4 Ways to Make Succulent Pumpkins

 1. A Pumpkin Family with Succulents and Squash

In the spirit of my Halloween decorating philosophy (classic harvest season decorations are always a win!), I will be providing you a few tutorials on how to create a lovely Halloween. First up, a DIY pumpkin family. Are you dying from cuteness overload yet? I nearly did as we shot this. It’s too much. I teamed up with the succulent expert Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine (a blog all about succulents. She even has an ebook!) and illustrator of the most adorable faces, Michelle Christensen of My Little Belleville to bring you the world’s cutest pumpkin family. Succulents as hair and a painted face. I die. AND, Michelle made you some templates so you can recreate her faces. You can find them in our Halloween shop here. Score!

Materials:

  • Light-colored pumpkins (I found that white works the best)
  • Acrylic paints (black and red and white are all you really need)
  • Fine paintbrush
  • Carving knife
  • Pumpkin faces PDF template (download here)
  • Pencil
  • A variety of succulents
  • Rocks for succulents

Instructions:

  1. Carve out the top. You won’t need it so feel free to discard.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. You can trace the faces onto the pumpkin by positioning the template where you want the face and then pressing hard with a pen or pencil.

OR 4. You can use pins or toothpicks to transfer the image onto the pumpkin.

OR 5. Use the template as a stencil and cut it out and paint over it with your brush.

6. Paint in the lines with your acrylic paints.

7. Die of cuteness overload.

8. Put some rocks into the pumpkin and insert your succulents. Try a few in the head or just one larger succulent.
I mean…
Greenery AND pumpkins? I love it. Look at how adorable and colorful this pumpkin family is! You could also make this DIY pumpkin family resemble your own family! How cute would that be?
Photography by Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine
Illustration by Michelle Christensen of My Little Belleville (check out her adorable shop!)
Assistant: Audrey Ellsworth
Art direction and crafting: moi

2. Succulents and flowers on pumpkins and squash

I also thought it’d be fun to add some succulents onto some pumpkins as if they were flower petals or a mandala. Super easy yet lovely. We’ve been thinking about many ways to decorate pumpkins with succulents, and this one is fun for all ages!

Materials:

  • Pumpkins (light-colored work best)
  • Succulents in various shades
  • Glue gun

Instructions:

  1.  Break off the succulents carefully at the very base of where they meet the trunk.
  2. Apply hot glue onto the pumpkin and then apply the succulent. I found that when you applied it onto the succulent, it’s more prone to fall off.
DONZO.
You know that I’m more comfortable working with paper and fabric than succulents! But I do love greenery, and these tutorials are a great way to work with plants, even if you’re not an experienced gardener. This tutorial is especially perfect if you have succulents around the house that are falling apart. Don’t let those beauties go to waste! Use the leaves to decorate a pumpkin!

Photography by Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine 

3. DIY Words made from Succulents Pumpkins

Here’s the third of four projects that Cassidy and I collaborated on. She made these adorable pumpkins spelling the words “BOO” written in succulents.
This DIY is pretty easy, and it doesn’t require many materials! We stacked the pumpkins in this tutorial, but you can always place them next to each other to spell out whatever phrase your Halloween decor calls for. Gah! Stacking pumpkins is harder than it looks!

Materials:

  • Succulent Cuttings
  • Pumpkins (live or fake!)
  • Hot glue or floral glue
  • Toothpicks
  • Permanent marker

Instructions:

  1. If you’re opting to stack your pumpkins, I applaud you! The first step is to stack the pumpkins how you want them displayed
  2. Use a permanent marker to trace the letters on your pumpkins (we decided “BOO” was a cute and easy phrase!)
  3. Attach the succulent cuttings to the pumpkins with hot glue, floral glue, or toothpicks. Cassidy decided that toothpicks work best for larger succulent cuttings. According to Cassidy, floral glue also works very well when working with succulents!
  4. If you decide to use the toothpick method, stick the toothpick into the pumpkin, leaving about 1/2″ sticking out. Then take your succulent cutting and stick it on the toothpick. Voila!

Get the full scoop on how to do it and pictures of the process on her blog, Succulents and Sunshine. Let me know in the comments what you chose for your phrase and how your own succulent worded pumpkins turned out!

These worded succulent pumpkins will surely turn heads of passersby. And as if these worded pumpkins are not cute enough…

BAM! Dogs make everything 15 times cuter.

4. DIY Succulent Monogram Pumpkin

These succulent monogram pumpkins are the final project in my collab with Cassidy of Succulents and Sunshine. This was my first time working with succulents and I have to say that I love the little fellers. They’re so perky and sweet. But leave it to me to find a way to kill a couple suckers. Gah! That’s why I work with paper flowers.
Cassidy made this monogram succulent pumpkin. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to make your own! Trust me, even if you’re not great with plants, it’s still such a fun tutorial and offers a twist on classic Halloween decor. If you’re looking for an easy way to amp up your holiday decorations, this is it!

Materials:

  • Succulent Cuttings
  • A pumpkin (live or fake!)
  • Hot glue gun or floral glue
  • Marker (for tracing initials on the pumpkin)

Instructions:

  1. Use the marker to draw an outline of your letter on the pumpkin
  2. Glue small succulents onto the marker line
  3. Cover the rest of the pumpkin with succulents of your choice!
Pretty simple, right? Head on over to Cassidy’s blog to check out the full instructions with pictures of the process. She even suggests which succulents to use for placing your pumpkin outdoors in freezing temperatures!

Succulent Pumpkin Variations

If you’re not that great at handling live plants, you could use fake succulents and a fake pumpkin to save it for future holidays. If you love succulents AND flowers, check out some of our paper flower tutorials here and here (with many more tutorials throughout the Lars archives!) to position flowers between your succulents. Place your succulent monogram pumpkins on your doorstep or inside your home for a stylish, succulent-filled Halloween!

Need more Halloween pumpkin inspiration? Take a look at a Lars favorite, these DIY Rainbow Pumpkins! Add more pumpkins to your monogram succulent decor with a DIY Rainbow Pumpkin Arch.  Use your pumpkins to decorate for a Halloween dinner party, or display them to get into the Halloween spirit!

Birthday Printable Collection

Printable Birthday Suite

We love the colors, the sentiment and the craftiness. Here’s what we have!

Printable Birthday Invitations

You know what they say, first impressions are everything; so, let your guests know they are in for a great time with these invitations!

Printable Birthday Banner

Is a birthday party really a birthday party without a proper birthday banner?! We think not! Hang this up to set that party mood!

Birthday Crown

We heard you can only have a proper birthday if you are wearing a crown… so, we present you what might be the best birthday crown you have ever seen!

Cake Toppers

Lest the Birthday Queen or King forget how old they (yes, this has happened to me once or twice…) remind them with these cake toppers that are good for anyone ages 1-1,000!

Thank you to Dahlia Bakes for the scrumptious and beautiful cake. If you’re local in Utah Valley, we highly recommend her work!

Printable Birthday Decorations e-book

You can find all the individual components in the shop OR you can find them all in our Birthday e-book here. Here are a few must haves for your next birthday Party!

As always, we can’t wait to see how you make your birthday come to life with our printables. Tag us with #LarsMakes so we can see! 

DIY Twisted Candles for a Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner

We made our candles in red and pink to add them to our Valentine’s day decorations. They would be perfect to display on the mantle, dining table, bookshelf, bathroom, anywhere, really! They would also be perfect to light on your Valentine’s day dinner at home. These candles are functional, beautiful, and customizable. No wonder we love them!

DIY Twisted Candles

Supplies:

Candles

Ziplock bag

Rolling Pin

Instructions:

(based on 12 inch tall candles)

  1. Fill a bowl with warm enough water to cover candles

2. Soak candles in warm water for 15-20 min, or until they are flexible

3. Working with one candle at a time – transfer a candle to a ziplock bag

3. Using your rolling pin, roll the center of the candle flat until it is a 1/2″ wide. Make sure to leave 2″ at the top of the candle that is unrolled, as well as 2″ from the bottom.

Tip: If at any point the candle is becoming too firm to roll out, let it sit in the warm water longer and then start rolling again.

5. Once you have flattened out the center of your candle, slowly twist it until you have created the look you want!

Embrace the trend and flaunt your modern flair!

Don’t forget to add some Doily Honeycomb Decorations and Valentines Heart Pom-Poms to your Valentine’s day decorations this year!

 

 

DIY Dried Flower Turkey Gourds

DIY Dried Flower Turkey Gourds

We have a really simple but beautiful DIY for you today—dried floral arrangements for your Thanksgiving Dinner. These are reminiscent of our gorgeous dried flower pumpkin DIY from a few weeks back, and just like that project, you can re-use these in the years to come! Once again, we used the beautiful preserved flower choices from Terrain and they were perfect! 

Unlike fresh flower arrangements (which we also love, naturally), these dried floral turkey gourds don’t need water to keep them looking great. This arrangement also isn’t specific to Halloween or Thanksgiving—you can keep it up all through autumn (and maybe winter too, if you’re already dreading the cold months and need something to remind you of slightly warmer days).

Dried Flowers

Did you know people used to think dried flowers represented bad luck? The tradition goes that dried flowers no longer have a “soul,” or “chi,” so they bring bad luck to your home. While we don’t quite follow this line of thinking, make sure to keep your dried flowers in a dry, temperature-controlled place to keep them from accumulating mold, mildew, or dust.

Where to Display Them

We like to put our dried flower arrangements as the table centerpiece, but how amazing would they look on a mantle? You could even put them in a windowsill so your neighbors can enjoy the autumn bounty.

Making the Dried Floral Turkey Gourds

Materials

  • Dried flowers (see above for exact links!)
  • gourds
  • glue gun
  • cardboard
  • spray paint

Instructions

  1. Cut out a piece of cardboard that fits behind the gourd. It should be a in a semi circle.
  2. Identify the center of the cardboard and start gluing the pieces starting from the outside and to the middl of the cardboard.
  3. Try different patterns with the florals for a unique pattern.
  4. For more depth and fullness, try different layers of cardboard in front of the other.

To display

  • Pin the cardboard into the back of the gourd. To separate out sprays with different layers, try using a sponge in between each layer.
  • If it’s a centerpiece, make sure you glue the back of the cardboard too.

Let us know if you make them by tagging us with #LarsMakes or #LarsGivesThanks

If you liked this project, I have a feeling that you’ll also like the following:

DIY succulent monogram pumpkins
Friendsgiving Tablescape
Origami Cornucopia

Painted Mini Pumpkins

Painted Mini Pumpkins

I love the look of all of our mini painted pumpkins this year, especially as a cohesive look. In fact, the more the better! We based them off of our new Casetify collection because they are definitely worth replicating! The checkerboard is such a fun and easy pattern to paint as is the colorblock and squiggles. The florals take a bit more work but they are *chef’s kiss.* Do you have a fave? I’m leaning towards the folk floral, but then again, that’s also my favorite case so there’s a theme there.

painted pumpkins DIY

How to paint mini pumpkins

We started out with white pumpkins so that it would be easier to see the pattern. Orange works too, but you need more layers of paint to see the design. It’s also easier if you choose pumpkins with longer stems. I know that because we couldn’t find any and it was tricky! It’s nice to be able to hold onto something sturdy.

painted pumpkins to match The House That Lars Built casetify cases

Materials

  • white mini pumpkins (you should be able to get these at most grocery stores this time of year!)
  • acrylic or house paint (see colors below!)
  • paintbrushes
  • UV sealant (optional–keeps the paint looking nice longer)

How to paint a checkerboard pattern on a pumpkin

To create the checkerboard pattern on a pumpkin you will need to do the following:

  1. Paint your whole pumpkin in the lighter of the two colors you plan to use. Let it dry,
  2. With a thin marker, draw lines down each of the mini pumpkin’s natural grooves. The lines won’t be perfectly measured, but they will be a lot easier to paint this way!
  3. Draw even horizontal stripes around the mini pumpkin.
  4. Fill in every other box with the darker paint! Make sure you cover up the marker lines.
  5. We added in thicker accent stripes to mimic our cases just for fun
  6. Add on your UV sealant if desired.

folk painted pumpkin

How to make the quilted folk floral mini pumpkin

  1. Use your permanent marker to draw out a grid pattern on your mini pumpkin, similarly to how you did with the above checkerboard technique. We made ours two grooves thick so that the “quilt squares” were bigger.
  2. Paint in the colors of your squares. Wait until dry.
  3. Use the end of a pencil or large paintbrush to create a ring of the petals inside the squares.
  4. Paint contrasting circles onto each square in the center of the petals.
  5. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

How to make wavy line painted mini pumpkin

How to make the simple floral painted mini pumpkin

  1. Paint the whole mini pumpkin in a solid background color.
  2. Follow the flower instructions from the quilted pumpkin, but without the squares–just place them around your pumpkin randomly!
  3. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

How to make large floral painted mini pumpkin

These are one of my favorites! I love the decorative element it brings.

  1. With your permanent marker, draw lines down the mini pumpkin’s natural segments, dividing it into even sections.
  2. Draw out your design in each section. Our design includes an abstract flower at the top (yellow), a tall, symmetrical flower taking up most of the pumpkin’s body (in shades of red and pink with a green stem and leaves), and two abstract flowers at the bottom (yellow).
  3. Using the background color, paint in most of the pumpkin’s background. Avoid painting over your sketch of the flowers, but if you cross the marker lines a little bit, you should be okay. You just want to leave enough of your drawing so that you can see where to paint your flower.
  4. With your yellow, pink, red, and green paints, paint in the rest of your floral design.
  5. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

floral painted pumpkins

How to make the wavy lined painted mini pumpkin

  1. Paint the whole mini pumpkin in a solid background color.
  2. With an accent color, paint the outline of a wavy, squiggly design down the mini pumpkin’s side.
  3. Fill in your wavy shape with the same accent color.
  4. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

A clump of painted mini pumpkins in bright colors.

How to make the delicate floral painted mini pumpkin

This one is such a pretty showstopper, and it’s way easier than it looks! You’ll use a fine tipped paintbrush instead of a foam paintbrush. Just make sure to clean it between colors!

  1. If desired, paint the whole mini pumpkin a solid background color. I opted not to, instead showing off the pretty white pumpkin color, but you do you!
  2. With green paint, paint little curved lines as flower stems and wavy green leaves coming off the bottom of them. Distribute these around the pumpkin randomly.
  3. Top the flower stems with white or light pink flowers with red centers.
  4. Paint abstract yellow flowers around the pumpkin’s surface.
  5. Fill in empty space with mini periwinkle, pink, red, and orange flowers. For these, just make a few small brushstrokes. Paint a tiny green stem underneath or a white dot in the middle for a different style.
  6. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

delicate floral painted pumpkin on a pink and orange background. There's a matching phone case next to it.

Marbling technique didn’t work this time

We tried doing a marbling technique as inspired by our Casetify marbled case, but it just wasn’t working out. I’ll be sharing the failed version over on Instagram (hahahaha!). If you have a marbling technique that has worked for you in the past, let us know!

cell phone cases match the painted pumpkins

You can shop our The House That Lars Built for Casetify Collection here

We would love to see how you’re painting your mini pumpkins this year. Tag us with #LarsHalloween or #LarsMakes so we can see them! 

If you liked these painted pumpkins you might also like these ones:

Rainbow painted pumpkins
Pastel painted face pumpkins
DIY rainbow pumpkin arch
Pumpkin favor with leaf template

DIY Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

I love making grocery store flower bouquets. Before I learned a few simple flower-arranging tips, though, I used to buy pre-made bouquets from grocery stores, trim the ends, and dunk them into a vase as is. It looked decent and there’s nothing wrong with doing that, of course! But learning how to arrange flowers properly helped make a simple flower arrangement look like a professionally made bouquet.

A bouquet made of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

Buying a beautiful floral arrangement usually costs an arm and a leg. You can make a beautiful bouquet of your own with a fraction of that cost with flowers from a grocery store! Follow the step-by-step tutorial below to learn the tips and tricks.

Detail shot of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

Make Your Own Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

When you’re buying flowers for a bouquet, consider a color scheme that you want to design around and look for a variety of shapes and textures.

Detail shot of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

There are four basic categories to look for when making a bouquet. First choose larger blooms that will be focal points (like hydrangeas, roses, peonies, zinnias, tulips etc.). Second, line flowers (like goldenrod, calla lilies, or other flowers that form a strong visual line) or accent flowers (spray roses, carnations, eryngium, etc.). Third, get filler flowers (like chamomile, wax flower, or baby’s breath). Fourth and finally, choose greenery or foliage for your bouquet.

Choosing a vase for your arrangement is too-often overlooked. Whether you want something colorful or subdued, putting some thought into your vessel will elevate your bouquet. I put together a list of some of my current favorite vases here, or DIY a paper mâché or recycled egg carton vase with these tutorials!

Instructions

A person using a knife to trim the bottom of a stem next to some roses and a vase on a picnic table.A person removes rose leaves from a stem. In the background are rose petals, greenery, and a purple and white vase on a picnic table.A person arranges eucalyptus branches in a purple and white vase.A person arranges bright orange spray roses in a purple and white vase full of eucalyptus branches.A person places hydrangeas in a bouquet of eucalyptus and roses in a purple and white vase.A person places chamomile blossoms in a bouquet of eucalyptus, roses, and hydrangeas in a purple and white vase.

  1. Prepare all your flowers and foliage by trimming off the ends with a sharp, clean knife or some clean flower pruners. Take all the leaves off the bottom of the stems. You don’t want leaves to sit in the water, because then they’ll rot!
  2. Your flowers should have come with a little packet of flower food. Pour this, along with some water, into a vase.
  3. First place your foliage in the vase. Think about the ways that foliage can frame flowers or provide a more neutral backdrop for them. I’m arranging with willow eucalyptus, which has long, elegant leaves, so I’m also considering how they drape. Hold a few branches back to add in at the end.
  4. Next place your line flowers or accent flowers. I used spray roses here.
  5. Arrange the focal flowers in the vase. The stems from your foliage and accent flowers will form a sort of lattice that makes it easier to get your focal flowers right where you want them.
  6. When you arrange your focal flowers, think about how tall you want them and what direction you want them to face. If they’re too long, trim the stems a little bit at a time, because you can all ways take away more stem but you can’t make them grow taller!
  7. Arrange your fill flowers around the focal and line/accent flowers.
  8. Add in any foliage you held back.
  9. Place your bouquet somewhere in your home that you’ll see it often so that you really enjoy it! To keep it fresh for as long as possible, pick the flowers up and trim an inch off the stems every few days. When you do this, make sure there’s plenty of water and it’s clean.

Arranging flowers is a skill that comes in handy all the time, especially if you love having fresh flowers around as much as I do! I would love to see your bouquets at #LarsFlowerMonth

beautiful bouquet made from grocery store flowers

Easy Halloween Ideas From Our Shop

My ideal Halloween is playfully spooky, crafty, and (above all) easy, and there’s no such thing as too many easy Halloween ideas. If you’re looking for a fun, simple way to celebrate the season without turning your home into a Spirit Halloween storefront, read on for easy Halloween ideas!

Easy Halloween Decorations

This Haunted House makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece and conversation starter. You’ll make it from recycled cardboard boxes, which is a win for Planet Earth, and it’s beautiful enough to come back year after year, which is a win for you! Check out our blog post on it here.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

If you love the spooky aspect of Halloween, check out this Vampire Teeth Garland. It’s creepy without being too macabre, and oh so easy.

DIY vampire teeth garland

Another slightly spooky and impeccably easy decor idea is this wooden transfer plaque template! I’m all for riding the line between pretty and creepy at Halloween, and these really fit the bill. Find the tutorial here.

wooden cross sections of branches with spiders and bugs transferred onto them hanging from maroon ribbons.

This painted pumpkin face template makes for such a fun, easy DIY! Give your porch some whimsy this Halloween by painting these sweet characters on your pumpkins. Read the tutorial here and get painting!

painted pastel pumpkin faces against a pink background

How many times can you say “pretty paper pumpkin project?” Whatever your answer, you should check out this template for rainbow paper pumpkins, along with this tutorial blog post. These make a beautiful, refined, seasonal table setting, they’ll look great for all of Autumn, not jus Halloween. A Thanksgiving comeback, anyone?

orange, gold, and yellow paper pumpkins on a table setting.

If you’re in a pinch and looking for quick decorations, don’t forget this post about last minute Halloween decor!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas

There’s something to be said for a super intricate, detailed costume for sure. But even if you don’t have the time and energy to become a perfectly accurate storm trooper, dressing up doesn’t have to be out of your reach. Lots of our costume templates just require some simple clothing, some paper, and a prop or two. No professional costuming degree necessary!

Our Ruth Bader Ginsberg collar is maybe our simplest costume for adults. Just cut it out (a cricut or other cutting machine is helpful here), put it over a dark dress, and pull your hair back. Voilà! You’re ready to advocate for your sisters.

A white paper lace collar on a black background.

If you’ve been a Lars reader for more than about a minute you’ll know that I love flowers. So of course I wanted to dress up as a bouquet! Ha! Practice making some paper flowers for this Sweet Pea Paper Flower Bouquet costume (and read the tutorial here).

Brittany wearing a bouquet costume with paper flowers and a white paper wrapper against a green backdrop

Group costumes are always so fun, so pair your bouquet costume with greenhouse garb for a friend! This greenhouse costume uses cardboard and iron-on flowers, and is sure to turn heads. You can find the tutorial here.

a white woman with brown hair wears a green dress with iron on flowers, a greenhouse hat, and yellow clogs. She's holding flowers and a watering can.

Another cute Halloween costume for a pair of friends would be our beehive and picnic costumes. Both use an iron-on technique to make easy halloween costumes that are as cute as a bug. Find the tutorials here.

Brittany wears a gingham red dress with ants ironed onto it and holds a rattan picnic bag. a white woman wearing a yellow dress with iron-on bees, black gloves, a bee headband, and black shoes stands in front of a blue background.

This constellation costume with iron-on stars is absolutely dazzling. Honestly, you might as well break it out all year round because it’s that beautiful.

a blonde woman wearing an off-the-shoulder black jumpsuit with silvers stars all over it, sparkly makeup, and a spangled headband against a periwinkle background

For a subtle Halloween look, just print off our Pumpkin Crown and wear warm autumn tones.

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

One of our most glamorous costumes with templates in the shop is our sun, cloud and rainbow set. This makes a great baby and mom costume, because you can add sun rays to a baby bonnet. I love how our model matched the baby’s outfit to her sling! With this costume you can invest as much or as little as you want. Just want the Sun and Rainbow headpiece? No problem. What about the Cloud Bag and Cloud Earrings? Done. Just want a sunny baby bonnet pattern? Your wish is our command. Make the costume just how you like it with this tutorial.

Rainbow costumeRainbow and sun mommy and me costume

This Giving Tree costume is another easy Halloween idea that you could make in a flash. And who doesn’t want to reference a classic children’s book in their costume? Find the tutorial here.

A mom wearing a green outfit with leaves and holding a felt apple bag stands next to her child in red overalls. They're dressed as the Giving Tree.

If you have a gaggle of children to costume, consider our Three Blind Mice baby costume pattern or our Crayon Hat template. Both are simple to put together and oh so sweet.

3 blind mice diy costume for kidsFour kids wearing crayon halloween costumes in orange, red, blue, and green.

Halloween Party Supplies

Even though gathering in big groups for Halloween parties is starting to look less and less likely (again 😔), you can still throw a Halloween party for your family, roommates, or pod! This Halloween Party Suite includes printable invitations, placemats, party tags, and place cards. Talk about easy Halloween ideas!

Halloween themed place cards.

Paper party goods with a halloween theme on a black background. They're orange, yellow, black, white, navy, and peach.

And for a party favor, try these printable poppers or printable Halloween candy gift boxes.

Halloween party poppersPrintable Halloween Candy Gift Box

These Halloween coupons make a fun halloween activity for your family. They’re a great way for parents to get their kids to relinquish some candy in return for fun activities.

halloween coupons in pink, red, blue, and black.

These illustrated Halloween cards are another great party favor because you can attach them to treat bags, trade them, send them as cards, or just hang them up.

Printable Halloween Cards

If your party is more freaky than funky, you might like this elegant invitation and Halloween dinner menu.

black and white illustrated halloween party invitation in a black decorative hadn surrounded by foliage and fruitsBlack and floral printable halloween menu

Party Food

Real talk here: what’s a party without cake? Use these printables and templates to make your Halloween cake extra fancy. The Spooky Town printable cake topper set is quaint and just a bit creepy, while this Black Birds cake topper is decidedly Hitchcock-approved. Red velvet cake makes it even more dramatic!

a colorful, cute printable cake topper set on a cake."The Birds" Cake Topper

If your fall party isn’t so Halloween-specific (or even if it is!) this Fall Leaf cake topper will add elegance and fun to the celebration.

DIY fall leaf cake topper

Looking for more cards, costumes, and decor? Search for Halloween on our blog! You’ll be blown away by the years of great, easy Halloween ideas and DIYs. If you’re interested in many of these ideas (who wouldn’t be!?), you can check out our E-Book, The Halloween that Lars Made. It’s a one-stop shop for easy Halloween ideas, DIYs, and projects.

DIY Accordion Christmas Village

Today we are sharing another DIY Christmas Village (similar to one we posted last week), but this one is an accordion style and you can use the templates right here from our shop to either hand cut it out OR use a craft cutting machine to do it for you.

I just love the anticipation of Christmas, and a cute village on your mantel with fluffy cotton ball clouds and bottle brush trees just adds to the magic of the season. I like to put little twinkle lights behind the village for an added glow. Here, I added in our heirloom nativity (you can see the tutorial here!)

With this particular DIY Christmas Village, you only need to do a bit of assembly so it’s for someone who has only a sitcom’s worth of time to work on something. This village can sit as a lovely silhouette in your windowsill for passerby to admire.

DIY Accordion Christmas Village

Here’s how to do it for both the craft cutting machines or hand cut!

Materials

See above!

You can get the templates here

Instructions

  1. Use either the SVG or the PDF files, depending on how you want to cut it out. PDF files are for those wanting to hand cut it out and the SVG files are for those who can put it in their craft cutting machines.
  2. To handcut: Use the template to cut out the pieces with your ruler and craft knife.
  3. Craft cutting machine: Each “house” is meant for a different 8.5×11″ page so you’ll need to assemble them together. If you want them to be SUPER sturdy, I’d recommend cutting the tabs at the bottom off a bit and taping them together so that the buildings sit side by side.

Check out our other Christmas village here (this one is also an advent calendar!).

If you like this project, you might also like: 

DIY Peppermint Pig Pinata
Heirloom Nativity Set
Family Tree Ornaments

DIY Sparklers For New Year’s Eve

We’ve been busy sharing our favorite DIYs for a fun New Year’s Eve celebration, including paper crowns, 2021 glasses, and more from the Lars archives. Today we’re delving into a really fun project to add to these—some DIY sparklers!

Maybe you’re not a fan of actual fireworks, or the thought of going outside in the chilly night air on New Year’s Eve is not appealing. Either way, this craft is for you. These sparklers require no fire, no lighters, no matches…nothing. Which makes it perfect for the whole family to enjoy, even your youngest kiddos!

DIY Sparklers for New Year's Eve

All you need to make your own DIY sparklers is some colorful cellophane and some wooden dowels. And like many of our projects, this one is reusable.

DIY Sparklers

Materials:

Wooden dowels

Cellophane: We used gold, but also love this iridescent option and this colorful set. You can also use ribbon or tissue paper.

Scissors

Hot Glue Gun

Instructions:

  1. Cut three 12 inch by 5 inch strips of cellophane.

2. Create a fringe effect with each strip by cutting parallel lines down the full strip, making sure never to cut all the way to the edge of your material.

3. Once all 3 strips are fringed, take your dowel and begin gluing one strip on to the top of the dowel.. Starting on one side and twisting it around the skewer, adding a dab of glue when needed to keep it in place.

5. Do that for each strand creating 3 tiered layers at the top of the skewer.

6. Add 1 thin piece of cellophane around the bottom of the 3 tiers to add the finish touch!

This projects also makes for great cake toppers! Or use them for your New Year’s Eve party centerpieces, drink stirrers, tablescape and more.

New Year's Eve Cake Topper

For more creative New Year’s ideas, check out our New Year’s Eve archives.

Becoming Loria Stern

In 2011, Loria Stern started attending adult education classes entitled “Medicinal and Edible Plants” where she learned about foraging and the power of plant medicine. She started combining her culinary skills with the knowledge she was learning about botanicals. All the while she was posting her bespoke creations on Instagram. In 2016 her work was highlighted in Vogue Magazine and she received over 30,000 followers overnight. Fans were asking where they could purchase her treats so she started selling them on her website. The first day she posted her treats, she received over 20 orders. Since that day, her business has grown into a successful baking operation where she employs 4 helpers with living wages. She’s still growing her business, writing a cookbook and pitching a TV show. Exciting things are in store for this hardworking woman!

Loria is wearing a floral dress and standing in a kitchen surrounded by colorful produce.

Meet Loria Stern

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, baker, business person, educator, etc.?

Well, I consider myself all of these things but more so one than the other depending on what day of the week we’re talking about. I would say I started out as an artist and maker, and then became a baker and now my daily tasks are more of a business person and educator. 

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now? 

I grew up in Ojai, CA, a small quaint town nestled in between large mountains but just a 20 minute drive to the beach. The town had a lot of nature–my childhood neighborhood streets were lined with tall oak trees. There was and still is a huge element of health consciousness and spirituality in Ojai and I think those elements absolutely influenced what I do now and the person I’ve become. 

Loria stands with her back to the camera. She's surrounded by fresh cut flowers and she's wearing a straw hat, and there are misty mountains in the background.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger? 

Of course I wanted to be a professional tennis player! That dream ended around 14 years old and then I wanted to be an artist. I guess that dream has come true except through a different medium (culinary arts vs. the visual arts).

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? 

Not really one single person, but more so a number of different friends who loved eating the foods I cooked and baked for them and encouraged me to follow this path.

What sparked your interest in edible flowers? 

I’ve always loved flowers (who doesn’t?!) but it wasn’t until I started learning about the medicinal properties of botanicals in my 3 semesters of the adult education classes that my love for combining edible flowers + botanicals with cooking and baking, really opened up an entire new craft for me. 

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.Brightly colored flowers pressed onto sugar cookies on a wooden background.

What are three words to describe your style? 

Creative, happy and cool.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career? 

I graduated with a BA from college and spent my last year painting and drawing. I was in an art show in my final year of college and sold several pieces. As noted earlier, I also took 3 semesters of adult education classes post college– “Medicinal + Edible Plants” and learned a lot about treating ailments naturally with wild, edible plants. I also attribute my dedication as a competitive tennis player to my strong work ethic, which I think is the most important aspect of my current success. 

Loria sits cross-legged on a teal blanket surrounded by pressed flowers in books and a cup of tea.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now? 

I did not really have a career after graduating college in 2006–I more so worked a bunch of odd jobs to pay the rent–teaching tennis, nannying, working as an assistant, etc. It was not until 2010 when I worked my first job as a prep chef that I really learned my love for the culinary arts and that I wanted to make this a career.

What inspired you to become a baker/florist/gardener? 

My love for nature, working with my hands and discovering new alchemic combinations.

Brightly-colored flowers pressed onto green matcha cookie dough.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why? 

I love making tall tiered wedding cakes and delivering them to the venue. It is always so rewarding.

Tall wedding cake frosted with white frosting and purple and yellow flowerscake frosted with blush pink frosting with purple, yellow, and white pansies pressed onto it. It's styled in a pink draping fabric with a vase of flowers.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

In nature first and foremost. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm? 

Many via Instagram, I’ve met some of my best friends and have found a beautiful, supportive community of my work there.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present? 

Gah, there are so so many! Truly too hard to just pinpoint a few.

Horizontal photo of Loria wearing a floral dress and holding a tray of baked cookies. Flowers are pressed onto the top of each one.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days? 

My father was a jazz clarinetist and music pervades much of my childhood. I love all types of music and have found there is a time and a place for every genre of music. I love documentaries and listening to podcasts. But I try to stay away from negative media as it definitely affects my mood.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto? 

Work hard and always do your best. Hold yourself and others accountable. Treats others how you’d want to be treated.

Horizontal photo of Loria measuring sugar into a yellow mixing bowl. She's in a kitchen and surrounded by flowers and a turquoise kitchenade mixer

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara just one month before the pandemic began. I had to find a new commercial kitchen and employees within that time and it was extremely difficult to say the least. Looking back, I feel so grateful for the commercial baking space and my LA helpers. 

Loria stands in a field of zinnias wearing a white dress and a straw hat. She's holding a basket full of flowers.

How do your surroundings influence your work? 

So much. I realized I am creatively motivated by my physical space. I love natural light and need to be close to nature. 

Loria bends down to pick wildflowers in a meadow. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump? 

Exercise is always a good idea and I have found it to be the number one cure for all sorts of slumps. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

I enjoy waking up early. I drink coffee first thing in the morning, then I’ll mosey around my backyard garden with coffee in hand. I’ll stroll up to my home office, check business and personal emails, and then the day is off and running. I usually pick edible botanicals from my garden then meet my team at the bakery. We start cranking our baking orders and then before I know it, it’s 6pm! Then I’ll come home, meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll cook dinner and watch a show.

Loria decorating a pan of focaccia with flowers and vegetables. She's shaped them into a floral scene.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

To learn as much as you can about the hobby / skill. There is so much readily available information that one can learn online that school is not necessary as long as there is curiosity, dedication and a strong work ethic.

Loria standing at the head of a banquet table full of food and flowers. It is sunset and there are mountains in the background.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on? 

I’d say tennis is my secret talent for those who are just meeting me now! Otherwise, I’m working on learning how to surf but it’s extremely hard!

Two pans of botanical cookies with pressed flowers. The ones on the top are a vanilla shortbread and the ones on the bottom are pink.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business? 

Gah, I am still trying to figure that out. I have not accepted investment from outside sources however am currently looking into it to grow my business!

A plate of baked floral shortbread stacked up. In the background there are lots of flowers scattered.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

I’d like to become more well-traveled. I want to visit Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sweden, and the list continues! I want to visit these places and learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques and share those with an audience so that they can live on and evolve into our current day’s food. 

A film photograph of Loria walking away from the camera through a field of wildflowers. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat and there are trees and mountains in the background.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years? 

First and foremost, I hope to remain healthy! Secondly, I hope to open up a physical commissary kitchen with a retail space, classroom and on-site edible flower garden so that I can teach my botanical infused culinary arts to the greater community. There is so much information that I find so inspiring and interesting, I am sure others will as well.

Loria sitting on a bed with teal bedding and flowers in a bowl. She's wearing a beige jumpsuit and there's low, moody lighting.

Can’t get enough of Loria Stern?

We don’t blame you! Follow Loria’s work on her Instagram @LoriaStern and don’t forget to check out her website, where you can buy her delicious, beautiful creations!

Years ago we wrote a post about using edible flowers, and I hope that this interview with Loria Stern makes you even more excited to incorporate beautiful botanicals into your meals (like this edible flower pot).

Read more Becoming interviews here to keep the inspiration flowing!

Loria walking through a meadow of flowers wearing a white dress and a straw sun hat. She's holding a basket of flowers and the sky is blue.

All photos are courtesy of Loria Stern.

Inspired by Cinco de Mayo

Nadia Aguilar Cates

Last year I talked to my friend Nadia Aguilar Cates about Cinco de Mayo and some of her plans to celebrate it. She explained that “Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the battle of Puebla. It’s not Mexico’s Independence Day but a common celebration in the United States.” –Nadia Aguilar Cates, @Casa_Palomi

Two little boys dressed in Mariachi outfits holding cardboard instruments stand in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

Last year Nadia and I worked together to make a COVID-safe drive-by Cinco de Mayo party. This party was complete with cardboard mariachi instruments for kids and a giant papel picado backdrop. If you missed it last year, it’s not too late to get ready for this year’s festivities!

We also interviewed Nadia last Fall. Everything she does to preserve and celebrate her Mexican heritage is so inspiring. Check out her interview here! Oh and definitely keep an eye on Ella Rises, the organization Nadia created to empower Latina youth.

Nadia Aguilar Cates stands in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

History of Cinco de Mayo

As Nadia said, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an important Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862 in the city of Puebla. The battle, in which the Mexican army defeated French troops, marked a turning tide in the fight for Mexican sovereignty. It also signaled Mexico’s strength to the rest of the world, which tended to underestimate their power.

Because The House that Lars Built is located in the United States, where anti-Mexican racism is still a pervasive problem, we’re using Cinco de Mayo to reflect on the importance of listening to and celebrating Indigenous and Mexican stories. In true Lars fashion, this means I’m highlighting some of my favorite Mexican artists and designers!

Lars Loves Mexican Artists

Frida Kahlo

Photograph of Frida Kahlo holding a small carved idol. She's wearing a black and orange woven top and has flowers and ribbons braided into her hair, and she's standing against a turquoise wall. Where would we be without our Queen, Frida Kahlo? She’s probably one of the best-known Mexican artists, and for good reason! Her work explores her Mexican Indigenous heritage in bright colors and with psychologically rich symbolism.

 

Painting by Frida Kahlo.
Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States, 1932

If you’re looking for more Frida in your life, check out our Great Artists course for kids, which will teach your little one (and you) more about Frida’s work. You can also look at these DIY projects inspired by Frida and this roundup of Frida Kahlo-inspired decor.

Luis Barragán

A woman holds a black horse's bridal in front of a tomato-colored wall at Luis Barragán's Cuadra San Cristóbal stables. There's also a flat blue pool and pink and purple structures in the background.
Photograph by Rene Burri

Luis Barragán was an incredible Mexican architect and designer, whose geometric buildings are breathtakingly colorful. His iconic San Cristobal Stables was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to Mexico City a few years ago. Brittany walks under a bright pink structure at Luis Barragán's San Cristobal stables in Mexico City

Michelle Franzoni Thorley

A black and white portrait of Michelle, who looks at the camera. She's wearing a white top and a chunky necklace, and she's standing in front of some plants

Michelle Franzoni Thorley is a local-to-me painter and family historian whose work explores her Mexican heritage and the power of knowing about our ancestors. She also is an anti-racism educator and all-around powerful human being. So make sure you follow her on Instagram @florafamiliar!

A painting of women in mountains, a desert, and a cemetery holding onto a red ribbon that connects them.
Ancestresses by Michelle Franzoni Thorley

Cinco de Mayo in the Archives

Paper Fan Garland

Along with last year’s drive by party, I wanted to share more Cinco de Mayo inspiration from years gone by. One of my earliest projects was this paper fan garland decoration.

Honeycomb fruit

Another early project was this collection of DIY honeycomb fruit ornaments.

paper fruits in the shape of grapes, an orange, a grapefruit, and a strawberry hang in front of a window

Cinco de Mayo Bouquet

I was also inspired by vibrant Mexican design when I made this Cinco de Mayo paper wedding bouquet! You don’t have to be a bride to make this, though! Putting together this bouquet would be such a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo while simultaneously gearing up for Summer blooms.

brightly colored paper bouquet

Fiesta

If you’re looking for full-on Cinco de Mayo party inspiration, look no further than the fiesta I threw a few years ago! You can find great decor, lots of delicious recipes, and links to tableware that will make your party a true fiesta! a festive Cinco de Mayo table set with Mexican food and decorated with colorful papel picado banners

Mexico City Travel Guide

Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I also want to share my travel guide from Mexico City. In 2018 I went to Mexico City and it was absolutely dreamy. In my Mexico City guide you can find my favorite places to go and things to see, as well as (perhaps most importantly?) where to eat. I can’t wait until I can go back and experience even more of Mexico City, because it’s truly a magical (and huge!) place, with so much to do and see.

a colorful papier mache man floats in a white museum space

I came home from Mexico City feeling so inspired by the color and design that I put together a roundup of fashion and design that reminded me of my trip! I’m itching to go back, but looking through these travel-inspired objects is satisfying a bit of my wanderlust…for now!

Viva México!

More Inspiration

Looking for Cinco de Mayo decorations, or just some spring decor to freshen up your home? Look no further than our shop for the templates to get you going! Try the Cinco de Mayo bouquet template and e-book to make it a lovely centerpiece. Also, here’s the template for those Cinco de Mayo streamers we mentioned. You’ll probably also love this paper flower garland or this boutonniere! You may want to check out this house plants e-book as well, along with our flower and leaf garland e-book.

DIY Ox for Chinese New Year

The Chinese zodiac is a repeating 12-year cycle of animal signs based on the lunar calendar. In order, the zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. 2021 is the year of the Ox, and the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, marks the transition from one zodiac animal to the next.

Much like the zodiac signs we know as horoscopes, each Chinese zodiac animal represents personality traits, romantic compatibility, and what fortune the year will bring. In Chinese culture, the ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture and its positive attributes. People born in the year of the Ox distinguish themselves as honest and hard-working. Because of their honest and earnest character traits, they are reliable and trustworthy. They tend to be low-key and never look for praise, but their hard work often leads to recognition. These are only some of the traits associated with people born in the year of the Ox. Find more here.

Make Your Own Year of the Ox Party Decor

Supplies:

Pencil or marker, cardboard, craft knife, paper or packing tape, hot glue gun (with LOTS of glue sticks for all that fringe), acrylic or tempera craft paint and a paintbrush, brown tissue paper (multiple shades make a nice look, but only one is necessary), scissors, red, white, and tan cardstock, and red, yellow, and green crepe paper. 

Instructions:

  1. Draw a basic ox body shape onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out (you can add the horns and ears later!)
  2. Using the first cutout ox, trace and cut out another. Now you have both sides of your piñata.
  3. Cut long strips of corrugated cardboard 3 inches wide. You want the corrugation running perpendicular to the length of the strip so that it can bend easily to your ox’s contours.
  4. Using paper or packing tape and starting with one side at a time, attach the cardboard strips to the perimeter of the ox. Add more cardboard strips as needed to wrap around the entire circumference of the ox body. 
  5. Affix the other side of your ox with your tape. The ox should become 3D at this point.
  6. Wrap the hooves in tissue paper (about 11×11 inch squares worked well for us) and secure with glue.
  7. Cut long strips of tissue paper fringe (we used a mix of browns to get a pretty variegated look). The strips should be about three inches tall with fringe slits cut up about two inches.
  8. Working from bottom to top and wrapping around your ox’s body, glue down the fringe. You can alternate colors as desired, but it looks nice to have a base color you come back to. 
  9. Accessorize! Cut eyes, ears, and rosy cheeks out of cardstock and glue them to your ox. Cut two horns from cardboard and paint them, then glue them to your ox’s head. We made a tail by gluing some extra tissue paper fringe to a ribbon and attaching it to the ox’s rump.
  10. Make red paper peonies. Cut out a small rectangle (¾ by 2 inches or so) of yellow crepe paper and cut fringe into it, then roll it up to form the center of the flower. Secure with hot glue. Cut out red crepe paper petals and shape them by slightly stretching the middle to get a cup shape. Ruffle the tops of the petals by stretching small sections along the petals’ tops. Glue the petals to the yellow center. Cut out a few green crepe paper leaves and attach them to your ox along with your peonies.

This year, we wanted to lift our dreary winter moods in February by looking to world festivities. The Lunar New Year, aka Spring Festival, seemed like a fun celebration to set the tone for the coming spring. Display our DIY Ox as a lucky centerpiece to welcome the new year and all that it has in store for us.