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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tips & Techniques Tuesday: Ice Cream Stickles

Did you all have a FABULOUS time on the Ice Cream Shoppe hop? Cathy here and as promised, I'm bringing you all the nitty, gritty details of my ice cream cone creation. It's really pretty easy, just give yourself lots of drying time for each step. I'm not the most patient person so needing to wait for the 'ice cream' to dry and then the Stickles was pure torture! Especially considering I was working on it during 3 days of rain. Are you ready? Let's get started by gathering your supplies.
  • cardboard toilet paper rolls (paper towel or gift wrap rolls will also work, just trim to size)
  • styrofoam balls
  • Ivory bar soap (or Ivory snow laundry detergent if you can find it)
  • craft glue
  • drinking straws or wooden skewers
  • grater (think shredded cheese variety)
  • bowl
  • paper towels (it will get messy)
  • warm water
  • paintbrush (optional)
  • craft paint (optional)
  • Stickles (MANDATORY, of course)

First step is to get your 'cones' ready. You can leave the tubes as is, if you'd like them to stand on their own (great for place holders, table decorations, etc.). I recommend this option for your first attempt. You need to have a spot for the cone to dry for extended periods of time and it's easier if they can stand on their own. If you want to go the sugar cone route, trim the tube in half and cut one side in a semi-circle. Start small as you can always trim further.
Do a practice roll to see how your cone takes shape. Then add glue under the flaps to secure. Hold in place for a minute and it should stay. Make sure you have a 'holder' that this style cone can sit in where the ice cream won't touch anything.
Option: I've seen these created using REAL ice cream cones (either style). I didn't have any on hand so I created my own. Just be careful as the real thing will be quite fragile. That might be a good option for your second or third attempt.

While the cones are drying, prepare the ice cream portion. I used one bar of soap which was just right to cover 3 small styrofoam balls. Grate the soap into a bowl, it will look like this (parents need to do this part).

Now let the kids have some fun. Gradually add a little bit of warm water to the bowl and dive in. I just filled a measuring cup with water and added splashes at a time. Mix and mash with your fingers until you get the texture you want. Mine resembles a thick cottage cheese.

The more you work it and the more water you add, the smoother it will become. Remember, this is SOAP so if you add too much water you'll lose the solid and end up with a bowl full of bubbles. 

Depending on your skill level, you can glue the styrofoam ball onto the tube now, or place the ball on the end of a straw or skewer. Since this was my first attempt, I went with the straw so I didn't destroy my tube with soapy hands. I recommend using a knife (adults only) to pierce a hole for the straw or you will probably just bend the straw and get frustrated. One decision you need to make before applying the soap mixture is if you want to paint the styrofoam ball first. Not necessary as the ball can be completely covered, but an option if you want to have a splash of color peeking out. In my examples you'll see I have one with a pink ball. Painting styrofoam is a whole different tutorial, not as easy as you think. If you want to paint the balls, I recommend using the smooth styrofoam and not the rough/pitted style. You can skip the soap part completely by gluing a painted ball on the tube and then decorating with Stickles. Just one of the many ways to make this project your own.

Okay, back to the task at hand; layer on the ice cream! First set your ball on the tube and trace a line on the ball where they connect. That way you know how far to apply the mixture. It will make things easier if you cut along this line so the ball will slide onto the tube. It gives extra stability to your end project and keeps you from crushing the tube when you try to adhere the ball. Trust me on this one.
Use one hand to hold the straw/skewer and the other to pat on the soap mixture. Work your way around the ball to your line. You don't need to go too thick, just keep smoothing out your layer until you are happy with the look. Now that I'm familiar with the process, I will glue the ball to the tube prior to adding the soap mixture and just wrap a few paper towels around the tube so I don't get it soapy.

I had enough mixture to add cherries to the tops of my cones. They are still pretty rough and I didn't glue them on yet. If you glued your ball on prior to adding the soap mixture, you can add some drips along the edge of the cone. Once dried they will help hold things together.

Wash your hands and use your wet fingers to smooth out the ice cream. I just added water to my soap bowl and dipped my fingers in. You can leave it as rough or as smooth as you'd like. Here are my smoothed out cones ready to dry. You can see my example where I painted the ball first. You'll need at least 12 hours to let the soap mixture dry. As I mentioned I was dealing with a humid environment so mine weren't completely dry the next day, but they were dry enough to add the Stickles.

Now comes the REALLY fun part, decorating your ice cream cones. I pulled out my Stickles and got busy. First up were the cherries. I used Christmas Red to create a spiral.

Then I used my paintbrush to blend the spiral into a solid covering of the cherry. This can be tricky if the soap isn't completely dry as it will repel the Stickles. I used the paintbrush to pounce in the blank spots. Once I was happy with the cherry, I added in the sprinkles. This is where you can go crazy with a color theme or use whatever Stickles colors you have. I used Crystal Ice Stickles along the edge of the ice cream and cone to cover up any gaps.

I tried a few options to show you how they turned out. I liked the spiral cherry, so I left one as is.

I did the other cone in a more subtle design. I used my paintbrush to pain the Stickles into place. Since Stickles is just colored glitter suspended in a clear glue, the glitter separates out so the color isn't as saturated.

The next step is more waiting while the Stickles on the ice cream dries. You can either be done once the glitter dries, or you can go one step further and decorate the cone. I used Cinnamon Stickles to create the pattern you see on a sugar cone.

Be careful with this one as you need the ice cream part to be completely dry so you have something to hold onto. You don't want to mess up your lines and have to scrap the cone at this point. I admit, the waiting to dry portions are the longest part of this project.

Here are some close ups of my dried and completed project. I cut one tube down, left one full size, and crafted one into a cone.

Tip, use a craft glue that dries clear, I didn't. You can see my white glue line. My layer of Crystal Ice camouflages it a bit. This isn't a craft for those who like perfection, WAY too many variables in it. It's all about the process and having FUN. 

I'm pleased with my painted cone. It kind of looks like a double scoop cone with vanilla atop strawberry. If you are ambitious, you could go for 2 scoops by using 2 balls. 

Here are the dried cherry variations. The swirl is fun and whimsical. 

And the closing shot of all three. They remind me of bubble gum ice cream, a favorite of mine as a kid. It was like having two treats in one! 

Whew, that was a long one! Did I keep you interested? Are you ready to dive in and create your own ice cream cones? I had all the supplies in my craft stash but the soap, I bet you do too! If you want to hang the ice cream cones, cut a piece of ribbon, form a loop, grab a stick pin and attach to the top of the ice cream cone (pin securing your ends of ribbon). You can make a string of cones for a party decoration or for decorating a Christmas tree. Ax the cone piece and go for a snowball look if you prefer. If you have loose glitter on hand, you could sprinkle it over the ice cream while its wet. The glitter should stick and dry right into the soap. I didn't have any luck trying to mix the Stickles into the soap mixture before applying. The soap is white and pretty much covered up the glitter flecks. If you want to preserve your cones, spray them completely with a clear shellac/varnish. I'd go for 2 or 3 coats. If handled carefully, you should be able to keep your cones on hand for a few years.

I hope you will give this craft a try and always remember Stickles makes pretty much everything better!

~Cathy, ATS Design Team