Oct 31, 2011

Make Your Own Costume Project

Image: Filmdrunk

Image: Look at this Frakking Geekster

When it comes to Halloween costumes, I have a very checkered past.

Let me give you 3 personal highlights from my list of 'must try harder' attempts.

Case 1: The photograph below, taken in 1983, shows a typical bunch of Halloween costumes.
I'm in the photo and I will give you 3 guesses, no, I'll give you 4 guesses as to which one I am.

Image: Patent Pending Projects
Wrong. I'm not the 'Bugsy Malone Guy' with high collar, wide brimmed hat and cigar.
Wrong. I'm not 'The Bandaged Man' who turns out to be actually the most accidental  Milk Tray Man ever.
Wrong. I'm not that 'Cowboy(or could be)Mexican' shouting "we don't need no stinking badges".
And Wrong Wrong Wrong. I am NOT the 'Pink Princess' with glitter wand and tiara.
The other girl by the way, is my sister, in what I believe is a 'Nora Barnacle' costume.

So where am I?
Look closer.

See the brown hooded figure standing to the left just in front of the drain pipe?
Believe it or not that is supposed to be Luke Skywalker from Return of the Jedi.
Not one of my best efforts, I'll admit, but come on people. It's 1983!
I'm 9 years old!

Case 2: Jump ahead 21 years and lots of bad choices and you will meet a 30 year old man who 'doesn't do' Halloween anymore. Then someone in work suggests "Wouldn't it be great if we all came to work in costume for Halloween?". The entire room agreed and my heart sank.

I've never been a victim to peer pressure but I felt I could muster up a simple yet effective costume. And all from my own wardrobe.

A pair of black slacks. Check.
A thick wool jumper, brown in colour. Preferably with a hole or two. Check.
A big old pair of boots. Black. Check.
A big quiff of hair. Check. 
And two fake bolts that I could stick on the side of my neck once I got to work and hey presto - a Frankenstein costume.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into work only to see that nobody was in costumes.
It was a stupid idea they all admit.
"Yeah", I muffled, trying to cover the holes in my thick brown scruffy jumper.
"Huh, really", I said, trying to wipe the filth from my black boots on the back of my slacks, "Stupid!"

"You're looking well today." they said.
My God, how did I look the rest of the time?

(By the way, swap the slacks for jeans and this is how I've looked since 2003.)

Case 3: This is a tough one. Do I talk about the year I dressed up as Lee Harvey Oswald and slowly became more and more paranoid as the night wore on, believing there was a actual conspiracy against me, or the time I dressed as Max Cady from Cape Fear and everyone mistook me for Elvis?

No, none of those. Instead, I'll talk about my very last Halloween costume.

I had decided enough was enough. No more. I was going to dress in my own clothes and add a clever prop. That would be my costume.

So, for my last fancy dress, I went as God.
All I needed was one of those Hello - My Name Is badges.

I wore my own clothes.
I filled in the name 'God'.
I picked up a book on magic from the library and taught myself a few card tricks.

I then got so drunk I failed to remember or perform any of the tricks I had learnt.
(Make of that what you will)

It was a shambles.

So, you see, I'm not someone to take advice from when it comes to Halloween costumes.
So when I titled this post - Make Your Own Costume - that's exactly what I meant.

Go make your own.

I'm sure you'll find 1 out of the 85 easy, frugal Halloween costume ideas over on Wise Bread .

Happy Halloween.

Oct 27, 2011

Shadow Theatre Project

Image: minieco

Here I go again with the cereal boxes.
A cereal box shadow theatre project from minieco, which is great little project for kids this Halloween.

Image: minieco

You will need
1. An empty cereal box
2. A4 piece of tracing paper/greaseproof paper/vellum
3. Sticky tape
4. 2 or 3 sheets of dark coloured A4 paper/card
5. Wooden sticks or the coffee swizzle sticks you can pick up with take away coffee.

All measurements given in this tutorial are based on you using a cereal box which is bigger than 21 x 30cm.

Step 1.
Begin by undoing all the flaps on the cereal box and laying it out flap.

Step 2.
Cut out two large rectangles on each face of the cereal box. The rectangles need to be 19 x 28cm.

Image: minieco
With the printed side of the cereal box facing up, tape a piece of A4 tracing paper over one of the rectangles to create a screen.

Step 4.
Remove the two flaps either side of the screen.

Step 5.
Re-assemble the box so that it is now inside out.

Step 6.
Decorate! You can use this pdf template. Simply print out the template and cut round the shapes – or use it to trace the shapes onto a black piece of paper. Remember to stick the scenery on the inside of the tracing paper screen. Use the wooden sticks/coffee stirrers to stick the ‘skull’ and ‘bat’ onto. 

You can download more templates here to add more characters to your show.

Image: minieco

Step 7.
Illuminate the back of the shadow theater with a bright lamp in order to bring the set to life

(PLEASE REMEMBER lamps get hot – so don’t leave it unattended)

Have a look around minieco. There are some great tutorials from Pacman Halloween Garlands to an amazing cardboard guitar.

I know I'll be trying that out with my secret store of cardboard!

Oct 26, 2011

Free Halloween Printables

There are plenty of free printables available across the Internet.

Here is just a small collection compiled by poppytalk.

First up are Vintage Poison Labels. Print them out and put them on wine glasses, cups and old bottles.
Courtesy of Coco & Bella

Click on images to enlarge

Next up are some Silhouette Posters.
You can find out how to make these and more at The Pink Peony of Le Jardin

How about some free Halloween Clip Art? Print them out or use them for online invitation cards.
These pieces have been enhanced by Nest of Posies but you can find loads more vintage and retro looking Halloween clip art at The Graphics Fairy, a collection of 2,200 FREE clip art images and vintage printables.

Following that, there are some printable Halloween sweet bag tags from The Twinery.

Next up are some iron on transfers.
Halloween Eye Chart from tattertots & jello and treat bag labels by  Oscar + Emma Design

How about some cupcake toppers?
Try I {heart} Nap Time 

Head over to Mr Printables from some Halloween Candle Wrappers and Party Favours.

And Finally, a few more Party decorations courtesy of Poppies at Play

Oct 24, 2011

Black Bag Spider Web Project

Image: How About Orange

On Halloween last year we ended up doing what we normally do for most festive holidays.
In short, leave everything to the last minute and then rush around in a wild panic.

We bought a large jar of jelly sweets, 2 handfuls of  lollipops, a couple of bags of marshmallows, tons of monkey nuts, and made a few big bowls of popcorn. Then we sat and waited for the doorbell to ring.

And we waited.

And we peeked out the curtains.

And we waited.

Not a single Ghost, Ghoul or Goblin.  No Witch, no Pirate, no Cowboy. No Vampire or Mermaid. Not even a single Harry Potter.

Under normal circumstance you might think that this is quite depressing. Two grown adults, sitting in a house all night, surrounded by sugary treats, trying to come up with suitable tricks to play on the children should we be caught off guard and actually get asked by one of these tiny 'fancy-dressers' to prove our worth.

These circumstances, however, are not normal because for the last 4 years running, we had not had any 'trick or treaters' calling to our home. Mainly because we never put up any Halloween decorations. A strong point of contention you might add?

We just assumed that small children would be calling to our home, able to sniff out the junk food inside like some bipedal truffle hunting pigs.

(side note: I really shouldn't refer to small children as 'truffle hunting pigs', although - now that we have a 14 month old who is able to sniff out everything from 'tv remotes hidden behind cushions' to 'all temporary DIY jobs around the house that just need that extra little nudge to destroy them' to 'every electrical outlet in the home not yet childproofed', I figured a few sweets and popcorn were easy pickings and no real challenge.)

But I digress.

This year we will be prepared.

Here are the instructions for your very own, no cost, cheap as chips, black bag spider web courtesy of How About Orange

Image: How About Orange

To make these, lay a trash bag out flat. Trim off the sides and bottom so you're left with two big rectangles of plastic. Cut each piece into an approximate square.

Image: How About Orange

Fold one of the squares in half diagonally to form a triangle. Fold that triangle in half two more times. This is slippery stuff, so use a few pieces of tape to fasten the layers together on the loose side. It will help hold the shape together when you're cutting.

Image: How About Orange

If winging it makes you nervous, use a black marker to sketch some guides on the plastic: draw a "stem" from the folded point out to the end of your triangle. Then sketch some scallops that come off the stem. With a scissors, cut out the negative shapes and unfold your web. Tape several webs together and add extra strips of plastic to connect them if you like.

Alternatively, you can use this video as a guide to cutting out smaller spiderwebs.

Oct 20, 2011

DIY Poster Project

I've always said that anyone can draw and if you think you can't, you'd be very surprised how easy it can actually be.

Everyone can draw a circle, right?  Anyone can draw a square?

Well this little project that I found over on poppytalk shows you how to create a poster image sized painting from a smaller sized photograph.

Image: poppytalk

All you need is:
-a photograph
-piece of A4 paper
-large piece of paper 20 x 24 in (try and get thicker paper than normal - it will hold the ink/paint better)
-black ink (or paint)

Sep 1
Choose your photo. Most photos today are from digital cameras so it will be easy to transfer to your computer. If you are using a printed photo you will need to scan it in.

In Photoshop take your colour photo and turned it into a black and white image.
Next, in Photoshop - go to 'filter' - select 'artistic' - select 'cut out'.
If you don't have Photoshop you can use a free online photo editor like picnik.com

Image: poppytalk

Step 2
Print your black and white image onto an A4 size piece of paper.
Next, draw a grid on the A4 print using the pencil and ruler.
1 inch squares will proportion out the image nicely.

Image: poppytalk
Once you have evenly divided up the A4 image, do the same to your blank 20 x 24 inch papersheet.
This time make the spaces 2.5 inches in size.

Important: Try to make the lines as light as possible as this sheet will be your new canvas and you will need to erase these lines after you have finished the painting.

Image: poppytalk
Step 4
Start drawing.
Follow each grid on the photo and how it corresponds to the larger sheet - it's good to look at each image in the grid squares as shapes and not to think too much about the whole picture.

For the more complicated shapes like the eyes you can divide the square to smaller ones - this will help you with the more exact drawing.

Image: poppytalk
Image: poppytalk
Eventually, before you know it, the entire image will be complete.

Image: poppytalk
Step 5
Take the black ink (or paint) and fill in the drawing.
When you're finished painting you can erase all of the pencil grid lines.

Image: poppytalk

You'll wonder why you never thought you could draw in the first place.

Oct 17, 2011

Cardboard Star Project

Continuing my obsession with reusing packaging I found this little idea over on grey luster girl.

Image: grey luster girl

All you need is an empty cereal box, some glue and paint colour of your choice.

I think this is a great, cheap alternative to the giant metal star (which is £120 ) that I saw over on Rockett St George, a website selling unique homeware and accessories for your home. 

Image: Rockett St George

So, here's how to make it.
On the cereal box, draw and cut out two stars.  Score both stars from their tips to the indented parts (5 times each star). Push the stars out on the score lines by the tips and push in by the indented parts. There is a tutorial on how to do that here.

Image: grey luster girl

Next, glue the stars together.

Image: grey luster girl
Image: grey luster girl

Once the glue is dry, paint them your color of choice. Distress with ink or the edge of a pencil lead to get that weathered look.

Image: grey luster girl

Not bad for an empty old cereal box.
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