My love for the natural world and understated decor is rivaled only by my passion for the colorful, whimsical world of party decorations and glitter. Not so deep down, I'm just a party girl in search of the right party hat. And because I have yet to find a bridge between these two passions in my everyday life, I give my playful side free reign during holidays and parties. It keeps me balanced - and young.
I've had this idea in my head for the last two years and it was time to execute it so I could free up some real estate in my brain (it gets very cluttered in there). I had only planned to make a few, but you know how that goes. I also happen to have a 6-year-old who balances his love of sports with a love of sparkle, so he worked on a few, too.
This isn't a difficult craft, once you get the hang of glittering, and I have some tips to help you in that regard. But it can be time consuming, depending on the level of execution, so I wouldn't advise making these in mass quantities - I completed four in an evening. If you do decide to make a number of these, simple designs like the jack-o-lantern with the hat can be made fairly quickly, since only the details are glittered. But the others are perfect for your favorite little goblins.
I'll tell you how to make your own, but first, let's talk about glitter:
Basically, a lot of what I do for a living involves making things visually perfect. It's not enough for me to have a good idea, I need to be able to execute it for the unerring eye of the camera. As a result, I have a few techniques up my sleeve that might seem extreme to you, but can be helpful overall.
You can create the finest details with glitter, but only if you have the right tools. The most indispensible for me - fine tip metal applicators. You can sometimes find them in the glass painting section in craft stores. But if not, you can get them online at Dick Blick. And while you may find glittering glues and such that say they have a fine tip applicator, in my experience, it's never as fine as the metal tips (even the glittering glue from Martha Stewart Crafts - sorry, Martha!)
Another tool I like and use a lot is a needle tool, also available from Dick Blick or in the scrapbooking section of craft stores. I use it for other things, but I find it very useful when I need to nudge a line of glitter into place when it's wet or clean up a line after it's dry.
And finally, I have a goat hair brush that I use for cleaning off excess glitter once it's dry. It's an inexpensive tool, but I find it gets rid of every last stray piece of glitter - which is especially important when you're using more than one color on a single image. And if it's your surroundings or body that need to be wiped of excess glitter, I find Swiffer dry cloths do the job nicely.
When it comes to glue, you don't want to use a glue that's too runny and wet because it's harder to create details and it tends to wrinkle the paper. On the other hand, you don't want to use a glue that's too thick to get through the fine tip metal applicator, as that will only lead to delay and frustration. I tend to use a mixture that's mostly Elmer's white glue with a slightly thicker white craft glue mixed in. That gives me the balance of ease and thickness that I'm looking for. And if you don't want to buy two products, use an all-purpose white craft glue rather than a specific glittering glue, which tends to be thicker.
As for glitter, I favor ultra fine formulations for detailed work. The two brands I use the most are from Martha Stewart Crafts and Ultra-Fine Powderz from Confetti.com. (All the glitter used in this post was from Martha Stewart Crafts).
One other thing to consider - some colors, especially orange, can feel too opaque and dull in traditional formulations. I find that iridescent glitter gives me a lighter, brighter, more modern effect. You can see the difference in the photo above. The orange on the left is opaque, the glitter on the right is iridescent (Orange Sorbet from Martha Stewart Crafts).
If you're doing several colors in an image, start with the darkest color first. For all the projects shown in this post, I did my black details first, followed by orange, then yellow, and finally, white. It's also important to let each color dry fully (and be brushed of excess glitter) before proceeding to the next.
Now, let's move on to the project itself. Here's how to make your own:
Gather your digital images and resize them, if desired.
All of the candy containers start with glittered faces made from vintage clip art. The B&W cat face and the jack-o-lantern with the hat can be found at Matthew Mead Style. The jack-o-lantern with the round eyes is available at Urban Debris. The orange and black cat clip art is available as a digital download from Harmonica Goldfish on Etsy. The owl is an adaptation of a vintage die-cut, so it's not available, but you can find lots of owl designs on Etsy.
You'll likely need to resize the images you find. I resized all of the designs shown here so that they measured between 2.75 and 3 inches wide. Also, I found that the orange of the pumpkin with the round eyes was too dull when printed straight from the source. I lightened the color overall to make it brighter, so that the orange glitter would pop more.
- Digital clip art images, printed on white cardstock
- Fine tip scissors
- Glitter (black, orange, yellow, white)
- Glue with fine tip applicator
- Glitter brush
- Cupcake liners
- Needle tool or small awl
- Toothpicks with one flat end (unless you're making lollipop covers)
- Black and orange cardstock (optional)
- Black glitter paper (optional)
- 1-inch notary circle punch (optional)
- Orange and black tape (optional)
Step 1 & 2:
Cut out images, then begin to glitter small sections of the image at a time. (I like to feather the edges of my glue a bit, so that I don't end up with hard lines of demarcation between the areas I'm glittering. You can do that with the fine tip applicator. Also, if you apply too much glue in one area, release the pressure on the glue bottle and use the metal tip to drag the glue out (almost as if you were using a paintbrush).
When the first color has been applied (remember, darkest colors first), let it dry thoroughly then brush off the excess color and repeat the steps for each color needed.
After glittering your images, make a ruffled collar from cupcake liners. Gather three liners, scrunching them up to the center, and glue them together, if desired. Punch a small circle from glitter paper. Using the needle tool, make a hole in the center of the cupcake liner ruffles, as well as the black circle.
If you want a really finished design, you can glue your glittered image to a piece of colored cardstock and cut around the edges. To attach it to the ruffled collar, I cut off the sharp tip of the toothpick and use tape in the same color to attach the toothpick to the back of the glittered face. I prefer this to gluing the toothpick between the layers - I don't like the bump it creates.
If you're creating a lollipop cover, however, you can skip the toothpick altogether. In that case, use a small awl or nail to create a hole through the cupcake liners and glittered circle and push the lollipop stick through the layers. Use a piece of double-sided tape to attach the face to the front of the lollipop, as shown above.
Choose your container:
I cut cardboard tubes down to 2 3/4-inches high, then covered them decorative paper. There are a couple of different ways to use them. If the treat you're enclosing fits the tube snugly (when packaged in a plastic bag), you can leave the bottom open. If not, put two layers of tissue or crepe paper over the bottom of the tube and tape it around the outside of the tube before covering it with decorative paper. To finish it off, glue a cardstock circle to the bottom of the tissue or crepe paper covered tube. Leave the top open, fill it with treats, then stick the glitter topper inside (that's why I like to leave a long edge of the toothpick exposed under the ruffled liner - I can anchor it by sticking it in the middle of tube, surrounded by candy or treats).
This patterned baking cup from Paper Eskimo is sold in packages of 25. Once filled with candy, the cat topper sits right on top. Again, the toothpick is anchored by the candy in the cup. (I purchased my cups from Shop Sweet Lulu.)
From Martha Stewart Crafts:
Spring Loaded Scissors
Scalloped Circle Punch
Iridescent Fine Glitter: Orange Sorbet, Lemon Drop
Fine Glitter: Onyx, Marble
Glitter paper from Carnival Paper Pad (also includes patterned papers similar to what I've used here, which was from an older pack of Martha Stewart Crafts paper)
Carnival Mini Cupcake Wrappers
Carnival Treat Wrappers (striped cupcake liners)
Other products available at Michaels or sources listed in this post