DIY Chocolate Labels

DIY Chocolate Labels - Image Strip

Ahoy Mateys! My friend was having a baby shower and I wanted to help, so they gave me the task of making the chocolate wrappers. Here I propose two methods of the creating them: the easy way and the hard way. I of course chose the hard way. Now you would think it’s because I’m so “hard core”, but in reality it’s because my brain tends to develop complex methods first, that don’t seem that complicated at the time. When you see the end result though it usually makes it all worth it.

Here’s what you’ll need (the hard way):

  • Hersey’s chocolate nuggets (purchase bags according to need)
  • Glossy Photo Paper (I bought a pack with 8 sheets from the dollar store)
  • Scissors
  • Kraft Glue
  • Ruler
  • Photo editing program
  • Printer with scanning capabilities
  • Sketchpad w/pencil or tablet

The shower had a nautical theme and they wanted me to design a cute baby pirate. Sorry Blackbeard. Here are the sketches.
babyshower_sketch3babyshower_sketch1 babyshower_sketch2

Once one baby swashbuckler was chosen, I opened a bag of nuggets removed the paper label from a chocolate and measured it with the ruler. With my dimensions for the wrapper, I set up a template in Illustrator, then scanned my drawing. In Illustrator I made a background for the label using colors from the shower theme, illustrated my baby pirate, and placed the words Ahoy it’s a boy on either side of the design. If you’re not sure about placement just refer to the original paper label. I also made a whale version based on a whale in their decorations.

Note: If sketching isn’t your thing try searching here for clip art options.

Fit as many of the labels as possible on one page. Find your printer’s settings and make the adjustments so it prints at it’s best setting on glossy photo paper. Print as many sheets as needed and while you wait remove the paper labels from the nuggets, taking care not to open the wrapper. Cut out your freshly printed labels and glue onto the chocolates with kraft glue. The least amount of glue the better. Mine had a control nozzle, if yours doesn’t consider pouring a little out at a time and applying it to the label with tiny cheap paint brush. Hold glued section together for about 20 seconds and put aside to dry completely.

Voila! Your custom chocolate nuggets are complete. So what was so hard about that? Well it is the most time consuming method and in my case, I found out that my printer didn’t like photo paper, no matter what setting I tried. Printing took hours instead of minutes as a finagled with the device.
DIY Chocolate Labels printedDIY Chocolate Labels Baby Pirate DIY Chocolate Labels - Blue Whale Ahoy It's a Boy

The easy way, here’s what you’ll need

  • Hersey’s chocolate nuggets (purchase bags according to need)
  • Self-sticking address labels
  • Ruler
  • Photo editing program or Microsoft Word
  • Printer with scanning capabilities
  • Sketchpad w/pencil or tablet

Sketch your design. Scan it. Measure the original label on the chocolate nugget. Set up your template. If using Microsoft Word (I don’t really recommend it for creating graphics) there should be a way to load a template based on your label type. Go forth with your design and apply it to the template. Print your custom labels. Carefully strip away the original labels on the nuggets, then peel and stick the new ones on. Much simpler right? The downside: when compared to one created with glossy thicker photo paper it will seem lower in quality.

At the shower guests thought that we had bought the chocolates that way. I also made food labels for the table using hard colored paper (my printer didn’t like that either). I designed a whale on one side and printed out a bunch of shells on another sheet of hard paper to glue on the back for support. seen below.

DIY Food Labels for the Table


Happy 2014 with a Free Wallpaper

wallpaper_promo_christmas2014Happy New Year Everyone! May it shine bright and be filled with lots love, laughter, and learning. I’m going into my fifth year of blogging (I don’t count that one random post from August 08′) and it’s fun to look back on my posts. My design skills have definitely grown and I’ve come across some stellar artists. I’m looking forward to another year. It seems like it’s my tradition to post my goals for the next 365 days, so here it goes!

  • Be happy as much of the time as possible. Read The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  • Be grateful – find 3-5 things to be thankful for each morning
  • Get a shirt design printed on Threadless
  • Work 40 hours a week (freelance or full-time) and have fun doing it
  • Post once every two weeks (or more)
  • Pick up at least one new technique a week
  • Become a whiz at coding (html, css, js, wordpress etc.)
  • Finish Tomb Raider – Hardcore gamers don’t laugh, I don’t play that often and when I do it’s for about an hour and a half and I progress by 2%
  • Take more photos
  • Sketch more

and of course design stuff that kicks butt!

beadstutorialSpeaking of designs, here’s my wallpaper celebrating 2014. It was inspired by this Illustrator tutorial: Create a Mosaic BBC Inspired Text Art Effect. It’s said to take 1hr 45 mins. It took me longer because I had some issues and deviated a bit. Here are some tips. I messed up a few times by going to the Offset Path in the Object panel, instead of the Effects panel. Also I don’t know if this is because of the version of Illustrator that I’m using, but in Section 2 – Step 2 you may have to drag the Offset Path into the correct fill in the Appearance panel (see image in that section). I also didn’t use the provided build-a-font method. I chose the font Bauserif and filled in its shape. I also broke up the shadow effects into different sections based on my placement of the number and my light source. Again Happy New Year and Enjoy!

PrintA special thanks goes out to my cousin Cara, who always gives great feedback. My background was originally purple, which she was not too fond of (surprising since it’s her favorite color). I made some adjustments and voila!

Have A Merry Christmas & A Free Wallpaper

wallpaper_christmas2013_stripSeason’s greetings everyone! I hope you have a great Christmas and to celebrate I have created a Christmas wallpaper for your desktop’s pleasure. It’s actually an adaptation from my specialized Christmas cards going out to my clients.swirl It was inspired by an Illustrator Quick Tip: Create Decorative Swirls in Minutes Using the Width Tool. Never using the width tool before, I thought this would give me the chance to practice and create a pretty distinct Christmas tree. I opted against swirls though, adjusting curved lines of different line weights. I created one half of the tree then reflected it. Then I added a few more lines to break up the symmetry. I kept the lines on one layer, not really caring which line rested on top of each other. In the end this actually worked in my favor adding depth when I randomly changed the color of some of the lines.


Thank you to for my beautifully printed cards.


Printed Christmas Cards


Printed Christmas Cards – Personalized Message per Client

This month I’ve been plagued with shipping issues. Some items arrive early (which is great), but most have arrived late or I’m still waiting on them. Now I’m just going with the flow. Lesson learned: start in November. This is another item I’m waiting on, to pair with my Christmas cards.

Here is the actual wallpaper. Enjoy!

Also here’s another Christmas treat for you. The folks at fotolia have made all their Ten Collection PSDs available to download for free for the next 24 hours starting 10am (in your time zone) December 24, 2013. Check out their Facebook page to learn more.

Threadless & Absolut Vodka: Can I Get Your Vote?

As a Chicago fan, I couldn’t resist submitting a design for the Threadless/ABSOLUT Vodka Design Competition. The challenge was to create artwork for a limited edition bottle that “distills what you love most about the City of Big Shoulders into a fresh, inventive design that will give Chicagoans a reason to raise their glasses.” So I had to do a little research. I know what I love about Chicago, the summers, the city just comes to life, but I had to find out what is the ABSOLUT style. I looked up previous bottle designs and discovered that their style to me has a sketchy free flowing feel, nothing too technical/intricate.

So I started sketching. This is actually my second one where I was still working things out. I started to draw another more cleaned up version, but I just loved the energy and composition of this one that I decided to take this into Illustrator instead.
absolut_chicago_sketch 001

Here’s the result. I wanted something bright and full of energy and movement. My design is currently up for voting. If you like it please take the time to score it and check out the other designs too. There’s some good stuff.
absolut_design_spinder absolut_chicago_shirt_spinder absolut_chicago_bottles_spinder

P.S This is my favorite ABSOLUT Limited Edition Bottle Design: London by artist Jamie Hewlett.

2013 Free Wallpaper & the Best of 2012


Happy New Year Everyone! I’m excited for the year 2013 and I hope you are too. Thanks goes out to my new subscribers and to the ones that have stuck with me for the past 3 years. 2012 was a major year for me filled with highs and some powerful lows, but I’ve learned that it’s how you respond to those lows that makes a difference. I accomplished some of my goals from last year and some will be a continuous effort, like blogging more (at least once a week) and producing a monthly wallpaper. Here’s my design for the month of January celebrating the new year. I wanted something strong and dark, but at the same time pops. I also wanted something that both genders could appreciate. My wallpapers so far have leaned toward the feminine. The font I used was Old English Text MT and the outlines were constructed in Illustrator and brought into Photoshop.

2013 Free Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

2013 Free Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

Whether it’s due to color profiles, some system setup, or the fact that I’m working at different scales, the image in my psd file is slightly different from the final result. I’ve included a screenshot. I like the stronger red tones.


A new year triggers a review of the previous in a culmination of “Best of” lists. Here are a few “Best of 2012” from some blogs I follow:

From up North – Best of Digital Art & Typography

Line25 – Best Web Designs of 2012
bestof2012_line25 – The Best Smart Products of 2012

Architnect’s Top 12 for 2012

Blogspoon Graphics – Greatest Tutorial Hits of 2012

Digital Arts – Best Creative Tech for 2012

JUST Creative – Popular Posts of 2012

Wising Everyone a Bright
and Prosperous New Year!!!



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