How To Make Personalized Favors

Chalk this one up to creative inspiration… or more accurately, creative desperation.

Before my friend Sara’s bridal shower finally took place last weekend, there were months of planning involved.  Thanks mostly to my mom, Google, and some pretty convincing fake-it-til-you-make-it, everything came together really well and it was a wonderful day celebrating Sara’s approaching marriage.

However, as Sara’s maid of honor and main shower planner, one of the things I did find myself scrambling with at the end was favors for the guests.  I only had a few guidelines: 1) edible or usable favors that wouldn’t just be another knickknack on someone’s shelf, 2) a little personalized flair, and 3) a cost that kept me under budget.

With that in mind, I started looking up personalized M&Ms – I thought it would be sweet to pick some in Sara’s color scheme and add messages like “Sara’s Bridal Shower” and “Thanks For Coming!” on some of them.  However, for the quantity I’d need to buy, the prices were wayyy over what I could spend (like $150 for a 5 lb. bag).


So back to the drawing board I went.  Next, I looked into personalized Hershey’s Kisses.  They’re definitely less expensive than the M&Ms because the personalized printing is done on the paper wrapper instead of the candy itself, which I would imagine is much less complicated – but in the end, this possibility was still above what I was hoping to spend.

And then, inspiration struck.  I was actually pretty sick that day so it might have been the 101-degree temperature addling my normal mental functions, but we’ll go with inspiration.  The Hershey’s Kisses website mentioned the exact dimensions of the personalized image, and I thought, “I could probably do that myself!”  So I ventured out into public (a very bad idea in my state of fever-induced delirium, but that’s a story for another day), made a few quick stops, and parked myself on the couch for the afternoon.  I ended up with some sweet and tasty favors I was really happy with, so I thought I’d share.  These would work great for showers, birthday parties, holiday events, or anything else where chocolate is required!

Personalized Hershey’s Kisses Favors

What You Need:

  • Hershey’s Kisses (I got two family-size bags to make about 20 favors)
  • 3/4” round color coding labels
  • Sharpie (grab a brand new one so the point is nice and fine)
  • Cellophane candy bags, favor boxes, tissue paper, or some other way of packaging up perfect-sized portions (not necessary if you’re planning to put them out for the pickin’ in a bowl or candy dish).

What To Do:

  • Decide on the colors you’d like to use (since the main color of Sara’s wedding is ice blue and her flowers are daisies, I went with light blue and yellow).
  • Come up with a few fun messages or simple drawings to personalize the Kisses with.  For my purposes, I stuck to basics and went with “Sara’s Bridal Shower” and the date with a little flower drawing.
  • Using your nice fine-point Sharpie, write your messages on the color coding labels.  Don’t worry about having perfect penmanship on every one – the finished result looks so polished that any imperfections blend right in or look intentional!


  • Stick those suckers on to the bottom of the Hershey’s Kisses (sample a few along the way to ensure that they are not poisoned).


(This picture looks like a whole lot of silver foil, but the colored stickers were much more vibrant and noticeable in real life.)

  • If you’re using these as individual favors, bag ‘em up in portions of 10-20 Kisses.  I was planning to get simple cellophane favor bags and tie them off with a nice blue ribbon, but I found these cool little wedding dress favor boxes at the dollar store (hey – thrifty is nifty) that just happened to be perfect!


A Few Tips:

  • I was planning on getting plain old colored paper labels, and only realized once I got home that I’d grabbed a package of cool new-fangled transparent plastic ones.  These actually turned out looking even cooler and more seamless because they really blended in well with the silver foil wrappers.
  • You could put your own twist on this idea by using themed stickers, or just using color coding labels without writing on them to tie in to your color scheme.  You could even leave some Kisses without personalizing them (red labels, green labels, and plain silver Kisses would look neat for Christmas!).
  • Don’t write on your labels while watching Final Destination.  You will jump.


Luckily that was while I was still practicing on the red and green labels that I wasn’t going to use.  Oy.  Such a spaz.  I tell you, my brain was overheated that day.

This was a really fun idea that was pretty simple to make and turned out even better than I’d hoped!  I’ll definitely make these again in the future, and my roommate is already planning to make these for her sister’s bridal shower in a few months!

Any other ideas for thrifty DIY gifts or party favors?  I am always on the lookout for ideas, and have a bunch of bridal and baby showers on the horizon (how are my friends so grown-up?).  If you try your hand at making these, let me know how they turn out, if you have any improvements or fun twists, and what movie you watched that did not cause you to freak out and scribble all over – all suggestions are welcome!

Making a Mosaic Mirror

As part of our winter programming, Susannah is teaching a mosaic mirror class in the pottery studio next to the café, and she gave me a gift certificate to take it during the first session in January (normally it’s $75!).  Since I have been on an extra-crafty kick lately, I was pretty excited.

She led everyone in the class through the basic steps each week, but we all had total freedom when it came to our mosaic design.  My immediate thought was that a handmade mosaic mirror would be great in my amazing-but-currently-nonexistent travel room.  It’s going to be a room in my future house which is completely devoted to my travels, past and future.  I even have an entire board devoted to it on Pinterest.  It’s gonna be great.

When I first came up with my mosaic idea, I told Susannah about it and about my travel room, and she said something really beautiful: “How lucky that you have enough travels to fill up a room.”  I loved that, and it reminded me to stop and be grateful for all the experiences I’ve had.

So here’s how the mosaic mirror project started: I planned out the overall design for the 28 bisque tiles that would frame the mirror.  I decided to devote some of the tiles to representations of places I’ve lived or traveled to, so I sketched out these more complicated designs (pencil burns off in the kiln).  Here are my Sydney and Geneseo tiles in the early stages:



Places and locations took up seven tiles, which meant there were still a whole bunch left.  I decided on using one as a signature tile, some others as random abstract patterns and textures, and the last few as solid blocks of color to break up all the busyness and reinforce my color scheme (turquoise, blue, and brown).

I also decided to use this project as an exercise in not being neurotic.  I decided on an overall motif for my mirror and a design for each tile, but I decided not to plan out where each tile would go along the border to save myself from worrying about keeping them in their exact order throughout the painting, glazing, and firing processes.  It went pretty well and neuroticism was kept at an all-time low!

Next was painting.  I painted all of my tiles with our kiln-safe paints… unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures during that step of the process, but basically the raw painted tiles looked like dull, chalky versions of the colors I was aiming for.  Not that exciting.

After everything was painted and fully dry, we all left our tiles to be glazed and fired by our very own kiln wizard, Andy the mandy.  After firing, the tiles were bright, vibrant, and glossy!  I laid them out in the order I wanted them (I basically dropped them down in a random arrangement, just spreading out the places, patterns, and solid colors).  Then Susannah helped glue down the mirror using Liquid Nails (that is some heavy-duty stuff!) in the center of the plywood base.


After that, it was mortaring time!  We mixed up small batches of mortar, spread a thin layer on the wooden frame surrounding the mirror, and buttered up each of the tiles before setting them solidly in place.


After all the tiles were set in mortar around the border (a mortar border – HA – oh sorry), we left the mirrors to dry for an entire week to make sure that everything was really cemented in place.  Then it was time to grout!  Pretty similar to the mortar step, we mixed up small batches of grout, and then systematically filled in the gaps between the tiles and around the rim of the mirror.  This part was a little nerve-wracking because the grout only had a working time of about fifteen minutes before it would cure up too much to adjust anything, so I had to get the whole mosaic frame grouted, set, and wiped down in that time.  It was messy.



Aaand after another few days of setting up, it was done and my handmade travel room mosaic mirror was all mine!  Everyone else’s mirrors were really incredible, and I wish I’d thought to take a picture of them all together (there were seven total).  It was so cool to see how different everyone’s was.


Like my awkward iPhone hand?  I was really trying not to be in the picture.  Instead you get a nice view of our weird lifesize-dollhouse-style bookcase.  The glare is blowing out my New York tile in the bottom left corner, but you can use your imagination.

I really like the effect of all the different tiles together, but I think my favorite is this corner, which includes New Zealand, Geneseo, and some cool sponge painting.


Dear travel room, I’m just waitin’ on you!  Oh, and lots more travels to fill you with.

Anyone else want to make some mosaics now?  This made me realize that I sort of love tiling.  This, and that Home Depot commercial that plays constantly where a lady makes a little tiled nook in the wall for her potted plant.  That makes me want to tile, too.

In closing, please enjoy my latest YouTube find: this adorable father/daughter cover of one of the songs from Dirty Dancing.  So stinkin’ cute!

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