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Crafts and Decor
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Refrigerator Box Activities
Refrigerator and appliance boxes can be obtained by phoning local appliance stores ahead. You will need to arrange to pick them up yourself, usually at a specific time as the stores often don't have room to store them for long.
Platform 9 3/4
Using one box, cut off the back panel, leaving the top and bottom intact. You may wish to turn the box inside out if there is a lot of print; use packing tape or duct tape to refasten the edges where needed.
This one requires a fair bit of space!
Use either three refrigerator boxes, two refrigerator boxes and an oven or washing machine-sized box, or one refrigerator and two smaller boxes. The two similar boxes will be your end towers, and the other will lie down on its side in between. In the middle box, you will be making a drawbridge. Choose your shape and draw it ahead.
Here are two ways to make coins; the first is to spray-paint buttons of different sizes, the second is to make these from polymer clay.
Wizard runes can be made the same way. Use your favourite rune symbols and carve or stamp them onto polymer clay coins.
If you are in a hurry, store-bought enamel-painted chopsticks work well.
food colouring or tempera paint and brushes
clear acrylic craft varnish
optional: cellophane or masking tape ("spellotape" for Ron's broken wand)
optional: fancy wooden knob and a little white glue or carpenter's glue
Carefully peel the bark from your stick. Sand the ends so that they are smooth and rounded. Mix a few drops of tempera or food colour with a couple of teaspoons of water and mix. More water will make a lighter colour, less a more vivid colour. Paint your stick and let dry. Apply a coat of varnish to your stick and let that dry.
If you wish to add a wooden knob, choose the widest end of the stick and screw it onto that end. If the stick is too thin to receive a knob screw, use pliers and remove the screw then insert the stick into the resulting hole. You may need to enlarge the hole with a drill. Once you have a fit, remove the stick, add a little white glue or carpenter's glue and insert the stick, wiping away and excess glue. Let dry, then finish the handle in the same way you finished the stick part of the wand.
Another wand option is the paper wand, in which you roll up a sheet of paper and swirls of glue-gun glue around it. You then paint the entire thing a darker colour, let it dry then paint the raised parts a lighter shade. Detailed instructions for this can be found here.
If you are in a hurry, this may be the perfect Hogwarts student robe for you. These robes will work for most kids up to about 10-11 years or so. The finished length is the same as the original length of the shirt, so choose your shirt size accordingly.
Find the centre of the front of the t-shirt at the collar. Cut a tiny slit downwards. Now you can tear the shirt along the cut or continue cutting down the centre until you reach the bottom. Either sew on your button about 2" down fron the start of the cut on one side, or attach your velcro tabs on either side here. If using a button, you can make a button hole in the other side. First determine the location of the hole, then spread a little clear nail polish, varnish or hot glue (you will need to smear this to make it flat) on the back of where the hole will be and let this dry. This will reinforce the hole and help keep it from tearing or spreading. Now, using your scissors, cut a hole a little smaller than you will need for the button. Try forcing the button through the hole, and adjust the size of the hole as needed (it's easier to make it bigger than to make it smaller!).
To clean up the seams without sewing, you will need to use your fabric adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's instructions where the vary from those given here. Cut a strip of fabric adhesive about 1.5-2 cm or about 1/2" wide and as long as the length of your original cut in the shirt. Without removing the paper backing, iron the strip onto the back of the edge of the seam on one side and let cool slightly. Peel off the paper, then fold the fabric back so that the adhesive is on the inside. Iron the seam into place. Repeat on the other side.
Another alternative for a robe is a graduation robe or an old-fashioned church choir robe.
Other costume ideas:
For most of these, you will need to search your closet, borrow rom friends and relatives, and/or peruse the local thrift shop for various finishing touches.
Luna Lovegood: Dirigible plum (radish) earrings and a necklace of butterbeer (wine) corks are a must. Besides this, any especially odd combinations will work--particularly if they involve bright flowers and a superstituous story to explain their significance. Luna's shoes often go missing, so barefoot (depending on the weather!) would also suit.
Tonks: Wear brightly coloured (or multi-coloured) hair and a pig's nose, along with robes or muggle attire.
Weasleys: Red hair and standard robes: for Arthur Weasley a bathrobe; for Molly Weasley a dress or set of robes that looks like a set of curtains along with knitting needles and a long strand of knitted fabric; for Bill a scar on his face and a ravenous hunger for raw meat
Hagrid: Find an oversized leather or fur coat (or similar), optional football or hockey shoulder pads to fill it out, add a fake beard and a rope for a belt, speak lovingly of creatures often feared or "misunderstood". Optional: add a few makeup scratches etc. for dramatic effect and/or add a stuffed animal or two peeking out of various pockets
Colin Creevey: Wear robe as above and follow everyone around with an oversize camera (real or toy).
Seamus Finnigan: Wear standard robes but dust your face lightly with dark grey or black powder and tease your hair up and back to mimic it being blown back by an explosion
Dudley Dursley: Choose large yet prissy clothing (shorts and a jacket, better yet, his school uniform of a maroon tailcoat, orange knickerbockers, a boater, and a knobbly stick); pad the clothing and take on an ape-like stance as you walk; for a young version of Dudley, wind a piece of pink pipe cleaner loosely around a pencil then sew one end to the shorts to make a pig's tail
Hermione after taking Polyjuice Potion: Dress in standard robes, tease your hair gently to imitate Hermione's normal hair, add a cat nose and whiskers using a partial mask or makeup
Professor Trelawney: Wear large round glasses (look in a second hand store for some & remove the lenses); tie a scarf around your head, add lots of dangling necklaces and bracelets
Professsor Snape: Darken your hair if needed, then comb in gel and/or conditioner to give it a greasy look; wear black esp. a tight-fitting faux-collared shirt (or a black turtleneck/mock turtleneck shirt); wear a simple black robe or cape, scowl and mutter as you walk.
Professor Sprout:: Tease your hair then add some leaves and twigs to it; smear a little mud here nd there on your face and hands; wear a mud & grass stained apron with various garden tooks in the pockets; wear a pair of earmuffs around your neck
Professor McGonagall: Use hair gel to slick your hair back and up into a very tight bun. Find a pair of dark-rimmed half-glasses ($ store reading glasses with the lenses popped out work well), and wear them low on your nose. Wear a conservatively cut dark dress or blouse and straight skirt. Add a touch of tartan to the outfit with a plaid scarf or wear a plaid skirt. Optional: add a witch's hat withlarge feathers and/or tartan trim. Purse your lips and look down your nose through your glasses at misbehaving young witches & wizards.
The Fat Lady (aka the guardian of the Griffindor common room): find a large, empty picture frame; dress in a large (padded) fancy dress (with lots of brocade if you can find it); carry the frame with you and pose inside; ask people for the password every now and then. Optional: hang a piece of fabric from the back of the top of the frame to form a background
Moaning Myrtle: Wear your hair in pigtails, wear thick glasses, dust your face with white powder, wear an old-fashioned dress or typical school uniform (in grey) and cry/squeal/moan at the drop of a hat; take anything and everything personally and beg for compliments when possible
Rita Skeeter: wear horn-rimmed glasses on a chain, a pencil (or quill) over your ear, carry a notebook and a fancy quill (a party shop will carry one--sometimes in the wedding section for signing guest books--leave it white or colour it purple etc.); wear a form-fitting feather / boa trimmed dress in lime green if possible, if no feathers or boas, substitute lots of bangles instead; wear bright red lipstick; speak quickly and don't let others get a word in edgewise
Dolores Umbridge: wear a putrid pink and flowery polyester suit, a pink bow on your head, jewellery with kittens as part of the design (or anything other sickeningly sweet accessories you can find), add a locket (for the last book esp.), wear matching shoes with a bow if possible
More great Harry Potter costumes can be found at this external link.
This makes a great first knitting project as it only requires a few rows of garter stitch and is very forgiving!
Cast on 11 stitches and knit 14 rows of garter stitch (knit each row, no pearls etc.). Cast off, leaving a small tail. Place your cotton ball or other stuffing in the centre, then sew the edges together to close. Curl the tongue material, then glue it and the eyes into place.
Click this external link for more Harry Potter-themed knitting patterns
Aged paper brings an authentic look to pirate maps, medieval invitations, "old" manuscripts and lots of other themed stationery.
First print out or use calligraphy to write your intended message. Note: if your ink is water-based and non-permanent, you should age your paper first before you add your message. Make up about 2-3 cups of strong tea. Add this to your container and let cool enough that it will not burn you if you stick your hand in it. Cold tea will still work well for this activity.
Slide your paper into the bin, one sheet at a time (so that the paper doesn't stick together) and let sit for 5-10 seconds before pulling it out. Let the excess tea drip off, then hang it on your clothesline to dry. Repeat for each sheet. If you still need to add your message, let the paper dry completely first.
To add a singed or burnt edge to the paper, light a candle immediately beside a flame-proof container, such as an empty metall wastepaper bin or staineless steel sink. If your paper catches fire, you will simply place it inside and let it burn out (or you can add water if using a sink). Carefully hold the edge of the paper close to the flame, then pull away and blow on it to put out any embers. Continue doing this slowly around the paper until you have your desired effect. Be sure all embers are completely out before placing the paper near anything flammable. Placing it on a baking sheet for the first few minutes afterward "just in case" is a wise idea.
Pioneers and wizards alike find feather quills useful for writing. Try making your own and experimenting with your own scripts.
Rub a little rubbing alcohol on the bottom 1/3 of your feather to help clean it up. You can trim of the very bottom down feathers as needed. Have your adult cut the bottom 1/4 cm (1/8") off the bottom of the feather, being sure to cut it at an angle. Now have your adult make a second cut to cut off the very tip of the end so that there is a flat part that is about 1-2 mm wide (about the thickness of a quarter or loonie). Finally, have the adult make a tiny slit about 1 mm up the centre of that last edge. To harden it, place it in water overnight then let dry or have an adult heat it over a flame (don't burn it, just "cook" it so that it hardens). Now dip your quill into the ink and try writing, but be sure to press gently as feathered quills are not known for their strength! As your quill wears out, you can trim more bottom feathers and re-cut the bottom, much like sharpening a pencil.
This external link has some interesting calligraphy alphabets to try out: http://calligraphyalphabet.muxgo.com/
Bowtruckels, introduced by Professor Grubbly-Plank in The Order of the Phoenix, are wooden creatures who are tree guardians and live in wand-trees.