Making a Pinata- tutorial

Coop’s 5th birthday party is tomorrow. He’s having a Green Lantern theme. Party City had zero Green Lantern piñatas….or even plain green piñatas for that matter. So we decided to make one since boys his age really are fans at smacking the beans out of tissue paper candy receptacles.

I had made a piñata once before for Coop’s 2nd birthday. That time we made the sort with hanging ribbons the kids pull until one finally opens a trap door raining down candy. This time, we went more traditional and the kids will annihilate it. SO i’ll admit i didn’t attempt to make this one completely perfect.

But here’s how we did it.

Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard and tape it into a circle. Ours is about 3 inches tall. Cut 2 circles from newspaper,place one under your cardboard ring.

Cut slits into the newsprint or pleat it up around the cardboard ring and secure with masking tape. The pourous nature of masking tape means we’ll be able to paint it later. Don’t use shiny packing tape or scotch tape.

now carefully start adding a bit of strength to the surface of the newsprint “wall” by using matte finish Mod Podge to apply a few layers of newspaper strips in overlapping fashion. Coop sat on the floor and tore these for me : ) Allow to dry.

You want the piñata to be strong enough to hold candy, but weak enough for the kids to break. Don’t go too crazy with the newspaper strips!

Use an awl to make 2 small holes in the corrugated cardboard so you can attach wire for hanging the piñata. My husband is an electrician and so he gave me a piece of sturdy, pvc coated wire. Cut an extra little square of cardboard to layer in for strength. Punch 2 holes in that also and thread your wire through. then twist the tail ends to secure on the inside.

Add another circle of newsprint to the back of the piñata, pleating the edges to make it fit around the edges with masking tape. This time, cut a slit into the newsprint up near your wire hanger and fold back to form a pie shaped opening for depositing candy. Reinforce the edges of the opening with more masking tape. Then repeat the ModPodge-ing of newsprint strips step that you did on the other side. Once dry, take the piñata outside and spray with one coat of primer. If you are more meticulous than i was this time….you can follow up with a topcoat of spray paint in a color that will match the tissue fringe you will be applying later. i was not feeling that perfection was necessary right about now….to much to do!! : )

Cut 2-3″ strips of fringe from tissue paper. Starting at the bottom of the piñata, begin layering the fringe up the sides of the structure. Use a thin bead of white glue. Your fingers will be sticky and filmy if you’re doing it right!

Once the sides are all fringed, dump in your CANDY!!!!

Then cover over the hole with some flimsy typing paper just taped into place. Start at the bottom again and apply layers of the tissue fringe until the entire piñata back is covered and looking festive!

Paint the front of the piñata a coordinate color using basic acrylic craft paint and allow to dry.

Finally, i printed off the Green Lantern symbol onto thin printer paper (11×17 size). trim the art and attach it to the piñata front with spray adhesive. That’s it!

Happy birthday Coop!! This baby will be in shredded bits on the back lawn sometime tomorrow afternoon. i can’t wait!

tutorial – Stenciled Rocker Ties for Little boys


My son cracks me up. Sometimes he wants to look “crazy.” Mismatched socks. spiked up hair, clashing colored clothes, and most recently, ties over his t-shirts. He started with some bias tape from my craft drawer that he made me fashion into a tie with his Star Wars tee. Then he moved on to my husband’s ties. They hang down to his knees! i was determined to give him some of his own for christmas and he said he really wanted his name, lightning bolts and a rockstar tie…..hmmmm.

The following tutorial shows what i came up with to get some smiles this Christmas.

i’ll start by saying that finding little boys’ ties that aren’t clip-on is HARD! But i found one standard and one “ZIP” tie that is pretty cool and coop will like since he can tighten and loosen it himself.

1- i started by actually scanning the ties in and using their exact width, point angle, etc, to make a template in Adobe Illustrator. Then i created the art i’d use. i went simple on the name tie and included more detail in the guitar tie (keep in mind you have to cut these shapes with an x-acto knife later!) Little boys ties are just the right size to fit the graphic diagonally on a piece of letter size paper. Phew! i used Full Sheet crack n peel label stock to print my templates.

2 – once printed, i sat down with my x-acto and started carving out the reverse areas of my stencils and sticking them onto the ties. For floating pieces, i just laid the template down on the tie and used it like a puzzle to guide where i placed the bits.

3- i secured and re-secured all the sticker edges as much as possible and left the ties overnight…..because i was tired and it was 2am….not b/c its a necessary step : )


4 – i picked up some soft fabric paints by Tulip, including a neon yellow that just seemed fun!

5- after experimenting with a stippling brush and foam stipplers, i went with the foam. The bristles of the brush were too coarse and kept catching on the silky tie fabric.

6 – i randomly dipped and painted until all the open areas of my designs were covered. ya’ll know how to stencil, right?? Pouncing, no dragging! : )

7 – wait for the ties to dry. i hate being patient!

StenciledBoysTieTute2And after a bit of torturous waiting…here they are!


i hope they go over big on Christmas! It will be so hard to wait til then to see his reaction!

Tutorial – decoupage trinket trays

TrinketTrayTuteA few months back, i posted some little decoupaged Trinket Trays and saucers. Everyone really liked them, so i thought i’d give you a little tutorial on the process i use to make them. It’s quite easy, you just have to pay attention to detail.

i originally found random little saucers and such at thrift stores and re-purposed them, but eventually needed more than i could find and ended up ordering round soy sauce dishes from At the time of this post, their site was under construction/maintenance, but i got item YW22. 30 little dishes cost me $15. i thought that was a great deal : )

Anyway! onto the tutorial

1- set up your prints. Use a flexible/cloth tape measure to determine the diameter of your dish. the KOYO dishes are about 4″ in diameter. then set up circles with that diameter on the computer. i used favorite art prints and cropped them into my circles. You could also cut your circles from any thin, somewhat porous paper like magazines or wrapping paper.

2- Apply Mod Podge (glossy) to the inside of the bowl. Be neat. Try not to get it over the edge of the bowl and don’t goop it on. you want a nice even layer that won’t squoosh out too much over the edges when you press your paper disc on.

3- i always have a damp napkin or paper towel beside me so i can lightly press the back of my paper disc to it before applying to the bowl. it makes the paper limp and easier to work with as you coax it along the curved sides of the bowl.

4-place the center down first and gently press, don’t rub too much, toward the edges. Then i get into pie-crust mode. i use both thumbs inside the bowl and my fingers behind to work my way around the circumference of the bowl. you’ll get into a groove. Trust me. Make sure the paper is adhered right up to the edge, but don’t bend it over the edge. We’ll trim the excess off carefully with small scissors once the paper is fully dry and “crispy” again.

5- optional – i make a disk for the bottom of the dish with my logo for retail purposes and you might want to do so also…to include a little note or “love, mommy”

6 – Once the bowl is completely dry and trimmed, apply a layer of Clear Polyurethane or other varnish that is non-yellowing. Dry. Apply a 2nd coat.

* since i’m impatient, i discovered that i can poly the inside and bottom of the bowl at the same time and then rest the bowl on a roll of masking tape (the perfect size!) so that no wet surfaces are making contact with the table! so efficient!

7- When everything is completely dry, you can smooth out any remaining rough edges using an emery board or piece of fine sandpaper. i like the emery board. i sit in front of the tv and file away as though i’m doing my nails – haha

So that’s it! Give it a try and make some lovely keepsakes for loved ones. These are perfect for jewelry next to the sink, coins on the dresser, paperclips on your desk, or even your kiddo’s precious lost teeth on the nightstand for the tooth fairy! Just remember that they are not food-safe and also not meant to be submerged in water since they are composed with paper. Happy crafting!!

New Art work – “beautiful mess”

Beautiful MessThis is my latest completed artwork. It is a marriage of 3 elements of my signature-style. Below, i’ll tell you how i made it, so you can make a similar piece if you’re feeling all artsy, and i’ll tell you where to get this one if you wanna to take the shorter route to splash some color on your wall.

Beautiful Mess STEPS

step 1: I made a black ink drawing full of swirls and curliques in my favorite twirly way.

step 2: i scanned that, then dragged another piece of my artwork (a fully saturated and detailed marker & pencil illustration) into the photoshop doc on another layer

step 3: i made a mask out of the black line drawing and applied it to the color layer.

step 4: i made layer copies of that cool form and layered them over each other until i liked the design

step 5: i dragged in the background layer….a scan of a painted/stained wood board i made.

…a few tweaks, tugs, and fiddlings with settings & saturations later….voila! i came out with this. It’s a combo of 3 of my favorite design elements that come together in what i think is a Beautiful Mess. And whaddya know? You can make one yours, if you like, by shopping here.