Tag Archives: handmade

You Are Loved

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This angel painting came together pretty quickly. I had a person in mind while I worked on it, and I even had a tiny photo of my friend which I used for inspiration. I don’t think I’m a skilled enough artist to create a realistic portrait, but I tried to capture some characteristics of this person.

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I started with a collage background, using sheet music (she’s a singer) and lots of flowers. This was following another lesson in the Kelly Rae Roberts angel painting ecourse I’m taking, Spirit Wings.

In each project, we’ve learned about different mediums to create the face. For this one, we used Faber-Castell Gelatos but the set I purchased didn’t have quite the range of color I wanted, so I also used Pitt pens.

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I didn’t really get step-by-step photos, but here you can see the rough sketch of the face. I used a brown Stabilo All, which works on the kind of plastic surface of the dried gel medium covering the sheet music. It also blends in later when I added color to the face.

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Another layer of collage added more pink roses and other flowers. The words are lyrics from a song we sing in Threshold Choir.

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I had the honor of visiting my friend at home and presenting my painting to her. She was delighted. I could not have asked for a better response.

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Thank you for visiting, please come back again.

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Believe in Yourself

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This blue mantra painting was created for my friend, Laura, as a birthday gift.  She has gone back to school and was feeling a little apprehensive about quitting her job.

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She is studying Chemistry so I wanted to include some things related to that and also to remind Laura that she really is amazing, marvelous, smart and funny. Especially funny. I love spending time with her because we usually find something to laugh about.

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I’m also continuing to love crafting these pieces. There are layers that don’t show in the finished painting but are still part of the process and the piece. I really enjoy getting my fingers into the paint and gel medium, smoothing pieces of paper, layering them over each other; scraps from a textbook pages, bits torn from inside of an envelope, and seeing what they will become.  It’s messy and I have to stop every so often to rub the dried goo off my fingers, but I love every minute of it.

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Believe in yourself. It’s a good mantra for me as I continue to play, explore and learn this combination of collage and painting. It’s a good mantra for Laura too.

Thank you for your visit.

 

 

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Believe in Love & Magic

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When I saw this sweet handmade card by Violet Annie on The Paper Wallflower, I knew I would be borrowing the phrase for one of my Hello Soul, Hello Mantras paintings.

My intention, when I started this one, was to play. So I did.

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First things first: get some color on the canvas board – canvas that is stretched over a hard backing.  A squirt of green acrylic paint and I was off.

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I smeared it around with a plastic card, added different shades of green, squirted on some water to create drips, dragged a plastic fork crisscross through the paint and use a bottle lids and a cork to stamp some circles.

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I smeared more paint and then stenciled some hexagons in different sizes. I painted over some of the stamped circles, but decided to re-stamp them.

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Once this verdant background paint was dry (with the help of my heat gun), I started collaging paper onto it.  A piece of map, some textured flowered paper, a bus transfer I found while walking earlier in the day, green tissue paper and a photo of a leaf  with raindrops from a birthday card.

Even though most of these things don’t show in the finished painting, I love how they are all part of it; the layers make the whole thing more interesting. I know what’s under the collage and paint.

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Now back to paint to start to blend the paint and paper layers into a more cohesive background.

I’ve done some painting, dripping, stenciling and a bit of rubber stamping. I’ve also added more collage elements including a fortune from a fortune cookie that says “You are a deep thinker with a knack for problem solving.”

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Several of the collage papers have orange-red on them which you can see peeking from under all the green. I decided to add more of that color to the piece along with more pattern; stamping a harlequin design in black ink.

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Here I’ve added some buff paint to help the letters of the mantra stand out. Once I’ve stamped the letters, I’ll go back in and put some richer color around the letters. A horizon of lace, fabric and paper has been added along the bottom edge.

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Finally – the mantra is stamped onto the background. I think it was a bit more to the right side than would have been ideal, but it just seems to be the best location.

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Last but not least: finishing details. I used the same harlequin pattern for a border, and brought the flower back into view with more of the red-orange color. I also added lots of little details with white and black pens.

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I love how these final details seem to bring the piece into focus (and I do mean more than my photos, which can be a little uneven).

Thank you for your visits and comments.

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Sweet Little Valentine’s

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Although I didn’t need any new supplies for making my Valentine card this year, I couldn’t resist embellishments.

I’d already decided on a color scheme of pink and turquoise, with brown paper (reused from grocery bags). I think the brown balances out the other two colors and keeps them from being too sticky-sweet. Browsing in Once Around in Mill Valley after Craft Gym I picked up a few rolls of washi tape: gold arrows on pink background, white X’s on turquoise background, and the little skinny white tape with tiny gold printed love and gold hearts.

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I also got these Fancy Frills border stickers by Doodlebug Design.

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My inspiration for the design were these Downton Abbey Vintage Valentine’s on Doodlecraft, which I saw on Pinterest. Natalie Shaw of Doodlecraft used little brown cards embellished with lace and trim where I used strips of paper and washi tape, but with a similar result.

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Since I was using small leftover cards in cream and chocolate brown, and I also had a few sizes of small envelopes, I cut up brown paper grocery bags for the card fronts. It isn’t really sturdy enough for the card itself, but it worked as a layer.

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I used gold foil saved from inside of chocolate wrappers to make little hearts using a heart punch.

The other tip I picked up from Doodlecraft is the great graphics at The Graphics Fairy. This fabulous site has over 5,000 free vintage images and is a great resource. I chose the images I used on my cards and shrank them down to about 1.5 x 2.5 inches, or slightly larger, before printing.

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I used a glue stick to adhere the pages of printed images to card stock, cut them out with a paper trimmer and embellished each little picture with a date stamp, buttons, felt flowers, foil hearts, ink borders, sparkly little dot stickers, washi tape, etc. These are the centerpiece of each card and I stuck them to the card fronts with Zots glue dots.

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For some of the time spent on this project, I’ve been alone at my craft desk, or with the company of Kitty McNiblet who lives across the patio in our apartment building, but visits often. Here she is relaxing in the position I call “kitty loaf.”

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Last weekend I spent a lovely day making Valentine’s, eating a delicious lunch and talking and laughing with friends from grade school. We call our creative gatherings Craft & Flash.

My sister, Kathleen, joined us and brought her young dachshund, Stella. The hostess, Clare, also has a dog, Trip, who was SO nice with Stella, even when she took his chew toy!

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I stamped the inside of the cards with this stamp from Oh, Hello Friend, which I also picked up at Once Around. A few years ago I purchased some printed masking tape from this site and the order came with a tag with the same phrase, which has been on my bulletin board ever since.

YOU ARE

AWESOME

loved

wonderful

BEAUTIFUL

& ADORED

The back of the cards are stamped, signed and dated.

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I will give some of my Valentine’s away in person and some are being mailed, so the small envelopes are tucked into larger ones, big enough for mailing. After breakfast out with a friend yesterday, we stepped into PS Paper in San Anselmo and I came home with this Bird with Love Note stamp from Savvy Stamps.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Pleated Paper Heart Garland

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I love a simple project that takes little in the way of both supplies and skill. These pleated paper hearts are easy to make and the results are really pretty. I learned how at Once Around in Mill Valley at the wonderful Tuesday evening free Craft Gym and their inspiration was here.  Although that post is in Swedish, she has great photos that show the whole project and it is to follow.

The hearts remind me of shells with their fan-like folds. They work best with lightweight paper (text weight) though I’ve seen them made from heavier card stock too.  You can make them any size and they look great made kind of short and plump, like these, or longer and more narrow.

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I used brown kraft paper, old sheet music and some lightweight scrapbooking paper in pale green and coral pink prints. For the two heart samples I’m using to show the technique, the smaller piece of paper is 3.5 inches by 7 inches and the larger one is 6 inches by 12 inches.

You want a curved end on each short side of the page. Either trace a large circular item, such as a bowl or plate to get a curved line on each end of your paper, or free-hand trim the paper.

Cut along the curved line. I folded my paper in half to make the cutting a little simpler.

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When I cut this out, I actually cut the curve a little deeper on the sides, to better form the heart shape.

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Now unfold the paper and from one long side, fold it accordion style, with folds between 1/4 and 1/2 inch wide.

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I opened it out a bit for the photo.  If you have a bone folder, it is helpful for making crisp, sharp folds.

Fold the pleated paper in half to form a heart. Carefully glue the two halves together. I like to use Tombow mono adhesive, but a good glue stick will work as well. Just pinch it together and hold it for a bit and don’t pull on the pleats until the glue has dried.

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The finished heart is about 3.75 inches wide by 3.25 inches tall.

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The larger heart is about 5.5 wide by 5.25 tall.

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To thread baker’s twine or string to hang the pleated hearts, use a big needle or a small hole punch, and sting them along the twine.

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When I looked at the Swedish blog I saw she hung her garland from higher on the lobes of the heart – either way will work.

Here’s the finished garland.

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Here you can also see the Heart Strings that I keep up all the time.  I put up two other garlands: Needle Felted Hearts, and Punched Paper Heart Garland.

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More Heart Strings are in the corner by the windows.  On the front door is another Craft Gym creation: my Coat Hanger Heart.

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The apartment is decorated for Valentine’s Day. I’ll show  you some Valentine’s in my next post. You can use the search bar for other Valentine projects  – put in “Valentine” and “card” and you will pull up more than a dozen posts.

Thank you for the visit.

 

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Past Projects: Cards and Little Foil Tape Houses

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Just after Christmas, Rem and I went up to Sea Ranch with my mom. Although I planned a marathon of crafting and bought a bunch of supplies, the actual crafting that took place was more modest in scope. Sitting and gazing out the window interrupted by the occasional nap seemed to be the best use of my time.

I did manage to create a batch of cards, making sets of similar cards with variations in the paper and stamps.

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I make cards for my mom that she can use whenever the occasion calls for it. I try to give her some cards that will work for guys – with a color scheme or designs that aren’t too frilly or feminine.

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Several of the cards had illustrations from a vintage style alphabet poster, printed on scrapbook paper. The picture below was for “W – wave.”

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This “Wish” card is one of my favorites.

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I made these cards before the end of last year and it has taken me a month to post them! Since I’m catching up, here’s another project from last year.

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These little houses were primarily made as Christmas ornaments, but with a pin-back glued on the back, they were also very cute on a lapel. Made from thin cardboard recycled from cereal and cookie boxes, they’re covered with aluminum foil duct tape and copper tape (used to repel snails in the garden) – two great craft supplies from the hardware store.

These ones were made at a holiday party on the campus where I work, that included a few craft tables. I brought the supplies and gave a hand if needed.  A little something layered under the foil tape, or covered with the copper tape and glued to the front of the houses adds interest.  I also like to press tape over corrugated cardboard for the roof.  The tip of your finger is a great tool to start, but for getting all the details, I used a bone folder.

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You can find directions here at Mich L. in L.A.

They are also quite similar to these projects: Pumpkins, Charms, and Leaves.

Thank you for your visit.

 

 

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Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

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Here are two cute projects that you can still put together before Christmas.  I had one of these little button snowmen for years and have made and given away quite a few. They are cheerful on a lapel or collar and super easy to make.

I’ve been cooking and crafting and taking pictures but I haven’t been very good about getting blogs written and published. It is always a challenge during the holidays for me to 1.) Find the time to blog and 2.) Not post anything that is a gift for someone until I’ve given it to them.

For these little snowmen pins, you need two white buttons with one slightly larger than the other, a pin-back, hot glue, scissors, felt, and maybe some pipe cleaner.

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The pin-back needs to be long enough to back part of two buttons without showing above or below them. The silver ones in this picture, with the three holes, is 1 inch long and it works well for most snowmen.

Align the buttons, face down, on your work surface so the two holes on the top are horizontal for eyes and the two holes on the bottom button are vertical for buttons. Apply a small stripe of hot glue and quickly press the back of the pin-back into the glue. Remember that hot glue is very, very hot, so use care when adhering the pin-back. I glue the pin-back on so it is vertical with the clasp at the top.

The glue will likely squish out a bit, but the scarf will probably cover it up. Let the glue cool.  If you need to, remove any glue threads or blobs. Cut a thin strip of felt for the scarf, or use a length of pipe cleaner. Keeping the pin face down, open the clasp of the pin-back and  dot a drop of hot glue onto it, then quickly put the scarf down, a bit off-center.  Wrap it around to the front and use a little tiny bit of glue to keep it in place.

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For a top hat, cut out a rectangle, making it a bit wider than the head. Once you have a good size, trim off two corners to make the hat shape, and glue to button head. A red triangle and white pom-pom make a cute hat with the point of the triangle glued forward.

If your buttons have four holes, you can align the button for the head so one hole is covered by the hat and the other holes make two eyes and a nose, like the one in the top photo with the lighter green scarf. A four-hole button body looks like your snowman has a double-breasted jacket.

With an extensive button collection or somewhere to buy a nice variety of buttons, here are ornaments you can make from them.

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These are simply buttons stacked with a sturdy thread looped through them. For the snowman stack, I added a scarf made from felt and for the Christmas tree, a little star trims the top.

I hope your Christmas to-do list is nearly buttoned up.

Thanks for stopping  by.

 

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Balloon Birthday Card

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A big, red balloon was the perfect image for a birthday card for my boss: bright, cheerful and uplifting.

As usual, I went to Pinterest for ideas and found Jennifer McGuire Ink and her cute and simple balloon cards, which I pretty much copied for the card front.

Since this was a red-letter birthday (she turned 40), I wanted something extra special on the inside: more balloons!  I found more inspiration on Pinterest with a link to this tutorial video by Valita. Too bad that  I jumped in without thinking and ended up having a few challenges with the card, but I’ll get to those later.

Open the card…

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Gold thickers looked great for the number 40.

The mistakes I made include:

  • Heavy watercolor paper for the card – It doesn’t hold the creases as well as a thinner, more standard card stock
  • Double-sided tape that wasn’t strong enough – I ran out of my super-sticky tape and used some Scotch tape and it wasn’t strong enough.
  • No balloon-shaped punch – Not a mistake, really, but each balloon is two pieces, so that meant tracing and cutting out 22 balloons
  • Acetate that was too lightweight – I used a sheet of acetate that is used for copying and it was too flimsy to hold the balloons up, so I had to score and fold two creases in each piece with was fiddly and made them more rigid than I would have liked.

In spite of all of this, I’m pleased with how the card turned out.

Thanks for your visit.

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Art Journaling: Vacation Roadtrip

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I thought I was the only one who made a visual packing list until one day I saw this on Pinterest.

It just works for me to have a visual reference.  Now I can update the list: I crossed off a pair of  yoga pants I decided not to pack and I accidentally left the sports bra at home. Do you make a packing list? Have you ever sketched your packing list?

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I put this page together in our motel room in Ukiah.  I added color later. Even though I walked on other days, this was the last day I made note of my steps.

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I have a date stamp that has about a dozen phrases that I can stamp with the date.

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After the first two spreads, I didn’t manage to do daily journaling. I carried my (big) bag of art supplies into what ever motel we were staying in, but these were actually done during the second half of the trip when we were at Sea Ranch.

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I got the idea for this spread from an old issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  Awas an article by Jacqueline Newbold described preparing a watercolor art journal before a trip. Lay artists tape out to divide your page, paint a background across all the resulting squares and rectangles and then when you are on your trip, you have a grid ready for both artwork and space for text.

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In my case, I’m journaling in a re-purposed book and I’ve used gesso to cover over the text and prep my pages. I used washi tape to make a grid and painted a watercolor background. But the washi tape pulled up the gesso in some pages.  I also need to do more research on what black pen will write on the gesso.

As we drove along the Avenue of the Giants, I was humming and even singing “This Land is Your Land.” So of course I wanted to include that in my page from that day!

In spite of the challenges, I was very pleased with how these pages turned out.  I collected free maps and newsprint guidebooks that are given away because they’re loaded with ads. But they’ve also got some photos that I was happy to use in my journal.

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This spread has some paper from my stash as well as washi tape.  I also used a new circular date stamp I picked up at Scrappers Edge in Eureka.

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I used some of these new materials from my shopping haul at Scrappers Edge on my next spread.

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These are my favorite pages from our trip.

I used ink sprays, embossing powder and gold Mica Gilded Fragments from the Stampendous Frantage Encrusted Jewel Kit, and some of the stencils.

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Heart Bead in Arcata has a beautiful business card that I used on this spread.  I didn’t find any new treasures but I enjoyed looking through the store.

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My last two-page spread represents an overhead view of a flight of beer, and the names of the different breweries we visited.

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There’s the new circular date stamp again.

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I stenciled the background and wrote in the names of the brew pubs.

Inexpensive number thickers from Dollar Tree and letters cut out from a travel brochure combine in the page title.

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Thanks for coming along.

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Mini Piñata

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At Craft Gym last week we made sweet Mini Piñatas. Today is May the Fourth and it is my sister Kathleen’s birthday.  Happy Birthday! I’m sure the piñatas were to honor Cinco de Mayo but I thought it would be a just the thing to celebrate Kathleen’s birthday and make it an even more festive fiesta.

Unfortunately, the link for the mini piñatas on the Once Around site isn’t working, so I’ll walk you through the steps.

Mini Piñatas

You’ll need:

  • A Template (lots of online options) or draw your own
  • Pencil to trace template
  • Lightweight Cardboard such as cereal box or poster-board
  • Scissors (if you have multi-blade fringing scissors, now is the time to use them!)
  • Masking Tape
  • Colorful Crepe or Tissue Paper
  • Glue Stick or Glue such as Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
  • String (if you want to hang it and/or to attach to trap door)
  • A large needle (to put the string through the cardboard)
  • Optional: Washi Tape to close the trap door for accessing the treats inside
  • Small Candies or other tiny treats to fill the piñata

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I used some hand-cut confetti, sequins, paper hearts, felted balls and a variety of small candies to fill the piñata.

I saw several patterns online that had tabs for putting together the pieces of your piñata but in our Crafty Gym we didn’t cut any tabs, and they worked fine.

Cut two matching shapes of cardboard, (I thought the donkey was really cute, but it was a little tricky putting it together – a big heart would also be cute and much easier!) and one long strip of cardboard, about 1.5 inches wide.

Use masking tape to assemble the piñata. I started at the bottom of one leg and taped the strip to it for a few inches.  I creased the strip whenever I reached a sharp corner, then lined up the matching shape and starting taping it on the other side of the cardboard strip to form a 3-D shape.

If you want to hang the piñata up, use a large needle to poke a hole through the cardboard at the top of your shape and thread the string through the hole. I did this after I’d completely covered the piñata with paper fringe and it was pretty tricky.

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I used super-cute yellow pom-pom cord that came on a birthday gift and I saved for just such an occasion. One piece is for hanging it up, one piece connects to the little trap door underneath.

Most directions suggested cutting a flap or trap door for candy removal after you’re finished assembling the piñata but I cut the trap door on the inside of one leg before I’d started adding fringe.

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(Above) here is the candy door open, it is on the inside of the leg to the right) and you can just see two yellow pom poms attached to the door.

Cut tissue or crepe paper into strips about 1.5 inches wide and fold several strips together, folding in half and then in quarters, keeping the paper aligned.

Cut the tissue or crepe paper into a fringe, then unfold.

Using glue stick or tacky glue, glue two rows of each color of fringe to the piñata, starting from the bottom and working upwards.

Once you’ve completely covered your piñata, you might want to trim the fringe  so as to keep the shape of the piñata from become obscured.

Let glue dry.  Fluff the fringe a bit to give it more texture.

Fill your piñata with treats, tipping and tilting to fill every little corner.  Attach cord to trap door.

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I added a small “happy birthday” tag on the cord for pulling open the candy door.

Close door and use some washi tape, if desired, to keep it closed.

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Two strips of polka dot washi tape are keeping the treats inside until the recipient opens the piñata.  You might want to provide a plastic bag when you give your piñata so they don’t lose any goodies.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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