Sweet DIY: Retro Ray-gun Tutorial

Welcome back to our humble blog today!

We have another simple, and affordable DIY tutorial up our sleeves to show you today. This go round we are going to make some Dollar Tree squirt guns magically transform into Retro Ray-guns. This project is all about the vision to see what an objects potential is. Jason is really skilled at this. He can see something in the store as a completely different object down the road. All we required were a few crafting materials we already had at home, and a package of squirt guns, which cost $1 per three pack. 

Let get to it!

For this project you will need:

 

  • Spray Paint (or Craft Paint & Applicator)
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic Squirt Guns
  • Painters Tape
  • Newspaper
  • Spray Polyurethane

Step One: Decide what area of your ray-guns you want to paint. We chose to completely cover two of ours, and leave one blue and just paint the bolt on the side of it. You will want to mask off the trigger area just to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in place with paint. Use your painters tape and newspaper to mask. 

Step Two: Rough up your painting area with a fine grit sandpaper. This will help ensure your paint adheres well to the plastic. The shiner and smoother the plastic, the more difficult the bond can be. Once you are done sanding, be sure to wipe the ray-guns down to remove any loose debris that would prevent the paint from sticking as well.

Step Three: Unleash your inner paint artist and go town on those ray-guns! We tried to achieve a nice retro feel by using some matte metallic spray paint and an accent of dark red here and there to match the overall color palette of our Retro Space Dessert Table. Allow your paint to dry thoroughly and then apply a polyurethane spray coat as well to keep the paint from scratching of and protect little hands too!

We used our Ray-guns as decoration, but you could easily hand them out to your guests to have a super fun squirt gun fight, or even as a party favor or gift!

What do you think about this project?

We’d love to hear your comments below!

Sweet DIY: Space Helmet Candy Dish Tutorial

Today’s DIY project and tutorial is so easy it is going to blow your mind. That is if the cost of today’s DIY project and tutorial doesn’t first! We are going to show you how to assemble these super fun and creative Space Helmet Candy Dishes that were featured on our Retro Space Dessert Table last week. If you happened to miss that post you are going to want to click that little link up there in the previous sentence and check it out. Jason really out-did him self with the creative ideas this time! 

First things first, let’s talk about cost. Above you will see all of the materials used for this project. The Glass candle holders, (yes they are candle vessels) were found at Dollar Tree, so that is $2 bucks for the main part of the candy dish. The next part is optional and completely customizable. So you could quite literally not spend any more money at this point.

We used some simple wooden craft pieces and metal washers to create a “retro antenna” for the top of the “space helmet”. You can skip that step if you want, or you may find some other bits and pieces you like to use better. Ours was a mish-mash of found objects that combined into pure awesome. If you were to purchase those bits and bobs though, you would only be spending just a few bucks. We also chose to paint our antenna with some gold spray paint we already had on hand. Again, your choice, decorate however you see fit!

Here is the official material list as we completed the project:

  • Glass containers, one Cylindrical, one Globe - make sure to test them out before you bring them home to see if they fit easily together and apart.
  • Wooden Pieces - one for antenna, one for base - our antenna had a ball already attached at one end
  • Small Washers - make sure these fit onto your wooden antenna piece
  • Tape
  • Glue - Craft, Hot, Super
  • Spray Paint (or craft paint and applicator)

 

Step One: Like we mentioned in the material list, you want to make sure your two glass pieces fit nicely together without being too snug to fit together/apart. We recommend testing this BEFORE you bring them home :)

Step Two: If your washers weren’t quite the perfect fit for your wooden antenna piece, you will need to add a bit of cushioning to make them fit snugly around. We used tape and wrapped it around to make things fit nicely together. Thread your washers on, then spread your glue in between and around so that they are sure to stay put. Let this dry before you move on. When your antenna is ready, go ahead and glue it to the small wooden circle, and again let dry before moving on. We used Elmer’s glue but in hindsight super glue might have been easier, we’ll let you decide!

Step Three: Decorate it! As we said above, we sprayed our antenna with gold spray paint and let it dry. You could just as easily use a metallic craft paint or even cover it in glitter if you want it to sparkle! Once your decoration method is dry, it is time to attach the antenna to the helmet top. The helmet top of course is the bottom of the glass globe. We used hot glue to do this because we wanted to make sure our efforts were temporary and that we would be able to re-use the glass pieces again in the future. Hot Glue doesn’t bond well to glass and usually pops right off with the tiniest of force, so if you want your more permanent you may need a stronger adhesive.

And there you have it! A super duper inexpensive and easy way to transform some very plain jane glass containers into something a lot more interesting for your party!

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this tutorial please do not hesitate to leave us a comment below!

Sweet Parties: Retro Space, Rocket Ships & Ray-guns Dessert Table

Wikipedia defines “Retro-Futurism” as a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced prior to about 1960.  Basically this coincides around the same time that The United States stopped dreaming about the future, IMO.  This extremely eloquent individual seems to agree with that sentiment as well…

 

I apologize to all our of readers if this might be coming off as a rant about ideologies, and it’s not, just the opinion of someone who still dreams big, but politics and reality keep getting in the way and won’t stop being annoying!  Breathe…In through your nose, out through your mouth…3 seconds in, 3 seconds out.

Okay I have successfully “enhanced my calm” (+1 Internets to anyone who leaves a comment on what movie that quote is from).  I’m going to channel my quasi-negative energies into this blog post and the resulting awesome retro-futuristic themed dessert table that will unfold before your very eyes.  It does, however, still bug the crap out of me that we as a species STILL don’t have personal rocket packs.  Don’t even get me started on the flying car.  Alas, it was not meant to be… 

But you know what was? 

Hello My Sweet’s spectacularly Retro Rockets & Rayguns themed dessert table, that’s what! 

I have to admit, I was really super excited about designing this table, so much in fact that I started to build props of rocket packs and intergalactic rocket ships before I had even finalized the design of the table.  It’s like the inner kid in me came out and didn’t want to go back to adult land and actually start to shape this table into a cohesive look. 

After gazing upon our dessert table it’s my hope that it too will let your mind wander off and you inner child come out to play, soaring through the cosmos to dispatch evil robot villains with our rayguns, even if just for a little bit!  ‘Cause if the world needs anything, it’s a little more dreaming…

So after watching the 1980 Dino De Laurentiis rendition of Flash Gordon and another cult classic, 1956’s Forbidden Planet, I had plenty of ideas just swirling around my noggin.  I decided upon a more retro look akin to When Worlds Collide, after a disastrous accident with the first version of my rocket ship prop/centerpiece. 

As I said earlier I had finished it so early that it was just perched precariously atop our refrigerator and met with untimely death on our kitchen floor.  After ditching the Flash Gordon-esque look, I eventually went with more of a traditional rocket look.

Two other props that I had done for our table, a space helmet and a rocket pack, are actually wearable items that kids can use to “fly” around the room and burn off a little of that energy!  We will be posting a D.I.Y. in the coming weeks on how we made these items, but suffice it to say you can work some crafting magic with just 1 liter soda bottles, paper cups, a package of elastic banding, an Utz cheese ball container, hot glue and some spray paint.

On one of our countless trips to Lowe’s we also stumbled upon a K-Cup container/carousel thingy (I apologize I don’t know what else to call it) that I knew I just had to have for THIS table.  It looked straight outta the 1960’s, with its “futuristic” design and chrome finish. 

From Dollar Tree’s candle holder section, three fishbowl shaped candle holders and three cylindrical shaped votive holders.  When you combine these two different shaped candle holders together, just by putting the fishbowl shaped ones over top of the cylindrical holders, you now have a candy/snack container shaped like a space helmet!  The fishbowl shaped holder just lifts off (no pun intended!) to expose the goodies inside the other candle holder.  Not to toot my own horn, but…INGENIOUS!  I even added a few details to the top of the spherical candle holders to tie in the look of them with the large space helmet made out of the Utz cheese ball container.

Several other purchases that also came from Dollar Tree; 2 packages of water guns that were spitting images of the old fashioned “Ray Guns.” I just used some fine grit sanding paper to scuff up the surface, masked off a few areas and painted them to match the other props on the table.  Lastly we ended up purchasing 2 packs of inexpensive paper plates, one pack of white, and another of black.  I then cut a crescent shape out of the white plate and used double sided tape to adhere it to the whole, uncut, black plate.  A small and easy D.I.Y. that adds extra atmosphere (“atmosphere”…see what I did there?) to the whole setup!

Another idea I wanted to implement was for the beverages on our table.  Specifically I knew I wanted it to be a two-step interactive process that kids (of all ages) would enjoy.  Anytime you can get your party guests involved in the party they are at, instead of just being in attendance, you are winning.  And although the combination process doesn’t actually involve any actual science, it’s just Mio Liquid Water Enhancer and club soda, you could integrate that into your own party setup.  One container would have the “fuel”, or a small amount of Mio flavored club soda, and would be added to another container, the “tank”, that would house the clear club soda.  We had on hand from previous holidays, some Wilton containers of sugar sprinkles that oddly looked like test tubes.  I just dumped out the sprinkles into some Tupperware, and cleaned them out.  After looking at the empty test tubes, and by “looking” I really mean staring.  And by “staring” I really meant to say zoning out.  Then it hit me!  These things look like the “fuel cores” used in another favorite sci-fi movie, The Fifth Element.  I know it’s not really in the realm of “retro” but hey it works for this idea…just go with it. Then all I needed was my “fuel tank,” and remembered a bottled water brand by the name of VOSS that had some really nifty looking bottles.

There was just one teensy problem.  I could not find these damn bottles at any of our local grocery or convenience stores.  That is, until I took a trip to my mother’s house in northern Virginia and my son and I had to stop at a Sheetz to gas up.  While there we decided, and by “we decided” I mean my son needed yet another snack, to go inside and there they sat.  It’s like the final piece of the puzzle had clicked into place, I now had my fuel tanks.  I purchased 8 of them right on the spot, rather difficult considering I had 8 bottles of water in my hand, along with my son’s food, and let us not forget the toddler that does NOT want to stay by my side during the check out process.  Sigh…I’m fairly certain I got some odd looks, but totally worth it.  Just check out our snazzy animated GIF and we’ll let you decide if it’s totally cool or not.

Having an Etsy store ourselves, we are always appreciative of the purchases of our customers, so we try to “pay it back” to the community by purchasing from other Etsy stores.  We came across this store that was offering a “three compartment stainless steel tray” that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Martian eye-probe from the 1953 War of the Worlds sci-fi movie.  After realizing this, I just had to have it as well.

On all these really cool plates, trays and containers sat our goodies.  They ranged from bite-sized treats consisting of “Lunar Bits” or Hershey’s Cookies’n’Crème drops, “Meteorites” or Milk Chocolate Rocks from Wal-Mart, “The Original Atomic Fireballs” or really effing hot balls of fire in your mouth, to “Food Pills” or Good & Plenty’s.  Because you know, in the future all your food will come in pill form…  We also had some larger desserts such as “Moon Pies”, Vanilla and Banana flavored, “Star Crunch”, “Black Hole” or chocolate donut gems, “Dark Matter Pops” or Devils Food Jell-O pudding pops, and Milky Way cupcakes.  Party guests washed it all down with “Reactor Cores” and “Rocket Fuel” or Mio Flavored club soda. 

As far as the printables go, I just want to state that you can derive inspiration from the strangest of places or things.  At some point in time someone had gotten me some article of clothing from UNIONBAY.  It came with a tag, that with a little tweaking, I thought would look great on our table.  Modify the overall shape slightly and keep the orientation, change the colors, throw in some retro sci-fi elements and voilà.  Hopefully an instant classic with customers over at our Etsy store

The large menu, something we at Hello My Sweet started to do with our Rainbows and Candyland party, uses a bold retro stellar cartography map as it’s backdrop and lists the food items in such a way that the names appear to be blasting off into the void of space!

I wanted to have a bit of fun with the invitation and model it after a mash-up of an old timey telegram message, with the “stops” or breaks, and receipt of orders from HQ.  The “Thank You” card included in our set is also a break from the norm in that it replicates receiving an award or plaque for your attendance.

Again it is our hope that everyone who sees this table will get some great ideas and inspiration, and of course dares to dream big regardless if they are 8 or 80.

We were very satisfied with the end results of the table, the décor, and of course the printables, but if anyone out there has any suggestions, praises or critiques please feel free to leave a comment in our comment section!

 

Sneak Peek: Retro Space Rocket Ships & Ray-guns Party

 

Wikipedia defines “Retro-Futurism” as a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced prior to about 1960. Basically this coincides around the same time that The United States stopped dreaming about the future, IMO. This extremely eloquent individual seems to agree with that sentiment as well: 

 

 

I apologize to everyone if this might be coming off as a rant about ideologies, and it’s not, just the opinion of someone who still dreams big, but politics and reality keep getting in the way and won’t stop being annoying! Breathe…In through your nose, out through your mouth…3 seconds in, 3 seconds out..

Retro Rocketships and Rayguns flying car

Okay I have successfully “enhanced my calm” (+1 Internets to anyone who leaves a comment on what movie that quote is from). I’m going to channel my quasi-negative energies into this blog post and the resulting awesome retro-futuristic themed dessert table that will unfold before your very eyes. It does, however, still bug the crap out of me that we as a species STILL don’t have personal rocket packs. Don’t even get me started on the flying car. Alas, it was not meant to be… But you know what was? Hello My Sweet’s spectacularly Retro Rockets & Rayguns themed dessert table, that’s what!

I have to admit, I was really super excited about designing this table, so much in fact that I started to build props of rocket packs and intergalactic rocket ships before I had even finalized the design of the table. It’s like the inner kid in me came out and didn’t want to go back to adult land and actually start to shape this table into a cohesive look. After gazing upon our dessert table it’s my hope that it too will let your mind wander off and you inner child come out to play, soaring through the cosmos to dispatch evil robot villains with our rayguns, even if just for a little bit! ‘Cause if the world needs anything, it’s a little more dreaming… So after watching the 1980 Dino De Laurentiis rendition of Flash Gordon and another cult classic, 1956’s Forbidden Planet, I had plenty of ideas just swirling around my noggin. I decided upon a more retro look akin to When Worlds Collide, after a disastrous accident with the first version of my rocket ship prop/centerpiece.

Retro Rocketships and Rayguns ships

As I said earlier I had finished it so early that it was just perched precariously atop our refrigerator and met with untimely death on our kitchen floor. After ditching the Flash Gordon-esque look, I eventually went with more of a traditional rocket look.

 All the awesome party details will be posted this weekend, so be sure to check back in with us! We’ll go over the printables, food and some really cool ways to keep your young party guests entertained!

Sweet Disasters: The Time I Made Cupcakes (and they looked like poop)

Not so long ago I read an article regarding the merits of showing oneself as is. Meaning, not just the good and awesome, but the not so good and awesome as well. The point of this particular blog post was to illustrate how far bloggers go these days to make everything look perfect. We here at Hello My Sweet are guilty of this.

Jason and I try really hard to make our photos look perfect for when they hit the blog. So hard in fact, that when I realized that something has gone very wrong recently, I procrastinated the photo editing process for a long time, just so I didn’t have to be smacked in the face with my error. Putting this party off for as long as possible, was a subconcious effort however, and only after Jason asked me, “Are you unhappy with the way the party turned out? Why haven’t you edited the photos for it yet? You usually do not wait so long”  did I realize what I was doing. The poor man was feeling like he had messed up, because I hadn’t yet done my job. The part where I stare at the photos I have taken (over exposed, underexposed, blurry, you name it) and try to make them perfect in photoshop and ready for our blog.

You see folks, my error came in the cupcake decorating process this time. We made Milky Way cupcakes for a Retro Rockets & Rayguns space themed dessert table. Milky Way cupcakes consist of chocolate cake, with a milky way candy baked inside and topped with whipped chocolate buttercream and caramel drizzle. Sounds good right? Well leave it to me to make the delicious into the opposite. I baked the cupcakes, let them cool and commenced to decorating them with the buttercream. Everything was going according to plan, we were right on schedule. Only it wasn’t going well at all and I didn’t even realize it. I had chosen a wide round piping tip for the buttercream frosting process. I chose this because I wanted to keep it simple. This of course resulted in a fat swirl of chocolate buttercream. See where I’m going with this? Well I didn’t see it.

We placed them on the table and away I went taking photos. Fast forward 2 hours while I’m reveiwing the shoot on the computer monitor and BAM! It smacks me in the face. The cupcakes look like poop. And not poop in the metaphorical slang term sense, they are ugly. Oh no, no, no. Actual poop. A perfect brown swirl of chocolate buttercream “poop” on each and every one. I tried to tell myself it would be ok. But the more I looked at them, the more I saw just “poop.”

So this is just my little confessional today. I know I am not perfect. And most of you probably know it too. But in case you were in the mindset today of, “does this kind of stuff only happen to me?” I’m here to tell you, “Heck NO!” It happens to me too. And Jason. And everyone else. I bet even Amy Atlas has had her fair share of uh-oh moments.

But if you take nothing else away from this little decorating lesson today, just remember this:

Never use a round tip to pipe chocolate frosting onto a cupcake. EVER.


So tell us, what was your funniest baking or decorating disaster? We’d love to hear it; leave us a comment up top!

Peacock & Golden Glam Holiday Dessert Table Recipes

So now that you know how to create a colorful and festive Peacock & Golden Holiday Dessert Table, it’s time to fill it up with goodies! Jason and I generally fall into two distinct roles when we design a table. He is very much the meticulous planner of the decor, while I am in charge of the baking and anything that needs to be created for our printable sets. That wasn’t the case this time however.
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Retro 20's Style Golden Glam Peacock Dessert Table

I feel the need to share this little tidbit of (mostly) useless information.  When I first discussed the idea of basing one of our Birds of a Feather themed holiday tables on the Peacock, I thought I was talking about the entire species of avian that is most associated with its bright colorful plumage…and NBC.  But low and behold, every time we say the word “Peacock” we are actually only talking about the male of the species. According to our go-to tool and bastion of truth (yes I’m talking about the interwebs) you would actually be referring to Peafowl.  I submit proof to you that the saying, “You learn something new every day.” is still pertinent.
These curtain panels, which are in our living room as I type this are the main reason why I wanted to do a Peaco…Peafowl themed dessert table.  When we first saw them on the Pier 1 website, we loved the look of them.  Most notably the royal blue hue, and the simple but elegant pattern of Peafowl feathers. When we arrived to purchase said curtain panels, we were surprised to see that they were actually a deep almost iridescent teal color. Surprised…yes, but still very happy, we purchased them anyway.  I kid you not, while researching links and pictures for content for this post, I re-read the description for the curtains…“shimmering blue-green base with peacock feather prints.” Blue-Green. Must have missed that part the first time around…funny how things turn out, huh?

A year later when we moved to our current location, we decided to put up the panels in our new living room. They were previously pulling duty as our master bathroom shower curtains.  We had an oil-rubbed bronze thing going on in there, and we really wanted something with a punch of color. These things practically assault your eyeballs, but in a good way. You’ll see.  I personally had ambitions of doing some DIY projects to help co-ordinate and tie-in some of our other décor in the living room with our “new” curtains.  That is when I went to our Lowes store in search of swatches to color match some paint.  I had 2 of our 3 children with me, who are infinitely experienced in distracting you from what you originally went to the store for in the first place. A skill a child comes pre-programmed with. Regardless, I believe I left with perfect matches. From the Valspar line of paint; 2009-2 Caramel Cream, and from the American Tradition by Valspar line; 5011-8 Classic Teal and 3010-3 Heraldic Gold.
 
2009-2 Caramel Cream5011-8 Classic Teal3010-3 Heraldic Gold

  Ok here it is, the low down on the deals we found! For the rest of the props, of what would become our interpretation of a Retro 20’s Golden Glam Peacock Dessert Table, I did the usual searching and scrounging at our regular haunts.  From Kroger, gold and teal jewel toned chargers ($1 each) that would serve as platters for some tasty treats.  At our local Wal-Mart Supercenter, I was able to score the 2nd (of 2 great fabric finds) bolt of fabric ($5) that was like a bazillion yards long.  I also found the purple and teal sheer and gold/white grosgrain ribbon from the crafts section at ($1 each).  Jo-Ann Fabrics yielded a styrofoam cone ($7) for the awesome Rolo centerpiece, small golden holiday bells ($1), and gold beaded garland ($1).  At Target’s dollar section I was able to find, almost hidden from me on the very bottom-most shelf, two golden colored metal buckets.  Great as is, but even better after just tweaking them a bit with some turqouise spray paint.
In what seems to be the case as of late, the majority of our props have come from an unusual location. At the start of the holiday season, Dollar Tree’s trim-a-tree décor was a literal treasure trove for our gold, teal and orange color scheme.  It was there we found our champagne flutes, artificial fruit (spray painted gold and teal), 2 styles of gold gift wrapping, clear fluted edge votive candle bowls, bronze candle holders (turned into stands) and shiny gold gift boxes.  Everything obviously only a dollar each there. For the wrapped Christmas gifts behind the center piece, we just used some empty cereal and fruit snack boxes.  I was also able to utilize some of our old stand-bys like my custom made DIY cake stands underneath the charges to give them some height and our white IKEA tray.  Even after all the crazy good finds I just mentioned, I think the best of the best (of the best) came from a wee tiny yard sale that we just happened upon, as most yard sale finds do.  As we sped by it, I spied with my little eye a small brass birdcage.  Price… $1 American.  You damn right…
For the star of the table, I had envisioned buying this Peacock from www.save-on-crafts.com. But after accompanying Heather to Charlotte, NC to deliver a cupcake order, she asked if I had ever been to a Garden Ridge store. I think my response was something like this…“A what?”  She “claimed” that I would love it, and mind you she claims a lot of things.  Refreshingly for a change, she was right. (Heather here, this make me LOL. I am right about these things most of the time, but I will leave this bit in here for the entertainment of you ladies out there who know how men can be…) We ended up browsing for almost two hours and purchasing ornaments, sprays, and birds for both Heather’s Cardinal & Birch table, as well as the bird for my Gold & Teal Peacock table.

For the printables, I had discussed a certain type of look I was going for with Heather.  Specifically I had wanted to incorporate the silhouette of a Peacock’s head and accompanying plumes on top, and stick it inside the general shape of a gilded birdcage. After doing some rough sketches on my idea pad, I sat down with Heather to bang something out in Adobe’s Illustrator program.  As you can see, we make a great team, as she was able to take my idea and translate it into a great set of party printables. (Our printables are available in our Etsy shop here.) When we had most of the major design elements finished we set out to find a font suitable for even the most discerning Peafowl.  I had suggested to use Riesling, since I took one look at it and thought it was very Gatsby-esque, and would just totally jive with my look.  We think our glitzy and glamorous take on the whole Peacock theme turned out stunning, and if you agree please let us know by leaving a comment, or even just saying so on our Facebook page!

Come back for Part Two of this post later in the week, where Ms. Heather will dish on the delish!  (HA! See what I did there?)