Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cinderella's Coach: Princess Party Photo Booth

After making the castle centerpiece and Happy Birthday banner, I continued the Cinderella birthday theme with a photo booth. I've been noticing a lot of photo booths lately on Pinterest and after I saw a coach photo booth I knew I wanted to make my own version.

I based my coach on the one from the 1950 Disney animated version of Cinderella. Then I gathered all the materials I needed:
  • 1 large cardboard box
  • Piece of string or yarn
  • Glue
  • Pencil, pen or marker
  • Utility knife
  • Acrylic paint and brush

Start by opening the cardboard box and laying it flat on the floor. Tie the piece of string/yarn around the pencil. I used the pencil + yarn as a compass.

Holding one end of the yarn firmly (do not move your hand from this position while using the compass), stretch the yarn outwards and draw a large circle on the cardboard. This circle is the body of the coach so make the circle occupy most of the cardboard. You can use the compass again to make circles for the wheels.

Once you have drawn all the circles, use them as guides to draw in any details you would like the coach to have (I initially had a lamp that got edited out during painting). 

Carefully cut out the coach using the utility knife. 

Next take a piece of scrap cardboard to make a stand for the coach. Start by bending a long rectangle in half. Then cut two notches near the ends (to slide the coach onto the stand). I finished it by cutting the ends at an angle just to make them a little less visible.

Test out the stand and make any necessary adjustments.

I used most of the cardboard box for the coach. There is some spacing among the flaps of the box, so I ended up with two holes near the top of the coach that needed patching. Depending on how big you make the coach you may not need to do any patching. 

I cut two strips of cardboard to fit the holes. Then I applied glue on three sides of the strips and slid them into the holes. 

At this point, the cardboard coach is ready for some paint! Before painting, I suggest to reinforce the cardboard vertically on the backside of the coach, otherwise the cardboard will warp from the wetness of the paint. I learned this the hard way... it wasn't easy to get it more or less straight again.

Now it's time to go crazy with the paint! I used acrylic craft paint and a foam brush to paint the entire coach (I used a brush for some of the details). In total the coach took me around 8 hours to complete, 5+ hours for the painting alone.

This was the final result! The kids loved it and every one wanted a picture! Those happy little smiles always make everything worth while!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Princess Party Happy Birthday Banner and Free Printable

Our daughter loves Cinderella so her birthday decorations all revolved around Cinderella. In my last post I shared a party table centerpiece I made based on Cinderella's castle. I also wanted to make a banner to hang on the wall that would fit the whole Cinderella theme. We had purchased these plates and I used them as inspiration for the birthday banner. Then I got to work in Adobe Illustrator CS4 to create the banner.

I made a free printable* with the entire alphabet so you can personalize the banner with your sweet little birthday girl's name! You can download the PDF file with the entire alphabet hereMobile device users: Apple's native PDF viewer will make the colors in the document appear wrong. You can circumvent this problem by downloading Adobe's free Acrobat Reader from the App store. I didn't notice any problem on Android devices.  

The printable has a total of 27 pages (26 capital letters and an exclamation mark). Each page is a character:

To make a banner, start by printing out the pages you need, then cut out each letter banner. There are so many different ways to connect each letter to the next (sew the paper to a ribbon, glue the corners of the letter banners together, punch holes and run a ribbon through the letter banners, and many more). For my banner I started by punching holes at the upper corners of each letter banner. 

I used brads to connect the letters of a word.

To connect the words "Happy" and "Birthday" together, I used a piece of curling ribbon.

I also tied some curling ribbon at the beginning and the end of the banner to hang it on the wall.

The final banner will look something like this:

Happy celebrations!

* Terms of Use: This free printable is for personal, non-commercial use. Feel free to print it as many times as you like and definitely pass the link along to friends and family! Do not sell. Please, contact me with any questions.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cinderella's Castle: Princess Party Table Centerpiece

For our daughter's birthday I always like to make a few decorations based on her current obsession. Last year it was Winnie the Pooh (we love Pooh around here!) and this year it is Cinderella. She has never seen the Disney movie but she has seen the song segments and she loves how Cinderella dances with Prince Charming and then loses her slipper as she runs away.

I wanted to make a centerpiece for the table and Cinderella is definitely rich in imagery to choose from... the castle, the glass slippers, the clock, the pumpkin, magic, the mice, etc. In the end I opted for the castle. I figured I could make the castle itself out of poster board and make two supports out of foam board to stand it up.

For this project you will need:
  • 2 sheets of poster board
  • 1 sheet of foam board
  • Scissors and/or X-acto knife + cutting board
  • Ruler
  • Watercolor paper and glue
  • Acrylic craft paint (optional)
  • Glitter acrylic craft paint (optional) - I used these from Martha Stewart

I started out by drawing a bunch of horizontal and vertical lines on one of the poster board sheets. These lines served as guidelines for me when drawing the castle.

As a reference image for the castle I used this castle silhouette. Then I started drawing the image onto the poster board using the guidelines to make everything straight and properly lined up. This is a free hand drawing but the castle could be transferred to the poster board using other methods, such as tracing with tracing paper.

When the drawing was complete, I cut out the castle using an X-acto knife (scissors could also be used). I then used this cut out castle to make a second castle on the other sheet of poster board. I wanted to make the castle a bit more sturdy so I opted for two layers of poster board.

The towers are relatively thin and when I stood the castle up, they started to droop. So I cut a few strips of watercolor paper (because it is thick without being too thick) and glued them from the tops of the towers down to the body of the castle.

Then I glued the two poster board castles together.

Using the shorter castle towers as a stencil, I drew the supports onto a piece of foam board and then cut them out using an X-acto knife. I definitely recommend the X-acto knife for this step because scissors would squeeze the foam board and cause the edges to have an uneven thickness.

I mounted the supports to the castle and here it is! At this point you can either paint it, decorate it, or declare it done! I was really really tempted to leave it white, but I had an image of a blue castle in my mind so I grabbed my paints and continued on.

I used acrylic craft paint and a foam brush to paint both sides of the castle and both sides of the two foam board supports. Remember to paint the edges of the foam board supports! I wanted an ombre effect so I started at the bottom with a light blue and kept adding a little white to the blue paint for every new row.

I wanted the castle to sparkle so after the acrylic paint dried I added some glitter paint. I used two colors: blue and silver. In hindsight, I thought they were too contrasting with the ombre blue when not in the light. If I were to do this again I would use only one color and that would probably be a white glitter paint.

I painted two or three layers of the glitter paint to have a good amount of glitter on the castle.

And here is the final result!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Montreal, Quebec (Canada)

Back in May we spent a week traveling around Canada and Maine. We visited Montreal, Quebec City, and Acadia National Park, along with a lot of scenic routes in-between!  Every now and then I'll be sharing some pictures from our little adventures because there are so many beautiful things to see in this world! I shared some pictures of Quebec City in a previous post.

Our first stop on the trip was Montreal. My husband and I had been there once before back in 2006 and we loved it and have always wanted to go back. It is a city with something for every one! In my case, it has one of the most beautiful churches I've had the opportunity to visit. I love to take pictures of churches and Notre-Dame Basilica is a feast for the eyes!

Inside the Botanical Gardens is the Montreal Insectarium. Having grown up in Brazil, I've seen my fair share of strange bugs, but I was amazed at some of the bugs we saw there. The butterfly displays alone are worth the trip! One display in particular caught my eye: beetles. There were so many colors and varieties of beetles, they looked like jewels! 

And when in Canada you have to have some poutine! We stopped for some near the Old Port and it was absolutely delicious!