Mod Podge and Loose Glitter, DIY glitter candles

glittercandleDIY Glitter projects are all over Pinterest these days.  You can pretty much glitter anything.  When I was deciding on a color scheme for my upcoming wedding, I went with black, white, and glitter gold.  Classic, classy, easy to pull off.  No worrying about matching shades of blue, green, or any other color.  Imagine my surprise when the contract for our venue (as well as all the other venues I considered) specifically mentioned “no glitter.”  In a panic, I asked my venue coordinator if that meant only loose glitter, or any glitter decoration.  She told me that for the purposes of the contract, they mean loose glitter, used for confetti, table scatter, etc.  I could have glitter decoration, provided the glitter didn’t flake off and get all over everything.

I get it.  Glitter is the Herpes of craft supplies.  You can have one piece of it on your hand, and god forbid you touch anything with that hand, or it’s all over.  Next thing you know you see a piece in your hairline, in your car, on your carpet.  Somehow one flake multiplies.  You shower, you vacuum, months go by, and then…. you see a damn glitter flake in your bed!

So basically I needed to have glitter decorations that didn’t shed the stuff all over.  I came across this pin fairly early in my search, and decided to use it as inspiration.  You can get inexpensive glass candles, vases, etc. cheap at Michael’s and the Dollar Tree, and customize them to look fancier.  Our wedding is in the evening, so I knew I wanted lots of candles.  I will also be adding glitter to cylinder vases that will hold the loose flowers I am purchasing as center pieces.  We are getting married outside in front of an arbor (weather permitting!), and so I also purchased some clear glass ornaments that I will fill with rose petals and hang from the arbor for the ceremony.

Up until a couple of days ago I was a Mod Podge virgin.  But most of the DIY glitter project posters agreed that it is the best medium to work with.  It is both a glue and a sealer.  I chose the shiny lustre finish as recommended to not dull the glitter.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to adhere the loose glitter.  Of course, I prepared my work area to try and prevent the spread of glitter.  I layed down a large piece of cardboard on my table, and I had a large plastic tray to shake the glitter over.  Using a small foam brush, I painted on a thin line of MP, then shook my glitter out onto the candles and ornaments.  I didn’t use tape to mark off sections, I just used the width of the foam brush as my guide.  I’m not going for perfection, just pretty.  🙂

glittercandle2I got my first pack of 12 candles (I’ll be doing three total) and ornaments done in about an hour.  I took the plastic tray with the excess glitter outside and put it back in my glitter shaker using a funnel.  That way any stray glitter went in the grass, not all over the house.  I let the candles dry overnight.  The next morning, I picked up a candle, and glitter went all over the cardboard.  The candle still looked the same, there weren’t “bald” spots, but it was shedding glitter like crazy.  So I knew I had to seal it on, using another layer of MP.  Now here’s where Pinterest failed me:  most of the pins I looked at just said “seal with another layer of Mod Podge.”  Very casual, no big deal.  So I got my foam brush back out, and started spreading MP on one of my ornaments.  It looked like crap! (See picture at left.)  All my beautiful glitter was covered in a white mess.  Not only that, but a lot of the glitter came off onto my brush.  I panicked, and put the ornament back down while I consulted the internet.  Once I actually searched for “mod podge to seal loose glitter,” tips came out of the woodwork.  Some people said to dilute the MP with water to spread it on thinner.  Some people said they can’t us MP to seal the glitter at all, they use some sort of spray to seal it on.  I was like, “great,” I guess I’ll go buy some special spray.  I walked away and started doing other things around the house.  Imagine my surprise when a couple of hours later, my “ruined” ornament looked great! (picture at right)  If anything, it was MORE sparkly than it was before applying the second layer of MP.  Not only that, bglittercandle3ut the glitter was sealed on.  I touched it gently, then not so gently, and every speck stayed on!  I’m sure if you really lay into it some of it will come off, but for my purposes of sitting the things on a table, it will definitely stay on.  So then I went back and “ruined” (hehe) the rest of my ornaments and candles with a second layer of MP.  Here is my trial-and-error technique for applying non-diluted MP over loose glitter:

-I used a small foam brush, the same as the one I used to brush on the initial layer of MP under the glitter.

-I found it best to blot on a little bit thicker layer over most of the glittered surface, and then you can spread the layer over all the glitter.  If you go right into brushing, it makes more glitter come off.  Some glitter still comes off with the blot and spread method, but its a small amount, and you really are just re-spreading it over the surface anyway.  I didn’t have any bald spots after doing it this way.

-Using the same brush, I wiped of excess MP into the bottle, then blotted some more.  It will still look scary and white, but it dries shiny and clear.

-Try not to get excess MP on the non glittered areas.  Otherwise you get little streaks (somewhat visible in picture on right).  It doesn’t look terrible, and no one will likely notice it, but if you’re a perfectionist like me, you may want to use a paper towel to clean up the edges before it dries.

 

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Valentine’s “Fishing” Gift for Him

IMG_0940Men are notoriously hard to shop for, and my man is no exception.  I was lucky this Valentine’s Day in that I had a good idea for one gift, and a few “maybe” ideas.  I decided the best way to turn the “maybes” into good V-Day gifts was to match them with something I love about my partner.  And since my partner likes to fish, I thought it would be fun to present them like a fishing game, having him fish for his gifts, even though none of the gifts was actually related to fishing.  😉  The finished product is shown above.  There is some red tissue paper in there but I sort of stuffed it down to cover the gifts and so it wouldn’t just fly up when he pulled out his first gift.  I numbered the papers in order from smallest (in value and excitement level) to largest.  I tied or taped one end of jute to the gift, and taped the corresponding note to the other end of jute and hung them outside the bag.  I underlined the key word in each clue:

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My partner isn’t easily impressed or really into this cutesy stuff, but he actually had a fun time reading the clues, guessing the gift, then fishing them out.  I am filing this idea away for other recipients/occasions, as I think the clues and guessing really add to the gifts, even if they are all small and inexpensive.

DIY Valentine’s Cocktail Mix Gift

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I love themed gifts, and I throw myself fully into all the greeting-card holidays as an excuse to theme away!  For Valentine’s Day, I like to do small but meaningful gifts for my friends and family.  I get lots of good ideas off of Pinterest, since I am a Pinterest troll. 😉 I found a great recipe here for conversation heart infused vodka, and decided that would be my Vday gift this year.

 

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The original recipe calls for a bag of conversation hearts in the brand of your choosing.  I got lucky when I went shopping and saw that Brach’s is selling a bag of only “reds.”  They are actually white, and three shades of pink, but whatever.  Less colors/flavors means less sorting, higher number of hearts of each flavor, and less waste of colors that don’t taste as good.  I started sorting out of the bag, but as the three shades of pink look similar, it was easier to dump them on a white paper towel and sort from there.  When they are all on a white surface, the differences in the colors was more apparent.  Once they were all sorted, I attempted to discern the flavors.  The bag says they are cherry, watermelon, raspberry, and strawberry, but there isn’t a key as to which color is which flavor.  I looked on the Brach’s website and even googled it, to no avail.  It took me two rounds of tasting to come up with the following key, and to be honest, I still am not sure which is raspberry and which is strawberry, they were THAT similar:

White- Cherry

Light Pink- Watermelon

Orange-y Pink- Raspberry

Hot pink- Strawberry

 

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I am giving away one batch, and taking the other three to visit my family for a pre-Valentine’s party.  The batch I am giving away I’m gifting in a mason jar, as pictured.  The recipe calls for 20 hearts per half cup of vodka, I did 3/4 cup to 30 hearts.  I used decent “middle shelf” vodka as it was on sale at my local ABC store.  I also got some cute paper straws from Target, and tags with hearts on them from Michael’s. (See top picture for completed look).  I put the flavor on the front of the tag, and a suggestion to strain it and add to sparkling wine on the back of the tag.  That’s how I plan to consume it with my family.  You can shoot it as is, but it’s a bit sweet for my taste.  One bag of the “reds” was enough for at least two batches of each flavor, but I am saving the other half for another treat.  I actually thought it looked cooler before the hearts dissolved (see below), but they do eventually disappear and turn the liquid the color of the hearts, leaving just a little sediment, which is why I recommend straining before serving.

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