner)
  • Thread
  • Wood Glue
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • String/Thread to hang

Cheers!