Venetian masquerade masks, how to make your own

The first thing to take into consideration when you are constructing cheap masquerade masks is that things tend to get a little messy, especially if there are children helping you out so it is always advisable to cover your work surface of choice with some kind of protective sheet. If you have nothing available then perhaps you could cut a dustbin liner in half and use this as a makeshift protective sheet, it is better to be safe than sorry as they say!

Making your Venetian masquerade masks is going to take at least three to four days; this is not a process that can be rushed. Each time you add a layer of paper mache to your masquerade masks base it will take up to 24 hours to dry so please be prepared to leave everything in place for this length of time or risk losing the shape of your mask when you move it.

The first item you will need to begin the masquerade masks construction is a roll of tinfoil, I like to use a thicker brand so that it holds its shape more easily when you come to layer it with the paper mache. Tear away a length of foil that is around double the width of your face and then fold it in half, mold the foil to the general shape that you would like the mask to be, over your face. If you are using a thinner brand try tripling the width you tear off, this will help if you think it is going to lose shape later on in the process. Best to get it right now, than have to start again when you have made preparations to start applying paper mache.

I will assume for the purpose of this article that you have knowledge of how to make a paper mache mix for your masquerade masks. If you don’t, don’t worry as there are plenty of places on the internet that will give you a quick demonstration of how to carry out this simple procedure. I would prefer not to go into it during this article so as not to sidetrack from the main theme so apologies to those of you who are not familiar with the technique.

You need to being very gentle when putting the first layer of paper mache onto the bases for the masquerade masks, it is a good idea to also cover the inner portion of the masks to protect your face from any sharp aluminum edges. Try to lay the newspaper layers in a crisscross type of pattern. This will make your masks stronger. Repeat this step another 3-4 times or until your masks seem to be sturdy enough. Remember that you must allow each new layer to dry completely before beginning the next application.

If you would like a smoother finish to your Venetian masquerade masks you can fill in any rough areas or dips with some paper mache pulp which should be thicker than you would usually make it. While this takes a little longer the final product will be far more pleasing if you are looking for a more professional look.

Once your cheap masquerade masks are completely dry you can begin to decorate, this is the really fun part so use your imagination! Glitter, tinsel, feathers and paint are just a few of the things you could start to think about putting onto your masquerade masks. Try making the eyebrows stand out with little paper mache balls for example, the ideas are endless.

I hope you found this article helpful, bear it in mind at other times like Halloween. If you have children they will love taking part in this activity, especially the part where they get to help decorate the mask. Also bear it in mind for social occasions like fancy dress parties, going to a slipknot concert soon? You catch the drift! 😀 The process has many more applications than just masquerade masks.


Cricut Jukebox by Provo Craft

Using a cricut machine has never been easier, and now cricut has made it even better to utilize your cartridges with the Cricut Jukebox.
The Cricut Jukebox is a small jukebox style case that measure approximately 6×9″ in size. However, don’t let the size fool you regarding the handiness of this product.
The Jukebox holds up to six cricut cartridges at one time. The great thing about that is, you never have to keep swapping your cartridges in and out of your machine. You simply put your cartridges into the jukebox and attach the four foot long cable directly to your cricut machine. When you are ready to use a cartridge, you simply press the cartridge down and you are already ready to craft with that cartridge. It comes in even handier when you are toggling back and forth between cartridges while you are creating cards or scrapbooks. If you are using a certain font, but are also using several cartridges for photos or pictures, you just simply put all the cartridges in the jukebox. When you are ready to use the font, you push the font cartridge down. When you are ready to use another style of cartridge you simply press that one down instead. There is no need to continue to take one cartridge out and put another one in, taking up time, and sometimes even losing your idea in the process of the transfer.
One of the great features of the Jukebox is of it’s portability. You can take it with you to scrapbook parties, classes, or times where you are even having crafting parties using your Cricut machine.
Another nice feature is that you can hook up to three cricut machines with this one jukebox, allowing you to actually be using 18 cartridges at the same time
The versatility and portability of the Jukebox not only makes it a timesaver, but a great spacesaver, as well.


Cricut is not Just for Scrap Bookers

Cricut is well known for its precision paper-cutting machines and cartridges that allow scrap bookers to add professional looking designs and shapes to their scrapbooks. Now bakers can get in on the precision cutting, too, with a Cricut Cake.

Taking the same general concept of its paper-cutting cousin, the Cricut Cake can form your cake into a wide variety of shapes. This eliminates the need to try to meticulously cut a cake into a shape by hand, and also makes it no longer necessary to have to deal with storing and keeping track of a bunch of shaped cake pans. Simply insert a cartridge containing the desired cake shape into the machine and let the Cricut do the rest.

There are a wide variety of cartridges to choose from. Anything from Disney to birthdays can be found in Cricut’s library, as well as graduations, weddings, Valentine’s Day and a large number of other event-specific themes. Even Martha Stewart has a line of Cricut cartridges designed to give your cakes an elegant, refined look. The cake machines themselves can also be plugged into a computer with a USB port as well, giving access to even more shapes and designs if your current cartridges do not have what you need.

Themed and shaped cakes from a baker or store can cost an arm and a leg – often as much as two or three Cricut cartridges would cost. Not to mention that Cricut cartridges can be used over and over again. After only a few uses of a Cricut machine it has paid for itself with what you would have spent at the baker.

Scrap bookers have been using Cricut machines for years to create professional cuts in their scrapbook pages, and now that same professional precision can be had in the kitchen.


Two Easy Halloween Decoration Projects

If you’re already planning your Halloween party or at least thinking about decorating your house for Halloween, you’re not alone.  As soon as the kids go back to school, I can’t help but think about Halloween! You could always buy Halloween decorations, of course, but it’s obviously much more satisfying to craft your own. If you think you can’t do it because you’re not talented enough, you might want to think again; because the simple Halloween decoration projects below are easy enough for just about anyone to make:

Vintage Halloween Garland
This project uses vintage Halloween cards you can find on the Internet. To use them, download them to your computer and print them onto card stock at about 6 inches wide (or tall, if they’re vertical). Then, use a hole puncher to put holes on both sides of each card top and string black or orange ribbon or rope through the holes. Make sure the long end of the ribbon or string is hidden in back of the cards, so it doesn’t cover up the images. Also, leave enough string or ribbon on each end so you can hang the garland on a wall. String as many of the cards together as you need to get the garland length you want. You can even add Halloween clipart or store-bought decorations, such as holiday-themed floral items or foam Halloween shapes from the craft store, between the cards.

Halloween Clipart Wreath
This project requires a little bit more skill and time than the garland, but it’s still very simple. The use of Halloween clipart from the Web and a few store-bought items makes it go together relatively quick and easy. First, go on the Web to find Halloween clipart you can download to your hard drive and print. Then, get a wreath wrapped in black tinsel for Halloween. You can usually find them during September or October in craft stores. If you can’t find one, use a plain white or green Styrofoam wreath instead. You’ll also need at least three spools of matching wide Halloween themed ribbon in seasonal colors, such as black, orange, green and magenta and some short straight pins. If you can match the ribbon color to your clip art, so much the better.

Once you have the clip art, pop it into Microsoft Word and size it to approximately two to four inches high, depending on the diameter of your wreath. Put as many pieces as will fit on one page and then print it onto card stock. Once printed, cut around the clipart with manicure scissors, so the backgrounds are gone. If you’re using a plain Styrofoam wreath, wrap it with the ribbon. For either wreath type, use the ribbon to make simple bows that are appropriately sized for both the ribbon and the wreath and attach them with pins around the front of the wreath. You can also do the back if you want it to look fuller. When the entire wreath is covered with the bows so it looks pretty full, arrange the clipart pieces at intervals and pin them in place. If need be, keep adding more bows and clip art until the wreath looks full. You can also add plastic spiders or other Halloween items to fill out the wreath; these can usually be easily found at the dollar store or craft stores around Halloween.

As you can tell, these decorations are pretty easy to make, even for kids (with supervision, of course, if they’re very young). So if you want a few Halloween projects your family can do together this year, you might want to try these!


A Manual Binder Machine For Family Fun

If you’re like many parents I know, myself included, you often find yourself at a loss as to how to keep your children busy, happy, and out of trouble. I know there are plenty of things for them to do around the house that will keep them occupied, like sitting sprawled all over the couch playing video games and stuffing their mouths with chips and dip, but let’s face it. We all have greater aspirations for our children than to watch them sit around rotting their brains and clogging up their arteries.

So here’s a novel idea. Why don’t you buy your kids a manual binder machine and let them start their own professional binding business?

This is a great way to keep your kids busy in a productive and educational manner. A manual binder is a machine that takes a lot of work to operate. Someone has to line up the papers inside the machine. Someone has to press down on the lever and punch the holes. The wire spiral has to then be inserted neatly into all the holes. And then someone needs to crimp the edge of the coil to keep it from coming apart.

Your kids will learn to advertise, deal with deadlines, manage orders, and will learn fiscal responsibility. These are all things that they’ll need to know how to do in order to be successful later on in life. And the best thing is that a manual wire binding machine really doesn’t cost very much at all. It’s a small investment to make, especially when you compare it to how much you would otherwise be spending on those video games and the chips and dip; not to mention on cholesterol medication. Kids love running a business, and this is a great way to give them that opportunity.


Wholesale Jewelry Collection for the Kids

If you have kids or remember being a kid, you know that kids love collecting things, and wholesale jewelry is no exception. And the reason that wholesale jewelry is a great idea is because you can get something for cheap and it isn’t the end of the world if a jewelry piece breaks. Let’s take silver wholesale jewelry, for example. If you are able to buy a bunch of silver wholesale necklaces, bracelets, rings, and pendants, the kids can have a blast sorting through everything and then deciding which pieces they like best. They can decide about color, size, shape, and style. The projects you can design for them is practically endless and the fun can extend to the entire family.

silver wholesale jewelry
I know what you are thinking. What happens if your kids like the same silver wholesale jewelry piece and there is only one. Well, the answer to that dilemma is that you have to make certain that you buy duplicates of each piece. So where can you buy wholesale jewelry? For starters, you can go to Ebay and search under the term “wholesale jewelry.” You may get a few retail jewelry auctions that pop up, but for the most part you will find tens of thousands (probably over 70,000) of search results. Once you have found a few places you feel comfortable buying from, you should start making your selection of the jewelry pieces you want. Another place you might consider is a discount store like the Dollar Store where everything is under a buck.

Remember that you are not looking for fine silver jewelry like two-carat diamonds or genuine gold earrings. Just look for the wholesale fashion jewelry that you can buy on the cheap. The kids will truly enjoy the adventure of sorting and collecting the wholesale jewelry pieces you purchase. And again, you can make it a family affair!


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