Tuesday, October 25, 2011

harry potter props and decorations

harry potter party props and decorations
quite late with these but yule, etc took over my life. these are some of the projects i put together for the party. info on activities and food to follow. no laughing at my messy house!

platform 9 3/4
this is fairly straightforward: take a brown(or tan, or grey, whatever colour you want your "mortar") twin size sheet, tape lines horizontally for the rows, than small pieces vertically to separate individual bricks. spray paint somewhat unevenly with dark red, than add a light, uneven dusting of dark brown for texture, remove tape, tack to ceiling/walls, slit up center with sharp scissors. you could also use a sponge or rag dipped in acrylic paints swirled together on a plate and dab it on instead of spraying. the sign is just painted posterboard safety pinned to the sheet

house banners
these are just simple painted posterboard but they're good for big impact

post owls
i made a little stuffy errol and pigwidgeon out of spare yarn i had kicking around, a couple of googly eyes, and some scrap felt. instructions can be found here but you don't have to be terribly exact. fair warning, cutting the pom poms makes a mess no matter how careful you are so be prepared to get fluff everywhere.

nimbus 2000
this one was really easy. i got a nice witch's broom from value village (although the handle could have been longer) and covered the wires that bound the tail twigs with wide ribbon, glued in place. i couldn't find nice gold ribbon, the closest i could get was yellow so i painted it with acrylic. i also painted "nimbus 2000" on the handle.

sorting hat
this turned out beautiful but really small! sorry about the pic. they all turned out either too light or too dark to see the shading properly for some reason. if i make another one i'll have to start with a really big hat since the process shrinks the inside and i forgot to try this hat on before starting >.< i took safety pins and bunched the front of the hat together to form eyebrows and a mouth, pinning in place on the inside as i went. it didn't look much like a face at that point. my hat started out all patchy already but very light brown so i spray painted it dark brown, purposely uneven. that stiffened the whole thing nicely but it still only sorta looked like a face so i took acrylics to it and painted the hollows of the eyes and mouth black and highlighted the lips, eyebrows and nose in a slightly lighter brown. now he looks like a cranky old man :) when people were sorted they were given a house badge made of painted posterboard with a pin glued to the back

monster book of monsters
this was fun and easy. i just cut out the shape from scrap fun fur i had around and glued it to a dollar store notebook along with some googly eyes and halloween monster teeth. instructions found here but i did a bit different shape and left off the lettering since i thought it was quite cute without. i printed out the trivia game and glued it into the book, along with fun little things like nearly headless nick's beheading song. the person who did best in the trivia game each day recieved a prize of a 'weasley is our king' badge made of crayola air-dry clay:

these turned out beautiful if i do say so myself! i followed these instructions but i used a bamboo skewer as a core for stability and wrapped the whole thing in masking tape to shape/stabilize before painting. the hot glue takes a bit of practice. the key is to be confident and smooth. you can create really neat textures once you get used to playing with the melty plastic. the metallic accents on the raised parts are much easier to do with your finger. the 'dilute the paint and wipe off to antique' thing doesn't work at all. just work in layers and mix your colours, blending on the wand.

dragon eggs
i forgot to get a pic of mine before we tore them apart, sorry! these were made by covering inflated (not water filled) water balloons in paper mache done with layers of tissue paper to make them easy to tear apart. i added a bit of white glue and black paint to my simple flour/water paste for texture and colour. one of them was painted gold and we had a little dragon statue standing guard over the nest in a cauldron. the eggs were filled with candy, confetti, and toys as party favours. these have to be made a few days before the party since they're fragile and likely to get damaged if done too early. when letting the air out of your balloon, poke a little hole close to the knot to let them deflate slowly. if you just pop them you sometimes damage the delicate shell. widen the hole just enough to stuff and then cover carefully with more paper mache. it helps to insert a little loops of string or fishing line as a handle to start the ripping open process (unless you're like my friend sophie who squealed and smashed it on the wall immediately, i love you sophie!). i found when drying them, it's easiest to get a box, lay it on it's side, and poke holes in the top so you can hand your eggs in a protected space and have a drip-catcher all in one. be sure to tie string to your balloons before starting with the paste.

radish earrings
i had the clay out anyway so i couldn't resist making these. i just made quick eye head pins with scrap wire, than bent the tails of them into zig-zags to hold the clay better. i molded upside down tear drops over the pins, leaving the ring in the top free, attached two leaves to the top of each, let dry, and painted with acrylic. i just attached claw clasps to these to clip to my usual earrings but you could just as easily mold the wire into a hook to begin with or attach with a jump ring to a stud. i just have a metal allergy so i have to wear special earrings

paper bats and LED candles
these bats are just cut out from cardstock. i have about a hundred. they're part of our usual fall/halloween decor. we cut these out by hand and then strung them with fishing line and tacked to the ceiling. fair warning, it takes FOREVER. if you had one of those nifty expensive crafter cutting machines like the silhouette i'm sure it would be much less annoying. good part is that they store flat for reuse with much less hassle the next year. we have them in a trail from platform 9 3/4, snaking through the house and out the balcony door. i actually only put up about 65 since i was very tired of stapling things above my head while balanced on a chair. put up a single line of bats every few feet to start with to get the basic line you want, than fill in. it looks more realistic if your fishing lines are all different lengths and you have a few different shapes of bat. they look really cool when they flutter in the breeze/air currents. kinda like they're a real cloud of bats that were petrified as they went out to hunt for the night.the LED candles i picked up from the dollar store for a buck each and drilled little holes for the fishing line in the plastic holders

golden snitch
this is just a ping pong ball i painted gold and made little wings for out of wire and aluminum foil. after i finished it, it occurred to me i could have used real feathers painted silver. oh well.

chamber of secrets warning
this was just written in dry erase marker, cuz it's fun. and a clue to look for the entrance:

this was just a simple little clay sculpture with a magnet backing. just seeing if people are paying attention. the first person to find it got a potter stinks badge, also made of clay see pic with weasley is our king badges)

while we're having fun with dry erase markers, i also couldn't resist doing this:

which actually turned out to be one of the most popular of the decorations. funny considering i just threw it in last min.

pygmy puffs
i got the idea for these from making the owls, they're just a big pom pom with googly eyes and long felt tongues. the yarn was from the dollar store

dumbledore’s army sign up sheet
i aged a piece of paper by soaking in strong tea and rubbing with some coffee grounds. blotted dry with paper towel and rolled up while it was still damp. i had a nice dip pen and ink around anyway so i just looked up the list of DA members and wrote them out, leaving space for guests to sign up as well. if i had more time i might have made a common room bulletin board with quidditch practice schedules, weasley's wizard wheezes ads, and offers to trade chocolate frog cards

overall we had a lot of fun. i don't think anyone else was as hardcore of a geek as me and didn't get all the details and references but oh well. now on to the food and activities!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

epic party plans in the works

i plan parties on a fairly regular basis. holidays are usually held at our place which means that i decorate and cook and organize stuff every few months. my birthday is usually low-key. we go out for dinner and then have drinks at our place. some years are rowdier than others. this year i was bored with that. also, this year the last harry potter movie comes out on dvd just in time and we've been looking for an excuse to do a movie marathon. i was initially thinking we'd watch all the movies and make some british food. easy, right? then i looked it up and discovered that even the non-extended movies add up to over 20 hours. ok, so we'll do it over 2 days and people can drop in and out as they like. then i made the mistake of looking up harry potter parties. oh dear. enter the mad crafter/chef/geek. i've been quickly carried away with all kinds of ideas for decorations and food and activities and... yeeeaahhh. i'm having a little too much fun geeking out. it's a good distraction from the stress of house hunting and such. i'm just hoping none of my projects get broken/lost in the move at the end of the month. the party's in november. most of the ideas i found catered to kids so i've adapted them to be more fun. so far we have handmade stuffy owls, a monster book of monsters, several wands, a trivia game with almost 100 really hard questions, a nimbus 2000, and several other half done props. i've got all kinds of food and a few activities planned. i'll do a bigger post as we go with photos and links and recipes and such. there's going to be butterbeer based on my homebrewed cider, a potions table filled with booze, a sorting ceremony, i hope you guys like geeking out :)