Lessons Learned While Painting an Entire House

How to prep any wall for paintingHey, folks. It's Josh. I've been super busy these past couple of months working on our HFHS project house. As we mentioned in our last update, the house is coming along, and we can't wait to share more with you soon. We've learned a LOT while working on this project! One task we recently completed was painting all of the interior. A lot more goes into painting than you might guess, so I thought it would be fun to share a thorough breakdown of everything we encountered and learned as we painted this house. If you have any big painting projects in your future, I highly recommend you check out some of these tips and lessons we learned so hopefully your project goes smoothly. 

Please note: there are tons of references online on the subject of painting (from pros who have been doing it for years). This post is going to be an overview of the steps, mistakes, and successes we used/had.

The house we're working on is about 900 square feet. All in all it cost about $1300 to paint the entire place. The quote from our contractor was $2500 and that number didn't include skim coating the dining room, which we ran into unexpectedly. So we saved over $1000 doing it ourselves, and our cost included a paint sprayer we purchased!  Actually, let me break down all of the costs for you. (This is a rough breakdown, all numbers are rounded.)

Supplies & Tools
(3) 5 gallon buckets of KILZ primer - $225 
chalkboard paint (custom color) -$25
lead tester $10
wallpaper stripper - $5
dust masks and respirator - $50
drop cloths - $55
painter (we got this one) - $240
drywall/tape/mud- $35
elastopatch - $10
masking tape -$35
grinder/cutter wheel - $60
wall patches $10
caulk gun $2
spray sock $2
coveralls $15
paint/brushes/rollers $350
pizza (it just makes painting better, although optional) $60

We are pretty much set up to run a small painting company now. Keep a lookout for ABM Paint Co™. Not really. But when you work on an old house, projects just keep stacking up, which means more tools and supplies. But even after buying all the tools, supplies, and paint, it still cost less than hiring a pro! One thing that isn't on the list, and to most people is the most expensive thing, is time. A lot of time is needed for prepping, painting, and cleanup. You don't want to be in a rush when you're painting. Precision is key to a job well done, and you can't be both precise and in a hurry. It just doesn't work! So keep that in mind when you're planning a paint project. Try not to rush through it. Take your time prepping and painting, and when you're done and see how good of a job you've done, you'll see that it was worth it!

Prepping

There were a couple things that needed to be done before I even started thinking about painting. Since the house was built in 1921, I wanted to check for lead. You can find lead testers in any home improvement store. I followed the directions on the label, did some tests, and found that the house was lead free! That was a relief because removing lead is a huge hassle, requiring professionals, special suits, and more tests. No thank you. If you do happen to test for lead and it shows positive, you can contact the national lead hotline, which should get you on the right track for proper removal. Fortunately we were able to bypass that entire process.

Filling lots and lots of holesThe second thing that we needed to do was prep the walls for paint. That required several things:

Wallpaper

First, we worked to remove all wallpaper throughout the house. There was a wallpaper border in a couple rooms, so it wasn't too big of a deal taking it off. I basically scored the paper, wet it, then scraped it off. We did a more in-depth post last year. The main thing to keep in mind when removing wallpaper is to score well, then soak soak soak. The longer you let the paper soak up the removal spray or water, the easier it will peel off! Don't paint over the wallpaper. Like most short cuts in home repair, it will lead to more problems down the road. Which I ran into in this house. In the dining room, I was removing the wallpaper when I realized somebody had previously painted over wallpaper. In the entire room! Which leads me to the second thing we did.

Tips for removing wall paperI ended up scraping off paint and wallpaper down to the plaster. It took a couple days to finish. I'm so glad they only did that in the one room! Again, moisture really helped in the process. The more I soaked the walls, the easier it was to scrape and remove the wallpaper and paint. After I had the entire room scraped down to the bare plaster walls, I realized I would have to repair some cracks and skim coat the entire room if there were going to be halfway decent looking walls.

Skim coating the dinning roomSkim Coating Plaster

We used a product called Elastoplastic to fill in the cracks, so that it would expand and contract with the walls. That was no problem. Skim coating was a whole other story. It was something I'd never done before, so it took a bit of experimentation to get it looking somewhat good. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos to get an idea of how it was done. Of course every person had different methods, tips and advice. Eventually I just had to go for it. I used a premixed all-purpose sheet rock joint compound. Describing how I did it won't be very helpful. It takes doing it to even understand how to start. I would do what I did, which was watch a bunch of videos and get a big picture on how it's done. Then buy the mud, the mudding knives, the mudding hawk and go for it. What you're basically trying to do is create either a good flat or textured surface to paint over. I tried to get the surface as flat as possible. It took several coats, retouching, wet sanding (using sanding sponges) and patience to get the walls looking halfway decent. I was happy with the results, thankfully. Especially compared to what it looked like before!

Stains

The ceilings are all covered in popcorn finish. We really didn't want to keep the texture at all, but decided to forgo removing it to save money since it's mainly an aesthetic preference anyway. But we wanted to at least get the ceiling back to looking white. Previous residents must have been smokers, as the ceiling in the living and dining room had taken on a gross yellow patina. Although popcorn with butter is delicious, you don't want your ceiling to look like buttered popcorn. There were some unsightly water stains as well. We initially just tried painting over the stains with KILZ primer (we actually just tested one spot to experiment.) The water based primer didn't have a chance against the stain, and within minutes it was seeping through the (several) coats of primer.

Emma bleaches the ceilingThe next option was using oil based primer. That stuff is not fun to work with. The fumes are not fun to work around (be sure to open windows!), and you can't wash it off without using more chemicals. Fortunately somebody suggested we try bleaching the stains, which sounded a bit more feasible and manageable. So we tried it. Dawning coveralls and face masks, and armed with a pump garden sprayer filled with diluted bleach (mostly water with a couple capfuls of bleach), we attacked the stains. After a couple spray downs, the yellow started to disappear! For a couple of days, we misted the ceiling, waited a couple hours and repeated. Most stains were taken care of, the rest were dissolved enough to prime over.

Adding dry wall to the kitchenAfter we had the dining room ready for paint, there was a kitchen wall that needed some help. There were cracks, and a big ol' bulge from where a chimney had been plastered over. It was also covered with greasy old wallpaper. We decided to grind out the crack and drywall over the entire wall. I would suggest hiring somebody to do this for you. It would take a pro about an hour to take care of it for a reasonably small price. I know just enough about drywall that I was able to do it myself. First, I used a grinder with a cutter wheel to cut out the plaster and lathe that was bulging out. I'm pretty sure the majority of people don't have to deal with plaster walls and lathe. It's mostly found in older homes.  So the chances of you running into this problem are slim. Fingers crossed, knock on wood (pun!).

Repairing Minor Holes      

In both bedrooms there were holes knocked in the walls by the door handles (easily avoided with a $1 doorstop.) The holes were too big to patch with just spackle, so I got a couple of hole patches. They are sold near the spackles in your home improvement store. The directions are easy to follow, and they work! After paint, you wouldn't know there once were big ol' ugly holes. We used spackle to cover nail holes, minor cracks, and imperfections throughout the house. I tried a lot of different spackles in this house. My favorite one for minor repairs is Fast N Final.  It applies easily, dries in a few minutes, and doesn't require a whole lot of sanding.

Fill holes with putting before paintingOnce all the walls were patched, repaired, dry, and sanded it was time to spray on the primer. Using the sprayer took some getting used to. If you do have a big project ahead of you and decide to buy or rent a sprayer, here are a few tips I (as an amateur) would pass on to you when it comes to using a sprayer:

Using Paint Sprayer

1. Read the directions! When I use a new machine or tool, I usually just go for it and learn along the way. For a sprayer, there are so many variables that can make or break the outcome: clogging, pressure, priming, cleaning, etc. all play a role. Read the directions and you'll know how to deal with all of those issues as they come along.

Tips for using a paint sprayer2. I'll probably say this a lot in my posts, and it really is a no brainer, but I think it's easy to forget that there are tons of resources available not only online, but in things called books, and from real people! Watch videos, use Google, go to your library, or ask people questions. There are people that are old pros out there that have great info. They know hints and tips and methods that can only be picked up by doing something full time, for years. Maybe you have an uncle or neighbor that paints. Ask them to give you advice they wished they had when first starting out. Even the people at the paint department in the home improvement store can give some good advice. Why I like to get my resources from different places, is that some people like to pretend to know what they are talking about. By cross-referencing resources and digging a bit deeper, solid advice can be found.

3. Have a plan. How are you going to clean the machine? Do you have a mental route of the space mapped out that takes into account the hose, machine placement, the paint bucket, etc? Do you need to protect the floor or windows from overspray? Having an idea of all the steps you need to take to get things done will save time.

As for actually using the sprayer, the main thing to remember is to not overcoat with paint. Two or three quick passes will minimize drippage as opposed to trying to get a full coat on all at once. (Which I learned the hard way. The first room I painted was so drippy droppy, we had to do some extra sanding once it dried. I felt so bad!) Only by actually using the sprayer will you get a method down. By the time I was done with the sprayer, I felt like a pro and actually had fun painting!

4. Wear coveralls! Wear shoe protectors. Wear a head sock! Wear goggles! Especially when first starting out, and/or are spraying a ceiling, you will get paint everywhere. My glasses will never be the same.

Tape everythingIt took a couple days to get the house primed. When that was done, it was time for our paint party! We had some people over and painted colors, whites, trims, and doors. You can see the color choices here. The walls were painted a semi-gloss paramount white and the trim was gloss ultra white. Choosing two different sheens gives contrast and a bit more depth. The semi-gloss and gloss painted walls are also easier to clean compared to flat paint.

Tips

I'm going to leave you with a few hints and tips that I've picked up in this project and will use on all the next paint projects I tackle:

  • Spend the extra money getting better tools. Buy the $6 dollar bendy handle trim brush ( I won't do trim without it) as compared to the $2 chip brush. Get the more expensive paint tape with edge lock tech. You'll get crisper lines, less paint seeps. Cheap brushes and tape don't help and usually cause double work. You'll still save money by doing the painting yourself.
  • Take the extra time and tape off your windows, sills, countertops, floors—basically anything not getting painted. The same thing with door hardware, take off the knobs, tape hinges. It takes a lot of time to do. It's a hassle. But after you're done painting, and you're peeling off the paint and plastic and putting back on the knobs, it'll look so good! You'll feel so good!
  • Clean your brushes thoroughly right after use. Especially if you're buying the more expensive ones! That extra care will go a long way. You can reuse the brushes for future projects.
  • Paint trim first, then walls. 
  • After painting, if need be, install door stoppers right away. Save the walls from abuse!

So there you go. An amateur's guide to painting a house. Really the best way to learn how to do something is by doing it. Don't be afraid to tackle that big paint project. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section. -Josh

Credits // Author: Josh Rhodes, Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

St. Louis Style Pizza

Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)      I consider myself something of a pizza aficionado. I've eaten pizza in Chicago, New York, Italy (I ate a lot of pizza in Italy), but until I came to live out here in Missouri, I didn't know there was also a St. Louis style as well. I love thin crust pizza (and pan, and deep dish, and hand-tossed), so I was excited to try a new variety when I found out about it, and believe me, I did not feel disappointed. The keys to a St. Louis style pizza are threefold: a thin, cracker-like crust, a special blend of cheese called Provel, and a slightly sweet tomato sauce. The crispiness of the yeast-free crust with the buttery gooeyness of the Provel are a delicious combination, and the sweeter sauce adds another twist to the classic pizza. Provel cheese is a mixture of swiss, cheddar, and provolone cheese that may be more difficult to find the further you get away from St. Louis, but don't worry! You can also make your own blend as well if they don't carry it in the deli section of your grocery store. Let's make some pizza!

Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)St. Louis Style Pizza

1 thin yeast-free pizza crust (recipe here)
1/4 pound of shredded Provel cheese (or a combination of swiss, cheddar, and provolone)
8 oz tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
toppings of your choice

To make the sauce, whisk the tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside.

Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)Shred your Provel cheese, or mix together 2 parts provolone cheese, one part cheddar cheese, one part swiss cheese, and a drop or two of liquid smoke if you have it.

Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)Prepare your yeast-free thin crust and pre-bake the crust in a 425° oven until the edges just start to turn brown. Mine usually takes about 15 minutes to do so. Add your sauce and generously sprinkle your cheese and toppings on top. Give the pizza a final sprinkle of some oregano or homemade pizza seasoning and bake for an additional 10 minutes or so until the cheese starts to look golden brown. Cut the pizza into squares instead of triangles (it's the St. Louis way!) and enjoy!

Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)Yum! St. Louis Style Pizza (click through for recipe)Mmm, thin + crispy, melty + gooey, sweet + salty...perfection. Plus, there's something about pizza cut into squares that I really love—it feels a little rebellious. Anyway, if you've never tried a St. Louis style pizza before, I highly recommend it. And remember, I have an honorary PhD. in Pizza Studies from Youwannapizzame University, so you can totally trust me... xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Wall hangings are the décor de jour for bohemian, flower children these days. I can't say that I'm much of a hippie, but I can appreciate a little textile art in my home. I thought I'd put a bit of a refined, though simple, spin on a wall hanging that would add a pretty, delicate touch to any home.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Supplies:    
-handmade pom poms with tails still attached (check out this post to learn how to make them with scissors and a fork)
-yarn (I used a delicate pom pom yarn for added texture)
-sharp scissors
-lace ribbon in length and style of your choice
-wooden dowel 2" longer than your length of lace
-embroidery needle (not pictured)

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Step One: Loop the plain yarn through the lace and around the wooden dowel. An embroidery or darning needle is helpful for this. Leave a long tail for the next step. If you run out of yarn, knot another length of yarn to your remaining strand and tuck the tail into the looped yarn using the embroidery needle.

Step Two: Knot the ends of the looped yarns to secure them in place around the wooden dowel. Then use the tail of the yarn to create a string for hanging. Knot it in place and tuck the ends of the knot into the yarn-wrapped dowel using the embroidery needle.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Step Three: Tie lengths of yarn through the openings in the bottom of the lace ribbon. Knot them tightly into place and trim off the excess yarn. Don't worry about keeping the lengths the same—the total length can be trimmed later.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Step Four: Use the tails of your pom poms to tie them onto your hanging yarns, creating a pattern or even trailing randomly.

Step Five: When your pom poms are arranged how you wish, knot them into place and trim off the tails.

Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!Pom Pom Wall Hanging — Simple to make and so cute!This wall hanging is a relatively easy way to get a large scale wall hanging for your home, and there are so many ways to customize the design and size. Change up the yarn, lace, and pom pom size and arrangements, and you can make something unique to you! -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

Colorblocked Scratching Post DIY

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           If you have a cat (or two!) and have ever roamed the pet store aisles looking for a good scratching post, then you probably already know about my personal anguish. Our cat Mac has taken to occasionally scratching on a few rugs and chairs that I would rather keep "unshredded", so I thought we should get him a post so he can direct his scratching instinct in a more positive direction. The problem with cat scratching posts is that most of them are pretty, well, boringly hideous. I mean, if I want a piece of furniture that's going to stand out in my house, I want it to be a cool vintage chair or plant stand, not a dull-looking scratching post. Thankfully, what's a girl to do when she can't find what she wants already made? You guessed it, DIY to the rescue!

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)              We’re happy to be working with Fancy Feast, who just launched their Broths with Chicken (you can see Mac is loving it!). It's part of their #WaysToWow campaign, sharing tips to wow our furry little buddies. As part of our partnership, Fancy Feast is making an additional donation to Humane America Animal Foundation (behind Adopt-a-pet.com), who helps homeless pets get out of shelters and into loving homes. It's in conjunction with the brand's history of raising awareness about shelter animals.

You may already know, but I have a pretty big heart for the humane society and pet adoption. I adopted our first kitty Charlie over three years ago, and we loved her so much that we adopted a little brother named Mac for her a year ago. Since I have a husband that is on the road touring a lot for his musician job, it can be really lonely when he's out of town, and I have to say that the loneliness was really getting me down. As soon as I got sweet Charlie though, it was a million times more fun to be home alone and so comforting just to have another heartbeat around the house. Mac's playful spirit (and constant willingness to cuddle) has brought even more joy, and I always tell people that I feel like they rescued me instead of the other way around. I love those furry babies so much. 

Supplies:
-18" round wood circle
-4x4 wooden fence post (about 20" tall)

-drill and long wood screws
-white 4x4" post cap
-white paint

-150 ft of 1/4" nylon rope*
-pink and yellow dye

-bucket and salt (to dye the rope)
-staple gun (or hammer and small nails)
-white and pink (or white and yellow) electrical tape

*It seems like sisal rope is actually the rope of choice for scratching posts (I think it holds up to long-term scratching better), but it looked like I could get a brighter dye color and a whiter white with the nylon rope instead. Either rope works though and the sisal can be dyed as well.

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           So, the first thing you'll want to do is attach your post to your round platform. Find the middle of your platform, place the post in the middle, and use a pencil to trace around the edges of the post so you can see where to put the screws. Use a drill bit that's slightly smaller than your wood screws and drill four holes within your marked square that go all the way through to the other side of the platform. Flip the platform over and line up your traced square to be on top of your post (so basically your whole scratching post should be sitting upside down). Since you pre-drilled your holes all the way through the wood, you should be able to see where to screw in your four wood screws from the underside to secure the platform to the pole. (Get someone to help hold it in place if you need to while you drill. It's a bit awkward to hold yourself) Flip the scratching post right side up when you're done and paint the bottom platform with a few coats of white paint.

 

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)           To dye your rope, you'll want to get a bottle of dye for each of your colors (I chose pink and yellow). Since I wanted three colors of rope to color block with, I dyed 50 ft pink, 50 ft yellow, and left 50 ft white. Fill a large bucket halfway with hot water and add 1/3 cup of salt to the water (the salt helps to set the dye). Mix in your first dye color and stir. You can control the color you want by adding more dye, more water, or simply leaving the rope in for longer or shorter amounts of time (I did one full bottle of color and left the rope in for 30 minutes). Just keep checking the rope to see how it's progressing and leave it in longer or add more dye if you want a darker color. When you are happy with the color, pour out the dye and rinse the rope in cool water until the color runs clear. You'll really want to rinse the rope until all excess dye is removed so you don't end up with dye on your kitties' paws. If you would rather not use a manufactured dye, you can also look into some natural dye options as well, but if you rinse the rope really well, the dye shouldn't transfer from the rope.

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   Once your rope is rinsed, hang it up or place it on a cookie sheet in a big pan to air dry.

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   After the rope has dried, take your white rope and staple gun the end to the bottom of the post. (You could also use small nails instead of a staple gun.) Wrap the rope around the post as tightly as you can, pushing down on the rows every so often to make sure they are packed tightly together. 

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   When it comes time to change colors, cut your white rope, take your white electrical tape and connect the end of the white rope to the beginning of your pink rope. The trick with electrical tape is that you want to pull on it and stretch it while you wrap it—that's what makes it really secure. Continue to wrap your pink rope around the pole and repeat the process of joining ropes again with the pink or yellow electrical tape when you switch to yellow rope, and again with the white tape when you switch back to the white rope to finish the pole. Remember to wrap tightly and push down on the rows every so often. 

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)   To finish your rope wrapping, cut your rope and secure the end with electrical tape. Use your staple gun to secure the rope end onto the pole. Glue your post cap onto the top of your post (I just used a simple epoxy glue to secure mine), and you're ready to show kitty the new scratching post!

So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)             So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)          So cute! Color Blocked Scratching Post DIY (click through for tutorial)            I rubbed some catnip onto the sides of the post and brought Mac in to check it out. I did a few scratching motions myself on the post and it didn't take him very long to give it a try himself! If your cats aren't already using a scratching post, you may need a few tips to get them used to using the new scratching routine (check out this post for ideas). And man, I still really love those junk food cat toys I made recently and they still play with them everyday...

I have to say, I was a little worried that a cute scratching post might not be possible, but I'm so pleased with how this came out! Since the colors and feel of the post match the rest of our home aesthetic, it really blends in with the rest of the room and doesn't awkwardly stand out (and of course you can change the dye colors to match whatever your home colors are). It's cute, functional, and the kitties love it. So I would say it's a win for everyone! xo. Laura

 Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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Espresso Marshmallows

Espresso Marshmallows (via abeautifulmess.com)In my opinion, hot chocolate season is in full swing. Which means, we should totally make marshmallows. And if you're not a hot chocolate person, then have you ever tried a vanilla steamer? I had never had one until a couple years ago when I tried it from the Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco (although I now know that many coffee shops offer them as well). Not going for a vanilla steamer? OK, well, what do you think about just adding a marshmallow to your afternoon cup of coffee?

Espresso Marshmallows (via abeautifulmess.com) If that sounds silly to you, hang on. What if I told you that it was a marshmallow lightly laced with espresso? Oh yes. Now I've got your attention. These marshmallows are indeed caffeinated, but it's really not too strong. The entire batch contains about the equivalent of a 1/2 cup of strong coffee (so don't feel bad if you do add one to a cup of coffee!). The final marshmallows also appear a little more tan/brown than I think they look in these photos. Don't let my kitchen window light deceive you. :)

If you've never made homemade marshmallows before, I think you'll be surprised by how easy it really is. The only special equipment you need is an electric mixer (hand held or a stand mixer) and a candy thermometer.

Espresso marshmallow ingredientsEspresso Marshmallows, makes around 2 dozen (depending how you cut them).

1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder*
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar

*If you can't find instant espresso powder, then you can use strong brewed coffee instead for a similar taste. Simply substitute the 1 cup water with 1 cup of coffee. Be sure to allow it to cool to room temperature before use.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup of the water with the gelatin. Just pour the gelatin over the top of the water and let that sit while you work with the sugar.

How to make marshmallowsIn a medium sized pot, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, espresso powder, sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to reach 240°F (also called "soft ball"). Watch that the mixture doesn't boil over from the pan. Just give it a stir if it seems too close. Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat.

Turn your mixer (with the gelatin water) on low. If your mixer has a splash guard, here's a good time to use it. Carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the mixer while it's running. Be careful when working with hot sugar! Now pour in the vanilla extract. Turn the speed up to medium/high and beat for about 5-6 minutes until the batter looks fluffy, like marshmallow cream. 

Easy homemade marshmallowsIn an 8x8 square pan, spray on a thin coat of nonstick cooking spray. Then sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and a little more espresso powder so you'll get some pretty flakes in your marshmallows. You could use a larger, rectangle baking pan for a thinner marshmallow. Totally up to you! I like to make mine thick and then cut them into small cubes or shapes. So that's why I use a square pan. Pour in the marshmallow cream. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and espresso powder. Then cover and allow to set for at least three hours, or overnight.

Espresso Marshmallows (via abeautifulmess.com)  The next day gently peel the marshmallows out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to slice into squares. Or you can use cookie cutters to make shapes! Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Dear Vegans,

I'd love to hear about any fool-proof vegan marshmallow recipes you have. I'll take book suggestions or website links, whatever you have as long as it's a recipe you've tried before that's worked. I've been wanting to have a vegan marshmallow recipe that I can recommend to ABM readers since I often get asked if I have one. I've been trying out vegan versions this past year (I think I've made four so far), and none of them turned out to be a recipe that I felt was worth sharing. So, if you have one, especially if it's your own, I'd LOVE to try it out. So let me know. :)

Thank you in advance, Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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