My favorite cake EVER!!

I was also commissioned to make the cake for the halloween themed baby shower I made the invites for. The mom and I searched for a while for the right cake and we found this one on Pinterest. Here are step by step pics and instructions (as best as I can do).
What do you need?
– 4 cake mixes (eggs, water, oil per mix requirements)
– Filling for between layers
– Small paring knife for carving cake
– Buttercream icing
– Fondant (whatever colors you want)
– Ribbon
– Deco piece/flower for embellishment of ribbon
– Exacto or craft knife- VERY SHARP
– Sheet cake pan
– Large bowl shape pan/metal bowl
– Small bowl shaped pan/metal mixing bowls
I own these and these, so I used those instead of metal mixing bowls for the belly and breasts.
Pick your cake flavors and fillers. Never rush into this choice and make sure you have it ALL on hand before starting! I used 1 cake mix for the round belly, 2 mixes for the flat base, and 1 more mix for the breasts, so 4 mixes in all. I also used strawberry filling for between the layers.  Bake cakes according to box instructions. I always add a pudding mix into the cake mix, even if it claims to already have one in it- it is better to be more moist than dry.
IMG_7865Once cakes are baked and cool, place sheet cake on your work surface and cover the bottoms of your “breasts” and “belly” with your filling and place “breasts” sde by side near top of cake, leaving a small–ish margin at the top for cutting. Gauge the distance between bottom of “breasts” and where you would place the top of the “belly” by just what looks natural to you. Mine is placed approximately 2 inches or so below the breasts. Once you are comfortable with the placement, carve the torso shape out of the base sheet cake.  You will carve the “sweetheart” neckline at the top to show the shape of the “breasts”, you will give the waist area some definition, and round out the bottom under the “belly”, leaving about a 2.5 to 3 inch margin around the bottom of the “belly”.
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Once this is done, get your buttercream ready to spread. It can be colored, especially if that is your top layer- plus flavor it to your liking. If you are not a fan of fondant, this is your top layer, so you would ice accordingly and then use the Viva method to smooth it.
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Now for the fondant- I can’t tell you exactly how much to use- You have to eyeball it and it may take a few tries, so don’t put the fondant directly on the buttercream until you know for sure that it is big enough. Roll out a good sized portion to cut a strip that is as tall as the base edge (should be about 2-3 inches) that will wrap around the entire circumference of the cake. Once that is done, roll out a piece that will be large enough to cover the “breasts” and carefully drape over them and manipulate to the shape so that it molds to them and drapes like a real top.
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The reason I do the “breasts” and the “belly” fondant separately is that it would have to be a huuuge piece and I don’t want to risk tearing that big of a rolled out sheet and getting bare spots.  I used to only use Satin Ice brand fondant and color and flavor it myself, but the last few years have seen Wilton step up their game with their fondant and it’s quality and flavor, so if I need rich colors I buy the pre-colored Wilton brand. This purple would have taken soo long to make on my own- the Wilton was the best option and it tasted great.  Once you get the “belly” covered, making sure to roll a piece out big enought to leave a “skirt” around the belly, draping naturally, cut off any major excess, making sure that the edge is natural looking and not a straight line.
IMG_7874The whole cake should be covered by fondant at this point. There may be a small gap between the “breasts” and the “belly” but that is O, as it will be covered by the ribbon accent.  I used a 3 inch wide ribbon that I believe I bought at Hobby Lobby on clearance several years ago. It was originally sold as Mardi Gras deco. It had a metallic green snake skin type of pattern on it and was wired in the edges. It was the perfect touch for this Halloween themed cake! The large purple daisy was a floral clip from Michael’s.
So…here’s the hard part. The baby skeleton. I dreaded this part for weeks. I finally conquered it, though. The way I handled this part was convoluted, but it worked. If you can figure a better way, please teach me!! I enlarged the image of the cake I had seen to the best size for me and printed just the skeleton. I used a ball point clay shaper/fondant tool and placed the printed paper on top of white fondant I had rolled out to about 1/8 inch thickness.  I traced the image over the paper, applying just the right amount of pressure to imprint the outline on the fondant but not so hard as to tear the paper- it was tedious and delicate work. That probably took more time that any of the other fondant work. Once I got the skeleton traced I let it sit for a few minutes to dry out for easier cutting. Using the Exacto knife I carefully followed the imprint from the tracing and cut the pieces of the skeleton out and out them aside to dry further. I actually cut this out about 3 days before I made the cake to make sure it would be good and firm when I was working with it.
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Once it was all dry and firm and the cake was done I attached the pieces using a small paint brush and vodka.  I added the ribbon with a small ball of pink fondant. Just make 2 triangles and soften them and add a small flattened ball in the middle, adding details to suit.
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And here it is- fully finished!
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This one wore me out and was a lot of detail work!!
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More spooky Baby Shower! Simple decos

I didn’t do all the decos for the shower- I just did a couple of items. The cupcake picks, the banner, and a “words on a stick” banner type thing for a table.

The cupcake picks
We wanted a spider themed so I used the George Cricut cartridge
for my  plain edge circles and the Cake Basics Cricut cartridge for the filly edged circles. I believe I did a 2.25 inch black circle and a 1.75 white circle.  Each pick consists of 2 base circles and one contrast circle.
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Using a small spiderweb stamp I had on hand I stamped it in to one “corner” of the white circle then stamped the little spider near by the web.  On some of them I stamped “The itsy bitsy spider” and on others I just stamped “EEK!”
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I then glued the two base circles together with a craft straw (just a fancy name for coffee stirrer). I found them on clearance and just knew they would be perfect!  They were the perfect size/height for cupcake picks!!
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Onesie banner – 
I cut out my onesies. I made them approximately 7 inches tall. The onesie itself is a 2 layer item- main color and accent color. I used orange and black for most of them since we were doing Halloween and two of them (for fun) were made with lime green polka dot paper contrasted by orange.  On the front of the onesies I spelled out the baby’s name using matted letters from Plantin Schoolbook Cricut cartridge . I made the letters approximately 6 inches tall.
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The green polka dot onesies got pumpkins on the belly made from left over glitter orange chevron paper I used on the invitations. If memory serves me I made the pumpkins with the Happy Hauntings Cricut cartridge I then punched holes in the shoulders of the onesies and ran a ribbon thru them to hang the banner by.
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Table banner –
I cut out the PEEK A BOO letters out with the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge, matting them in contrasting colors. I used black cardstock and the orange glitter chevron paper I had from the invites. I made them about 7 inches tall and glued the letters together with a skewer in between the layers so they would stand up in the mason jars filled with mini marshmallows.
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Here are a few snaps of the shower room-
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This was easy stuff to put together- You can do it!
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Obligatory Minecraft Birthday Party!

In this age, no craft blog is complete without the obligatory Minecraft Birthday party post and my child did not disappoint! She wanted (and got) a Minecraft party this past November.
Most of these decos are super easy to make and can be found as free printables online- Just google Free Minecraft Printables.
My daughter wanted a Ghast pinata, so that was from scratch, idea-wise. The Pinata was premade but started its life looking like a present.
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I bought it at Walmart and stripped it down to the bare box. I recovered it with silver tissue paper.
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Then cut sheet of silver tissue into 5 inch wide strips and fold in half. Cut into a fringe. Once you have a lot of the fringe strips cut, using glue, start wrapping them around the pinata form, starting from the bottom and layering them halfway over each layer. Cover entire pinata like this until it looks like this –
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Cut approximately 10 trips of silver tissue paper 3 feet long and glue to the bottom of the box to look like the Ghast’s “tentacles”
I printed the Ghast face out on a color printer and cut it out using regular paper, but If I were to do it again, I would have used cardstock.
Make sure when you are covering the box you are careful not to close off the opening for stuffing the pinata! This one was a huge hit! (ha! hit- pinata!! See what I did there??)
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For my signs and invitations, I used a PSD Miinecraft background I found online and made all the signs on picmonkey.com. I downloaded a Minecraft font from Da Font, a free font site. I used that format for all my signs then also searched an found certain MC characters and icons for all the signs.
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The cake. Ah… the bane of my birthdays..sometimes.  We searched for moths to find exactly what she wanted. It was different everyday..then I convinced her for a true Minecraft party she had to have a Minecraft Cake cake. She finally relented and said yes. YAY!!!
Here is the cake I found online –
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Looks fairly easy, right? Yah. Ok. I have found, over the years, that I make lovely cakes for other people but when I am making my own child’s cake all that can go wrong does go wrong.  Here is my finished Minecraft Cake cake. It’s not awful but I was displeased with the finished product for sure.
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Meh. Not awful but not my best. Altogether, the party was a big hit and much fun was had by all.
This was pretty easy to put together- most of the ideas are online and free or cheap to make or mimic. This one is rated as beginner!
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It’s been a while..but here we go! Back in the swing with a Halloween themed baby shower!!

I know- I have been a huuuge slacker! I actually haven’t been, I just haven’t been blogging all my creations! I’m going to attempt to catch up!

Let’s jump right in to the details of a Halloween themed baby shower I was a part of last October (2014).

Invitations..Mommy and I scoured Pinterest and the web for invites we liked..Here is a step by step on what we ended up doing.

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I designed the actual invitation part on picmonkey.com as a 4×6. Always add a frame of about 1/4 or 1/8 of an inch around the image so when it prints your “important” stuff doesn’t get cut off.

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I usually print at Walgreen’s because they have good quality and great coupons, plus a lot of them are 24 hours for late night crafters like me! The back ground is a 6×6 piece of orange on orange chevron glitter (it was Doodlebug brand) cardstock. The pregnant momma is from the Cricut cartridge, Everyday Pop Up Cards. Her witch’s hat is from the Happy Hauntings Cricut cartridge.

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Our little momma – I used a pale-ish skintone color for her basic shape. I set the Cricut for approximately 3.5 inches.

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For her hair, LBD, and shoes, I used a solid black cardstock, and as always, for all of my solid cardstock images I used and recommend the Recollections line of 8.5×11 cardstock from Michael’s. I have tried many different kinds and this brand is a great monetary and quality value. Just a note- I used black for her hair because the invites were for a mom with black hair, obviously you are free to use whatever color you want!  Her hat is the only solo witch’s hat on Happy Hauntings, but it originally had a spider hanging from its tip. It was very delicate and wasn’t necessary for us, so I removed it. I then embellished the hat band area with green Stickles.

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Then I layered it all together and, voila! Finished Invitation!

IMG_7459Due to the amount of cutting and creating images from a potpourri of different cartridges, I would rank this project as intermediate in skill level.  Show me your creations!

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Upgraded Laundry Room; Step 1.

I hate my laundry room. It’s is a combination of Seussian colors that I loved when I painted it 8 years ago, but now I just cringe when I see it. I am in process of repainting and revamping the room- it is my laundry room/pantry/linen storage/eBay storage room so it serves many purposes. It is a busy place so a major reno is hard- this shelf was a simple idea to help add storage and prevent objects falling behind the washer and dryer. I also needed a new lint bucket and a money can – us know- for our “laundered” money!! For the lint can, I used a large cardboard coffee can. I painted my base coat, a crackle coat and my top color. I then used the Plantin Schoolbook Cricut cartridge for the lettering and the Cricut Cake Basics cartridge for the bases. The shelf it self is a 1×12 piece of pre-primed lumber and hubby used 2 “L” brackets to mount it over the laundry machines.

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Cash Wreath

These cash wreathes make the PERFECT gift. There is NO WAY to lose giving one of these wreathes! They have a lot to offer ($$CASH$$) and serve as home decor or a memento of the special day!! I am including step by step photos of 3 wreathes in 2 different styles.

For this project you will need:

Wreath form – foam or straw are really the best options.

Burlap (or whatever you want to wrap the wreath in)

Contrasting ribbon or fabric

Cash- I prefer to use $1 and $2 bills – for weddings I like to use $2 to symbolize 2 singles becoming one!

Straight pins

E6000 glue or hot glue

For a suspended letter wreath you will also need a large wooden or chipboard letter and beading wire

For a banner wreath you will need wooden (or heavy paper) pennants, lettering ( I use different fonts on the Cricut) and twine or beading wire.

Begin by wrapping your base material all around your wreath form.

Once that is done wrap a portion of the wreath with the contrast material or ribbon.

You can add a bow directly across from the contrast, if you like.

If you are doing a banner wreath- I painted my pennants, which I got from Michael’s.with a base color I wanted to peek out, then coated with crackle coat (man, I love crackle coat) then covered in my secondary color. After they crackled I sanded them for an even more worn look. I then added the initials (or date) of the celebrant.

This one was a baby shower gift – The wreath matched the shower and nursery theme.

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This was for a wedding- the colors/theme were burlap and turquoise. The “lady” is the card- I will make a totally separate post on the Julie Nutting stamps!

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For the suspended letter(or anything else) here are some clear step by step pics…

We wrapped the wreath form in the burlap and accented it with a teal-ish wired ribbon from Hobby Lobby The chipboard B was covered in coordinating buttons with E6000 and we drilled 4 holes in it- 1 in each “corner”.

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We threaded the flex wire thru the holes and tied very tight double knots then tied the ends around the wreath form. We did this with all 4 corners. It gives the look of the letter just suspended in midair in the middle of the wreath.

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I folded the $1 bills at into a “heart” shape(I’m no good at origami) and pinned them to the very top of the wreath.

IMG_8783.JPG  Then I began the $2 bills around the wreath. You kind of fold/crumple the bills into a nice shape and pin them, overlapping all the way around. I like to only cover about 2/3 of the wreath, especially if you have an accent bow on the side.

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Almost done…just one more thing to add….

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Et Voila- the completed project- The Bible vers – genesis 2:24 And the two shall become one…I printed it out as a wallet size from Walgreens.com and designed it on picmonkey.com.

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What kind of unique gifts do you like to make? If you make a cash wreath share your pics with me!!

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Camo Cake for Chemo Kids

I am involved in a mission that provides birthday and last day of chemo cakes for children going through cancer treatment. This is one of those cakes. It is called a ‘No Mo’ Chemo’ cake. This child asked for a yellow cake(vanilla, basically) with a deer hunting theme. I had done a camo themed cake in the past and was excited to do it again. It is actually easier than it looks and I will go through it with you step by step.
You will need :
3 white or yellow cake mixes
3 boxes of vanilla pudding mix
Regular icing for layers
Crusting Buttercream to ice cake
Fondant
Alphabet cutters
Fluorescent Orange food dye
Black food dye
Brown food dye
Green food dye
(For the dye I use Americolor)
3 cake pans
3 bowls
40 million spatulas, spoons, and various scraping instruments
Viva paper towel

Step one-
Prepare your first cake mix according to the box(or recipe if you are trying to one-up me).
Put a LARGE quantity of the black food dye into the prepared batter. Mix to desired darkness. Decant into a bowl and clean mixing bowl.

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Step 2 & 3 – repeat step 1 with green and brown dyes.
Step 4- Grease cake pans- I use Baker’s Joy spray- my personal fave. Begin spooning each color into one pan, overlapping with the other two colors- in a camo like pattern-

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Continue until all three cake pans are done and there is no batter remaining.

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Bake according to box (or recipe, you smug overachiever, you.)
When baked they should look like this-

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Allow to cool- usually around an hour or two. While cakes are cooling you should prepare the layer ‘filling’.
Use regular icing- I prefer the Pillsbury Vanilla Cream cheese kind- and add a fairly large amount of the Fluorescent Orange dye. You want it to be vibrant- to look like Hunter’s orange.

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Let it set up for a while after mixing.
When it has set and the cakes are cool you can begin putting the cake together. It’s very simple. Place base layer on cake board and ice the top with the orange icing. Continue all layers with icing in between-

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Now make your buttercream- I use this crusting buttercream recipe.
Make your buttercream and divide into 3 bowls and dye as you did the batter- I recommend starting with the green first, then brown, then black- if you go in that order you won’t have to wash the mixing bowl in between colors. Give the buttercream about 10 minutes or so to set after you finish making and dying it.

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All that is left is to ice the cake – CAMO STYLE!!!
You will need to start off with one color and PLEASE make sure your hands are clean because you will be using them A LOT for this. As you smear the icing on you will have to kind of …. encourage it to adhere to the cake. You will continue all over the cake in a camo type pattern.

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After the whole cake is covered, you will need to smooth it out- first with a spatula and ultimately with your Viva Paper towel. If you are unfamiliar with the Viva method you can learn about it here
Once the cake is smooth- TAKE A BREAK!!
After your break you can mix your fondant with the orange food dye and roll it out to cut out your letters or shapes or whatever you want on your cake. I also added a hunter and a deer.

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This is a lot of work but it turns out so cool and everyone gets a great surprise when they see the inside matches the outside! I hope your camo fans like it!! Show me some of your camo cakes!!

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Happy Cruising!!

One of my good friends is turning 30 (so young!!)! She and a clan of her peeps are hitting the high seas on a cruise to Mexico next week and due to the celebratory nature of this Party on the Gulf, We thought it would be fun to put a sign on her stateroom door, So I made this one!   

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I googled the size of Carnival Cruise stateroom doors, because I knew they would be narrow- And boy are they!! A mere 22 inches. I used a full size sheet of poster board and took of about 2 inches on each side just to make sure it wouldn’t be too wide for the door.  Then I got the Cricut out and for the people I used the Teen Scene Paper Doll cartridge. For the font I used the Winnie The Pooh font cartridge.  I doubled matted the lettering for more pop and used neon cardstock from Michael’s.  On a somewhat unrelated note, I ama huge fan of Hobby Lobby. Their products are great and they outflank Michael’s in the scrap and papercrafting field overwhelmingly. BUT – for solid color cardstock, esp for use with the Cricut, Michael’s store brand collections that I linked to above are THE BEST value and quality.  I have had THE BEST luck with them.   Ok- moving on! The beer mugs were from the Everyday Pop Up Cards cartridge. The island, palm tree and pineapple drink were all from the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge. Which, by the way, I have gotten A TON of use out of – probably the best Cricut investment I ever made!

First – our bare dolls-

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YIKES!!

Next- PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!!!

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Those dolls are doing what???

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See how the basic layout takes shape…

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Then our lettering –

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And special attention to the birthday girl- Kasey!

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This is a seemingly easy project, but with all the die cuts and layers, it gets hard. I also SWEAR by one particular glue –

Scotch Brand Quick Dry Adhesive– I buy a bottle EVERY time I go to Michael’s and have a coupon!! It is magic glue for paper crafting!!

What have you done to decorate your stateroom or hotel room on vacation? Share your images and ideas!!

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Quick Fast Armoire Makeover

We had this armoire in the hall. I have never liked it. I didn’t pick it out, it came with the house. It has been the bane of my home decor existence for all time!! For a while it was in the dining room, then it served as the TV cabinet in our bedroom, then it served as a makeshift linen closet at the end of our hall. I couldn’t take the lack of a real linen closet or that monstrosity clogging up my hallway any more, so a few weeks ago I got hubby to repurpose an existing closet in the utility room into a linen closet – I will show that later- and somehow this armoire moved from the hallway to my entry foyer. It has hulked there for about a month now, mocking me. It knows I’m no fan.

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But an impromptu trip to Michael’s with the hubby started the creative gears cranking. We found a can of magnetic paint on clearance and Hubs said he would love to make a magnetic key board. I added we should use the doors to the armoire as the surface. He liked that idea and there it was. We were going to paint the doors with the magnetic paint. Yay. Well- that was not enough for me- I needed to completely redo the monster, but it had to be cheap and fast. That I could do. I had a quart of Valspar Crackle Glaze from a past project, we already had the magnetic paint and I bought a $9 quart of Glidden Interior Flat paint in Almond Wisp plus a sanding block at Home Depot.
Step one- paint with crackle glaze

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Step two- paint over with Almond Wisp

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Step three- step back in wonderment at the crackle effect.

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Step four- paint door panels with magnetic paint-

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Step five- paint 3-4 coats of chalkboard paint

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And last, but most definitely not least, Step six- add new knobs!! The knobs were a steal on clearance at Hobby Lobby for only $2.04 each. 

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If I hadn’t waited a week to get new knobs, this project would have taken no time at all- I think there is maybe a 5 hour investment in this project!! And this really was low cost. Actually cash-money spent specifically on this project?

Magnetic paint – $6.50

Quart Glidden Almond Wisp $9.25

Knobs – $8.16

Total – $23.91 (and that is factoring in tax)

AWESOME!!! And it was fun!

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