Mulan Inspired Hair Comb

You can use this Mulan inspired hair comb as decoration or wear it as part of a costume. I used paperclay to make the comb. This clay air drys hard and light. In other words, the comb is light enough to wear in your hair all day, but secure enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about breakage.


  • paperclay
  • clay tools and exacto knife
  • paint: white, aqua, turquoise, antique pink
  • paintbrushes
  • gold 3D paint
  • E6000 or hot glue
  • water
  • wax paper
  • 4 inch protractor or round bowl with 4 inch diameter
  • scrap paper

protractor-circleTaking your scrap paper and your protractor/bowl, create a half circle and cut out to make your guide.

Place some wax paper over your guide and wet the surface with a little bit of water.

ready-to-startBreak off some of your paperclay (make sure you store left over clay in an airtight container such as a ziploc bag). Remember when using paperclay to keep water at hand. If the clay starts to stick to your hands or isn’t molding well, wet your hands to add moisture to the clay. Remember: paperclay air dries. Using your guide, create a half circle out of paperclay about 1/8 inch thick.

thickness-in-centimetersNext, take your knife and make a score line about 1/3 inch from the boarder. Do not cut all the way through. You’re just marking a guide so you can cut the teeth of the comb.

scoringNow you can score lines for your teeth. I scored mine just under 1 centimeter wide. Don’t like where your score line is? That’s okay. Just smooth over the scoreline with your finger. Once you have the teeth scored how you like them, fully cut the lines and work the sections out. I used the tip of my knife to start pulling the clay up. Remember not to cut the line at the top of your arch on the teeth that need to stay in.


smooth-over-score-lintSmooth over the score line on the arch area of your teeth. Taking your knife, create a taper on the ends of the teeth so they are not squared.

Next we’re going to create the “leaves” for the flower. You will need 4 for each side so 8 total. The sizes can very a bit. These will be shaped like a triangle. See the photo below for shape and size reference.

leavesOne thing I love about paperclay is that you can use water to attach clay pieces. The water acts almost like a glue. So, keeping that in mind, put water along the edge of the leave to help attach to the comb. You can overlap your leaves a bit then use a damp finger or wet clay tool to smooth out.


 You can see in the photos to the left how I overlapped my leaves just a little then used my clay tool, dipped in water, to start smoothing the leaves out. I finished smoothing them out with my finger.using-tool-to-attach-leaves
You can see in the photo below that all my leaves are attached and smoothed out.
Next we need to create the flower petals. There will be 5 petals. Once again you will be creating triangular shaped pieces, just on a larger scale. You will notice that I folded 3 of the petals over and left two flat.
Test your layout to make sure the size of your petals is right and remember where each petal needs to go.
layout-of-petalsThe petals will overlap each other, but this time we won’t smooth out the overlap. Start with the bottom most piece and, using water, attach to the comb and smooth out the seam. Continue with the next one, smoothing out the seam where you attach the comb but don’t smooth out the overlap.
using-water-to-attach-petalFor the top 3 petals, do the sides first. I dipped my finger in water and ran it along the entire underside of the folded petal. You can them smooth out onto the comb to help attach as shown below.
underside-of-petal-smoothed-outYou can run the thin end of your clay tool, dipped in water, along the inside seam of the petals to help smooth it out a little and help with attachment.
Attach the middle piece of the top petals. Smooth this out like the others, but don’t smooth the petal overlaps.
attaching-last-petalIt’s time to let your comb dry. This may take a few days to dry completely. Let dry overnight before you peel off the wax paper. You’ll know when it is dry when it is no longer cool to the touch. After a good 24 hours, you might turn the comb over. Only do this if the flower petals feel stable and are no longer cool in temperature.
While the comb is drying, you can create the stamen for the flower. These are the little pink stems that come out of the center of the blossom.
Start with making a long, thin rope out of some paperclay. You can see that mine is just over 3 inches long.
3-inch-roll-for-stamin-watermarkedCut your rope into 3 pieces. They don’t have to be perfectly even, but should be similar in length. Roll one end in a bit and pinch the other end flat as you can see in my photo below.
rolled-staminLet your stamen dry. These are small enough that it should only take an hour or two for these to completely dry and harden.
Once everything is dry you can start painting. The photo below shows the paint colors I used. I could only find Turquoise in chalkboard paint but that’s okay. My antique pink color is called Berries ‘N’ Cream and is so old that I’m not even sure this brand is still around.
paints-usedYou will use the turquoise on the leaves, the aqua on the comb arch and the teeth, the white on the flower petals, and the pink on the stamen.
Make sure you get in all the creases. I also painted the back of the comb. If it’s just for decoration, this may not be a necessary step, but if you plan to wear the comb you will most definitely want to paint the back.

The next step, once your paint is dry, is to take your 3D gold paint and outline the petals, leaves, and arch of the comb. In the movie it shows all the comb’s teeth outlined in gold, but I just don’t have a steady enough hand to do that kind of detail.

3d-gold-paint-on-comb-watermarkedLet your gold paint dry completely. Drying time will depend on the thickness of your lines.


You should have painted your stamen pink. I used E6000 with a precision tip for jewelry to attach the stamen to the comb.

e6000-shotPut the glue on the flat end of the stamen and glue to inside of flower.

attached-staminE600 takes a full 24 hours to bond. It may feel stable sooner than that though. Avoid moving the stamen or wearing the comb until the 24 hours is up.


There you have it! You’re own Mulan inspired hair comb ready to display or complete a cosplay outfit.



DIY Ursula Earrings

I’m hosting a Disney themed letterboxing event next weekend and have encouraged participants to come in costume. I am going all in as Ursula and so I had to make these DIY Ursula earrings out of actual seashells.

You will need:

  • Auger seashells–minimum of 2 but good to have extra
  • purple paint
  • paintbrush
  • jump rings and ear wires
  • dremel
  • 1/16 drill bit

I found a bottle full of decorative auger seashells at a local store. It contained about 25 shells. I pulled out about 6 that were similar in size and length thinking that I would most likely break at least one of them when I drilled the holes. Miraculously I didn’t.

20160717_150748Insert your 1/16 bit into your dremel. Your bit can get too hot when drilling for a long period of time. This heat can cause problems when drilling something like a shell and make the item hard to hold onto. To help keep the shell cool so it wont break, place the shell underwater in an old container. I placed the shell on top of some thick foam to give myself a buffer in case the bit went too far when it drills through.

drilling-seashell-watermarkedStart off on the slowest speed. Until you get a grove in the shell your dremel may slip around a bit so keep your hands clear from the end you’re drilling. Hold the other end of the shell firmly. Once you get a good grove you can turn the speed up a little. This will take a few minutes to drill all the way through. If you need to stop and let your dremel cool off a bit, that’s okay.

seashell-with-drilled-hole-watermarkedYour shell should look similar to the photo above once you have your hole. Drill another shell to match. Let dry completely.


Time to paint! I had to put a few coats of paint on due to the smooth surface of the shell.


All that’s left is to add the jump rings and ear wires and, ta da, you’re done! Enjoy your Ursula earrings!


Tangled inspired Rapunzel Tower part 2

Last week I showed you how to create your tower area of this DIY Rapunzel Tower. Now I’m going to show you how to create the top and add the extra features to finish your project; moss and Rapunzel’s braid.

You will be using most of the same supplies as last week.

  • Paperclay
  • paint — purple, dark grey, and Bambi brown (tan)
  • Ground cover (moss)
  • Embroidery thread
  • cardstock paper — 2 pages
  • clay working tool and exacto knife
  • hot glue gun


paperclayToolsembroidery thread colorsFor the embroidery thread, you can see the numbers for the colors I used above. I used size 5 which is 27 yards.

Let’s get started!

First, take your two pieces of cardstock, stacked on top of each other, and roll into a cone. Tape your cone off with masking tape and level out the open end so it is similar to the one in the photo below.

paper cone

This will give you a sturdy form to put your clay on. Cover entirely in clay and let dry. Remember when working with paperclay to keep water nearby and use the water to help blend the clay. This could take up to two days to dry completely.

clay covered coneIf you wish to take the time to cut shingles into the roof, have fun. I originally intended to do so myself, but I was on a time schedule and knew that cutting shingles in would take at least two extra days.

“But why do I have to let it dry before moving on?”

If it isn’t dry, you take the risk of smushing your cone. It will be much easier to work with once dry as you can hold onto it firmly without fear of ruining the work you’ve done.

To attach the cone to your tower, roll out a long “rope” of clay. Center your cone on the top of your tower and lay the clay rope around the base of the cone. Work the clay out, blending it onto both the cone and the tower.

top attachmentI had already blended my clay rope out and had started adding the roof overhang before I remembered to take a picture. Don’t worry if you can still see the top of your container after you’ve attached your cone. It will get covered up when you do the overhang.

roof overhang

I flattened out some circular shaped pieces of clay and attached them to the top, blending the top of the new piece onto the cone.

roof overhang take 2

Don’t worry if the edge of the overhang isn’t nice and even. Remember that this tower has been standing for who knows how long. It’s not brand new. It should look like it’s been exposed to the elements.

Let your overhang pieces dry completely.  You’re almost done with the claywork. Yay! Use some small pieces of clay, rolled into ropes, to put underneath the overhang, where the tower meets the roof.

roof overhang completedThis will ensure that you can no longer see the container you used at the top of the tower. Don’t worry about having to blend the clay over the area you have already painted. You can repaint once it’s dry.

All that is left to do with the clay is the mini tower room (if you choose to have one) and the chimney. My mini tower room was made of a solid piece of clay that I rolled into a short cylinder. Use water to attach and help blend onto the roof. Shape a cone and attach to the cylinder. Create an overhang. You can see my completed mini tower below.

mini tower

I designed my chimney, inspired by the concept art I mentioned last week, by creating another cylinder. I attached the bottom to the roof then used my clay tool to work a hole into the top. Next I took my exacto knife and carefully cut out the notches. Again, you can see the finished product in the photo below.

chimenyLet everything dry completely, then paint your roof. I used the dark grey for the chimney. Paint under the overhang as well.

Now it’s time to heat up your hot glue gun and start attaching your moss.

To make your braid, open the thread up so you have a circle of thread. Find the end of the thread and cut through all the threads there. You should now have a long strand of many threads. Fold this in half and cut all the threads again. Do this with the other two colors as well.

Lay your thread out and start mixing the colors, pulling a few strands of each until you have one bundle of thread, colors mixed together. I chose to use three different colors so it would look more realistic. Look at any head of hair and you will notice the subtle natural highlights. Using just one color didn’t seem right.

braid topMake sure all the loose ends of thread are even on one end. Pull an individual thread out and tie it around the bundle, about 1/3 of an inch from end, securing your bundle.

If needed, trim your ending to make the threads even. Cut off excess thread from your knot but don’t throw away.

Start braiding! Stop your braid before any shorter ends start to stick out. Use the excess thread from securing the top to tie off the bottom of the braid.

braidYou can trim the ends up a little if you have some threads that are a lot longer. You don’t want to even out the entire end as that wouldn’t look very realistic.

I used hot glue to attach the top of the braid to the tower window.

That’s it! You now have your very own Rapunzel tower!

Let me know how it turned out or if you have any suggestions to make the process easier.

Below is a 360 degree look at my finished tower.

completed back viewcompleted front viewcompleted right viewcompleted left view



Tangled inspired Rapunzel Tower part 1

I’m going to show you how to make your own Tangled inspired Rapunzel tower using some recycled items. This post will focus on the main tower part. Next week I’ll show you how to make the roof.


You will need:

  • An empty and clean Pringles can
  • An empty and clean Sobe Life water bottle or other similarly sized bottle. Vitamin water might work. Just make sure you can fit the top of the bottle into the top of the Pringles can.
  • A small plastic container — I used a parmesan cheese container. Compare the size to the bottom of your water bottle to see if it looks right. Make sure container is clean with the lid on.
  • E6000 or hot glue. I prefer to use E6000 as I know I won’t be able to accidentally rip it off.
  • Clean, dry sand or some small rocks.
  • Creative Paperclay, 16 oz, natural white. I used two full 16 oz packages and a small portion of a third pack. You will use this for the roof as well.
  • An exacto knife or other small knife — I used a tool for stamp carving.
  • Clay modeling tools — see picture below for what I used.
  • Paint: brown, black, grey, dark grey, purple, and Bambi brown (tan)
  • Ground cover — I found this moss like ground cover in the model section at Michael’s Arts and Crafts were they have the miniature trees and what not.



When working with paperclay, remember to keep a bowl or cup of water at hand. If they clay starts to stick to your fingers or won’t spread well then you need to dampen your hands. This is an air-drying clay so you will need to wet your hands often.

Put your sand/rocks in your Pringles can. It doesn’t have to be very full. The purpose of this is to help weigh the can down as your tower will get top heavy if you don’t. Use your glue to attach the water bottle, inverted inside the Pringles can, and then attach your plastic container to the water bottle. If you’re using E6000, give it a few hours to make sure it’s dry.

Cover your work area with wax paper to prevent sticking. Make sure you have an air tight container, such as a ziplock, handy to store your clay in so it doesn’t dry out once you open the package.

Tear off a piece of clay and, starting from the bottom of the Pringles can, work around the can and up. Use water on your fingertips to help blend the clay onto the can so it will adhere.

Starting the clayYou want the base to be thicker. Think of it as the rocky ground that your brick tower is constructed on. You can add thickness later if needed.

Work your clay up and around the can until your entire tower is covered, can, water bottle, and container (don’t cover the lid of the container as this will be done when you do the roof). This will need to dry completely and may take up to two days.

cracks in dry clayOnce it’s dry (no longer cool to the touch) you may notice some cracks like the ones in the photo above. This is normal and easy to fix. I only had cracks on the bottle and container. I think the cardboard of the Pringles can helped absorb the moister as the clay dried but the plastic gave that moisture no where to go. I’m not a scientist, but I think that is why it only cracked on the plastic.

Take some extra clay and work it over the cracks like in the photo below.

covering cracksWait for the clay to dry. You can see the difference in color between the dry and wet clay. Also, remember to feel for the difference in temperature. If you feel a cool area, the clay is still wet.

Once completely dry, take a pencil and draw out the areas you want to be moss and where you want your windows and beams for the “living area” of the tower. I found some concept art images online from Disney’s Tangled and used those as a loose guide.

drawing moss areasI also noticed while looking at the concept art that there seemed to be a “ramp” that starts at the base of the tower and disapears in the back. Google Rapunzel’s Tower texture reference painting and it’s the first image that comes up. I believe this concept art was done by Doug Rogers. I remembered that there was a door, hidden under moss and vines in the movie so that Mother Gothel could enter the tower when she came home and discovered Rapunzel missing. So I made a ramp and hidden door.

This is my finished door. I didn’t take any pictures of the process to make the ramp and door.

finished door and rampAfter you’ve drawn out your guide, it’s time to start creating the bricks. Work in small areas, adding more clay to the area you want to work on and using your exacto knife to cut the bricks into the wet clay.

cutting brickMake your bricks all different sizes to give it a less uniformed look. Continue all around the can, leaving a section at the bottom where your rock foundation will be.  If you try doing too big of a section, your clay will start to dry before you can get to it all and it will be harder to cut the bricks. This will take some time because you will need to let the clay completely dry before you add on the next section. If you try to do the next section before the area you previously worked on is dry, you may find that you smush the bricks with your hand while working the next area.

I spent the better part of a week just doing the bricks. Don’t expect this to be a fast project.

Once you’re done with the bricks, it’s time to start on the windows and wood beams on the living area of the tower.

I shaped my wood beams by hand then used my knife to cut them straight. Before applying to your tower, wet your fingers and run the water along the back of the clay. This will help it stick to the clay on the tower.

attaching non blended piecesI used the pointed end of the clay tool, dipped in water, to carefully blend the edge of the “wood beam” onto the tower. This clay will take longer to dry because of the thickness. While it is still wet, you can lightly scrape your knife along the clay to give it a more “wood” look, adding grain.

I added a “room” that sticks out a bit from the side of the container. If you wish to add this, you will want to do so before you put your “wood beams” around the top of your tower. This was an especially thick section of clay so I left it to dry for an entire day before I continued working. You can see the painted room in the photo below.

side windowOnce all of your clay is dry, you can start painting. I made the end of my little side room a full window. You’ll notice I painted the windows black as if there aren’t any lights on inside the tower. I did this so that it doesn’t look strange not being able to see Rapunzel when I attached her braid.

For the brick, I used grey on some and dark grey on others while mixing the two grey colors on yet other bricks. I did this in sections. Before your paint completely dries in one section, dampen a paper towel and run it across the bricks, giving it a wash, in order to get the weathered look in the photo below.

finished brickPaint your rock base and door (if you made one) using the brown, Bambi brown, and greys. Find a mixture you like that gives you the feeling of dirt and rocks. Paint your wood beams using brown and the rest of the living area with Bambi brown. Paint your windows black.

That’s it for now. Next week I’ll show you how to make the roof, the braid, and you’ll attach the moss.




DIY Tangled Inspired Magic Flower

Flower, gleam and glow, let your power shine. Make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine. Heal what has been hurt, change the fates’ design. Save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine. What once was mine.

Don’t we all wish we had a magical flower like the one in Tangled? Healing wounds, reversing the aging process, maybe even curing cancer. Well, this do it yourself Tangled inspired magical flower may not have any real magic, but it will bring a smile to any Disney fan’s face.

I found a white lily in the fake flower section at my local craft store. It actually had two lilies on it so if I had flubbed up the first one I had a backup. After I had finished this project I found some white lilies at the dollar store, which would have been a lot cheaper.

Watermarked supply imageMy flower pot is about 3 inches in diameter. I bought a foam block that is about 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Unless you have other projects to use moss for, buy the smallest possible bag. The bag I purchased was quite large and I only used the tiniest amount of the moss.

Cut away at the foam block until it fits inside your flower pot. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Watermarked foam in flower potUse wire cutters to clip your lily stem, leaving a stem about 4 inches long. Paint the flower yellow with purple centers. Once this was dried I took some gold glitter paint and painted over the entire flower including the anther (the little things that stick up from the center).

Watermarked flower close upWhile your flower is drying, make your golden anthers using thick gold jewelry wire (about 18 gauge). Using your wire cutters, cut three lengths of wire about 4 inches to 6 inches long, varying the lengths of each one slightly.  Use pliers to curl the end a little. Repeat with other two wires.

Watermarked curled wire close upUse hot glue to fix the wires to the center of the flower.

Stick flower into center of foam inside flower pot. Use leaves pulled from the stem and the moss to fill in the pot, covering the foam completely.

There you have it! You’re very own magical flower.

Finished flower




Harry Potter String Art

Have you seen those string art images of your home state or a heart plastered all over Pinterest? Have you seen any that are the least bit geeky? I haven’t. I had never made one of these before now but I wanted to represent my favorite fandom by making the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.


Board big enough for your image

Printed image

Scissors/Craft knife


Nails–make sure your nail has a good lip on the head. Mine didn’t have much of a lip and it caused some problems when I was putting the string on

String in the color(s) of your choice

HP String art image Once you have your image cut out, position it on your board. I used some washi tape to hold the image down. I went with washi tape because (1) it was on hand and (2) it doesn’t pull up the paint/stain on the board.

Start pounding in nails! This felt like it took forever. I had to spread it out over a few days because it made my tennis elbow kick in big time. I also had to use pliers to hold the nails because they were too small for me to hold with my fingers.HP String art nailsYou can see in the picture above that I’m almost done pounding in the nails! Yay! It was easy to tell if a nail wasn’t pounded in well because it would pop out while hammering in another nail.

Once you have all your nails in, and there aren’t any loose nails, remove your image.

HP string art no stringIt’s time to start winding your string around the nails. I used a slip knot to start my string out. You’ll notice that I used a heavier string (as opposed to thread) and that it had variegated colors.

The Puzzling Crafter: HP string artThis was a bit frustrating. As I mentioned earlier, my nails didn’t have a large enough lip on the head to keep the string from slipping off.

Finally done!

HP String Art finished

I added a quote to the bottom by transferring printed words onto the wood. I tested this out on the back of the board a few times to get it down. I’m no expert on wood transfers, and you may notice the error I made.

Wood Transfer ErrorCheck out the word “enemy”. Yup, I had a spelling error that I didn’t catch during all my trials on the back of the board. I had it as “emeny” but was at least able to wipe away half of the “m” so that it wasn’t quite as bad of an error. There wasn’t anything I could do to fix the rest of the word. Oh well, lesson learned.

I would love to see what you make! Let me know in the comments how it goes for you or if you have any tips to add!

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DIY Lord of the Rings Lamp

This lamp is the perfect, subtle, decorative item for the Lord of the Rings fan in us all. Don’t deny it. You know you love LOTR just as much as the next person.

So, do you want to learn how to make this? Well then, let’s get started.

First off, supplies.

lotr lamp 1Try and get a lampshade that is more cylindrical instead of cone-like. In other words, you want the diameter of the openings to be as close as possible. This will make it easier to lay your image on the lampshade. My shade had a slight difference in size, top to bottom, and my image would go a little sideways. It’s easier if you don’t have to adjust the image while you’re poking the holes.

You can buy fabric paint if you like, but I used Rit dye. The dye is cheaper than buying special fabric paint and I could adjust the shade to my liking. I went with scarlet. At first, I mixed too much water with some of the powder and the lampshade came out a little pink when it dried. No problem though, all I had to do was mix a darker batch and paint the shade again.

You will also need something to mix the dye in (I suggest something you can throw away), a paint brush, some tape, and a pushpin.

lotr lamp 2I ended up using a tablespoon of dye powder mixed with about half a cup of warm water (you want to use warm water to help dissolve the dye). You might start out with more water and see how the color looks. Like me, you can always go back and darken it up. I actually had to paint on three layers.

lotr lamp 3Hanging out in the sun to help it dry faster.

While the lampshade is drying, go print out your image. I just googled “the one ring inscription” and found what I was looking for in a snap.

Once dry, you can place your image on the lampshade. I used washi tape because it comes up easily without tearing and I could easily re-position the image if needed.

lotr lamp 4Take your pushpin and start poking away, following the lines of your image. This was the most tiring part. The lampshade was a little tougher than I anticipated, but once I got going there was no stopping me.

It was kind of cool to peel back the image and see the progress I was making.

lotr lamp 5lotr lamp 6

At last I was done! I assembled my lamp and turned it on to see the results.

lotr lamp 7Like I said at the beginning, subtle. It doesn’t blaze bright or project the image onto the wall. What it does is add a little bit of LOTR into my everyday life.

lotr lamp 8Let me know in the comments how yours turns out!

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