DIY Harry Potter Party Highlights

Harry Potter party wands labels

One thing you may not know about Katie and I is that we are both HUGE Harry Potter fangirls. I’ve read through all the books a couple times and love the movies just as much. Maybe its something to do with being in that perfect age range where I kind of grew up right along with the characters… but I can never get enough Hogwarts!

My boyfriend and I recently threw a Harry Potter themed party at our house, and of course I went all out with the DIY decorations and party games. Maybe a little overboard…whatever. I didn’t really prepare any full tutorials for a post, but I thought I would share a few highlights of my favorite Potter-themed DIYs.

Sorry for the not-so-awesome photos… I was having way to much fun to do much more than snap a couple quick shots with my phone!

DIY Harry Potter wands from chopsticks


Hands-down my favorite was the slew of customized wands. I made enough for each guest to get their own, and we labeled each with the type of wood and “core” it was made of. We pulled a name out of a hat for each unique wand, because after all the wand must choose the wizard.

harry potter wands with chop sticks and hot glue

The wands were made out of chopsticks and hot glue. I swirled and dripped hot glue onto each one then painted them in various woody shades once they were hardened. I even stuck some marbles or stones onto a few for more variety.

how to make a golden snitch candy

The golden snitches I made out of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and white craft feathers. A little dab of glue et voila!

DIY Hogwarts house flags harry potter party

These Hogwarts house banners were made from dollar store plastic table cloths. Talk about bang for your buck! This one only cost me $4 and I had enough of each color left to cover tables with as well. The logos I hand-painted onto some construction paper and glued on.

Harry Potter Party Ideas
The Honeydukes sign was another favorite! I kept it afterwards to hang up in my little workshop :) I repurposed our little bar cart into a Hogwarts Express “trolley” filled with all kinds of candy, including some every flavour beans! I mixed some of these into a bag of regular jelly beans. Some of them were seriously gross…

Floating candles were a fun trick! Another easy dollar store DIY made out of electric tea lights and white construction paper, hung from the ceiling with a little scotch tape and fishing line.

And there is my sorting hat! I whipped this guy up out of a cereal box, some masking tape, brown fabric, and a lot of hot glue. We sorted all of our guests into houses by rigging up a small blue tooth speaker behind the hat, and having my boyfriend call in from his cell phone from outside the window as the voice of the sorting hat. It worked surprisingly well! He could see who was sitting in the chair through the window, but since it was dark outside, no one at the party knew where his voice was coming from! Aside from a few mosquito bites for my poor assistant, it was quite a hit!

harry potter party decor spider


A little trail of spiders leading out the window. They are stuck on with blue sticky tack.

Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter party prop

My awesome roomie made this Chamber of Secrets prop to hang over our mantel. It is finger painted onto wax paper and hung up with tape. I love when a party prop packs a big impact value and costs next to nothing to put together! On our Hogwarts mantel you can spot a couple additional DIYs: a pink Pygmy Puff, Neville’s remembrall, the house points vials, some feather quill pens (they work!) and the Marauder’s Map!

platform 9 3:4 wall prop

And last but definitely not least, here is Mad Eye Moody and the Sorting Hat himself in front of our homemade Platform 9 3/4. The brick “wall” is a sponge painted white sheet. I also made Mad Eye Moody’s eye using an amazing Instructables tutorial I found!

If there are any fellow HP fans out there, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my nerd party!! Maybe it is appropriate timing for some of you who are planning your Halloween costumes! If you wanna know more about any of these crafty projects, just send me an email!

Happy Halloween! Plus Party Playlist

Halloween Party Decor

Happy Halloween from What to do with Lemons!

It’s our favorite day of the year, so you know we’re excited! We are also pretty busy, so today, instead of a regular post, we put together a list of songs to get your Halloween off to a fun and festive start! You can add these to your party playlist to supplement the classics like Thriller and The Monster Mash. We promise it will set the best Halloween vibe. Happy Haunting, witches!

1) Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
2) Gnarles Barkley – The Boogie Monster
3) The Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell
4) Kanye West – Monster
5) Shakira – She Wolf
6) Danny Elfman – Kidnap the Sandy Claws
7) Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
8) Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
9) Queens of the Stone Age – Burn the Witch
10) Bastille – Bad Blood
11) The Cranberries – Zombie
12) Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman
13) Roky Erickson – Night of the Vampire
14) KC and the Sunshine Band – I’m your Boogie Man
15) Big Data – Dangerous

Let us know what you think, and tell us what songs are your Halloween favorites!

Halloween Bar Snacks: Spicy Pumpkin Seeds Two Ways

Halloween Bar Snacks

Did you know we’re having Halloween parties??!  Just because they’re in different places, doesn’t mean we can’t work on a dish together!  Hayley will be making some pretty spooky cocktails to serve her guests this weekend (stay tuned for the post!), and so I thought I’d come up with some festive snacks to go along with them.  Pumpkin seeds are a nutty tasting alternative to nuts, and take no time to roast, season, and enjoy!  I decided on a spicy cajun version and a sweet, pumpkin spiced version, but the options are truly limitless.  I recommend using the raw, green seeds in this recipe – they puff up like popcorn, and have a great crunch!


-raw pumpkin seeds

-olive oil

-cajun spices


-ground cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg (or ground pumpkin spice)

-brown sugar

Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and take out two sheet pans.  For the hot-spiced seeds: Mix 2t of cajun spices with 1T olive oil for each cup of pumpkin seeds.  Pour over seeds, toss to coat, and spread out in sheet pan.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing after 10.  For the pumpkin spiced seeds: Toss 1T of melted butter with 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, and bake just like the hot-spiced seeds.  Mix 2T brown sugar with a total of 2t pumpkin spice, and set aside.  When the seeds are toasted (20 minutes later), toss the warm seeds in the pumpkin spiced mixture, and enjoy!  The first time I made these, I mixed the butter and the sugar with the seeds so the sugars could “caramelize” in the oven for the entire 20 minutes…and by “caramelize,” I mean the sugar burned…not too flavorful.  Make sure you toss to coat the hot seeds in the sugar POST roasting!

Cajun Spiced Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Sweet and salty…the perfect combination – recognize the glasses?

Double Take: Halloween Photo Booth

Halloween photo booth DIY

This year we will both be hosting Halloween parties…and on the same day! Naturally, we’ve been discussing our plans for the festivities, and how we could keep our friends entertained and in theme. We decided that the one thing almost everyone wants to do at a costume party is… take photos! You just have to document all those awesome get-ups, and with social media these days, you know those pictures are going to get shared all over! #Halloween. So being the crafty devils that we are, we thought we would each make a DIY “photo-booth” for our party goers!

We knew we would have drastically different interpretations of this idea, so it made the perfect subject for our October “Double-Take” feature! The two of us have always had very different styles when it comes to Halloween. One of us loves the scary stuff, the other one loves the cute! We’re betting you can probably guess who is who after checking out the final results.

Take One:

Halloween Photobooth Props

Katie made photo booth props so guests in costume can “dress up” like traditional halloween characters.


halloween photo booth props diy

I used colored foam sheets, long cardboard lolly-pop sticks, paint, glue dots, hot glue, scrap cardboard, and an x-acto knife. I started out by drawing a stencil of a mask on some scrap cardboard, and cut it out with an x-acto knife.  Using that as a template, I cut out different colors of foam for the main piece of the masks, and used glue dots to stick them together.  I painted the white lollypop sticks black, and fastened them to the masks using hot glue.  This was really simple, and really fun. I stuck with non-scary themed halloween characters…Frankenstein, a witch, cat ears, an owl, a pumpkin, and a skull (I also made a stencil for that one) – that’s how I do my halloween.  For a backdrop, I taped decorative sheets of card stock to our kitchen door, made and hung tissue paper-poofs on the side, and kept an old black frame near by as an added touch.  Can’t wait to see the pictures we take next week!


Take Two:

Hayley made a blood-spattered backdrop and number placards so that party guests can take Halloween mugshots!

Halloween mug shot

I tend to go for a creepier Halloween aesthetic, full of spiders, blood, and skulls, so my interpretation of this project was just a little darker, but a lot of fun! I measured and painted lines onto a flat white sheet, then splattered it up with a generous amount of theatrical blood! For the ID signs, I cut a piece of black foam board into four rectangles and stenciled on some numbers and lettering in white paint. This “photo booth” will be great for group OR individual shots, and it documents the year and occasion right in the photo! All the different costumes will make for some interesting criminal mischief! Luckily I had a few hunky models around to help me test it out this week.


What are you doing for Halloween this year? Snap a picture of your costume or Halloween DIY and tag us @whattodowithlemons with the hashtag #WTDWLemons ! We would love to see what you’ve made!

3 Easy DIY Halloween Props

Halloween Party

Katie and I are both hosting Halloween Parties this year. On the same day in fact, but almost two hundred miles apart! I love a well-themed party, so I’ve been busy with a few fun projects to ramp up my Halloween décor this year. Today I’m going to share a few really easy DIY Halloween props that will make your holiday display EXTRA spooky!

1. Blood Dripping Candles

DIY bloody candles
These gruesome blood dripping candles are very dramatic, and extremely quick and easy to make! Great news for horror lovers. To make them, you’ll need two white stick candles and one red stick candle. Simply light the red candle and hold upside down over a propped up white candle. Allow the red wax to melt and drip down the top and sides of the white candle. The candle sticks I used are cheap glass holders from the dollar store that I painted with black and silver for a wrought iron look.

2. Painted Branch Centerpiece

DIY Halloween Centerpiece
You can make a creepy looking centerpiece to liven up your Halloween table scape with just some bare branches from your yard and a can of black spray paint! Select some dry, spindly looking branches and give them a coat of black spray paint. Then prop them up in a vase with some kind of filler like spanish moss or dried leaves. For added effect, throw in some cobwebs, plastic bones or spiders, and a dark creature hanging from the branches.

3. Poison Apothecary Bottles

DIY Halloween prop poison bottles
You can easily make your bar or mantle into Snape’s potions class with some deadly looking DIY poison bottles. Gather some empty bottles and jars in varying shapes and sizes and give them an aged look with some craft paint and Mod Podge. Vintage looking labels can be found all over the internet (there are tons on Pinterest!). I just printed and cut mine out, then roughed up the edges and glued them onto the bottles. Finish off with some corks, twine, or creepy crawlies.

DIY Skull Stud Earrings

DIY skull earrings

If you know me, you know that I LOVE Halloween, and you probably also know that I have a lot of quirky jewelry. I made these little skull stud earrings recently and they are perfectly my style. They are a little bit Dia de los Muertos, a little Jack Skellington, and lots of fun! I’ll be wearing them all of October because I like to stretch my favorite holiday as long as I can. Scroll on to find out how to make them!

polymer clay earrings
To make a pair of your own you will need: white polymer clay, stud earring backs, all-purpose glue, black paint, and some clear polyurethane coating. Other fun paint colors or rhinestones are optional add-ons. You’ll need a few simple tools as well: a chopstick or dull pencil, a knife, a small paintbrush, q-tips, and an oven.

1) Start out by rolling two small spheres of clay, a little larger than a pea. Pinch each sphere slightly on one side and then flatten, making an oval shape that is wider on one end. The narrower end will be the jaw of your skull. Press in a bit on the bottom to flatten the “chin” of your skull shape.
2) Next, use a dull knife to create some “teeth” and two vertical “nostrils.” Use the chopstick to make two oval shaped indents for the eye sockets.
3) Bake these clay pieces according to the package directions.

DIY clay earrings
4) After your skull pieces are hardened and cooled, use a small paintbrush to fill in the features with black paint. Don’t worry about staying inside the lines, we will neaten things up in the next step.
5) Using a q-tip dipped in a bit of nail polish remover, gently buff off any paint on the raised surface of your skull, leaving only the indented features painted. If you want a glossy look, add a coat of clear polyurethane sealer on top.

attaching earring backs
6) Glue the earring posts onto the back of your clay skulls with an all-purpose glue. Once the glue is dry they’re all done! You could definitely try out other halloween shapes as well, like candy corns or black cats. The possibilities are endless.

Polymer clay skull earrings

Easy Felt Halloween Coasters

Halloween Themed Felt Coasters

In preparation for the Halloween mixology experiments Hayley and I will be preparing for our parties, I thought I’d come up with another way to make each beverage look more festive – Halloween coasters!  These coasters are super easy, and really fun to make.  They take almost no time to pull together, and can be altered for any party theme.  Plus, they are fairly inexpensive, so if they get put to really good use, you can toss them afterwards and not feel guilty!

Easy Halloween Felt Coasters

You’ll need:

-3D Fabric Paint, any colors you’d like

-sheets of stiff felt – you can get six coasters per standard 9″x12″ sheet

-A sharp utility knife, and a surface to cut on

First, cut your felt into 6 even rectangles – for a standard size, each coaster will be 4″x4.5″.  Next, you get to be creative!  I chose spiderwebs for my theme, and made two different patterns.  To make an easy spider web, start by painting an “X” on your felt.  Then, paint a “+” so that the lines all go through one center point – we will call all of these lines, the “base lines.”  Starting close to the center point, start to connect your base lines with the curved parts of the web, and spiral around the web until you’ve run out of room on the felt.  Let the paint dry.

Spider Web Felt Coaster


DIY Felt Coasters

To make the solo-web coasters more dramatic, I used my utility knife and cut along the curved lines to remove any excess felt.  I will definitely be making these coasters for another holiday – they’re a great last detail to pull the theme together!

Halloween felt Coasters

Paper Mache Pumpkins

paper mache pumpkin

Today I am going to share a fun craft tutorial for making decorative pumpkins out of paper mache! I think the last time I did any paper mache was in elementary school, so I had a lot of fun getting my hands messy with this project and taking a little trip down memory lane. Plus these cute little pumpkins are made entirely of recycled material, so you can feel good about them too. Eat your heart out HomeGoods!

Here’s what you will need to make some of your own:

– plastic grocery bags
– newspaper
– masking tape
– flour
– paint

paper mache pumpkin forms
To make the underlying form, fill a small plastic grocery bag with crumpled up pieces of paper (old magazines or newspaper). When it reaches a size you are happy with, twist the top of the bag and wrap with a piece of masking tape. I used the tied-off end of the bag to form the stem of my pumpkins. Fluff the bag into a round shape, and then use the masking tape to create some grooves to form the lobes of your pumpkin. I wanted mine to be chunky and cartoonish, but for a more realistic looking fruit, make thinner divisions.

To mix up the paper mache paste, mix flour and water until you have a consistency like pancake batter. I didn’t measure, but used roughly a 2:1 mixture of water to flour. Then add a few teaspoons of salt (this prevents any risk of mold). Now lay out some plastic or a drop cloth over your work area, because the next part is going to get messy!

paper mache how-to
Rip up some newspaper into strips and small chunks to use for the paper mache. Start with the top half of your pumpkin, saturating strips of paper with paste and laying them over the form to cover the entire top surface. Once you have one solid layer, let it dry a bit and then keep going! For a sturdy pumpkin, you’ll want 3 or 4 layers of paper. Let the top half dry completely. This will probably take overnight if you are working indoors.

Once the top is completely dry, flip the pumpkin over and rest in a cup or bowl so that you can work without crushing the stem. Cover the bottom of your pumpkin in paper mache, in the same manner as you did the top, and let dry again. (This project will take a couple days to finish!) Once your pumpkin is fully dried, use a utility blade to carefully cut a circle from the bottom, and gently pull out all the paper and plastic inside.

At this point it is ready to paint! It’s a good idea to give the whole thing a coat of white paint as a primer, unless you are painting your pumpkins a dark color. I painted mine a predictable orange this time, but I think next year I will make some black ones!
three paper mache pumpkins
If you want to make this project a little more exciting, you can accessorize your pumpkin with anything you like! You could also bring back that utility knife and cut out a face or design, then place a flameless candle inside. I plan to use mine in my Halloween mantel display.
paper mache pumpkin mantel display