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Iced Angry Birds Cake

Over the years I’ve made a couple Angry Birds-themed cakes. Two of them were for members of the same family, and even though they were made years apart I wanted them to each feel unique. For this first one I used minimal fondant and worked with an iced base.

Cakes like this are pretty easy to do, and while I don’t have full step-by-step pics I’ll outline the process.

The bottom layer was baked and prepared exactly as in my post on how to bake a cake and prepare it for decorating. I then decorated the sides with Smarties (M&Ms for my American readers) and set it aside.

The top layer also started as a 9″x13″ cake which was cut into the shape needed. As for most of my shaped cakes I started with a paper template scaled to the proper size on my computer.

The template serves two purposes. First I used it to trace out fondant pieces for the eyes, brows and beak. As I didn’t want to cut into the template I used a straight pin (that I keep for food use only) to pierce the shapes’ outlines into rolled fondant. The resulted dotted line is easy to cut out with a knife or fondant cutter and the individual pieces can be attached to each other with a bit of water or fondant glue. The eyebrows and pupils were cut from pre-tinted black fondant, the beak was cut from white fondant tinted yellow with icing gels, and the eyes were cut from white fondant later outlined with a black food marker. Before putting away my fondant supplies I also cut out the birthday boy’s name from red-tinted fondant with alphabet-shaped cookie cutters.

Then I used the same paper template on top of the cooled cake and cut around it to cut the cake itself to the proper shape. (You can do these steps in the reverse order but sometimes cake will stick to the underside of the paper and that can discolor your fondant. Another option is to trace the cake shape onto wax paper or parchment paper which won’t stick as easily)

The second cake was then iced with red and white icing to match Red’s proportions and finally the fondant topper was added.

The fondant pieces give the cake a polished look while requiring minimal shaping or sculpting ability, making this a great way for beginners to try out fondant for the first time.

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Cake & Brownie “Sliders” with Cookie “Fries”

In today’s post I’m going to show you the super easy steps to make these yummy cake/brownie mini “sliders” that you can pair with sugar cookie “fries” for this adorable tromp l’oeuil dessert platter. While they’re a fun surprise for any occasion they work especially well for Father’s Day which happens to be tomorrow. Since they can be made with all store-bought supplies they can be whipped up last minute meaning you still have time to make them yourself!

These sweet treats have been around the internet for a LONG time, so this is by no means my idea. I actually got the idea from Bakerella’s blog back in 2009 and made my version pictured here for Father’s Day for my dad in 2014.

Angie’s original post is linked above, and she reissued it here with updated templates for other holidays and occasions including birthdays, Canada Day and the 4th of July.

Foodstuffs you will need:

  • vanilla cupcakes – “buns”
  • brownies – “burgers”
  • sesame seeds
  • sugar cookie mix – “fries”
  • Toppings: (all optional as desired)
    • icing – “ketchup” & “mustard”
    • granulated sugar – “salt”
    • orange starburst (or other taffy-type candy) – “cheese slices”
    • red gummy candy – “tomato slices”
    • green gummy candy – “pickle slices”
    • green candy tape/roll up – “lettuce”
  • Other candies to make any other desired burger toppings

I forgot to take pics of the fries-making process, but you can find the full instructions at the Bakerella blog post. Basically you bake vanilla or sugar cookies (I used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix) and bake the cookies as wide rectangles which you slice into “french fry” strips once baked and then toss in or sprinkle with granulated sugar to simulate salt crystals.

Most versions of the faux sliders start with vanilla cupcakes for the buns and brownies for the burgers.

I baked mine using store-bought box mix but you can go an even easier route and purchase ready-made plain cupcakes and brownies to skip this baking step completely. Slice all cupcakes in half horizontally and then use a cookie cutter that best matches the bun diameter to cut burger “patties” from the brownies.

For the burger toppings I’d basically wandered the aisles at my local bulk store looking for candies that could pull double-duty as other foods.

I tested out a few orange taffy-type candies for the cheese slice and in the end went with orange Starburst. Laffy Taffy, Airheads or any other orange taffy that can be rolled flat would also work well. I found it easiest to squish the candy flat and then roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper. You can also use wax paper if necessary, as I did here for storing the candies and keeping the layers from sticking together.

I used the green portion from rainbow Fruit by the Foot to simulate lettuce by tearing it into jagged strips. If you can find an all-green version that would be even better, though my kids didn’t mind eating the other colors that were left over after I harvested all the green bits!

I used red gummy disks for tomato slices, first cutting them in half widthwise to get thinner discs, then I cut those in half again as a full circle of red candy would be a bit much with all the other candy.

My store didn’t have plain green gummy rounds to use for pickle slices, so I cut up some mint-leaf shaped ones instead.

Once you have all your toppings ready, tint some icing red and yellow to simulate ketchup and mustard, and then assemble your burgers as desired.

Mine had a slice of “cheese” on the lower “bun”, then the patty, and then tomatos, pickles and lettuce, all arranged to slightly overlap the sides so they’d be visible.

A drizzle of “ketchup” and “mustard” was the last step before placing the top half of the “bun” on top.

To really finish the look brush the tops of the cupcakes with a bit of water and then sprinkle on some sesame seeds.

Arrange them on a platter and sprinkle the faux fries around. If desired you can add condiment cups or little puddles of “ketchup” and “mustard” for dipping the fries into. These were as much fun to eat as they were to make and all these years later Henri still keeps asking me to make them again, which is the real testament to how much of a hit these were!

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Peelable Base Coat Nail Polish Hack

Has this ever happened to you?

It would happen to me ALL THE TIME.

Whenever I would use a peelable base coat (like ÜNT’s Ready For Takeoff) I’d be lucky if my manicure lasted 8 hours, whereas with a regular basecoat I can get at least 2 weeks. I’d go about doing normal things and suddenly discover a thumbnail peelie in my dishes or pinky nail peelie in my sock. It was super frustrating so I looked it up and it turns out it wasn’t just me! While the ease of removal made it perfect for nail polish bloggers and reviewers, many people were complaining about the base not “sticking” long enough to make it worth it for regular use.

I’d written to my place of purchase and their reply was:

Your complaint isn’t unique. I have heard that some people’s problem with ÜNT’s peel off base coat is “that it works too well”. However, we can’t seem to discern as to why some people have such success with it, and others don’t. 

The conclusion the nail community has come to is that personal biological factors can affect a product’s success. Meaning, your body’s natural oils and your nail’s health may be the cause of a polishes’ or base coat’s success. The nail is often considered an impermeable barrier, but this is not true. In fact, it is much more permeable than the skin, and the composition of the nail includes 7–12% water. 

Following that I wrote to ÜNT themselves but their replies were unsatisfactory and seemed like a copy/paste:

We are sorry to hear that our product is not 100% satisfactory. I would like to further explain several possible reasons for this to happen:

1. READY FOR TAKEOFF or nail lacquer did not dry completely

2. Coat of READY FOR TAKEOFF not thick enough (if READY FOR TAKEOFF is applied very thin, it takes more effort to remove. We suggest applying 3-4 thin coats.)

3. If READY FOR TAKEOFF is applied unevenly, some parts of it may dry quicker than others, thus causing the issue. 

So in the end I decided to try and figure out my own solution. I know the exact ÜNT product I have is no longer available but they have a different peelable line and Holo Taco has its own Peely Base and I really wanted to make these products (and my existing UNT bottles) work for me.

After a bit of trial and error (note- do NOT try filing down the surface of your nails to make the base coat grip better!) I found a solution that actually made the product usable, and in honor of today being Nail Polish Day, I’m sharing it publicly. Bonus: it’s something I bet you already own!

Another base coat!

I use Orly’s Bonder as it’s what I have on hand but any clear base coat will work. (I don’t recommend a creamy base coat like a smoothing base for this).

All you need to do is apply one thin coat of the regular base BEFORE applying the recommended 2-3 coats of the peelable polish. The peelable polish will grip better to the base than to your nail surface, and the manicure will last much longer. It’s a really simple trick but it helps to make the peelable products actually work for those of us who have a hard time with them.

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Happy Towel Day

Happy Towel Day to all the hoopy froods out there! Here’s a free towel pattern (with custom mods) that you can work on while sipping your pan-galactic gargle blaster or some drink that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

I first came across this pattern at Craft Time at work. (Yes- my job came with a craft club. YES- IT IS AWESOME). A few of my colleagues have knit this towel pattern, found for free online here (Ravely link here).

The version shared with me was the row-by-row Word Document version that is available here. (I’m not sure if/how it differs from Dixie’s original pattern above). I really liked the texture and stripe but am not a fan of the single hanging strap. In my experience there is too much strain on a single point and it winds up stretching over time until the towel is sagging lower than desired.

To fix this I reworked the final steps to have 3 hanging straps per towel. (You can also do 2 but I didn’t want the middle to sag either). I also worked the contrasting-texture stripe in intarsia for an inset colored band that used up scraps of cotton leftovers from previous projects.

I’ve now made 4 of them (with matching washcloths using the leftovers) and have been consistently having 2 on my oven while the other 2 are in the wash, and swapping them out regularly.

The top two sets in the image below were made with Lily Sugar ‘N Cream cotton for the white and have buttons in colors that match the contrasting colors.

The two bottom sets were made with Bernat Handicrafter Cotton for the white and have plastic snaps in matching colors set through the natural holes in the knitting. (I’ve been using my snap kit paired with a set of assorted color snaps and have managed to always find the colors I need for my projects). They have held up wonderfully and none of the snaps nor buttons have come loose with time or multiple repeated washings.

Finally I used the remaining scraps from each towel to make a matching dishcloth using my favorite easy dishcloth/washcloth pattern.

1 Strap-to-3 Strap Modifications

  • Work the towel pattern as written through row 61, adding repeats if desired to make longer towels. (Note that my towels pictured have 7 extra repeats of rows 43-46)
  • Row 62: Slip 1st st as if to purl (yarn in back), k to last st, p1
  • Rows 63-67: rep row 62 for garter band at top of towel
  • Row 68: (hanging strips setup row) Slip 1st st aitp (yib), k9, BO 17, k10, BO 17, k9, p1. You will now have 3 sections of 10 live sts with 2 BO sections in between.
  • Row 69: (first hanging strip) slip 1st st aitp (yib), k to last st, p1
  • Rows 70-100: rep row 69
  • Row 101: SSK, k6, k2tog
  • Row 102: SSK, k4, k2tog
  • Row 103: SSK, k2, k2tog
  • Row 104: SSK, k2tog
  • Row 105: BO rem 2 sts
  • Cut yarn, leaving tail to weave in, then rejoin yarn to next set of 10 live sts.
  • Repeat rows 69-105 twice.
  • If you use snaps, wiggle the post of each side of the snap through an opening in a stitch before pressing. If using buttons, add a YO on row 101
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DIY Checkerboard Minecraft Creeper Cake (NO Special Pan!)

Jakob turned 8 in 2015 and if it wasn’t clear from Henri’s Minecraft party, Minecraft lootbags and Minecraft grass biome cake that same year, 2015 brought in the reign of one particular video game in our household. (They even had DIY Minecraft Halloween costumes that year!)

Jakob was obsessed, in particular, with the Creeper. This unassuming green dude looks real cute until he shows up and blows up.

I decided to take inspiration for the inside of the cake from the Creeper’s multitude of green shades, and to theme the outside on the tshirts the boys would be wearing to the party, with the following image:

While I own a round checkerboard pan kit, I don’t have anything similar for square cakes so I had to get creative. I ended up coming up with a way to get the checkerboard look without requiring ANY special tools, and you can do it too if you follow the steps below.

Step 1 is to bake 4 cake layers, each tinted a different shade of green I used 8″ square cake pans and tinted my batter with gel coloring to get 4 different shades.

These are the colors I went with. You can choose to use more colors and more layers if you like – to copy the actual Creeper would require 8 layers for an 8×8 grid. If you want to match the colors exactly I provide the hex codes for all 8 colors in my Minecraft Steve & Creeper DIY costume head tutorial.

I only own 2 8″ square pans so I baked my cakes 2 at a time.

The cakes will turn golden on top as they bake so my icing swatches came in handy to remember which cakes were which later on.

Unfortunately I don’t have pics of the next steps but they’re very simple to follow-

  • Trim the golden top and sides off each cake
  • Cut each cake into even strips. Be sure to cut each cake into an identical number of strips. If you look at the cut section of my cake below, you can see I cut mine into 7 strips.
  • Place a bit of icing on your serving tray (to anchor the bottom pieces) and place 7 strips of assorted colors side by side to form the first layer. (Replace “7” with the number of strips you have in your cake). Once your color placement is to your liking, add a thin layer of icing between the sides of each strip to secure them to each other
  • Add a thin layer of icing across the entire top surface of layer 1
  • Repeat the last 2 steps 3 more times to add layers 2, 3 and 4. This will have used up all your cake strips
  • TIP: when cut vertically from the end, the cake will have a gridded/pixel look. You can use the same technique to create any pixel art desired
  • The key thing is to remember which direction your strips run. When you cut the cake you will want to cut horizontally ACROSS all the colors, to get the checkerboard look. If you cut horizontally WITH the strips, your cake will look like long rectangles of color.

To finish the cake simply ice and decorate the outside as desired. I covered mine with solid green icing and a fondant Creeper face, then added fondant lettering to match the boys’ shirts and Jakob’s name and age.

I used the placement of the face as my reminder which way to cut the cake later.

As you can see from the cross-section, the inside worked out perfectly! It looks just like the Creeper and Jakob was thrilled.

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

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Number 3 Smarties Cake

Jakob’s 15th(!!!) birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so just as I’ve been doing for Henri, I’m going to countdown Jakob’s past birthday cakes.

Jakob’s first birthday cake was a simple homemade banana cake with an edible printed sheet.

I’ve never owned a food ink printer so I designed the image on my computer then brought it to a local restaurant supply store who offered the edible print service.

(I don’t have an image of the complete cake for some reason).

His second birthday pirate cake and pirate cupcakes were actually the first food tutorials I’ve posted on this blog. Which brings us to his third birthday. He had 2 cakes when he turned three, as he had both family and friends/daycare parties. For his family party I made this easy “number 3-shaped” cake.

All you need to do to create this cake is bake 2 round cakes. Mine were both 8″. One layer each will work, though if you want a higher cake you can tort and fill each cake so you have 2 layers.

Follow the instructions on the downloadable template above to create your shape. First cut and remove the center of each cake, leaving a ring-shape. Cut away a quarter of each ring, and then position the rings as a “3” to make it easier to see where to cut away the remining bit of cake. So that the cakes sit nicely together, remove a slice off the edge of each ring where the two cakes will touch, so the surfaces that touch are flat, not rounded. (Section 3 in the template).

Then all you need to do is ice and decorate your cake! I decided to keep the small inner cake sections and decorate them as well.

To make decorating super quick and easy, I used Smarties to cover each cake. The longest part of this was sorting the candy packages by color! Once I had them in individual bowls, the placement of each was pretty fast.

First I iced the cake (in my case, vanilla icing on a chocolate cake base), then covered it in the Smarties. I chose to place them in a gradient from darkest on the bottom to lightest on top, for an almost “sunrise”-looking effect.

One of the cake centers was iced and given candles for Jakob to blow out. He got to have this one for himself (and no one else got his germs from trying to blow on the candles!).

The other center was iced in a similar fashion to the main cake, using up the remaining Smarties. I believe we’d sent it home to a family member who’d been unable to attend.

Shaped cakes can be tricky but this one is really easy and looks great, and all it takes is 2 round cake layers, some icing and a bulk bag of candy.

It didn’t only look good- the birthday boy found it tasted finger-licking good too!

Jakob’s other birthday cakes


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DIY Twisted Sister Album Replica

Today I’m going to share the steps I took to create a prop replica of this Twisted Sister record album for a Becket stage show a few years ago:

We had done a skit routine to the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” which was released 38 years ago today, on April 27th 1984. In addition to the skit requirements of tossing the record album around, in general props are often flung out of the way during quick set changes, and we didn’t want to take a chance on damaging an actual record, even if we’d owned one. Therefore I decided to make this stage-safe replica that I could easily re-make in case of damage or loss.

The basis of the record is a piece of stiff cardboard cut to size. Standard record albums are 7″, 10″ and 12″. Unfortunately the best piece of cardboard I had was only 11″ wide but since no one would be able to tell from the audience so I cut it into a square to use. The key was cardboard that would be thick enough to not bend or warp during the multiple rehearsals and performances. If your cardboard is too thin you can layer a few sheets together with glue.

To replicate the “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” album, my next step was to paint the entire surface with black acrylic paint. I will be demonstrating the steps for this specific album but the same principles can be followed to recreate any required prop for theater or costume use. You can even copy your favorite albums for wall decor!

Many of my projects involve using templates and this one is no different! Once I’d chosen my cardboard I printed a copy of the record album to the appropriate scale.

Then I used the graphite trick of scribbling along the back of my image in order to transfer the design. These days I use carbon paper as I find it faster and easier, but pencils work well too.

With the back of the image covered in graphite (or with carbon paper underneath), I placed it into the correct spot and traced over all the lines. A stylus works great for this but you can just as easily use a pencil or ballpoint pen.

It’s hard to see the transferred image. I did play with the contrast to try and show it but it’s pretty faint.

Using the original album cover art for reference, I colored in the image with metallic markers and added highlights with a Derwent Drawing white pencil.

I used the same transfer method to add the album title…

…though this time I pushed a bit harder into the cardboard to give my marker ink borders. This can help contain a bit of the ink flow, if your markers are very runny. If you don’t have markers in the proper colors you can paint your album cover instead.

I had a close-enough color in my metallic markers so I used that for the band name and smaller lettering.

That’s it!

The final touch was a few coats of sealant for protection and then the album cover replica was complete!

This was a super easy and fast DIY that looks incredibly effective on stage, and because it was only cardboard and markers I didn’t have to add to our prop budget nor worry if it took some abuse and I had to remake it. That said, it was surprisingly sturdy and held up great through every rehearsal and all performances.

You can easily use the same steps to recreate any album for your own prop needs.

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World Creativity and Innovation Day

It’s World Creativity and Innovation Day so today’s post is a round-up of previous posts that I feel incorporated some outside-of-the-box thinking!

Ever need to transfer live stitches to waste yarn but can’t find your tapestry needle? No problem! Here’s an easy way to “knit” the live stitches over so you can keep working on your project.

If you find standard provisional cast-ons too difficult, here’s a super easy way to get your knitting started. No extra tools required!

Here’s a neat trick for making thin vines/ropes for use in decorating your cakes or cupcakes. They’re flexible, stretchable, and edible!

Here’s a hands-free way to hold your coloring books open!

Not getting the look you want with colored pencils in your adult coloring books? Here’s a great way to add more tooth to the paper.

Are your fondant balls/pearls coming out all different sizes? Here’s a super easy hack to get identical ones, every time!

Here’s a simple way to give a plain toy new life and make it work with your LEGO pieces.

Finally, for when you want to provide homemade, individual snacks, here’s a free & easy way to transport mini cupcakes by repurposing something you’ve probably already got on hand.


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Avoiding Chores with Coloring!

Did you know that today, April 7, is National No Housework Day? As a crafter, I’m ALWAYS looking for reasons to get more time in with my hobbies, so avoiding housework to spend that time doing things I love sounds like a FANTASTIC idea.

I can’t pretend this is the only day I’ve ever put off housework in favor of a project or seven though… Most recently I took advantage of a lazy weekend afternoon to do some coloring and try out a new background technique in a coloring book page. If you’d like to celebrate the holiday today by doing the same, read on for more info!

After going through my coloring book stash to see what fit my mood, I went with the super rad Like, Totally 80’s coloring book and picked a new page instead of working on one of the pages I’ve already prepped.

I wanted the quick satisfaction of using markers and this page had just the right mix of small details and elements. This book is single-sided which is great as you don’t have to worry about ruining an image on the back of the page.

To make things even more mindless, I gave myself a limited color palette. I found an 80s-inspired palette of these 6 colors:

…which I then matched in my Crayola SuperTips.

It was mindless, for sure, but I forgot that coloring is rarely quick! So I had no choice but to spend even more evenings avoiding housework.

Once all the small sections were complete all that remained was the background. It was too much to fill in with the markers so I reached for my Prismas instead.

First I filled in the entire background with a light gray (not shown). Then, using 3 colors that matched 3 of the marker colors, I went over the background again, doing large, irregular sections of color.

Next I went over the whole thing with a layer of black. My goal was to have the different shades give the black some dimension while subtly tying in the bright 80s tones.

The final step was to go over the entire background one last time, this time with my Derwent Burnisher. You can see the massive difference this makes in the image above – the background below the blue squiggle has been burnished, while the area above has not. There was no additional color applied; I merely flattened the layers of color using the burnishing pencil.

I really like how it turned out! It’s a silly, chaotic coloring book page but it was fun and I really enjoy the subtle depth the black background has by having the other colors underneath.

Looking back now I prefer the original background but at the time I’d felt it wasn’t bright enough to really SCREAM “80s”. I decided to outline everything (and also add random dots around the edge of the page for some reason…?) with a white Posca paint marker. These markers are great with colored pencils as they go over it beautifully without skipping, and once dry you can tint the paint with your markers or pencils.

To beat back the white glare I did just that. Using the same 6 SuperTips I went over the white paint to give every item an outline “glow”.

In the end I’m not mad at the final page (above), but I do prefer it pre-paint. That said, it was a lovely excuse to get out of housework for a bit and do something (relatively) mindless.

I hope you get to use today as an excuse to put down the vacuum or laundry and do something fun that makes you happy!

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How To: DIY Super Mario Bros Banner

For my last post of Mario Month 2022, I’m going to show you how to make these DIY Super Mario Bros-themed banners:

I used them as stage runners for a Mario-themed skit, but they can also be hung as banners to dress up the decor at a Mario-themed party, photoshoot or event.

In case it’s been a while since you’ve seen what a Super Mario Brothers game looks like, this is the setting I was attempting to recreate on stage:

I’ve already made a warp pipe set piece, but to really give the stage a “Mario-world” look I decided to make banners/runners in the style of the iconic bricks, blocks and ground texture.

If you look at the screenshot it’s clear there are 3 distinct patterns – the bricks, the “?” blocks, and the ground sections. Before I can scale and print my templates I needed to know what dimension I could work with.

I used the same roll of recycled paper as for the warp pipe, and it is 36″ wide so the easiest thing to do was to cut the roll in half lengthwise, and base my measurements around that.

On my computer I cropped out one repeat section of each of the 3 patterns and scaled them evenly to be 18″ high.

I printed the templates and taped the sections of paper together to have exactly the pieces I needed. Then I cut my strips to the proper length. The floating banner (the one Mario jumps on/under) was cut to fit 6 blocks of my template wide to best fit the width of our band’s drum riser. For the ground-level banner, I wanted to fill as much as possible of my stage width, so I divided my total stage width (about 30′) by the width of the ground template, and made sure I cut my length appropriately to fit in the maximum number of repeats that would fit my stage.

This paper rolls up nicely which makes storage of both the materials in progress as well as the final banners a breeze!

As for the warp pipe, the whole project was done with inexpensive materials, including the acrylic paint. I started with the floating segment and marked off the width of each segment, then painted the brick sections brown.

I had just barely enough room to set it aside to dry so I could move on to the stage runner.

The stage runner was given a brown base coat along the entire length.

Due to space constraints, I set up my workstation to allow me to keep moving the runner to the right, while working from the left.

Luckily by the time I ran out of room to extend the far end, it was dry enough to roll up on itself.

The ground template would be getting a lot of use as I had to trace it over and over along the entire length of the runner, so I protected it with my favorite cheap lamination method – packing tape.

Then I set about tracing it over and over and over…

Carbon paper is fantastic for this as it provides erasable marks that are dark enough to be seen but light enough to be painted over. I used a ruler to be sure my lines would be straight, and a pen, stylus or chopstick/skewer would all work equally well for the tracing.

Once all the tracing was done it was time to paint the details. This required black and white paint, along with some extra brown to fix any mistakes.

I didn’t want any color bleeding, so first I worked my way through painting the white sections…

…rolling the work up as soon as it was dry enough to move forward…

…and then once the white was complete I moved it to the other side to start over, now painting the black ones.

It’s a long process, but very relaxing and great for podcast/audiobook listening!

With the ground painted and set aside, I returned to the floating banner and added a lighter brown base to the “?” block sections.

Just as for the ground, I traced my templates and then worked in sections to paint them.

First I did all the black and the bit of white highlight on the bricks…

…and then I went back in and did the remaining brown on the “?” blocks.

I love the finished result! It’s so easy and doesn’t take too long but has such a high visual impact for the stage or as party decor.

You can see how accurate the result turns out when you use a good, scaled template.

Once all the painting was done I gave the banners a few days to air dry to be sure there was no moisture left in the recycled paper, and then I set about laminating them.

If you’re only making a banner for a party or to stage a photoshoot, this next step is optional.

Just as for the warp pipe, these banners would be used in a stage show with multiple performances and incredibly quick set changes, and it would be a waste of my time and effort making them if they ripped during rehearsal or mid-performance.

Starting with a 1-2′ strip of tape, I lay it on one of the straight edges, overlapping halfway. Then I lifted the edge of the banner and folded the free half of the tape over, pressing well. This protected the edge of the paper from any moisture getting in.

Repeat the process on all edges. For a long banner like the ground one, you can do this in sections as you go.

Then, using more packing tape, work horizontally across your piece to laminate it. Overlap your strips slightly, again to make sure no gaps are left where moisture could get in. Once done, trim up your edges with a craft knife.

I chose to also laminate the back of my banners. While this does use up extra tape and is not visible to the audience, it provides an extra layer of durability and moisture protection. Also, as we were using velcro tape to quickly hang and remove the banners during each performance, I didn’t want to take a chance on being able to pull the tape off from the paper and damaging it.

The finished banner is now durable and reliable for frequent rough handling.

I then repeated the same process on the ground-level banner.

And with that, they are complete. The banners roll up easily for storage and transport, and applied perfectly to our stage pieces with heavy duty velcro tape. We had incredibly quick, rough set changes where the stage hands slapped them into place and then ripped them off while running off stage during the blackouts, and they held up perfectly!

Here’s how they looked on stage. The original plan was to have the drum riser get the floating banner and hang the ground runner off the front of the stage, but in dress rehearsals we realized that it would be too low to be seen by anyone in the audience except the very front, so we raised it up to run the length of the full band riser instead.

It was a really cute, fun skit/dance number, and definitely an audience favorite. I was so pleased that my stage runners, warp pipe, and all the costume pieces were an important part of that, and have held up to this day (4 years later).

All of this year’s Mario Month posts are from that skit, and next year’s will include instructions on how to make Princess Peach’s wand, Toad’s hat, and the Piranha Pete costume.

Here’s the full 2022 Mario Month summary:

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