How to Make Emoji Potato Stamps

I LOVE emojis. Once, my friends and I planned our perfect dates in emoji form. Mine obviously involved petting dogs and eating strawberries. I'm not sure how I feel about the 250 new emojis that are coming--it's hard enough keeping track of all the ones that already exist on the iphone! 

I've wanted to make potato stamps for a while, though using an x-acto knife makes me very nervous. The last time I attempted to make potato stamps, I was 10 years old and accidentally stabbed the skin between my thumb and my finger (sidenote: what is this body part called?). But now that I'm an "adult" (LOL), I figured I should try again. I'm happy to report that I'm typing this with all ten fingers, so there were no casualties from this craft.

Cookie cutters are ideal for your base shape, but who has cookie cutters? I used the scoop that came with a container of Tang (Which was probably purchased for some form of jungle juice).

This part brought back nightmares of my stabbing trauma. 

Ta-da!

I watched a few tutorials online, and of course, Martha Stewart's was the best one. She's a crafting/business genius, and makes everything look so easy. I found that my potatoes were slightly watery (?), and I'm not sure why hers weren't. She probably grew them in her perfect garden.

Sharpies seem like the best sketching tool, but once they get covered in potato juice, they are useless. Stick to roller ball pens. 

X-acto knife success! 

Carving out these guys was easier than I thought. I was feeling slightly homesick, so I put "12 Corazones," a Telemundo dating show, on in the background and pretended my family members had suddenly developed an interest in "hombres musculosos" (muscular men). 

I made the "ok hand" emoji too. I wanted to use my gold glitter paint, but it was too thin. (Boo).  Thankfully, my roommate had paint to donate to my crafting cause. 

Stamp, stamp, stamp.

It might be tempting to dip your stamp into a pile of paint, but these stamps require a paintbrush and patience as you brush the paint onto the raised stamp. After these guys dried, I broke out the glitter and markers. Below are a few of the cards that I made!

I would call this a success! Next time, I want to make the prayer-hands emoji and the girl who is flipping her hair. 

 

Update: Victoria pointed out that one of these cards has a major typo. The card has since been  updated to read "CONGAToS," and I am saving it for when someone I know adopts a cat. 

How to Make a Norovirus Pinata, or How To Cheat and Make a Pinata in Just a Few Hours

Growing up, my mom made me a piñata for every birthday. Some of my favorite memories were of the nights we spent crafting together this paper-mâché blob that would eventually turn into something beautiful.  Then I became a bratty teenager and I told her I was too mature for piñatas. What was I thinking?! Fortunately, I came to my senses in college and resumed making piñatas for every momentous occasion. 

 

I made this piñata last year, for my friend Shifra's birthday.

I made this piñata last year, for my friend Shifra's birthday.

Normally when I make a piñata, I start with a balloon, newspaper, and homemade glue (flour and water). Piñatas are not labor intensive, but they do require dedicated crafting time every day of the week leading up to a party. But sometimes life gets really busy (or you discover that Amy Schumer's entire second season is on On Demand) and all of a sudden, you're a few hours away from a party, and there's no piñata! Enter a sneaky trick that my mom taught me: the store bought piñata. 

Let's face it--store bought piñatas are ugly. This doesn't mean they're any less fun to bash open, but they won't be as pretty to photograph. If having a homemade piñata is important to you, but you don't have the time to paper-mâché layers, then redecorating a store bought piñata is the perfect solution. Unless someone spots you at Party City, they will never know your secret. (I was totally busted. From now on, I am only shopping in the dark of the night!) 

Feel free to spread the glue all will-nilly! 

Wrinkles and crumpled corners of tissue paper won't matter, since it'll be covered up by the piñata fringe. Also, cover up that hole--it's unseemly! 

The first step in your piñata deception is getting rid of the evidence: peeling off any trimmings that don't match whatever you are trying to make. Since I was making a norovirus piñata for my epidemiologist friend, that meant tossing the red lace trimmings of the baseball and covering the entire piñata with lime green tissue paper. 

Note: this is just a demo. If you cut your strips this small, you will be making a piñata for the next 200 years!!!

Note: this is just a demo. If you cut your strips this small, you will be making a piñata for the next 200 years!!!

Then comes the most tedious part: the fringe. Cut fold tissue paper into loooong strips that are roughly 3" thick and then fold in half. Cut small slits roughly 3/4 of the way into the strip of tissue paper, creating a fringe with a wide enough border  for you to add glue. When I'm doing this, I like to pretend I'm making mini hula skirts for my piñata. 

More demo!

Once you have a small mountain of fringe, then comes the gluing. I'm partial to Elmer's glue, but you can probably use any kind. Draw a thin line of glue across your entire fringe. A little bit of glue goes a long way--if the line of glue is too thick, once you put the fringe on the piñata, it will squish onto your fringe and ruin it. Put the first layer of fringe at the bottom of the piñata, and slowly layer the fringes, keeping them roughly one inch apart from each other. When in doubt, add more fringe. 

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Since the norovirus (molecule? electron? Clearly this is very scientific!) has funny parts that stick out of it, I decided the piñata needed spikes. I cut a few triangles out of lime green cardstock, folded the ends, and tucked them in between fringes. In order to hide the folded cardstock, I put another fringe on top of it. 

Yikes--the norovirus is in my house!

I strung it up using strawberry ribbon! <3 

Next time, I'll take more photos of the process and fewer demos, but here is the finished norovirus piñata from all angles. Since the design was so simple (no eyeballs, ears, teeth, or other appendages necessary), it only took me  around an hour and a half to make.

Total costs:

  • $14.99 for a Party City baseball piñata
  • $1.99 for Elmer's Glue (which will last me at least four piñatas). 
  • $3.58 for two packages of green tissue paper at Target. 
  • $0 for cardstock and scissors, which I already owned. 

The total comes to $20.56. If I had planned ahead and not purchased a store bought piñata, I definitely could have knocked at least $10 off the total cost.  (Of course, this doesn't factor in the cost of labor).

We haven't broken this one open yet, but I am very excited. Fun fact: if you bring a piñata to a bar, you will almost always get a free drink from a fellow piñata admirer.