Friday, August 9, 2013

SNOW CONES: a tutorial

For me, a day at the fair is not complete without a stop at a snow cone booth. My girls always choose zany flavor combinations, but me- I'm a purist- I prefer just plain ol' cherry.

My dolls and real life girls have both been asking for doll sized snow cones for some time.  I've also had requests in my shop, so I decided I needed to finally try my hand at making them.  And they fit perfectly into my fair and frosty treats theme for August!

These snow cones were not difficult to make, they just required a little patience and time.

supplies needed:

styrofoam balls
ice glitter
craft paint- assorted colors
craft sticks
super glue
craft glue
household glue
scrapbook paper
clear peel-n-stick paper liner
pencil or pen
paint brushes

One of the biggest concerns I have when making food for my dolls and my shop, is durability.  I want my items to be able to last through hours of use and play. So, for this project, I knew I wasn't just going to use paper, styrofoam and glue and call it a day.  I started out, as I always do when researching a new item, by googling images- this time- of snow cones. I kept seeing this image over and over and it stuck in my mind:

So I employed my sister-in-law, graphic illustrator extraordinaire, yet again, to whip up some doll sized papers that would closely mimic the snowflake print.  I guesstimated the size and scale.

For this project though, you can use any scrapbook paper you like,  just keep scale in mind.  A tiny snowflake print would look just as convincing.  Tiny dots, tiny stripes, etc.  A fun plaid in bright colors would work well too.   Just make sure the pattern is small enough to repeat inside the template used for the cone.  

I found these styrofoam balls to use for the shaved ice top.   I felt they were in relative good scale for the dolls. I would have preferred them a little bigger, but sometimes we must yield to what's available in the marketplace.  The next size up was way too big.

Next, I drew a template for a cone.  It had to be just the right size to work in tandem with the dolls and the size of the styrofoam ball.

To give the snow cone some durability, using my template as my guide,  I handmade a single cone out of clay to use as the snow cone base/bottom. After baking and cooling, I then made a mold from it, so that I could then make a dozen or so more, quickly, all being equal in size.

Ninety-five percent of the foods and items in my shop are made without molds, but there are just times when having a mold really facilitates things,  especially when you want all the items to be the exact same size.  This was one of those times.

After baking and cooling, the bases were ready. To make the cones I used bits and bobs of clay that I had accumulated and saved over time,  just for this type of project.  That's why the cone in the above picture has that crazy swirl effect going on.  I never throw out any clay just because the color is not right or it's become a jumbled knot of colors- it can always be used for something!

Next I painted the styrofoam balls. My girls insisted on blue- for blue raspberry. And I chose red- for cherry, of course.  I  knew also that I wanted to make a rainbow snow cone - it's just so visually appealing. Of course you can make your snow cones whatever colors and flavor combinations you like. The girls busied themselves making other interesting color combinations as well.

For this project I used Gloss Enamels craft paint, purchased from my local craft store.

When dry, it has a more glossy look than regular craft paint.  But you can certainly use whatever you have on hand.  I propped the balls up on craft sticks to keep my fingers from getting very messy. After drying- it was time to sprinkle with the ice glitter. This can be found in any craft store as well.  It really does a great job at mimicking ice crystals. Coat the top and sides of the ball with craft glue that dries clear.  Apply the sprinkles and let dry.

Using the clear roll of peel-n-stick paper liner, I carefully adhered it to my snow cone paper.

Try not to capture any air bubbles while you do this-  you want it to be very smooth.  With this step my aim was to give the paper more durability and to keep it from getting wet or stained with use.   Using my cone template, I traced around it on the paper.  I kept tracing, making dozens at once.  I then cut out the little fan shapes using sharp scissors.

Additionally, using the same template, I traced and cut an equal number of little fans from the peel-n-stick paper alone.  This will be a second layer of protective film for the base.  I added about 1/8th of an inch on either edge of the straight sides of the template so that when applied it will overlap.  Hope this makes sense!

Next is the part that required a little patience and finesse.   Carefully, I glued the paper cutout (using super glue) onto the clay cone shape, keeping a keen eye that the edges lined up nicely around the cone.  You only need to glue onto the cone where the straight edges come together and overlap a bit.   This step took me a few tries to perfect. Don't get frustrated if it does not work the first time.  Your goal is to have the top of the paper end just slightly above the clay cone.  You do not want the clay cone visible above the line of the paper.

After the snow cone paper was glued in place I then peeled back the paper from the clear peel-n-stick fan and applied it carefully over the cone, making sure once again that all of the edges line up and match nicely. Trim off any excess from the top, keeping in mind that you do not want the clay cone visible over the edge of the paper.

For uniformity I painted the tops of my clay cones white, so that no colors would be visible around the edges.  For your clay cones, I would suggest choosing a color that is similar to your scrapbook paper,so that you can skip this step.  I saw this project as the perfect opportunity to use up my scrap pieces of clay, so my cone colors were varied.

For my last step, I cut off a small bottom section from the painted styrofoam balls.  

This acted as a perfect point of contact for the cone when glued.  I used a household glue that dries clear.  Be generous with the amount of glue you use. Have a paper towel or rag handy to smooth away any excess glue that oozes out. I then pressed it down firmly, checking all around the piece to make sure all edges were covering the cone.  After drying...voila... snow cones!

This tutorial gives you a little glimpse into the amount of time and prep that some foods and projects for the dolls sometimes require.  These snow cones will be available in my Etsy shop on the 15th, along with other fair foods and summer novelties.

If you have any questions at all feel free to ask.


1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. It's easy to see how much hard work you put into creating your awesome products. Yet at the same time, this looks like a totally do-able project, given some time and the right materials!