Chocolate Cups

I have seen this pin multiple times on my feed and on the Popular page. It looks fun and easy because it involves balloons. You just blow up some balloons, dip it into chocolate, let it cool, and wha-lah, chocolate cups for your ice cream. However, it was not that easy. I did come across some problems along the way.

I would have to say that doing the prep work– like blowing the balloons up, melting the chocolate, and then dipping the balloons in the chocolate– was difficult. I originally was going to make six chocolate cups but then two balloons popped in my face as I was filling them with air and one balloon popped in the melted chocolate (as seen below). Although my pictures show three, I made a fourth because I had chocolate left over and I can’t let that go to waste!

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tip: make sure the melted chocolate is completely cooled because I tried dipping the balloon and it popped

 

The reason why I had to put a dollop of chocolate on the wax paper before placing the balloon is because you want to make a base for the cup as seen here:

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The Pinterest instructions said to use water balloons instead of the regular ones, which I agree with, and that blowing them up was “just hard.” Well that was an understatement because I basically turned purple trying to blow them up. I even had  my family try it. Then my mom went downstairs and fetched a handheld bicycle pump. At first I thought she was being crazy but then it actually worked. So if you struggled like I did inflating the balloons, use a handheld bicycle pump! If you don’t have one, I guess you can try using a full sized pump, but I wouldn’t suggest it. If you fill the balloons with water, they will be too heavy and they might pop with the pressure of dipping and you wouldn’t want the water to get into the chocolate.

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Another flaw I saw in the Pinterest instructions was that you simply “dip” the balloon in chocolate and you’re supposed to get this perfect bowl shape on the surface on the balloon. Well, I had to twist my balloons in the bowl of chocolate because it was difficult to get the chocolate to swirl on the mid section of each balloon. So bottom line, it was not that easy to dip that balloons. Therefore, I would make changes to that part of the instructions:

“Then take one of your prepared balloons and dip it in the chocolate.” Instead of “dip,” I would say “viciously swirl.”

Now for the fun part 🙂

This was scary for me because I jump at sudden movements (like when toast pops out of the toaster, I jump every time).

ImageImage I freaked out at first because I thought I didn’t put enough oil on the base of the balloons but then I pulled at it (as seen in the second picture above) and it pops right off.

Although my chocolate cups do not look exactly like the ones on Pinterest, they came pretty close.

Pinterest versus Me

 

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courtesy of Bakerella

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courtesy of Bakerella

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Other tips:

  • the chocolate melts very quickly over the stove top so I suggest preparing the balloons before melting the chocolate
  • WARNING: once the cups are done, they gradually melt in your hands
  • to make the chocolate balloons harden faster, put them in the refrigerator

Resources:

http://www.bakerella.com/pudding-cups/

 

 

Mason Jar To-Go Cup

I would have to say that this mini project was the easiest. It only took three steps to make. However, the only difficult step was fixating the rubber grommet and the straw through the drilled hole. I highly recommend using a 3/8″ drill bit like the instructions says but the largest I had at home was a 1/4″. My dad tried widening it after the first time drilling it by going through the hole again in mid air but he said that it was dangerous and he would not suggest it. Therefore, make sure you use a 3/8″ drill bit or else the straw and the grommet will not fit. The straw I used in the pint size is a regular Starbucks straw. It fits perfectly through the grommet. The red and white striped straw I found in my house; I’m not quite sure where I bought it.

The finished products!

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Another thing that I noticed was that the straw kind of suctions to your mouth/upper lip when you drink and then makes an unsuction noise when you stop drinking. My brother told me (since he got annoyed by it) that it made that noise because there isn’t another hole on the lid to let air flow. I was surprised that none of the Pinterest instructions told its readers this but I guess that’s why I did this project! So if you’re really bothered by this noise, I suggest you drill a tiny hole on the lid in the corner or just let the noise happen.

The smaller jar containing lemonade is a pint size so it’s equivalent to a 16 oz glass.

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The larger jar containing cranberry juice is 24 oz so it’s equivalent to a Contigo water bottle.

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Pinterest versus Me

courtesy of Cheryl Spangenberg

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Other tips

  • if you want a “sippy cup” that can be carried around easily or sit in the cup holder of your car, I would use the pint size
  • use a 3/8″ drill bit to make the hole
  • use rubber grommets, not washers
  • don’t use paper straws because the paper starts to fall off if it sits in liquid

Benefits of using a mason jar:

  • avoid the risk of BPA that you would see with plastic bottles
  • reusable
  • looks classy, chic

Resources:

http://www.thatswhatchesaid.net/2013/mason-jar-straw-lids/

http://www.fineandfeathered.com/blog/2012/08/diy-mason-jar-to-go-cup.html

 

The Spice Jars

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These previous three pictures were my first trial. It could have been worse but it turned out not too bad for the first run. I got some of the cream on the outside of the stencils. However, you can only see this in the light because the glass etching cream is so white. Thankfully the etching became easier as I did more and more jars. The instructions from Pinterest said that I should leave the cream on for 5-10 minutes and the Armour Etch cream bottle said that I should leave the cream on for 1 minute. I left the cream on for 5-7 minutes and the etching was similar to the bottles on Pinterest but theirs was a little darker– or maybe it’s because their lighting was better than mine, who knows.

I wish Pinterest warned me of how permanent the Armour Etching cream is because I thought if I spilled a little bit, it would come off with lots of toothbrush scrubbing… but it doesn’t. I flicked an ounce of cream on my laptop and now it doesn’t come off. But my laptop is damaged so I think it’s fine.

The process of trial 2:

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I don’t know if you can see my laptop screen, but I brainstormed what I was going to do with each jar. As you see on the table, I had jars of many sizes so I thought it was logical to put spices that my family and I don’t use as often in smaller jars while sugar, flour, and other common kitchen items went in the larger pickle jars. (Don’t worry I washed the pickles jars three times to get rid of the pickle stench.)

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I found that it was helpful to place a piece of tape and align the stencils to the bottom so it was even. Although it’s not shown in the picture, I realized later on that it would be useful. After the first two or three bottles, I started to go beyond the Pinterest instructions and do what was easiest.

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In addition, I found that it was beneficial to overlap the stencils and then place the tape as close to the opening of the stencils as possible. This will eliminate the etching cream from getting in the cracks so only the letters are etched. In the beginning of the blog, you can see the outline of the stencil on the S in salt because I did not overlap the stencils and tape.

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The instructions say to use a disposable, foam brush but I thought using a popsicle stick was much more efficient. First of all, the foam brush had a hard time getting the cream from the Armour Etch bottle because the opening was so small. As I clicked on other Pinterest blogs, I read somewhere that a popsicle stick would easier because you have to spread the etching cream before it dries too quickly.

Image The finished product!

I repeated this process and I learned new tips as I was going each bottle/jar.

The remaining jars…

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From left to right: sugar, oregano, basil, salt, parsley, and coffee

Once I filled the jars, I realized that the etching on the sugar and salt jars was washed out. I tried using charcoal, Sharpie, and magic marker to color in the writing but that didn’t work because it would just rub/wash off. As I was running around the house looking for things to color in the etching, my last ditch effort was using a regular pencil because I thought “why not?” Low and behold, it fills in the etching and did not rub off!

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Once I saw that the salt and sugar jars came out nicely, I tried coloring in the other jars but since the contents in them were dark, it didn’t work as well.

Overall I am proud of this part of my Genius Hour project because I can finally give my family’s kitchen a modern, chic look without the plastic bottles from Costco cluttering our pantry.

Pinterest versus Me 

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courtesy of Instructables

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Other tips:

  • use jars that have flat faces like the sugar jar because it is very easy to place and stick the stencils on them
  • I liked the stencils that I used, but next time I would buy larger so you can actually see the etching
  • the stencils I used were “Plaid: Peel & Stick Stencils 6in x 5.5in” these are reusable stencils which is very handy especially when you plan on working on multiple jars
  • to take off the labels on the jars/bottles, use Goof Off, not a knife like listed on the Instructables website
  • when rubbing the Goof Off on the bottle, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area like your garage or even better, outside!
  • to make sure that the bottles are extra clean on the surface, pour rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and rinse the bottles. If you miss this step, your stencils and etching cream will not stick to the bottles
  • it does not hurt to leave the etching cream a little longer than the designated time because the results look the same if you leave the cream on for 4 minutes or 8
  • remember: always wear latex gloves when handling the etching cream (it is not healthy for your skin!)

Resources: