Thursday, 12 December 2013

Covering cone party hats to match your theme!

I had a huge amount of trouble finding tissue paper hats to put in my Christmas crackers this year. The party shop that I always use for these things, disappeared over night and my source of ideas and people to chat to about entertaining d├ęcor dissolved with them... Its very sad.

I tried every other party shop in the area but to no avail - they simply didn't have tissue party hats and couldn't "order them in". It was really weird.

Then I turned to the internet in my attempt to buy these hats and discovered that I can only get them from the UK or the USA and, although the price for the hats was on the high end of ok, the postage made them simply too expensive for what will be a throw away item.

I have tried making them before and despite it looking like a simple and easy thing to make, mine didn't live up to expectations... So I was reluctant to spend the time and energy to make the 20 I was going to need for Christmas day.

Whilst despairing to my neighbour about my potential hat-less Christmas crackers she suggested those party cone hats that you normally have for Birthday parties. She suggested that I put them on the table as part of the "decorations" (rather than stuff them in the cracker as I had first imagined she meant) which solved sooooooo many problems in one hit! (Thank you Gilly-Beans!)

So off to the shops I went with my new hat idea. Since I have a "mint and lavender" colour scheme this year, it didn't seem impossible that I would be able to find them in these colours and in a "shabby chic" type style (what was I thinking???)

Four days later, I had to concede that cone hats were indeed available in any colour and design except that ones I wanted... I bought these ones in the picture hoping that the red wouldn't be too bad once I got it with everything else. But of course, if like me you are one of those people who when they get their heart set on something - can't settle for anything else - and so the red trees had to go. Painting over the red didn't work. I couldn't find anything to stick over the red so I decided to bite the bullet and simply cover the whole hat with some Christmas paper...

Time consuming, but cheap and I end up with what I want!

Here's what I did...

These are the original hats. The design is perfect, the mint is perfect... The red not so!

I took out all the strings, undid the hats and put them under something heavy (a carafe of water in this case) to flatten them out a bit.

Then I selected the paper I wanted and cut a strip that fitted the flattened hat onto it. At first I used a wrinkle free glue on the shiny patterned side to stick the two together - but ended up using a glue stick as the wrinkle free stuff didn't stick the paper to the hat once it was dry!

Flip the hat over and stick firmly to the paper.

Then simply cut around the hat using it as a template.

With the wrinkle free craft glue, I got a few wrinkles. Most of them did go away once the glue dried but as soon as I moved the hat, the paper fell off!!!???

So I recommend the glue stick for sticking the hats to the paper!

When you get to the cutting out bit, pop a bin right next to you as you end up with a fair bit of rubbish and this makes it easy to clean up - this lot went straight to the worms!

Once your hats are dry, turn them over and with a knife or a pair of scissors, recut the slits and also the holes for the elastic.

Reassemble - and Voila! Hats in a shade and design that I like!

Of course once I had gone that far and wasted the better 1/2 of an afternoon on this I decided to quickly embellish them a bit further with a bit of glitter glue - just because it was too hot and sticky to move away from the table and the fan!

This was more time consuming than I thought it would be. Mainly because I started with one glue and after I had done nearly 1/2 the hats I discovered that the glue wasn't sticking and had to restick most of the hats again. I'm hoping that these could be reused for another event (Birthday for example) rather than thrown out. Its going to depend on who starts clearing the table and decides that they are "disposable" items...

I'm quite please with them and glad I chose a design that whilst is Christmassy could still be used for another event, making my afternoon spent cutting and pasting more economical!

I set up a production line for these as I find it a more efficient way of making a lot of things that are the same. I unfolded all the hats, then I cut all the strips of wrapping paper, then glued and cut out the hats etc etc rather than made one whole hat at a time. I find that I develop a technique and get faster by doing the same thing 20 times that make only one whole item at a time.

Im quite pleased with the end result and am looking forward to seeing them on the table!

Score card:
Green-ness: Hmmm... If I do manage to save them from overzealous cleaning upper-er relatives, and use them again then they would be quite green. As a one off disposable item, bought brand new - not so at all....
Frugal-ness: Not so bad for custom made hats - $10 for 20 of them all up (Paper, hats and glue)
Time cost: Lets not go there... It was a pleasant afternoon, sitting under the pergola with the radio and my scissors and glue - but I was there for quite a few hours!
Skill level: Cutting pasting and perhaps glue selection skills might be needed!
Fun-ness: Great fun once they were all done!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Quick easy christmas tags!

This year I am making some Christmas biscuits to give to workmates and various friends as Christmas Gifts. I have found clear bags to put them into and then decided that I needed a small gift tag to go with it.

Its probably quicker to buy 40 gift tags for $2 from a cheapy shop but it seems silly to me to give a handmade gift and then to attach a shop bought tag to go with it.

So after a quick look in the craft room - I decided that I was good to go and had enough bits and bobs to make a few super easy Christmas-y gift tags for my homemade hand made presents!

Here's what I did...

(Please excuse the bad photos. My phone does not take good photos and the camera battery goes flat 1/2 an hour after it is charged up...)


I found 4 pieces of red and green A4 card and chopped them in to 12 pieces to give me a tag base to work from.

Using a piece of last years wrapping paper that went with the tag colours, I cut some 2cm wide strips from the wrapping paper.

And stuck them to each tag. I decided to go for an offset strip but there is no reason why you couldn't put them in the middle, across the middle, at the bottom or anything that looks good to you!

Then I trimmed up the edges
And cut them into tag shapes by cutting the corners off one end.

Then I put holes in the small end with a hole punch...
 And gilded the edges with a gold stamp pad.
 I found some wrapped candy canes at the Cheapy shop (15 for $2)

And they threaded perfectly through the holes giving the tag some weight, texture and another yummy to eat all at the same time! The string will tie onto the sealed biscuit bags and I can write a message on the back of the tag, as in this case, the back of the card is white.
You could print a message out on your computer and stick it to the back of the tag if you wanted to as well.

Nice and easy! Cheap if you have the bits already. Quite quick and can be adapted to any colour scheme that you desire. You could write the persons name on a bauble in glitter pen, thread that through the hole instead of the candy cane and then they could put it in their own tree for a calorie reduced version!

Silver tags with a patterned silver paper with a silver bauble would be very classy (as would gold) or you could use your wrapping paper to make matching tags. There are lots of Christmas decorations that you could use instead of a candy cane like snowflakes or hanging Santa's, it depends what you are in the mood to create!

Have fun!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for using left overs from another project and not buying a commercial product! 
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for not spending more than $2!
Time cost: Maybe about 20 minutes to make 30 of these...
Skill level: Cutting and pasting - oh and threading this time!
Fun-ness: Great fun - and people love home made stuff so much!
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