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Monday, 10 March 2014

DIY birthday gift for girl- under $5

Good morning, gentle readers!!
I have not forgotten you.  The passing of my mother has affected me in some unexpected ways.  That is why I stepped away from blogging for the past month.  I just needed a chance for things to level out a bit.
I am now in the place of a better outlook and am happy to be back at blogging.

This morning I am sharing with you my DIY birthday gift for a little girl. This gift ended up costing me less than $5, and I have to say I am pretty happy with my results.

This particular little girl is having a Frozen themed birthday party. I wanted to gift her something in line with her theme without it being a licensed Frozen item. I decided I would make her an indoor snowball kit (I did get the okay from her mom that she would be allowed to play with these inside).

There are a few approaches online about how to make indoor snowballs but none of them really spoke to me. I had the idea to use white Styrofoam craft balls.  But when I picked them up they were too light. They are not made for tossing and I believe that would take a lot of the fun out of an indoor snowball fight.  But you know what's great for throwing while also being light and soft enough not to hurt if it hits someone? Ball pit balls!!!

I only needed 24 snowballs, so originally I only wanted to buy 24 or 25 ball pit balls. But I quickly discovered that the cost of 25 was almost the same cost as buying 100.  So I bought a bag of 100 balls for $12.  That means I can use those for four separate snowball gifts. Making the cost of balls for each gift $3. I also hit up the dollar store for a bright pink bucket (this particular little girl is a pretty big fan of pink) to put them all in; the bucket was $1.25.

To begin with I had to sand the balls. If I had not sanded them the paint would have had difficulty adhering to the plastic and likely would have flaked off over time.  By lightly sanding the shiny surface off the balls I increased the paint adhesion.
The ball on the left was taken directly out of the bag.
The ball on the right was lightly sanded
 Next I painted the balls white with acrylic craft paint. You want nice coverage but don't stress too much about it.  The nature of a ball insists that one point of the balls will be in contact with your drying surface, and this usually means one spot of paint that does not dry well or pulls off.  Not to worry about that, just do the best you can. I also added a coat of Mod Podge to the balls after the three coats of paint.  I did this as an added layer of protection against scratching or flaking of the paint.

Balls after three coats of white paint.
As they were drying it was time to get my "snow" coating ready.  Originally my plan was to buy fake snow. But in March that gets hard to find.  I even scoured online and wasn't finding any fluffy stuff, mostly just spray on snow intended for window displays.   Then I read about someone who used paper towels for her faux snow.  At first I thought she had wrapped her balls in paper towels and thought it would be so ugly.   But she had actually run her paper towels through the food processor. 
When I tried it in our spice grinder it came out like a dream! I was so very happy with the results!

I needed about half a sheet of paper towel per ball.   I ripped up the towel into roughly thumb sized pieces.  The pieces have to be small enough for good shredding but do not need to be a uniform shape.  
roughly thumb sized pieces
Ripping up the paper towel was definitely the most time consuming part of the gift. Feel free to enlist small helpers (or dinner guests who are too polite to refuse).

My sweet helpers

Put the lid on your spice grinder and let it run for about 10-15 seconds.  When you open it up, Volia!! Perfect, beautiful, fluffy, cheap fake snow!!!
Looks exactly like I had been hoping!
 Next, I did another coat of Mod Podge on the balls and just pushed my "snow" on with my hands.  
Okay, its true, I added a sprinkle (or two) of glitter to the fake snow before I glued it to the balls. Not everyone loves glitter but I really feel like it was perfect for this gift.
Adding the "snow" gets a bit messy and you will have paper stuck to your palms and fingers while you work.  Fret not, it all washes off easy peasy.

Here is my finished product.  Looks pretty snow- like if you ask me! Taa-daa!!
Non- melting, indoor snowballs!

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