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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Witching Decor Project Kit: Tips and tricks

Close up of the witch hat made from Stampin' Up! Witching Decor kit

Did you ever fall so helplessly in love with something in the Stampin' Up! catalog that you could barely wait to order it, barely wait to get the package, and barely wait to open it up? Oh my goodness, this witch hat from the new holiday catalog spoke to me in a way that was like "GET IN MY HOUSE, WITCH HAT."

Needless to say, it was the first thing I put on my preorder list, and the first thing I tore into when the order arrived. It. Is. Gorgeous.

If you also fell in love with this kit, but are ordering it during the regular period (starts Sept 1! Yay!) there are a few things I figured out while I was putting it together. Ready?

Halloween centerpiece from Stampin' Up!

Before you start

This kit is actually really straightforward, PROVIDED you watch the video. I watched it one full time through before I even ordered the kit, and then I pulled it up and watched the relevant bits again while I was putting the kit together. The kit comes with glorious full-color photo directions, but the video has great details that aren't in the instructions.

I'd suggest that you break the assembly into a couple of sessions -- it took me about 3 hours to do this one. My suggestion: Do the hat/base assembly, the label, and the fringe in one go, and then come back and do the messy bits (the burlap and the leaves).

Clear a good bit of room on your table to start. I used the cardboard from the package as my work zone, instead of grid paper. You do you.

Gather up all the extra stuff you'll need: Scissors, bone folder, Soft Suede ink, glue, tearable tape adhesive, Memento black or the new archival Basic Black ink.

The hat and base

Follow the video directions, but be SURE you are generous with the measure of the cone for the hat's point. I did mine a scootch too tight and had to do some glue gymnastics to recover. A little big is a thousand times better than than too small, and you really can't make it bigger once you tape (ask me how I know this).

Don't crumple the cone yet. I know you want to, and I know the printed instructions say to. Don't do it. 

The label

You'll be thrilled by how much extra stuff is in this kit! Lots to use on another project later. If you are a thrifty stamper, like me, you'll cut your doily in half. Then you've got a piece for something else. 

Where you might get frustrated: Ink up the GIGNORMOUS Happy Halloween stamp and practice on paper before you use the actual label. I messed up the front and back of two labels before I finally got an impression I was happy with on the third (and final!) label. The kit comes with three labels in this size and three of the size that would fit the other label in the stamp set, so you could swap out if you wanted to. 

Use Memento ink. I know, it says to use the new archival ink. I tried it, and the black was definitely richer, but I couldn't get full coverage on the stamp. If I'd had a brayer, this would have been the time to pull it out, for sure. I used the giant F block, and I stamped onto a piercing mat for extra give. The final version is a little fade-y, but it looks good once the whole thing is together.

Sponge the vanilla label part before you glue on the other bits. 

You can swap up the colors of the little pennants and the "31" piece if you want. I didn't, but I liked that SU! included the option. 

The fringe

Nothing special here -- the instructions are fine. I was worried about the big numbers on the reverse of the fringe paper, but they don't actually show at the end. I did use 3 of the 4 pieces, just as it says in the video. 

The burlap ribbon

If you take nothing else from this post, take this advice: Take the ribbon OUTSIDE and trim it there. When you take off the edging and fray the ribbon, the burlap will leave 3 billion tiny bits of burlap hair all over your table, your project, your rug, and your clothes. You'll have some shedding no matter what, but if you can get the bulk of it outside, so much the better. You're welcome, says the woman who did not get that advice and will be vacuuming for the next month.

The leaves

I followed the instructions and used "about half" of the leaves. If I were doing it again, I'd set aside a couple more of the acorns -- I felt like I was drowning in acorns as I was stringing the garland.

You have two stamps to use on the leaves: A cross-hatch one and a spider web. The cross-hatch one looks great on the acorn caps, but I didn't like it on the leaves. Up to you, of course. I stamped only one side of my leaves and then strung them carefully. I love stamping, but even I have limits.

Crumple the leaves before you sponge -- the sponging will get into the wrinkles and make them look even more aged (what you want).

Do, as it says in the video, tie one of the leaves to the end of the thread as you string. 

Assembling the glorious hat

It is a lovely, lovely feeling to have all the bits ready and just put it all together. Bask for a moment in that glory before you let it go.

Putting the fringe and ribbon on is easy (particularly if you use the tearable tape adhesive). Three bits of fringe is enough to go around the hat twice. Do be mindful of the OTHER end of the fringe, or you'll get it stuck to your craft table. (Cough, cough.)

If you did NOT succumb to the urge to pre-crumple your hat, you'll be able to put lots of glue on the label and tuck it in easily, just as she does in the video. If, like me, you crumpled early, you will want to be a little more selective in where and how you apply glue, because the crinkles don't make for easy sticking. It'll work anyway, but it's a little harder.


Witching decor kit makes a gorgeous 3-D Halloween accent
Premature crinkling


Crumple! With joy and vigor!

Use a dab of glue to hold the string that holds the bell that makes the witch hat festive.

And then delicately arrange your lovely leaves, and you are DONE. Now call your family in so they can admire the wonder that is your beautiful witchy hat! Hurray! 

I hope you have as much fun with this project as I did. If you've put your kit together and have tips to add, drop them in the comments!





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