Build Your Own Snowman Kit: a holiday classroom gift

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There is so much joy in giving and I want to teach my children all about that joy now when they are young. During the holiday season there are so many opportunities to give, so it’s the perfect time to involve the kids. A classroom gift was a natural way to incorporate giving since we love our school family and want to celebrate the holidays with them. My six-year-old daughter helped me assemble and test out our Build Your Own Snowman Kit gift and she is so excited to hand them out to her classmates before the winter holiday break.

When thinking about what we wanted to give, we decided to avoid a sugary treat since they are already so abundant this time of year. We also wanted to stick to a winter themed gift to be sure to include all of our friends that celebrate different holidays in December. With the 2 week winter break from school, I thought parents might appreciate an activity that would keep little hands busy for some time. And thus, the Build Your Own Snowman Kits were born!

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You could use any number of supplies to create your own version of this gift, but I’ll show you what we used to get you started. Oriental Trading had everything we needed to make this idea a reality. We used white Crayola Model Magic as our modeling agent, but clay or play dough would also work well. We love Model Magic because it’s fun to play with, easy to model with, and it air-dries so you can make your final creation permanent! It’s also paintable, so you can use your leftover white Model Magic for another project. We included lots of crafting supplies like buttons, ribbon, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, craft foam, and faux snow. With 2 (1 oz) packs of Model Magic I made two snowmen and my daughter was able to make 6 tiny snowmen.

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Here are our test run creations. The top snowmen were made by my 6.5 year old (complete with eyelashes drawn on) and the bottom snowmen were made by me. They remind me a little of Sam the Snowman from the stop-motion movie classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

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All of the supplies looked awesome packaged up in clear boxes with ribbon and a printable tag. I designed our custom tag with a mention of the city we live in since it actually never snows in San Diego. For all of you I made a matching tag for your kids to write in the to and from fields. In addition to classroom gifts, these kits would make great favors for children’s holiday parties or gifts for your friend’s kids.

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Build Your Own Snowman Kit

I was able to find everything I needed from Oriental Trading. You might have some of these things on hand already!

– 4″ Clear Plastic Favor Boxes
Small Plastic Craft Bags
Iridescent Metallic Shreds
White Crayola Model Magic
– Christmas Bag of Buttons
Watch Them Wiggle Eyes
– Craft Snow
Black Top Hat Beads
– Orange Craft Foam
– Ribbon
Printable Tags (click to download)

Directions:

  • Assemble the plastic favor boxes and place the iridescent shreds in the bottom.
  • Place all of the smaller supplies together in the small plastic bags.
  • Put 2 1 ounce packs of Model Magic, the small bag of supplies, pipe cleaners, etc. into the box. 
  • Close up the box and wrap with ribbon. Secure with tape and place your printable tag on top. 
  • Experience the joy of giving!

 

 

Go, Dog. Go! Halloween Costume

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Do you get to pick out your kid’s Halloween costumes? I got to pick for my youngest kiddo this year, and I want to share his semi-DIY Go, Dog. Go! costume that I made with a little help from Oriental Trading. The costume was inspired by P.D. Eastman’s classic Book of Things That Go. We love reading this book together in our house. It’s so perfect for a toddler who’s favorite words are “woof woof”, “car”, and “Go!”.

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In my opinion, the first few years of Halloween for a kid are always the best. For at least the first two years, the parents get to pick out the costume! By the third or fourth year they have probably formed their own opinions about what they’d like to dress up as and your vote won’t really matter any longer. For my daughter’s first Halloween, we dressed her up as an adorable ladybug. The second year she was a cute little witch. By the third year her opinion edged in and she was a fairy (Tinkerbell if you asked her). That fourth year was the kicker though… by then she insisted that it was a Disney Princess or nothing.

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For his first Halloween, my boy was a cuddly giraffe and I almost died of cuteness. Read below for a few more details of this year’s Go, Dog. Go! Costume.

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Go, Dog. Go! is a book about dogs using different modes of transportation. For this costume, I decided to focus on a dog in a car since my son loves cars so much. First, I picked out the cutest puppy costume from Oriental Trading’s selection of toddler costumes. Then I found this Color Your Own Race Car costume to pair it with. I figured I could customize the car to look more like the ones in the book with a little paint. The cardboard isn’t necessarily meant to be painted, but I tested it out and can tell you that it works just fine. I used two light coats of red acrylic paint for the body and gray for the wheels. Just for fun, I printed out a custom  Go, Dog. Go! license plate to tape onto the back.

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I didn’t think I could get my little guy to wear the costume and keep a hat and driving goggles on too. He did let me put a blue scarf on to complete his Go, Dog. Go! look though. He loved climbing in and out of his car and carrying it around. I can’t wait for my little dog to drive around the block for Halloween trick or treating!

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Wed, White & Booze: Joint Bachelor(ette) Weekend Favors

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I’m going to age myself a little bit here, but my husband and I are coming up on our 12th wedding anniversary this Fall. Back when we got married (before Pinterest, gasp!) it was common to have a bachelorette night out on the town. Some brides and grooms might even have taken a quick weekend trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their last single days. In more recent years though, it seems like it’s more commonplace to have a full-on vacation with your best friends before the big day. Destination bachelorette “parties” are definitely a fun trend and I’m a little bummed I missed out on it.

This favor project was put together for a bride and groom that are planning a joint destination bachelor + bachelorette party in Austin, Texas. Members of the bridal party are traveling from both coasts, so they decided to meet up in the middle to celebrate the impending nuptials. They rented an amazing house that’s big enough for everyone to stay in together. The house is perfect for entertaining and even has a gorgeous pool that will inevitably be used for a wild pool day for the entire crew.

When the maid of honor asked me to create a logo for this unique bachelor + bachelorette celebration we talked about a western theme to honor the destination for the trip. Because this was all taking place right around the Fourth of July, the color palette naturally leaned towards patriotic with red, white, and blue. We settled on the theme “Wed, White & Booze” for a fun spin on those colors that is totally appropriate for this event. For the favors we wanted to create something memorable that would also be useful during the trip. Each favor tote bag includes a magazine for reading poolside, bottled water, themed cups for cocktails, snacks, and a Wed, White & Booze Survival Kit.

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I used wedding favor boxes with a heart cutout from Oriental Trading to package the survival kits. I taped a coordinating printable to show through the little heart window, but that’s completely optional. If you want to create something similar, here are some ideas for items to include in your bachelor or bachelorette weekend Survival Kits:

  • mints or gum
  • hair ties
  • pain reliever
  • natural hangover remedy
  • drink mix: iced coffee or electrolyte sports drink
  • sunscreen
  • lip balm
  • candy or other small treat

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After I put the survival kits together, I popped them into individual tote bags with the other gift items. I think the cowboy boot mugs and wine glasses are hilariously awesome and I hope the guests think so too. To finish things up, each tote bag got a printable tag with the event logo tied to the handle. The contents of this fun favor bag should make the bachelor + bachelorette party guests a little more comfortable during their stay in Austin, TX. I hope they all have a blast celebrating the last fling before the rings!

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Styling, Printables, and Photography: Party a la Mo  | Favor packaging, Cowboy Boot Cups, etc. : Oriental Trading Company | Survival Kit contents: Target

Green and Gold St. Patrick’s Day Tablescape

Wether you’re Irish or just Irish for the day, St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate. My daughter is 5 and loves to celebrate all holidays, big and small. When she recently asked me what we do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I was a little stumped. I told her that we wear green, but I felt like that was an inadequate answer considering that our family’s heritage does include quite a few ancestors from Ireland. I decided that we needed to make things a little more festive around our house for St. Patrick’s Day. I also teamed up with 8 other bloggers to share ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Visit all of the blogs to explore different kinds of holiday inspiriation for everyone’s favorite day to be Irish. You can also enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a $1oo Visa gift card. May the luck o’ the Irish be with you!

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I’ve included links to products I’ve used in this project for your convenience. If you purchase a product using my link I earn a small commission that helps me keep the blog afloat so I can keep sharing my ideas and offering free printables. Thanks for your support!

Green and Gold St. Patrick’s Day Tablescape

To make my family feel special for St. Patrick’s Day, I styled a fun green and gold St. Patrick’s Day tablescape in our dining room. I wanted them to know how lucky I felt to be their mom and wife! A balloon garland, a quick centerpiece, individual Irish soda bread loaves, and printable cards at each place setting did the trick.

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For a simple centerpiece, I filled a gold basket with some small honeycomb tissue decorations and a paper clover garland I purchased at Target. That’s it! Nothing fancy, but it brought some great color and texture to the table.

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The balloon garland looks fancy, but it’s also fairly easy and inexpensive to put together. I admittedly have a bigger balloon collection than most people, so I had an assortment of different greens as well as gold and white balloons available. You can search for tutorials on how to make a garland using a balloon decorating strip like I did this time. Alternatively, you can save yourself some trouble and purchase a kit like the ones I love to use from One Stylish Party.

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Each place setting featured little details like a shamrock coaster that was really just a foam shape that I purchased in a pack from the dollar store. Personalized tent cards let each member of the family know how lucky I am to have them (download your free printable version below). Irish soda bread is one of my favorite traditional recipes that I remember my grandma making each year. I used her recipe and made them into individual loaves instead of the usual big ones. They looks so pretty wrapped up on each plate.

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If you’d like to use these place cards on your own table, you can download the free printable with 16 different version for husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, etc. Click here for your file.

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St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hop

Now go check out the 8 other bloggers participating in this St. Patrick’s Day blog hop and don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $100 gift card. I hope you’re inspired to create your own St. Patrick’s Day celebration for friends or family.

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Lucky You Party by Elva M Design Studio | Top of the Morning St. Patty’s Day Breakfast from Happy Family Blog | Lucky Me I have You! party by The Party Porch | Festive Holiday Breakfast from Giggle Home Furnishings | Shamrock Drink Station + Pinch Me Punch from Legally Crafty Blog | St Patrick’s Day Celebration from AK Party Studio | Follow the Rainbow Treasure Hunt + Pot of Gold Pancakes & Parfaits from Jolly and Happy | Lucky Charms Sweet Cart from Pretty Twinkle Party | Green and Gold St. Patrick’s Day Tablescape by a la Mo

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Glitter Pom Pom Ornament DIY

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Spread a little sparkle this holiday season with this simple, but effective, DIY ornament. This craft was easy enough for my 4 year-old to complete on her own, but it’s also an ornament I’d love to receive. Those are not two qualities that often go hand in hand!

This project was inspired by an article from Better Homes and Gardens that I found on Pinterest about dressing up plain Christmas ornaments. I love the metallic gold and silver that BHG used, but I switched things up to match my Holiday Preparation Party color palette of red, lime green, kelly green, and gold. A bright rainbow assortment of pom poms would also make a super happy and adorable ornament.

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Photos courtesy of Maria Healey Photography

Glitter Pom Pom Ornaments

– Clear glass bulb ornaments
– Glitter pom poms in assorted colors (make sure they are small enough to fit into the ornament opening)
Individual cupcake boxes, bakers twine, and tags for packaging (optional)

Directions:
  • Remove the metal top of the bulb ornament.
  • Stuff in as many glitter pom poms as you’d like. Leave some room or fill it up!
  • Replace the top of the ornament and add a ribbon for hanging. 
  • Hang on your tree or wrap up as a gift. I used individual cupcake boxes to package them and then tied with tulle or bakers twine.

The Bakers Party Shop + Expressionery Giveaway

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This post is sponsored by Laura Kelly, Bakers Party Shop, and Expressionery. I was given the wonderful product I worked with for this post, but all opinions are my own.

My love language is baked goods. It may sound a little funny, but if you don’t appreciate homemade cookies, cupcakes, or even banana bread then we may not be able to be friends. When I first started dating my husband he told me that he wasn’t excited about baked goods in general. Lucky for him I was able to convert him (ok, maybe I was just fueling his future sugar addiction). In any case, he appreciates when I bake for him now and he even requests his favorites occasionally.

Baked goods obviously make me happy, but a close second on my list of favorite things is confetti and its edible cousin, sprinkles. Bakers Party Shop dedicated the whole month of April to sprinkles earlier this year and declared it Sprinkle Month. Imagine my delight when they approached me to participate in a sweet campaign with them + Expressionery.com. They sent me a fun box of baking and party supplies and I also received the sweetest “Baked with a lot of Love” personalized, self-inking stamp from Expressionery.com. I was a little overwhelmed by the possibilities but decided to bake my Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes for a close friend that was celebrating her 30th birthday. She understands, and has always supported, my need to feed people my homemade treats. Clearly, she needed some tasty and festive cupcakes to help celebrate the big 3-0!

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I’ve always been a fan of baking cupcakes in these free-standing baking cups. They are the perfect size and you don’t even need a cupcake tin to bake in because they stand alone on a cookie sheet just fine. I’ve heard them referred to as nut cups, soufflé cups, and party cups. Bakers Party Shop has them in fun colors and this white polka dot pattern. These cups work well for snacks, ice cream, candy, and (you guessed it!) cupcakes. I’ve occasionally had guests be confused about how to “peel” this type of wrapper off of the finished cupcakes when it’s time to eat them. It can be as simple as digging right into the cup with a fork. For those that really want to remove the cup before eating I recommend pinching the rim with both hands and gently pulling out the pleats in the paper. Works every time!

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After topping my cupcakes with frosting and colorful sprinkles I wanted to package them up to present them as gifts. I used individual white cupcake boxes and dressed them up with ribbon and simple tags made with colored card stock, a paper punch, and my awesome personalized stamp from Expressionery. Not a ton of effort, but the result had a big wow factor. This kind of presentation is perfect for giving cupcakes as gifts, party favors, or sending dinner guests home with a sweet treat for later. I don’t think you’ll get any complaints about your delicious little gifts.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at creative packaging for gifting your baked goods. The lovely ladies at Bakers Party Shop and Expressionery are offering a generous coupon code to save 25% in both shops. Use the code SUNSHINE25 now through June 28th to save on some great baking supplies and those fantastic personalized stamps.

You can enter to win a custom Expressionery stamp of your own + a $250 Visa gift card below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, be sure to check out how some other talented bloggers are using their Expressionery stamps and baking supplies from Bakers Party Shop.  


DIY Confetti Sprinkle Candles

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Of all of the sprinkles in the world confetti sprinkles are the best. It’s probably not fair to choose favorites, but I can’t help it. The candy colors and likeness to confetti just make me so happy. So when I came across this tutorial for birthday cake tea lights from Food & Femininity I knew that I had to make my own version with confetti sprinkles. They turned out really cute, if I do say so myself.

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I packaged my confetti sprinkle tea lights in sets of 4 to give as favors at a baby sprinkle. After slipping them into a self-adhesive cello bag I tied them up with coordinating bakers twine and added a sticker to the bottom of the package. They make an adorable favor or gift for a birthday, baby shower, or bridal shower. It would be easy to customize colors for your event by using sprinkles to match your color palette. Now that I tried out the confetti sprinkles my next move will be to customize tea lights with sprinkles for different holidays. I can just envision a Valentine’s Day version that would be so cute to hand out to friends and loved ones.

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Blow one out and make a wish!

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Confetti Sprinkle Candles

– white tea lights in metal cups
confetti sprinkles
– cello bags, bakers twine, and stickers for packaging (optional)

Directions:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tea lights on top. Depending on how many candles you are making, you might want to break them up into batches. I made mine in batches of about 2 dozen tea lights at a time.
  • Place the tea lights in the oven for just about 3 minutes. Watch them closely… the tops of the candles should be soft and melty, but all of the wax underneath should not be completely melted or the sprinkles will just sink to the bottom. If they get too soft, just let them firm up outside of the oven for a minute or two.
  • Scatter your confetti sprinkles on top of the candles. If it doesn’t seem like the sprinkles are sticking to the candles, you can always stick them back in the oven for 1 minute to soften the wax and embed the sprinkles.
  • Wait until the wax is firm again and then shake off any excess sprinkles.
  • Burn them yourself or package them up for favors or gifts!

Take & Make Bird House Party Favors for Kids

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What do you give kids as a birthday party favor when it’s a princess party but you have girls and boys in attendance? My answer was Design Your Own Royal Bird Castle kits. I was inspired by the take-and-make craft that Lisa of Sweet Pop Studio created for the Rainbow Wishes party that I was involved with earlier this year. I loved the idea of supplying a complete kit to make a craft at home. After all, I’m all about encouraging creativity and letting kids explore different mediums. It was also a big bonus that I wouldn’t be sending the kids home with candy or dollar store trinkets. Sweet treats are usually a big part of my parties, so I don’t feel like it’s fair to send them off with even more sugar.

When I saw the unfinished bird houses that resembled castle turrets, I was sold! It was just what I needed to tie in the princess theme while still keeping the craft gender neutral. For packaging, I purchased natural muslin drawstring bags and hand stamped them in a rainbow of polka dots to coordinate with our party. Each kit included the unfinished bird house, washable paint, glitter glue, a paintbrush, jewels, and garden embellishments. The tags were created by Phyllis, my partner in crime from Phyllis Sa Design.

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This craft could be great for a variety of ages, but ours were given out mostly to 3 year olds. If your guests are 3, you can expect the finished craft to look something like this:

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There are about a million different ways you could put this favor together. I’ll share what I did below, but know that many items are optional and there are others that could easily be included in addition. Most of my supplies were purchased at my local Michael’s Craft Store, but I’ve provided links for your convenience. Have fun with it and the kids will too!

Bird House Craft Party Favors

– 1 large natural muslin drawstring bag per favor (mine were 8″x9.5″ and I purchased them from The Everlasting Posy)
– acrylic or fabric paint
– wine cork
– cardboard or brown paper bag cut to fit inside the muslin bags
– 1 unfinished birdhouse per favor (Similar to these. I found mine at Michael’s for $1 each)
– 3″x4″ clear resealable cello bags (I got mine from Little Paper Things on Etsy)
crayola washable kid’s paint (I inculded 2 little tubs of paint per favor)
crayola washable pip squeaks glitter glue (1 per favor)
cheap kid’s paint brushes (1 per favor)
jewels or other embellishments
– tissue shreds or tissue paper
– coordinating ribbon or twine
– favor tags (Tags or other packaging elements can be designed to match any of our printable collections.)

Directions:
  • Insert cardboard or thick paper into your muslin bag so that paint won’t seep through both sides. Dip the round end of a wine cork into the fabric or acrylic paint and stamp circles onto one side of the bag to create a random polka dot pattern. Pull the cardboard out and repeat the process for the next bag. Repeat until all of your bags are stamped.
  • Stuff the 3×4″ cello bags with 1 glitter glue, 2 pots of paint, and an assortment of jewels and embellishments.
  • When the stamped muslin bags are dry, fill them with the tissue shreds, 1 birdhouse, a paint brush, and the bag of paint and embellishments. Cinch the bags and tie them closed.
  • Print, cut, and hole punch your favor tags. Use ribbon or twine to tie the tags onto the base of the strings on the closed muslin bag.

Berry Sweet Valentine Printable Tags

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I made you some berry sweet Valentine printables because I love you! And I just love Love. Valentine’s Day has always been a favorite day for me. The holiday has never really been about romance in my mind though… to me, it’s more about celebrating all different kinds of love and relationships.

This year I am celebrating my loving relationship with my clients and readers with strawberries! I was inspired by a recipe for strawberry fruit leather that I came across in a cookbook that I got for Christmas. And, hey, strawberries are red and kind of shaped like hearts, right?

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These cute Berry Valentine Tags can be used to adorn any strawberry flavored treats you can dream up or even just a small basket of the berries themselves. Fruit leather makes a naturally sweet valentine that will probably be welcome among all of the candy hearts and boxes of chocolates. To package them up like I did, see the instructions below.

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Strawberry Fruit Leather Valentines

– 1 recipe Strawberry Banana Fruit Leather
– Unbleached parchment paper
– Coordinating baker’s twine (I love this multi-color pack)
– Printable Berry Valentine Tags
– 2″ circle or decorative punch (optional)

Directions:
  • Lay your sheet of fruit leather on a sheet of parchment paper and cut it into 6-8 strips using kitchen scissors. Roll up each strip and secure with a small piece of tape on the parchment lining.
  • Cut a rectangle of parchment paper that’s large enough to cover the fruit leather rolls with about 2-3 inches overhang on each side. Roll the fruit leather up in the parchment rectangle and twist each side to secure. Repeat for the remaining fruit leather.
  • Print, cut, and hole punch the valentine tags.
  • Thread the baker’s twine through a tag and tie it around each fruit leather roll. Secure with a bow.
  • Hand them out to your favorite Valentines.

If you aren’t inclined to make your own fruit leather, the tags look equally cute on the store-bought version. These Stretch Island Fruit Co. strips work perfectly.

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Have a berry sweet Valentine’s day with the people you love! XOXO

Printable Banners: Crepe Paper Fringe Embellishment

Custom printable banners are adorable all on their own, but adding a little crepe paper fringe at the bottom makes them pop just a little more.  Cheap and easy are also great characteristics of this worthwhile embellishment.  In fact, it’s so easy that I hope I’m not insulting you by documenting the process in a tutorial.  You can use this method with any of our printable banners… I’d just recommend extending the length by an inch or so when cutting the banner tiles out.  I can also extend the tile for you if you’re ordering a custom design.  If you’re anxious to start blinging out banner tiles right this minute, the Halloween design pictured below is available as a free printable here.

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Crepe Paper Fringe for Printable Banners

– printable banner w/ square tiles (print & cut)
– crepe paper (one or multiple colors that compliment your banner)
– double stick tape
– fringe scissors (optional)

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Directions:
  • 1. Measure and cut 2 or 3 lengths of crepe paper to fit the width of your banner.  My banners are typically 5″ wide.
  • 2. Use scissors (fringe or regular) to cut slits into the first length of crepe paper, stopping 1/3 inch from the top on each cut.
  • 3. Repeat step 2 with each length of crepe paper you’re using.
  • 4. Attach your first length of crepe paper to the banner tile about 1/2″ from the bottom of the tile using a couple pieces of double stick tape on the uncut portion of your crepe paper.
  • 5. Attach your second length of crepe paper to the banner tile about 1″ from the bottom of the tile in the same manner.  Trim any extra crepe paper that hangs over the side of the tile.
  • 6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each of your banner tiles and then assemble the banner according to the provided instructions.

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Here is another banner that I embellished with crepe paper fringe. This time I used 2 colors of crepe paper and added a 3rd layer of fringe. Use my basic method and get creative!

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