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Halloween Inspiration!

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Projects by Sharon M. Reinhart

With Halloween just a week away, a little bit of inspiration might be helpful. In this issue we will focus on the treat side in order to create favors for Halloween parties or for your favorite little goblins! The trick side of this issue will be to share quick and simple techniques for favors, while at the same time, we will share how these favors can become inspiration pieces and transformed into cards and tags! If you are a crafter who doesn't create Halloween specific projects, no worries! We have a little treat for you as well. One of the Halloween projects has been transformed into a card design that may be used for many other occasions just by changing up the colors and the sentiment.

We are all inspired by something. It might be another person's designs or colors you see in nature, images you find on the internet, store window displays as you're passing by on the street, or even something as simple as product packaging. Most design ideas are inspired by something or someone. Sometimes we may not have access to a great deal of visual inspiration, and in that case, it may be necessary to have a brainstorming session to get the process started. I like to create a sheet of notes that includes anything and everything that may relate to a topic or theme colors, patterns and images. For Halloween this might look like the following:

  • Colors: orange, black, white, purple, green
  • Patterns: stripes, polka dots, damask, checkered, grid lines, script, book print
  • Images: webs, spiders, worms, witches, ghosts, pumpkins
  • Words: boo, trick or treat, "Happy Halloween", spooky, spell

When making something that requires a container of some type I also create a list for that as well.

  • Containers: paper, plastic or cellophane bags, pillow box, fry box, basket, cube box, bucket, jar, disposable mini coffee mugs, cupcake holders, a matchbox or matchbook

Containers can be purchased ready-made or created by hand with scoring tools and/or die templates. Although we are crafting for Halloween, don't forget to check out the bridal section in your local craft and party stores; there are many wonderful little containers that are perfect for treats!

These quick little lists help me to begin the process. From there I look through my supplies and pull out any similar items. The supplies I pulled out from my brainstorming list for these projects are:

  • Spiderweb embossing folder
  • "Trick or Treat" rubber stamp and black ink
  • Orange, black and white cardstock
  • Striped black-and-white paper, green and white grid-line paper, checkered purple paper, green with white polka dots paper, and an orange and light blue damask paper
  • Die templates: alphabet letters, floral oval, rosette, pumpkin, banner and tag
  • Rhinestones
  • Green ribbon
  • Black-and-white butcher twine

This process always helps me to get started, especially if I need some inspiration. I encourage you to give it a try. If you do, I also suggest that you keep your notes in a binder or notebook to refer back to the next time you are working on a particular theme.

Now, let's get to the goodies! Our first project is a pumpkin-themed treat basket and coordinating card. The pumpkin shape was die-cut using a die template, and then it was embossed with a spiderweb embossing folder. If you do not have access to a pumpkin die template, try punching three circles or oval shapes, and then layering them together, or use a cookie cutter to trace a particular shape. To create a spider effect, three black mini rhinestones have been attached to the pumpkin.

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All that is required to create the box/basket component is a square of cardstock, a bone folder or scoring tool, and adhesive. This basket/box makes use of a 4 1/2-inch square of cardstock. Score at 1 1/2 inches and 3 inches; then turn a quarter turn and repeat. Cut on the score lines at the top and bottom up to the first score line and then fold into a box shape and secure with double-sided tape or quick-drying adhesive. For the handle, simply cut a strip of cardstock and adhere each end on the inside of the box. Insert your favorite treats along with a few strips of curled cardstock and finish with a stamped greeting on the front. Big and little goblins alike are sure to love this treat!

The coordinating card was inspired by the favor, repeating the pumpkin focal point but in a larger dimension. Green grid-line cardstock was inspired by the green ribbon, and the pumpkin was in need of a decorative resting place -- thus the die-cut white cardstock oval.

Our next project consists of a pillow box favor and a coordinating tag. One of the things I love most about creating items for Halloween is the use of patterns. It seems like the more patterns that are put together the better the effect. This is also a great way to use up scraps from previous projects. This next project combines three different paper patterns in three different colors, none of which were Halloween-specific papers.

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The pillow box container is a premade item that I found in the bridal section at my local craft store. To make this project, wrap a printed-paper strip around the pillow box followed by a die-cut banner shape on top. The rosette takes center stage and was made using a die template; however, if you do not have access to this die template or die-cutting machine, just take a strip of paper and score it every 1/4 inch or so. Then fold it into an accordion shape. Join the ends to form a ring and then press down onto the surface to create a rosette shape. Secure the center front and back with strong adhesive or hot glue. Add a punched orange cardstock circle followed by a green sparkly rhinestone. To finish this favor, a die-cut tag was embellished with die-cut letters spelling the word "BOO." Don't forget to put the treats inside!

The coordinating tag was made using the same materials but on a black cardstock tag. If you are in need of a card rather than a tag, just form a card from cardstock and adhere the tag to the front. Or, for another favor idea, attach the tag to a white treat bag.

I also promised that there would be a little treat for those of you who do not craft for Halloween. This last project shows how we can take inspiration from one theme, and by using the basic design but changing up the sentiment, colors and patterns, it can become something totally different. The pumpkin favor shown previously could also be re-created as a party or Christmas favor using ornament shapes instead of a pumpkin.

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So, as you can see, many different projects can be the result of inspiration from another project. I hope that you have been inspired to create!

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