My Blog

Tutorials Archives – Red Carousel Blog

My daughter Ivy is turning 7 soon and we have started to make some of the decorations for the party. These are some old tin cans we have decorated with decoupage, to match the party theme colours of pink and aqua. The cans can be used to hold things like straws, cutlery and flowers. 

Decoupage is the art of embellishing an object by gluing paper cutouts onto it, to give a painterly appearance. I remember doing quite a bit of decoupage as a teenager – using the old fashioned technique of applying paper cutouts, then many coats of varnish and sanding in between. This process would take weeks (lots of drying time). But here I’ll show you the quick version using mod podge and napkins. 

My daughter enjoyed getting involved with some aspects of this project, particularly the painting. Do be careful with kids though – as scissors and sharp edges from the tin can be a hazzard.


Empty tin cans (make sure there aren’t any protruding sharp edges that could cause injury)

Acrylic paint



Mod Podge (matte finish) – from stores such as Spotlight and Art Friend

Small nail scissors

Napkins with images suitable for decoupage 


1. Get your materials together

2. Using the paint brush paint the can with the acrylic paint. We did three coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next layer. 

3. Use the sponge to dab the wet paint to give it a nice texture

4. Cut out images from napkin. Separate the napkin layers, keeping the top layer where the image is visible.

5. Once the paint is dry, apply some mod podge to the surface of the tin and carefully stick on the napkin image. Dab the image gently with your clean fingers to make it adhere to the tin, making sure you don’t drag the image – it can distort easily.

6. With a clean brush, carefully dab some mod podge on the image and the rest of the can to seal in the image and paint. You may wish to give the can a couple more coats of mod podge to finish off. 

Happy Easter everyone! I have a very quick tutorial to show you, for what I am calling ‘Colour In Cookies’.

I made a gift for a friend and her family and they loved it. So I am sharing it with you all. I think it would make a great gift or just a fun baking activity for kids. My kids had lots of fun with them. 

Here are the basic steps.

1. Make some sugar cookies and cut out with cookie cutters. There’s lots of recipes for ‘sugar cookies’ on the internet.  2. Cover with fondant and allow to air dry for about an hour or two. 3. Using cake decorating tools or utensils found around the house, create a pattern or image to colour in.  4. Get your ‘edible ink pens’ ready. 5. Get the kids coloring. 6. Admire the handiwork.

7. Eat.

{images via pinterest}

I have a thing for paper decorations. I have an even bigger thing for handmade paper decorations. How lovely do these paper fans look, especially for a party? Really easy too. They can be time consuming to make if you want to create a wall of them…but they’re so worth it! Of course, if you don’t have the time or inclination, you can hop on over to our shop and check out the tissue paper fans  we have there (we’re getting in different sizes and more colours very soon). 

I’m creating a whole bunch of fans for a party I’m styling next week, so I thought I would do a tutorial whilst I am at it. 

There’s a couple of ways to make these fans, but here I will show you how I make them. I will also show you some tools I use, to make the whole process quicker and easier. You don’t need to invest in the tools, but they do help if you plan to make a lot. 

What you will need: 

1. Paper: Scrapbook paper comes in mostly 12 inch x 12 inch, in a whole array of colours and patterns. For a small 6 inch fan, you will need one 12 inch x 12 inch piece of paper. For the larger 12 inch fans, you will need three pieces of paper. You will also need a small bit of paper for the centre.

2. Scoring board – optional. This one is by Martha Stewart, I love it! It makes folding the fans so easy. It’s also great for other things like making your own envelopes, invitations and gift boxes. 

3. Hot glue gun

4. Paper punch – optional. This is used to cut the centre of the fan. You could use this round shape or any other shape, such as scallop or butterfly etc. You can use scissors instead of a punch but it won’t be as precise. 

5. Scissors

6. Double sided sticky tape. Not necessary as you could use the hot glue gun but I find this a nice way to join the pieces of paper. 

7. Guillotine (with blade and scoring blade) or exacto knifeand self healing mat

Here is how to make the small 6 inch fan:

1. Place the 12 inch x 12 inch piece of paper on the scoring board. At the end of the paper there is a little excess which can be cut away (next image). I score in 1 inch intervals. If you don’t have the mat, you can either score with the guillotine scoring blade, or skip the scoring altogether and just fold. 

2. Cut the piece of paper in half and then half again (lengthwise). Therefore you should have four pieces of paper 4 inches x 12 inches. Make sure the scoring lines are running horizontal as shown. Note: To make the larger 12 inch fans, you would just slice three pieces of paper in half, giving you 6 pieces. 

3. Start folding in an accordion style. Fold the paper 1 inch (where you have scored the first line). Then turn the paper over and fold the next 1 inch. Keep folding in this manner until you reach the end. Fold all four strips of paper the same way. 

4. Use double sided sticky tape or the hot glue gun to connect the four strips together into a circle as shown.  5. Push down the fan flat. You need to try and keep it flat and tight whilst you glue the centre on. This can be a little tricky if you don’t have anyone else to help. I use a 6 inch cake pan to help keep the fan and in position. 

6. Use the paper punch to punch out a centre for your fan.  7. Apply the hot glue to the back of the circle. 

8. Glue the circle to the fan, postioning it in the centre. Turn over the fan and do the same to the other side, as this will make the fan much more stable. 

9. Optional step. You may like to make your fans more decorative by using a lace edge paper punch. After Step 2, punch the lace pattern in the paper as shown. Then proceed as normal.  You may like to decorate the centre of your fans with buttons, doilies, paper flowers etc. Happy crafting! 

I’ve always loved rice paper lanterns, in home decor and for party decorations. At Red Carousel we stock nine vibrant colours, 12 inches in size. They’re so simple and inexpensive, but they can make a huge impact. Decorating lanterns are ever so easy – a lovely party craft project that the kids can get involved with too. Here’s how I decorated my lanterns…

Material and equipment:

A lantern

Fabric glue that dries clear

A paintbrush


Scrap fabric 

Twine, optional

1. Cut the fabric pieces out with scissors

2. Apply glue to the back of the fabric

3. Place fabric into position on the lantern

4. Brush a layer of glue on top of the fabric

5. Allow to dry. Done! 

Here are some other gorgeous paper lantern tutorials I found on the internet, which may inspire you. 

1. A Casarella  2. Green Wedding Shoes 3. Oh Happy Day 

4. You had me at bonjour 5. Martha Stewart

My latest cake tutorial can be found on the Cakejournal website. It’s been my most popular tutorial to date, such a timeless theme for little girls. 

I divided it in three parts since it was quite detailed. 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Do send me some photos if make a castle cake following this tutorial, I would LOVE to see it! 

I’m going to start moving over my favourite recipes from the old Ivy Designs blog to this one. I’m loving the easy to use recipe cards below. First up, my go-to cookie recipe for parties. I love this recipe because it’s pretty easy (a beginner could do it), it’s yummy and it’s so versatile – suited to a variety of cutters to match your party theme. I’ve had a lot of people contact me to say they made these cookies with much success, which is music to my ears!

These are the things you will need for the vanilla cookie.

Fondant Covered Vanilla Cookies Easy recipe for fun cookie decorating

  1. 250g unsalted butter
  2. 250g caster sugar
  3. 2 medium eggs, whisked gently
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 500g plain (all-purpose) flour
  1. Small amount of rolled fondant, approx. 300grams
  2. Food dye (if you wish to tint the fondant) or you can purchase fondant pre coloured
  3. 250g of shortening to grease (or corn flour)
  4. 1/2 cup of corn syrup (or apricot jam) for use as glue
  1. Electric mixer, hand beater, thermomix or similar
  2. Cling-wrap
  3. Rolling pin
  4. Silicon mat or hard surface to roll on
  5. Cookie cutters
  6. Baking tray
  7. Baking greaseproof paper
  8. Small paintbrush
  9. Spatula or small knife
  1. 1. Using an electric mixer/beater or thermomix (with the butterfly insert) beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy – approx 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides to combine.
  2. 2. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and sifted flour and mix until all ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix.
  3. 3. Remove the dough and place on cling-wrap. Press down firmly.
  4. 4. Cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate or freeze for 15-30 minutes.
  5. 5. Place dough in between baking paper and roll out the dough to about 5 mm thick. You can do this in portions. If the dough starts to become too soft and difficult to work with, return to fridge/freezer.
  6. 6. Separate the dough from the baking paper to make it easier to remove after cutting shapes out with cutter. Cut shapes out with cutter.
  7. 7. Place shapes on baking trays lined with baking paper and refrigerate/freeze again for 15-30 mins. This is important, as it rests the dough and keeps the shapes from distorting and expanding. Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 10 minutes. They are done when the edges begin to turn golden in color. Leave to cool completely before icing.
  8. 8. Knead some fondant in your hands to make it softer and more pliable. Spread a little shortening onto your clean surface. Roll out the fondant to about 4mm with a rolling pin.
  9. 9. If you wish, use an impression mat to create prints in the fondant.
  10. 10. You can also use an wheel cutter or embosser to create different patterns.
  11. 11. Using a cutter, cut out the fondant shape.
  12. 12. Paint a little corn syrup on the cookie. Not much is needed.
  13. 13. Lift the fondant from your surface carefully with a spatula or knife. Place the fondant on top of the cookie and press lightly into place.
  14. 14. You may like to you use silicone moulds to create cute shapes such as animals or bows etc. Make sure you put a little shortening or corn flour in the mould to make removal easier. Attach fondant pieces together with a little water.
  1. * Decorate cookies with sugar flowers or pearls that you can buy from cake supply shops. Attach these with royal icing. You can also further enhance the cookies with glitter or shimmer dust.
  2. * Package the cookies up in clear bags and a ribbon for gift giving.
  3. * Cookies can be stored for about 1-2 weeks in an air tight container.
  4. * Cookie dough can be kept in the freezer for about 2 – 3 weeks.

Red Carousel Blog