Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rainbow cupcakes and bead bowls

My big girl recently celebrated her 6th birthday by hosting an art party for her friends. They painted acrylics on canvas boards, decorated hair clips, experimented with piping bags as they decorated their own cupcakes and made bead bowls to carry home all their little goodies. It was a fantastic party! My two favorite ideas were inspired by finds on pinterest and on The Artful Parent blog, so I thought I'd pass them along to you.

I am exceedingly proud of the rainbow cupcakes (found on Artful Parent). I took them a step further and made six layers to incorporate red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

The only way to get such vibrant colors without a heckuva lot of food coloring is to use food coloring gels. (I made sure to buy the no-taste red). Of course, spreading each layer out separately took ages, and six layers made for some seriously hefty cupcakes. Next time, I'll just drop a dollop of each color in the cupcake paper and let it all bubble up and swirl together to be a rainbow marble cupcake rather than fuss about pristine layers (or sweat and swear as they bubble up and overflow the muffin cups in the oven...ahem).

When they were cool, I spread a layer of white buttercream frosting on top, filled six piping bags with different colors of frosting with different shaped tips, and then I let the kiddos decorate their own. They loved it!

The other big hit was the bead bowls we made as they arrived at the party. This was a pinterest find (originally here), and the girls (and their parents) really enjoyed it. The process is pretty simple and the result is really cute.

  • You will need an oven-safe bowl, vegetable oil, plenty of those melty beads usually used on spiked shapes and then ironed (mine are from IKEA), and an oven.

  • Heat the oven to around 250C (450F).
  • Coat the inside of the bowl with the vegetable oil. The beads will stick to this to make the shape, and the oil prevents beads from sticking to the bowl itself.
  • Pour in a lot of beads and roll the bowl around to settle the beads in a single layer. Add more beads as needed. Any excess can easily pour back out again before baking.
  • Place the bead-coated bowls in the center rack of the hot oven and allow the heat to do its work for 5 minutes or so, monitoring progress to know when the beads start to melt together.
  • Once they melt, remove the bowl from oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, your bead bowl releases easily from the ceramic; if still warm, it will likely leave a residue or melty bits on your bowl (not good).
  • If the oil residue on the beads bothers you, you can wash your new bead bowl in the sink and the oil should come off without a problem.
  • **These plastic beads reportedly release toxic fumes when hot, so an adult should do the oven part with the exhaust fan on. This is also true when using the beads on the frames with the iron, so beware.**

These bowls made an awesome alternative to traditional party bags and did double duty as a party activity and candy container at the party's end. Almost all of the girls have decided they must use them at home to hold their hairclips, because really, why not?

What fun ideas have you come across on the web lately?

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