Feb 6, 2015

Harry Potter Decor - January Self Actualization

I had something else in mind for January and I was rushing trying to get around to it when I realized, "Wait!  The thing on my to do list is ALSO a craft.  Yeah, I'll just use that."

So my friend, Sansa, was super ambitious with her projects for the Harry Potter party and wanted to do all these amazing things.  I was inspired by her inspiration, so I offered to do a project, which ended up taking hours longer than expected and causing me intense self loathing and not a few tears.

Let's Talk Candles - A Non-Tutorial

Through a plethora of Great Hall Candle tutorials, I managed to find instructions I was actually A) willing to & B) capable of following.  Or so I thought.  I'm sharing what I did, primarily so you can avoid my mistakes, but if I haven't managed to scare you off of this project yet, here's a great tutorial for the candles, and here's another one for the sky.

1. Collect a Bajillion Paper Towel Rolls

Technically, Sansa did this.

2. Cut Them

Sansa wanted varying heights, so they're all fairly close to the halfway line, but there's a couple inches of difference between the tallest and shortest.  I also did this at an angle, because I thought it was more realistic of how candles actually burn.

3. Glue Candle "Drips"

It's actually pretty easy to make imitation wax drips with a glue gun.  So Ryan and I watched From Russia with Love while I dabbed it on.  No tears yet...

4. Paint

So... if you want to do it right, you'll put a coat of glue on the ends with the drips.  Paint doesn't adhere that well to glue gun glue.  But I was lazy and didn't want to buy a ton of Elmer's glue, so I just did 2 coats and they were mostly covered.  I was planning on spray painting them, but turns out my white spray paint was just about used up from old projects.

5. Attach Bottom

I thought the tutorials would have something fancy for this, but it was just cutting out circles of regular computer paper and sticking them on with a glue stick.  We have some trust issues with glue sticks in our household, so we used the glue gun.  Ryan helped with this, because he's awesome.

6. Stop Doing Anything Until the Night Before the Party

Yes, this is key.  Also stop documenting because it's all pretty much downhill from here.

7. Emergency Walmart Run

Realize the extra sheet you had generously offered to donate to the project is actually not in your possession anymore, because you did so much purging recently and gave it all away to Goodwill!  Run to Walmart at 11pm on one of the coldest days of the year.  Feel the surge of unhappiness, self pity, and the beginnings of doubt, "Is this really all worth it?"

8. Spray Paint a Bunch of Shit

Technically only the sheet needs to be spray painted, but lets glitz the candles, too!  Just for a little touch of gold... oh shit!  There's gold everywhere!  They're striped, half white, half gold.  The bottoms are peeling off because the paper is soaked through.  What have you JUST DONE?!?!

Oh, right.  Also spray paint the sheets.  You can use an image of the galaxy for inspiration and attempt to recreate those purple and blue swirls, but that "shimmer" spray paint you bought isn't going transmit any color anyway, so don't worry too much about it.  Also, "Diamond Dust" is really just glitter.

9. Paint Some Stars

Do we have our nice, glittery-but-still-solidly-blue sheets?  Good, now let's painstakingly dab silver splotches all over them to look like stars.  Avoid evenly dispersed polka dots, because for some reason, you still care about this project.

10. String 'Em Up!

Ahem.  Hang them delicately, is what I meant.  With fishing line.  Stab holes into the horrible beasts with something small and sharp, and thread fishing line across, right below where you want the tealights to sit.  Tie into a loop and staple it to the sheet.

Or, if it's 2 hours before the party and you have to run out and get something printed at the last minute, have your partner do the stapling.  And then run out of time and fishing line, bring the half finished project to the party, where a friend has brought some emergency fishing line, and finish stringing the damn thing together over there.

11. More Stabbing

This time with thumb tacks.  To the ceiling.  Choose a part of the ceiling that you are the only one tall enough to reach, and which requires you to stretch to full height.  Continue through the burning arms - no pain, no gain!  (Actual Tip: If you ever need to hang something taut, like a sheet that wants to pull the thumbtacks out, angle them so they're pointing towards where the tension is coming from.  That way the pressure pulls them further into the wall instead of out of it.  Same concepts as tent stakes.)

12. Tea Lights

This would normally be easier once the sheet is up, but since I had primarily vertically challenged helpers (sorry guys, but you know it's true), they ran around and did it while I held the sheet in the air, half pinned.  Fun, fun, for everyone.

13. Be Glad It Is OVER!

And briefly sad that it doesn't look good.  But mostly glad.  Also, enjoy the party.

Does it look good with the flash on?  No.

How about with the flash off?  Oh, still no.

And here's all the other awesome things Sansa put together.

The bajillion things Sansa made.  Of particular note: those "Fizzing Whizbees" actually fizzed.  The chocolate had pop rocks in it, which was super awesome and tasty!  Oh, and that tiny hand in the potions picture is my goddaughter.  Who later took the colored water and got into a "dye fight" with the other little girl who was there.  Good fun, but very messy.

What I Learned

I'm not good at crafting.  Design is one thing and crafting is a totally different beast.  Much respect to all the crafters out there, but one BIG request.  Stop making it look so damn easy!  You're confusing the rookies like myself.  (Same request of chefs.  If I have to buy fresh herbs, it is not a "quick and easy" recipe.)

What crafts have you completed that you were proud of?  Or that you hated?  Would you attend a Harry Potter party?

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  1. Ughh crafting can be the death of me sometimes. Either way, I freaking love those candles! Such a cool idea. Have a great weekend!

  2. It might have been a pain but it looked great in the end, I'm only crafty if I make the craft up in my head. Following someone else's instructions never ends well for me.

  3. This looks like a fun party regardless of the mishaps! I still think those candles looked awesome! Better then I would of done. I suck at that kind of thing.

  4. haha I loved the steps, that would so be me. But I think they turned out cute! Worth it for the whole party motif.

  5. hahahaha i love this so much. i really think they look great though! and yes i totally dont buy fresh herbs, you crazy chefs you.

  6. This looks like so much fun! I am not super crafty either but you did so awesome on this!


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