Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Styrofoam Stamped "Cauldron" Gift Bags DIY

When I was trying to figure out a favor bag for my Harry Potter party, I knew I wanted to do some sort of cauldron. At first I was thinking I'd get beach pails and spray paint them black, but that seemed kind of an expense and time commitment considering all the other projects I was doing. Then I thought of using some recycled metal canisters... and that seemed even MORE labor intensive and borderline crazy.

When I went to the Dollar Store, I was looking for possible favor bags, thinking I'd find a set of black paper gift bags or something like that. In the end, all I found was lunch bags. I thought I could work with that. I imagined painting my cauldrons directly on each bag.

Then I stumbled upon this  idea of potato stamped Halloween Gift Bags from Martha Stewart, and I knew what I was going to do.

It's not a big leap to get from Halloween skulls to Harry Potter Cauldrons... in fact, I could see using this craft come October, but I also wasn't planning on using potatoes.

I had a  nice slab of pink styrofoam, left over from a grocery store meat tray, and after seeing things floating around pinterest about how to make stamps and prints out of those pieces of styrofoam, but never finding an image I wanted to try, I knew I had my answer.

I drew a basic shape of a cauldron in my flat styrofoam with a pencil, pressing to make an indentation, then I took my big scissors and cut out the shape. 

This is a rough shape and basically symmetrical, so was not a concern for me, but if you wanted to make something more detailed or something with writing on it, you have to make sure to carve it backwards, so that when it is printed it will be forward. (This cauldron, in particular, would be pretty cute for Halloween with "BOO!" written in it. That's good to note that I can customize it later if I want.)

 Rather than cutting out the inside of the stamp, I used a broken pencil point (the end of a paint brush would also work, I suppose) to depress the whole area I did not want to ink. The styrofoam doesn't really carve the way rubber or linoleum would, so I just kind of "drew" heavily with my blunt point, leaving the whole area indented so it doesn't show up when you print it on the paper.

Once you have your styrofoam stamp shape, it's a pretty easy process. I tried a stamp pad first, but it did not ink heavily enough and I just went straight to craft paint. I used my stamp, my craft paint, a paint brush and my paper bag.

 I put a dab of paint on the stamp and then painted it on with my brush, making sure to spread it thinly and evenly over the whole stamp and making sure to hit each part that I wanted to have on my image.  You'll notice that I only painted the handle, and not the negative space inside the cauldron, although some paint gets into that space, the depression keeps it from printing on the paper.

Then I placed my styrofoam stamp face down on my paper bag and pressed the back of the styrofoam down, evenly, all over, with my hand. Making sure that all the paint touched the paper firmly.

This is the stamped bag. Please note that there is a rumple in the middle where the bag folds over. I went with that rustic feel, it didn't bother me. I suppose if you wanted to get rid of that, you could slide a cardboard inside the bag before you did the stamping, so that you would have a smooth surface to print on.

When the bag opens, it is a cauldron ready to be filled with candy and other assorted goods that young Wizards and Witches require.

This was such an easy craft that I was really happy with the results and it really helped out at our Harry Potter party, keeping all the kids' goodies safe while they ran around like wild wizards and witches.

Here's the link to the Harry Potter party where you will find links to all the other craft projects I did for it.

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