Teen Craft: Edible Calaveras

ss1Halloween is, undoubtedly, my favorite holiday. So I wanted to do something fun and exciting for our teen Halloween craft this year. What better way to “bring out your dead” than by making Mexican Sugar Skulls?

Traditionally, calaveras are made with sugar, water, and meringue powder (or egg whites). These skulls are so hard that, if you tried to bite into them, you’d end up chipping a tooth.

Fortunately, I found a lovely tutorial on how to make an edible version from Dollar Store Crafts. If you want step-by-step directions, make sure to check it out. This site is an absolute budget life saver when it comes to crafts and one of my new favorite haunts.


1 cup of sugar (the white, processed kind)

1 rubber skull ice cube mold

2 teaspoons of water

Several tubes of Betty Crocker’s “Gel Decorating Icing”

Basically, you just mix the two teaspoons of water into the sugar until it’s the consistency of sand. Then you press the sugar firmly into your mold, place a cookie sheet on the back, and flip them. When you pull the mold away, you should have lovely little sugar skulls waiting for you!ss3

I also had a giant skull mold that I borrowed from a co-worker. I ended up using a combination of white and raw sugar while making it (since it took five and half whopping cups). The raw sugar gives the bottom half of the larger skull a nice golden color. However, the white sugar definitely hardens better, so I recommend only using it.


After letting my skulls dry overnight, I got to decorate! It was a lot of fun and I really think the teens are going to enjoy it. I’ll be sure to post the pictures after we host the craft. Happy skull making!


  Senor Calavera y sus amigos

Teen Craft: DIY Mugs

mug1When September 1st rolled around, I realized something terrifying: I had exactly $20 left in my Teen Budget until mid October. It wasn’t entirely unexpected. My annual budget is miniscule. Still, $20 is awfully tiny – especially when you’ve got a Teen Craft to host.

So I did some surfing on Pinterest and discovered DIY Mugs, specifically Sharpie mugs in a variety of colors and designs.

I do NOT recommend using regular sharpies (see below for more details), but this craft IS cheap, user-friendly, and lots of fun.


  • cheap, white mugs
  • ceramic paints OR oil-based paint markers
  • paintbrushes
  • bowls of water
  • hair dryer
  • tape / stencils / sponges / misc design materials

Step 1: Decoratemug7

If you plan on drinking from your mug, place a piece of tape around the top (or just avoid painting the top). Otherwise, you’ll be ingesting chemicals that could be toxic. Also, you MUST use ceramic paints OR oil based markers to create your design.

I made the mistake of using regular Sharpies on my example mug. Despite following the directions I found in various Pinterest tutorials, all my artwork washed off instantly the first time I cleaned it. Guess I should’ve remembered the old saying that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

So make sure you learn from my mistake: only use oil-based Sharpies/markers or ceramic paint.


Step 2: Bake Your Mug

Put your mug in the oven. Set it to 360 degrees. DO NOT PREHEAT THE OVEN. Otherwise, your mug will crack. Set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer rings, turn off your oven but LEAVE THE MUG INSIDE. Wait until the oven is completely cool before taking your mug out.

Pro Tip: Be patient. It takes at least an hour to cool.


Step 3: Seal Your Mug (optional)


Some crafters online have done just fine by following the directions above. They’ve microwaved, scrubbed, and drank from their mugs and the colors are still vibrant. Others, however, have complained that their mugs designs fade over time.

The best way to prevent this is to spray your mug with an acrylic sealer. I used ModPodge’s Matte Acrylic Spray.

IMPORTANT: acrylic sealers are not food safe. Make sure you only spray on your design – not where your lips will be!

All of our craft supplies were purchased at at Michael’s. I was able to get both the paint and the mugs for $20! Bonus: this craft is fun for kids of all ages – not just the teens. I highly recommend this craft! We can’t wait to do it again.


Teen Craft: Glow-in-the-Dark T-shirts

IMG_1529To finish out our Summer Reading Program, ” I decided to host a “Glow-in-the-Dark” T-shirt craft. The beauty of this craft is that it’s ridiculously simple. All you have to do is cut out some cardboard, supply the paints, and let the teens loose!


– cardboard & a box cutter

– Tulip Glow Fabric Paints

Have the teens stretch their t-shirts over the pieces of cardboard. This will allow the shirts to lay flat as the paint dries (4 hours) and make it easier to take the shirts home (even while wet). Make sure to pre-measure and cut the cardboard pieces ahead of time. I used a medium-sized t-shirt to help me estimate the appropriate size.


Once the shirts are on the board, the rest is up to the teens! They can decorate however they see fit till they run out of paint. 

In total, we had 9 tweens and teens show up for this craft. And it only cost us $40! We’ll be bringing this one back again. 🙂



Teen Craft: Celestial Lamp

10489977_10152191248496778_3538135555116919174_nAs part of our Teen Summer Reading Program, “Spark a Reaction,” I thought a craft featuring electricity would be a perfect fit! This craft is fairly simple and user friendly. Plus it will cast beautiful designs on your wall in a dark room!

– poster board
– Martha Stewart’s Star Punch
-hot glue + gun
– scissors
– a 2 ft strand of Christmas lights
– 1 small, round wooden box



Step 1:

If your box has a lid, detach it and throw it away. Trace around your circular box on the poster board to create the “top” of your lamp. Then wrap the poster board around your box to measure and mark the width of your lamp’s “body.”

Step 2:
Cut out the pieces you measured. Punch as many stars as you like into the poster board.


Step 3:
Hot glue the lamp “body” to the wooden box. Drop your Christmas lights into the lamp and thread the cord out through any stars you have in the back. Then hot glue your “top” on.

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Step 4: Plug it in and enjoy!