Tuesday, January 14, 2020

DIY Pretend Play Ice-Cream Toppings

I don't know if it's because my children are blessed with so many Christmas celebrations (read: spoiled by family) or because we have managed to raise little humans who are thankful for what they have but when I told the kids that their "big" Christmas gift from us (they still get some things from Santa) wouldn't be finished by Christmas, they were totally fine with it.  Honestly, I planned for it to be done pre-Christmas Day but as is often the case with DIY projects... I got a little behind.

So that's why I'll be sharing parts of this gift over the next few weeks here on the blog... because well, I just got it done and gifted this weekend.  It's the truth, it's messy, it's real life.  Aaaanyways, keep on reading to see how I made these custom ice-cream toppings to fit the pretend ice-cream we already owned.

[Discloser:  This post contains affiliate links to products used in this project.  Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you, which I use to put back into my blog/projects. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

A little backstory: My daughter (2) has recently started playing "ice-cream shop" every day.  Sometimes with our Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Set, sometimes just with her imagination.  But each and every time she would ask me what topping I wanted.  Of course, it's always great to simply use our imaginations but I thought that her and her brother would just be tickled if they could actually add 'toppings' to their ice-cream.  I figured the company would have some for purchase but after repeated online searches, I found nothing.  So I decided to make my own. Join me as I show you what works and what doesn't:

What Doesn't Work:

My first thought was to make entirely new scoops of ice-cream, using a similar technique as these faux whipped toppingsProblem: They are made out of spackling.  After doing some research, it seems that spackling isn't super safe and since my kids sometimes actually lick their play ice-cream I decided it wasn't worth the risk.

My second thought was to use school glue and paint to create a drip (like I ended up doing in the photos above). My first one went really well and then I dropped it on our couch. No joke. Paint everywhere. The next day I tried to make more and could not get the consistency to be thick enough.  Below is the clear school glue with sprinkles (beads) on it and it was so thin that it dripped too much and couldn't keep shape. Even mixed with paint, I couldn't get it to work.

What Does Work:

So finally I figured it out. Hot Glue. First things first- cover your ice cream scoop!  You want to be able to remove it without ruining your nice play set.  Plastic cling will melt, so I used aluminum foil.

Next, simply squeeze hot glue out onto the top of the aluminum foiled-scoop. Glop it on top, occasionally letting it fall over the edge to create longer drips. It's easier than it sounds and the hot glue & gravity really does the work for you.

The one problem I can't get past is the aluminum foil sticking once the hot glue has dried. I was hoping to peel away the foil from the inside but it's pretty hard to do.  The plus side is that for the drizzle toppings, paint covers the top and for the clear base toppings (like sprinkles) it does show through but doesn't seem to be very distracting.  I would still love to hear any ideas that anyone has for removing it (or using something else in place of it) so please comment or message me letting me know what you think will work! I did try to grease it with non-stick but it discolored the glue.

Once the glue is dry, use non-toxic acrylic paint to paint the top of the glue.  Personally I would not paint the inside because it might discolor your store bought ice-cream scoops over time but it's up to you.  For sprinkles or other toppings like that (we used brown beads for toffee/nuts and rainbow beads for sprinkles) carefully drop and press seed beads onto the glue while it is still hot.  Be careful not to burn yourself!

I ended up creating 4 pieces to start with.  Two were drizzle flavors- chocolate and caramel/butterscotch...

...and two sprinkle type toppings- a rainbow sprinkle and a toffee/nuts:

You can see how the aluminum foil shows through on the toffee/nuts one but it really doesn't look bad at all and my kids don't even notice!

Here's a few peeks at the toppings in action. They just set right on top of the store-bought scoops but because they are molded to the shape, they don't easily fall off. It's almost like they "snap" on!  Now my kiddos can offer their customers a wide variety of ice-cream and topping flavors!

If you don't already have a play kitchen, see how my husband turned an entertainment center into an amazing play kitchen !

What flavors/toppings should I do next? My favorite ice-cream is "Coffee Toffee" so now my kids use chocolate ice-cream and toffee bits topping to make it for me.  It's so fun!  If you have any ideas for something better than aluminum foil (or how to remove it better) please let me know & don't forget to follow me on Instagram for crafty ideas straight to your feed or just to chat!

Looking for more play kitchen DIYs? Check out these other projects I've made for our play kitchen: felt pasta , personalized apron , felt decorated cookies , even DIY seasoning salt ! 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Face-In-Hole DIY - "Toy Story"

Before I even begin with this post, let me just say that I cannot believe it is 2020 already. It's one of those things that seems like nothing because it is what it is but also like- WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?!  So please excuse me while I go stress breathe for a few minutes.

Okay, I'm okay now.  A couple months ago I briefly shared on my Instagram page that my son (age 5) asked for a "Face-in-Hole" at his birthday party.  Being as he rarely ever asks for anything specifically, I figured I should oblige.  Of course I had no idea how to do it and I have ZERO artistic skill despite being so crafty so I came up with this plan that ended up being incredible easy to do.  Seriously y'all- it turned out so much better than I could have expected and although it took some time to do, it wasn't very hard. [disclaimer: I had my husband do all the wood cutting!]

Just in case you would ever like to have one at your birthday/baby shower/bridal shower/totally rockin' part-ay, let me share with you how we did it:

[Dislaimer: This post contains some affiliate links to products I used in making this project. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

[I don't know why but this is one of my favorite photos. Project half done,big ol' glob of paint on my neck, crazed look on my face. It's really got it all.]

- 1 large piece of Lauan Plywood (this is ideal because it is sturdy but thin)
- A few 1x4 boards (to use on the back to help it stand up) 
- An assortment of acrylic craft paint 
- Paintbrushes (I used foam ones like these
- Projector (don't worry, you can DIY it easily!)

First things first- if you don't have a projector, you CAN easily make one.  Being as my husband is a teacher I was sure I could borrow his but apparently they don't use them anymore so I had to find another way.  I wish I had taken a photo of my ugly-as-sin concoction but basically I used an idea similar to this one. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done.  I also used an actual piece from an old projector and I think using a magnifying glass like they suggested would have been a lot better.

Next, cut the lauan plywood to whatever size you would like. Consider the height of most of your guests (people can bend down some and kids can stand on stools too). Then using the projector, pull a photo up on your cell phone that you want to trace. I used two separate photos to get the different poses for our Buzz, Woody and Jessie characters (Toy Story).  Adjust as need be to make the photo fit your wood piece and trace an outline in pencil.

As you can see, I also wrote the colors on my Buzz Lightyear trace so that I didn't accidentally color one of his sections wrong.  The other two were obvious enough I didn't need to do that. It's covered with paint so if you trace light enough, even the words wont show through.

After it is traced, cut out holes for the faces -SAND THE EDGES- and bring inside to paint.

Now the hard part is over and the fun can begin.  It takes some time, especially with detailed or multi-character boards but I finished painting this one in just a few nights working a few hours a night on it.

Color big sections, common colors (like they all had white on them) and bottom colors (Like the shirts and vests which have patterns printed over the top of them) first and let try completely before moving on.  Try to plan ahead so that you aren't rubbing your arm over wet paint as you go back and forth across the large board.

As you start to get more details it might get you all excited and hyped up that you will want to pull an all nighter just to see it finished (ask me how I know).  After the painting is finished, cut your 1x4 boards and screw them into your plywood in the back in an "L' or triangle to prop it up.  We also added some weights to the finished 1x4s to give it extra stability since so many kids would be running around it but that's up to you.  The lauan is pretty light for being so large so it's not likely to hurt anyone if it does fall over but use your best judgement.

If you are doing Toy Story characters as well, Buzz has the perfect size head for kids where as Woody and Jessie are great for adults. (You could always size them all the same, but I kept it more true to their actual shapes)

But it's so fun that even with 3 kids in each one, it is still looks great!  

This was a big hit at the party and an even bigger hit with my kids.  I was able to bring my son's idea to life and help make his birthday that much more special- and really, that's what it's all about.  Now I just need to figure out what to do with it because it's still sitting in our playroom! And yes... they still play with it!