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How I made Lightning McQueen November 8, 2012

Filed under: Celebrations,Crafts,Halloween — MKCoehoorn @ 3:19 am
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Honestly, this isn’t a tutorial.  It’s more of a generic idea that I did.  I did take a few photos as I was working on it, but not enough for you to follow the directions.

In addition to my daughter’s Rapunzel challenge, my son wanted to be Lightning McQueen for Halloween.  Not a race car driver, but McQueen.  Which meant that somehow a box car that could be worn by a four year old yet still looks like McQueen had to be fashioned.  There were actually two made.  The little one that my husband crafted, and the big one that I made.

Little McQueen

This one was made from technically 2 boxes and poster board.  Body itself is one medium size box with three of the four top flaps cut off.  On the bottom, two flaps were cut off and the other two were trimmed to make room for his legs then taped into place.  To round out the front, a strip of poster board was cut and taped in place, then tapered along the top so the hood (also made of poster board) would be angled.  Then a hole was cut into the front of the box and a smaller box was inserted to act as a candy catcher and keep the front end in place.  The rear flap from this inner box was taped to the windshield to hold it up.  Along the sides are poster board windows and in the back is a cardboard tail fin.  We learned when painting over plastic packing tape, you want to make sure you get a good base coat of primer on all the surfaces or else the paint will not adhere.  The eyes were colored on with crayon and the mouth and headlights were printed on computer paper then stuck on with school glue.  On the sides a big yellow lightning bolt was painted with a computer paper 95 glued over it.  The wheels are just cardboard rounds that were painted red and black then adhered with shoe glue.  To make the car wearable, red gross-grain ribbon was threaded through the bottom of the car and the box forming the engine compartment.  This car is small enough the little boy was able to reach over the windshield and lift the hood to receive his candy.

This costume was used for trick or treating in confined spaces, i.e. the residence halls of the college across the street.

Now here’s the Big McQueen.

Big McQueen

He is actually constructed from three large boxes I got from the pharmacy where I work and one small box.  The wheels are made from eight paper plates that have been painted and glued together, then attached with shoe glue.  If I had been on top of things I would have attached them with brads so they would spin.  The Rust-eze logos (on the hood and tail fin), eyes, 95 decals and the license plate (on the back) are all printed on computer paper and glued on with school glue.  The lightning bolts on the sides were painted.  You can’t see it, but there is a “lucky sticker” on the far side of the hood that was made from glitter glue.

For the construction, I started with one box in the middle.  The bottom flaps were all removed to make room for the little boy.  The top flaps were all left as part of the vehicle.  The front and back flaps were left intact but angled to form the front and rear windshields.  The side flaps were trimmed and then taped to the front back flaps to form the side windows and then also to hold the windshields at the correct angles.  The center of these flaps was cut out to form the windows for the little boy to put his hands out and to also remove some of the weight.  The front and back ends are actually from one box that was cut at about a 70/30 ratio.  The larger portion was taped to the front and the smaller to the back with the open ends facing the center box.  The front portion was then tapered at a steep angle to continue the windshield for a couple inches, then at a shallow angle to form the engine compartment.  Poster board was used to round out the front end.  A third box as well as the remnants of the first two boxes were used to form the hood, bottom edge of the windshield and the tail fin.  Slits were made near the top of the front and rear windshield for the ribbon to go through to make the car wearable.  A smaller box was cut in half then glued to the bottom of the body between the wheels to give it some support when not worn.  Because this car is so much bigger, some “invisible” thread was run from a scrap of ribbon inside the car, through the windshield and down to the front edge of the hood, then back, to act as a pulley.  One run of the thread was not strong enough, so I ended up running it three times before tying it off.

Open hood

Tail Fin Logo

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DIY Halloween October 31, 2012

Filed under: Celebrations,Crafts,Halloween — MKCoehoorn @ 8:27 pm
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Yes I am that mom.  I do the fancy birthday cakes for my kids, not to show up every other mom out there, but because I’m too cheap to buy one from the store.

I also make my kids Halloween costumes.  Yes, I do use patterns when necessary, but sometimes the kids have requests that don’t have easy to follow patterns, and then I get really creative.  These are the challenges I like.

This year presented two challenges.

Challenge #1: Rapunzel’s braid

So the pattern I used for the dress also came with instructions for the hair.  But those instructions were written for a kid with a normal sized head.  My daughter, well, at 9 months she measured 50% by length, 60% by mass, and 98% by head size.  At 7 years old she is more proportionate than she was as an infant, but her head is still larger than average, which meant the pattern’s instructions were not going to work.  So I read them over, got the gist of what they were going for, and threw them out the proverbial window.  Then I did my own thing and here is the result.

rapunzels braid

Rapunzel’s braid

I used a skein of Lion Brand Yarn Pound of Love in the Honey Bee colorway.  I then cut 90 strands of yarn that were about 3 yards each.    I measured by holding one end of the yarn in my hand and stretching to my far shoulder, then repeating 2 more times.  After all the yarn is cut, hold all the strands together and loosely tie a knot at one end.  Then carefully remove all the tangles and loosely knot the other end.  Cut two lengths of yarn about 5 or 6 inches long: these are used to make the bun loop at the top of the braid.  Double up the long strands and tie one of the shorter lengths in the middle, then tie the other to make the loop.

braid top

Bun loop

Next take a 9 foot spool of ribbon and unroll it.  Thread one end through the yarn tied at the base of the bun loop.  Pull the ribbon through until the ends are even.  Carefully untie the knots at the ends of the yarn.  Count out the strands so that you have 3 groups of 60 strands of yarn.  Include the ribbon in two of the groups.  Braid the yarn until there are only about 5 inches left.  Cut one final length of yarn, again 5 – 6 inches long, to wrap around the end of the braid and tie it off.

braid end

End of the braid is tied off with more yarn

Trim the ends of the yarn so that they are all even.  Through out the braid, weave in silk flowers.  To attach the braid, I pulled my daughter’s hair into a high ponytail and secured it with an elastic band.  Then I loosely twisted her hair into a bun and secured it with 4 or 5 hairpins.  Then I slipped the bun loop (there’s a reason I called it that) over her bun and secured it with another 4 or 5 hairpins.  And voila, one Rapunzel ready for trick or treating.

attached braid

Bun loop around the bun and pinned in place

Next post:  How I made Lightning McQueen.