January 27, 2012

Chocolate Frogs Box Template

In Harry Potter, there are some lovely sweets called Chocolate Frogs. They come in boxes that each have a collectable card in them.

This template was altered from the one I found at Chica and Jo.com, which was a very useful site.
However, the main alterations I made were:

  • I made the purplish colour into a deep blue, because that was more how I had always imagined the boxes in the Harry Potter movies
  • I made the bronze colour into more of a gold for the same reasons as the above point
  • I got rid of the colour in most of the tabs to save on ink
  • I put text on the bottom of the boxes so that I wouldn't have to go through the trouble of lining up my printer to print on the backs of each of the wizard cards
  • I made my own wizard cards to put inside of the boxes, which I placed conveniently right next to the box on the same page to minimize paper waste
I hope you find that these alterations suit your desires for a chocolate frog box. I made ten individual chocolate frog cards and descriptions, one for everyone at the party. I've uploaded my Albus Dumbledore one here and provided links to the other ones below the picture, which are up on my MediaFire account so that this post does not get cluttered.

This is the Albus Dumbledore Chocolate Frog Card and template. The description is taken directly from the book.

LINKS TO THE OTHER PRE-MADE CHOCOLATE FROG CARDS:
(They are in alphabetical order)

Bertie Bott Chocolate Frog

Harry Potter Chocolate Frog

Hermione Granger Chocolate Frog

Merlin Chocolate Frog

Morgan le Fay Chocolate Frog

Neville Longbottom Chocolate Frog

Ron Weasley Chocolate Frog

Severus Snape Chocolate Frog

Voldemort Chocolate Frog

THE ALTERABLE PHOTOSHOP FILE:

Chocolate Frog Photoshop Template


Putting the boxes together is pretty straightforward: fold all of the tabs and glue the ones on the bottom of the card together to make the sides of the bottom, and glue the tab on the top so that it stand up like 3D. You don't need to glue the tabs on the top of the template to the bottom of it; they are simply there to hold the lid down.

Another important note is that we printed these templates on card stock again. Card stock is just a heavier type of paper that is sturdier than regular printer paper. It was very useful for making the Chocolate Frog boxes stiffer.

Comment for any Chocolate Frog card requests, and I'll do the most popular :)

*Later edit* There are also ways to purchase chocolate frog templates and wizard cards, many found on Etsy. Here is one suggestion, made by a commenter: Etsy $5.00 Printable Chocolate Frog boxes and Wizard Cards

>>Link to Table of Contents

January 26, 2012

Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans Box Template

Here is a printable template of the Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans box for your use!

I did initially find this template on DeviantArt by 61098, however, after printing one of them out and cutting everything, I realized that there really wasn't any way to attach the triangles at the top together, nor was there an actual bottom for the boxes. So I popped it into Photoshop and gave it those essentials and voilà! The Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans template!

You are free to print this out and use it. What we did to put them together was:


  1. Print the template out. There are two ways to do this: You can print the template on card stock paper OR you can print it on regular paper and cut out cardboard from cracker boxes, cereal boxes etc. to paste under it to give it a bit more strength. We chose to cut out cardboard as well so we wouldn't waste so much card stock.
  2. Cut out the template, including the windows.
  3. If you printed on card stock, you've got it easy. All you need to do is glue everything together EXCEPT for the bottom, because that's where you'll be inserting the beans when you're ready to 'serve' them. However, if you printed on regular paper, to make it more durable find an empty cardboard box such as those used for crackers, cereal, cake mixes etc. Trace your template onto it and cut that out. You do not need to cut the tabs out of cardboard on the bottom and sides of the template, but you DO need to cut out the bottom.
  4. Glue the paper template to the cardboard template. We did it so that the blank grey/brown side was on the INSIDE, because the patterns on the outside didn't show through the paper.
  5. Glue all the tabs together to make it into a box EXCEPT for the bottom (because you need it to put the beans in).
Congratulations, you have officially made a Harry-Potter worthy Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans box. Here's some pictures of how ours turned out:

 To put the beans in them we wrapped the beans up in plastic wrap by putting the beans in the centre and then twisting all of the corners together. The corners went on the bottom of the box.


Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans Recipe

Hello again!

Here's another lovely recipe for you Potterheads: Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans!

What do you do when you can't find the brand-name every flavour beans? If you can't find a box of the Bertie Bott's anywhere at all? Why, you make your own, of course!

If you would also like to make a box for your Bertie Bott's Beans, a link to the tutorial and templates for the Bertie Bott's Boxes can be found here: Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans Box Template


This recipe is fairly simple and hardly costs anything. However, I would really recommend making these only a day or two at most ahead of time because you really don't want them to spoil with all of the interesting flavours you're stacking on them.

Things You Need:
A package of jelly beans, be they Jelly Bellies, No Name, or any other sort
Some spices or other interesting items to make your beans truly "every flavour"

Directions:


You can pick and choose which sorts of flavours you would like to try. However, the main thing that I should tell you is that the black jelly beans do not absorb a lot of flavour; they still taste like black liquorice.


FOR SPICY BEANS:


You need: Spices, Sugar, and Newspaper

  1. Mix up some sugar water, which is just granulated sugar (or icing/confectioner's sugar if you like) with water. You won't need too much, we used about 1/2 water to 1/2 sugar, but you may have to adjust this so that you get a fairly thick mixture that will coat your beans so that the spices stick to them
  2. Lay out some newspaper on your counter, possibly with some paper towels underneath them or have a LOT of newspaper, as this does get a little messy (but not a lot; the beans will just be wet from the sugar water)
  3. Get out your spices and sprinkle a decent pile onto a small patch of the newspaper. Some of the spices that we used included: Ginger, Cinnamon, Chilli Powder, Ground Hot Pepper, Nutmeg, and Paprika. The ground hot pepper was a major hit, it was dried hot pepper and it punched a really unexpected pack of hotness!
  4. Dip one of the jelly beans into the sugar water and then roll it gently in the spice of choice. Let it sit on the newspaper to dry.
  5. Continue this pattern for all of the beans you wish to flavour! It will take some time, but they turn out so well.
Notes on the flavours: The ginger ones were pretty gross but still amusing to accidentally eat, the cinnamon ones were very tasty, the chilli powder ones tasted rather peppery, the ground hot pepper ones were fabulous, as mentioned above in step 3, and the nutmeg and paprika tasted funny but not awful.

You could also experiment with spices such as mint, dill, or garlic powder to add some more variety :)


FOR VINEGAR BEANS:

You need: Vinegar, an old bowl (or one you don't mind if it's stained), and newspaper

  1. Put the beans you wish to flavour into a bowl. I would possibly recommend having small bowls for each of the colours of beans OR doing each colour separately because the colours (especially the black) tended to wash off a bit and stain the other beans
  2. Cover the beans with vinegar and let them soak for a while. I think that we soaked ours for 2 or 3 hours, but I would recommend 5 or 6 so that they really get the flavour because the only real difference I noticed in ours was that much of their colour had washed off
  3. When the beans are done soaking, put them onto the newspaper to dry.
These ones were okay, they didn't taste much different than the regular beans. They simply looked interesting.


OTHER IDEAS:

We didn't do more than that, but if you wanted to get creative you could try dipping some in honey or corn syrup. You might even try soaking them in different liquids such as apple juice to experiment with achieving different flavours. I found that we got the best results from rolling the beans in various spices, however, as opposed to soaking them in vinegar.

January 22, 2012

Cauldron Cakes



Here is a recipe for some truly delicious Cauldron Cakes from the Harry Potter universe. No one really knows what Cauldron Cakes are, but most people have gone with a sort of dark chocolate cupcake with a filling inside. (Here's a printer-friendly version of the recipe in PDF format on MediaFire.com) Here's the recipe that I came up with, used from an old cookbook:

CAULDRON CAKES
(The original recipe was titled 'Deep Dark Chocolate Cake' and was submitted to the recipe book by Ruth Schnurr)

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Directions:
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the boiling water, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin) (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: And Merlin was the batter thin, I thought I had done something wrong, but they turned out absolutely gorgeous and yummy)
  3. Fill greased muffin tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Don't use paper muffin cups. The Cauldron Cakes get their shape from the round tin.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the centre of a cupcake and it comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: if you're unfamiliar with this term like I was (I once ruined a cake trying to do this), 'cooling on a wire rack' or 'remove and put onto a wire rack' in cooking instructions usually does NOT mean take it out of the pan and put it onto a wire rack. Most times it just means to put the entire pan with the cake/cupcakes/brownies etc. in it onto the wire rack. This is to get the air flowing underneath the pan to cool the food in the pan down faster and prevent the bottom from burning. If you don't have any wire racks you can skip putting them on that, but I would recommend it if you do since it's rather painless)
  6. After about 10 minutes of cooling carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans and cool completely.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you would like to use this recipe to make a cake (and who knows, it'd be a pretty cool idea to make a ginormous Cauldron Cake!), follow Steps 1 and 2, and then follow these steps instead:

     3. Pour into greased and floured 9" or three 8" layer pans or 1 - 9" x 13" pan.
     4. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes for layers, 35 to 40 minutes for 9" x 13" pan, or until cake tester comes out clean (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: 'cake tester' is just a toothpick inserted into the centre doesn't come out with cake crumbs or gooey batter).
     5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack (Note from FlightlessPhoenix: read the long note in italics if you're confused as to the meaning of that sentence.)
     6. After 10 minutes of cooling, remove from pan(s) and cool completely. Top with your favourite frosting or try to mimic the technique used for the Cauldron Cakes if you like.


Now we're going to make the cupcakes look like actual 'Cauldrons'. You can make the icing first or follow the next steps to hollow out the insides.

MAKING THEM INTO CAULDRON CAKES:

Depending on how much batter you put into each muffin tin, you may or may not have rounded tops. It doesn't matter if you do or don't; if you do, however, you have the choice of slicing them off so that the tops are flat or keeping them the way they are. I'll let you read the next few steps so that you know if you want to cut the tops off or not.

  1. Using a small spoon, turn the cupcakes upside-down and hollow out a small hole in the centre. This is the 'cauldron', where the 'potion' will go. Tip: If the bottom of your cupcake turned out ugly, it's fine to use the top, however, using the bottom gives it a nicer 'cauldron' shape
  2. You can put the hollowed out cupcake bits to the side to be used later (perhaps in a pudding or something, or you might just eat it ;). Now we'll make the icing to put inside of the cupcakes:

'POTION' FROSTING
(The original recipe was titled 'Butter Frosting' and was submitted to the recipe book by Norma Gingerich)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter (I had it at room temperature)
2 cups icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon half and half cream (although a richer cream, such as whipping cream, would likely work. This would just make your icing creamier. However, this is just a speculation. If you tried this, please comment with your results.)

Directions:
Beat with an electric mixer until smooth (it really is that easy)



For your Cauldron Cakes:
Take some of the icing -- I think we used about a quarter of it -- and put it into a bowl, then use some green food colouring to make it green (feel free to experiment with different colours, however, if you wish). Next, if you have any clear plastic milk bags (clean ones) they would be perfect for this, but if not simply take some parchment paper and roll it into a cone, securing it by stapling it. Snip off the end of the parchment paper or the milk bag, whichever one you're using, and spoon the icing into it. This is so that we can use it like an icing tip and fill up the Cauldrons with the icing.

Squirt out as much or as little of the icing as you like into your Cauldron Cakes. We found that it looked neat if you made swirling designs on the top for 'bubbles'.

You also have the choice here of adding other things to the centre of your Cauldron Cakes, such as cotton candy, crushed candy, sprinkles, dry cereal, or any other sort of sweet you have lying around. I had some Almond Nut squares lying around, so we took one of those and crushed it up, then filled the bottom of the Cauldron Cake with those and topped it with the icing. This is so that the Cauldron Cake does not get too sweet with all that icing.

Finally, take some liquorice, black or red, it doesn't matter (I just had some red liquorice, and I know that most people don't like black liquorice even though the colour would suit it better). Depending on the type of liquorice that you have, you can either use a string of liquorice or you can cut the liquorice into the desired length. It is going to be the handle of the Cauldron, so it's up to you how long you'd like it to be.
One of the unfortunate broken-handled Cauldron Cakes.

We cut our liquorice in half lengthwise, and then again in half the other way. You can either choose to put the handles on your Cauldron Cakes now or later; however, even though we had made our Cauldron Cakes the night before the party, most of the handles had snapped in half at the top, so I recommend putting the handles on just before serving them.

And ta daa! You're done! Now you have a lovely batch of Cauldron Cakes to serve up to your guests or to save just for home eating.

The Letters/Invitations--Wax Seal Tutorial

There are six parts to this post, although I've split them up for ease of reading. This is the sixth (and last) post.


Now, onto the wax seal tutorial!

Items needed:
-Clay (can be bakeable or not, doesn't matter. I got mine from the dollar store for about a buck and a half)
-Toothpicks, needles, any small sort of device you can use to carve a design in the clay
-A picture of what you'd like your stamp to look like (i.e. the one below)
-A hot glue gun OR wax sticks
-Paint OR wax sticks in the desired colour
-Ice pack
-Oil (like vegetable oil)
-Wax paper (or parchment paper but wax paper is recommended)
-Paper towels (optional but recommended)
-Newspaper (optional but recommended to minimize mess)

A picture of what to possibly carve on the stamp.


Curious Goods has a good tutorial that you can see by following the link. We did ours a wee bit differently but the general idea was the same.

Directions:
1.    Roll out an oblong piece of clay and flatten the bottom to be about the size you want your stamp to be. The oblong bit will be the handle
2.    Take a toothpick or a needle or whatever else and carve your design into the flat clay part. Remember that whatever is carved into the stamp will be raised on the actual seal. You should carve it in fairly deep (see ours for reference, pictured below)
It's a bit crumbly because this picture was taken
after it had stamped a fair few seals.

Side view so you can see the 'handle'.

3.    Let your stamp harden or bake it (follow the instructions that came with your clay if you must bake it. Ours we just let dry overnight)
4.    When your stamp is dry, heat up your hot glue gun. Cut some wax paper into squares that will fit your stamp onto it and get out your ice packs and vegetable oil. Place your stamp on the ice pack to harden it a bit further before stamping your seals. Put a small amount of vegetable oil into a container that you can easily dip your stamp into.
5.    When the glue gun is hot enough, squeeze out a blob of glue onto the wax paper square and let it sit for 30 seconds
6.    Dip your stamp into the oil and dab some of it off onto a paper towel, then press it into the blob of glue
7.    Move the wax paper, glue and the stamp onto the ice pack
8.    Remove the stamp by wiggling it when the glue starts to cloud up. Keep the glue seal on the ice pack to harden and cool.
9.    Repeat for as many seals as you like.
10.Wash off the seals with soap and water when they are completely hardened to get the oil off.
11.Paint the seals (or spray paint, it doesn't really make a difference). In the movies the seal is red, but in the book it is described as purple (which makes more sense because it wouldn't single out any one house). I achieved a purple colour by blending a royal blue with red together and then mixing a wee tiny bit of black in. I also used food colouring to help me with the red shade (although if you have better options to colour it that would likely be preferable).
12.Glue them to the outside of your stained envelope with a small dot of white or hot glue

Our guests were totally thrilled with the invitations and the 'wax' seals were a big hit. Here's a closeup of our finished seals:


And here it is sitting on the letter:



The Letters/Invitations--How to Stain Your Paper tutorial

There are six parts to this post, although I've split them up for ease of reading. This is the fifth post.


TUTORIAL FOR STAINING THE PAPER:

Items needed:
-Paper (NOTE: You should have already printed on the paper, as it is very unwise to print on the paper after it has been coloured. If you have an ink printer the ink will likely run. It is recommended that you use a laserjet printer for this activity)
-Tea (the kind does not matter but a brown or orange tea is preferable because this is the colour your paper will turn)
-Instant Coffee (optional, but adds a cool effect)
-Cookie trays/jelly roll pans (15"x1"x10" pan. Although any oven-safe pan that fits a piece of paper onto it should be fine)
-Newspaper or rags to put the paper on afterwards to dry
-Heavy flat objects to put on the paper afterwards to flatten it

Directions:
  • Make a pot of tea. After it is done brewing I prefer putting it into bowls because you'll be scooping it on and off of the cookie trays.
  • Heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. While it is warming up put the paper on the cookie sheet and spoon the tea over it. The tea can be hot or cold, but it stains better warm (I'm telling this so you know that you can store it in a container if you want and finish staining later or something). Try to cover the whole paper with tea.
  • Crush some of the instant coffee and sprinkle it over the paper. Allow it to clump in some areas -- this stains the paper darker in that area and makes for a neat effect.
  • Let the instant coffee sit on the paper for 1-2 minutes, then flip it over and repeat with the spooning of the tea and the sprinkling of the instant coffee on the other side
  • Take the paper off the pan and drain the tea back into the bowl. You might also want to dry the pan with a rag before the next step to prevent stains (recommended to use an older cookie tray for that reason)
  • Put the paper printed (ink) side up back onto the cookie tray and bake it in the oven for 5-8 minutes (depending on how long it takes the paper to dry)
  • Remove the paper from the oven and put on newspaper with books on top to flatten it out
  • Tadaa! Some people might also recommend burning the edges, but we didn't do that. We thought it looked old enough without the burning.
Other mentionable information:
  • The tea will gradually get darker with each paper you stain due to the coffee granules, so you might want to replace it now and then
  • If you want a darker stain, use brewed coffee instead of the tea
  • You don't have to let the coffee granules sit on the paper, but they soak in better if you do (this is if you're strapped for time)
  • You can store the tea in a container and use it to stain paper later on
  • You might want to have two or three cookie trays of these sheets going at once so that you will always have another piece of paper ready to put in after one finishes baking (we rotated two in and out of the oven, i.e. one was in the oven while we prepared the second one)
**If you came here from the Marauder's Map post, you can use the link to return**

You can also stain the envelopes, if you wish. We did the inner envelopes only because I'm sure the people mailing your letters wouldn't be impressed with the stained envelope, should it be on the outside.
Our advice for staining the envelopes is as such:

1.    Print on the envelope FIRST, UNLESS you don't have an envelope-compatible printer, in which case you will have to stain the envelope and then write on it by hand
2.    Leave the flap of the envelope open so that it does not stick down to the rest of the letter while baking (although it may stick to the pan, which is why it is important to use an older pan! If you soak it in a bit of water it comes off)
3.    Put the envelope ink side-up, unless you are writing on it by hand after it has been stained. If the ink has gone on first, however, ink side MUST go up otherwise it may stick to the bottom of the pan and come off.
4.    Envelopes take a bit longer to dry in the oven -- probably more like 6-10 minutes

I hope that this helps you!

The Acceptance letters, Equipment letters, and Platform 9 3/4 tickets went inside the stained inner envelopes. We stained the Acceptance letters and the Equipment letters and also many other things, such as the papers that went into the Goblet of Fire and our Marauder's Maps.


>>Link to Table of Contents

The Letters/Invitations--Outer Envelope

There are six parts to this post, although I've split them up for ease of reading. This is the fourth post.


Then we had an 'outer envelope' which contained a map to the location of the party and a "Hogsmeade Permission form". Mostly what was in the permission form was just information about the party that hadn't been included or might not have been clear in the invitations (because we were trying to make them replicas). The permission form noted different ways to RSVP and also told parents about what was going on i.e. there would be food and drinks available, it would be for ____ days, and that there would be adults present during the festivities. We also asked people for a donation of $15-$20 when they come to the party to cover costs. (We said that this is like our Christmas gift to the guests and their Chrismas gift back is the donation of money).

The outer envelope was NOT stained (the tutorial for staining paper can be found by clicking the link in the Table of Contents) because it was the one that would be going in the mail.

The outer envelopes looked like this:
The addresses have been blocked out, but here is a picture of some of the outer envelopes,
which we customized by giving everyone a different owl.


Here is one of the owls we used, which you can save as a picture
and write the address on by hand if you like.
Because mail is delivered by owls in the wizarding world, on the outer envelope we featured a picture of an owl holding a letter in its beak. Each person received a different owl, and not all of the envelopes were shown here. However, it is likely more convenient for you to just use the same owl for everyone. Comment if you want me to link MediaFire files to the files in Photoshop so you just have to change the text (provided you have Photoshop Elements 7 or better).


>>Link to Table of Contents

The Letters/Invitations--Inner Envelope

There are six parts to this post, although I've split them up for ease of reading. This is the third post.


There was the first, or the 'inner' envelope. It had the guest's address written out like Harry's was in the book to make it more special. I used "Tall Paul" font and made it green as was specified in the book. I wrote it like Harry's is written, i.e.

Mr. H. Potter (name)
Cupboard Under the Stairs (location of room)
4 Privet Drive (Street address)
Little Whinging (Town/city)
Surrey (State/Province/Territory etc)


Here is a picture of one of the completed envelopes
(The address is blocked out).
We printed the addresses directly onto the envelopes and then stained them. We stained the envelopes in the same way that we stained all of our other things. The tutorial for that is in another post

Here is the back of the Inner Envelope with the Hogwarts wax seal on it.
Here's a link to the tutorial for the wax seal,
which is in another post.
Inside of the Inner Envelope was the Platform 9 3/4 ticket, the Hogwarts Acceptance Letter, and the Hogwarts Equipment list. The links to those tutorials and instructions are below and also linked on the Table of Contents:

The Letters/Invitations--Platform 9 3/4 Ticket

There are six parts to this post, although I've split them up for ease of reading. This is the second post.

Table of Contents:
2. Platform 9 3/4 tickets


The other thing that we did was made Platform 9 3/4 tickets for guests to inform them of the time they had to be at the party by (in this case, 11:00am because the 'train' leaves then). This ticket was made by FlightlessPhoenix (me; I write most of the blog posts) entirely from scratch in Photoshop Elements, and it is as close to the one shown in the first movie as I could make it. If you have gold foil and you want to use that go ahead, but as we wanted ours to be low-cost we omitted this and simply had a black border in place of the shiny gold one.

This is a close up of the ticket from the movie, however,
you can see that it is a bit curved and not suitable for printing.
This is the version that I got the colours from. I found it
at Curiousgoods.com, and I think that occasionally
they put some tickets on sale. Ours looks quite similar to this,
however where they used gold foiling I simply
made it black.

This is the version of the Platform 9 3/4 ticket that I made.
You can save it as a picture and print off as many as you
like, but if anyone asks where you got it, please give
me credit ;)


This is a screenshot of the Platform 9 3 4 ticket in Harry's hands.

 I am quite proud of the ticket, and because it was made from scratch. I have made it available to download as a Photoshop file (I used Adobe Elements 7, but the newest version out is the Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, which you can purchase from the Adobe site. There are also versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 you can buy, and that link there goes to Amazon where you can purchase a used version. If you would like to download the Photoshop file you will find it on my MediaFire account.

Anyways, the ticket went inside the first envelope (there was two) with the acceptance letter and the equipment letter.


**Later Update**
I finally managed to find a suitable, flat, printable ticket inside a Harry Potter book. I immediately scanned it into my computer and voilà! Here is the ticket. Its colouring is different but the style is the same. Of course, you can't edit this one, but if you like the look it's free for printing :)


The golden Platform 9 3/4 ticket I discovered.




>>Back to the Table of Contents