What Can You do with 1000 Cranes?

So after I finished folding 1000 cranes, it was time to wire them for the centerpieces.  This took as long as the folding, which I didn’t expect.  Rather easy, and I really, really like the look.

1000 cranes centerpiece 2013-05-28 11.22.14

Some are wired to go up the curly willow-ish stems, while some are wired to drop down & out from the vase.

This is what they look like in my centerpiece (still a work in progress):

Paper flower and crane centerpiece1000 crane centerpiece 2

[the large paper flower tutorial is here]

The Materials:

crane centerpiece tutorial

Origami Paper Cranes   (can be less than 1000 🙂  )

Floral wire in desired color (I used silver and green)

Craft beads in various sizes (be sure to buy ones that will fit your wire!)

Sticks-I tend to use ones from my yard, but curvy willow looks nice too.

Tools: round nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutter, round object like a pencil (to form the curls in the wire between cranes)

{{{The cat is optional}}}

The Process:

[Note: these are the directions for the dropping down cranes, the process is reversed for the “up” cranes]

Cut your wire to length.  I found that every 3 feet of wire gave me about 1 -1.5 feet of curly strung cranes.  This is a bit trial & error depending on the look you want and how many cranes you are wiring.

Using your round nose pliers (or round object) make a decorative end to your wire.  You will need at least a loop to hold the bead.

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String a few beads and then your  smallest size crane. There is a natural hole at the bottom of the crane, but you’ll have to poke the wire through the top. It felt like I was killing them.

diy crane centerpiece 3 diy crane centerpiece 4

String another bead and then using your round nose pliers make a loop as close to the bead as you can to hold everything in place.

diy crane centerpiece 5

Using your round object, twist the wire around so you have 3-4 loose loops and about an inch of space. I used two different sizes for my loops to add some interest.

diy crane centerpiece 8 diy crane centerpiece 6

Again using your round nose pliers, make a closed loop.  String another bead, crane, bead….repeat until you are about 8 inches from the end of your wire.

diy crane centerpiece 7

To finish off, make your loops with a round object, a closed loop with the round nose, string a few beads, and then secure with final closed loop.  You should have a few inches of straight wire left to attach to your stick.

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I Have a Veil (or Two)

I have a thing for tulle. Perhaps because it is so inexpensive, or because it is so floaty and fun? A long veil looks amazing in photos, and alas, my dress has no train.

So my solution, a long cathedral train veil that I can detach after the ceremony/pictures.

DIY beaded Cathedral train veil[to the left you’ll notice a stray crane from a previous project that is now a cat toy]

But that is not enough! I am one of those that wants to wear my veil throughout the night.  After all, when does one ever get a chance to wear one other than your wedding?

So I made a two-tier full length veil to wear over the cathedral train that I can keep wearing during the reception.  The top tier is the blusher for the walk down the aisle.

3 tier diy veilfull length 2 tier diy veil

diy beaded veil

The total cost of all three tiers? About $30 and roughly 12 hours of work.  Not too bad considering the retail price of veils!


I used 108″ width ivory tulle (about $2 per yard, or $1 per yard with coupon).

TIP: If you are nervous about cutting your own veil, buy some cheap tulle and practice.  You can usually find it for under $1 per yard. 

Embroidery/crochet thread

Beads (I used pearls, silver and crystal beads)

TIP: Select beads according to the lighting of your ceremony venue.  Crystals look best (sparkle) under low light.  For daytime, smooth glass/silver beads catch the light better.  Pearls will glow in any light.

Lace (I cut mine from a roll of lace trim)

Comb for attaching to your head

Time (about 12 hours)

The Process: Cutting and Gathering

There are several tutorials about how to cut your tulle for your veil.  I just laid the material out on the floor and cut it to the length I wanted it.  Cut it a little longer than you think you want it, then put the cut piece on your head and check it out.  You can always cut more off, but you can’t add to it 🙂

When it is the length you want it, fold it in half (long ways) and then in half again (short ways) and then free-cut the corners off so they are rounded.  Check out this tutorial, or you can follow my not so artsy diagrams:

first fold long ways

short ways fold

cutting your veil

cut tulle for veil

For a single tier cathedral veil, you will do a loose gather stitch about 1 inch from the top of one end.

diagram single tier veil

For the double-tiered veil, you will do a gather stitch about one-third the length from the top (or how ever long you want the tiers to be).  Do the gather stitch in the middle, leaving about 18″ on either side.

diagram double tier veil

If you wish to embellish your veil (edging/beading), just tie off the gather stitch and wait to attach to a comb/hairpiece until you are finished.

The Process: Embellishments

You can leave your veil simple and floaty, or you can sew on an edge of lace or beads.  You can also bead the interior of the veil–all over, or just where you want it.  I decided for a simple sewn edge with alternating glass and pearl beads, and beading throughout the train of the cathedral veil.

Hand sewing the edge of veil doesn’t take that long (1-2 hours) and is very forgiving.  You’ll want a blunt beading needle and crochet/embroidery thread in your choice of color. I used ivory crochet thread (size 10).

1) Mark the center of your veil with a safety pin. You’ll want to use a special, identifiable bead in the center so it will be easier to put on correctly.

2) Start at the top near the gathered stitch for the cathedral (single tier veil) –or–start in the back center for a double-tier veil.

3) Thread the needle but don’t knot the end.  Pull the needle up starting on the wrong (down) side and up to the right (up) side very near to the cut edge.  Pull through until just about 4″ of thread remains.  String a bead through your needle/thread and let it drop so it sets on the tulle where you want it.  Tie off the loose end of the thread to the other end (attached to the needle) so that you have a tied ring of thread firmly holding the bead in place.  Put your needle through the hole in the bead and then pull so the knot is pulled inside the bead. Trim the loose thread piece.  You now have one bead sewn on the edge and can start stitching around the tulle. For a good tutorial on this step with pictures (since I don’t have any) click here.

I highly suggest practicing on a scrap piece of tulle.  Also, make sure you use beads that have large enough holes to fit the knot/thread!

4) I used a simple edge stitch, which is kind of hard to explain.  Here is a diagram of it:

simple edge stitch

You pull the needle up through the wrong side to the right side and then repeat.  Here are the pics of my veil in progress:

2013-05-10 15.23.24 simple edge stitch veil

Repeat this 2-3 times and then pull the thread through.  Basically, you are looping the needle around the very edge of the tulle. It looks like this:

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Then pull the thread through, but not so tight that it pinches up the tulle.  Just tight enough so the thread isn’t loose.  Continue beading as you edge.  I placed a bead every 6 edge stitches -which was about every 1.5 inches around.  I did one glass tear-droop bead, then a pearl, etc.

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When you make it all around, you tie off the thread by knotting the ends and pulling inside the bead again (same as the first bead/stitch).

I also beaded along the cathedral train, just where it lays on the floor.  It was a scattered design, using the same type of beads as I used on the edge.  However, for the thread, I used regular filament (like really thin fishing line) and hid the knot inside the beads.  Again, here is the tutorial for hand-beading. I know that some people glue flat back crystals on instead of sewing.  But, a veil when worn turns and twists, often showing the “wrong” side.  With them sewn on, it looks good on both sides and they are more secure.  I swear it takes the same amount of time either way.

For the cathedral train, I also cut out a flower and leaf design from some regular lace trim.  It is a pretty close match to the lace appliqués on my dress.  Using silver thread, I hand-beaded the lace appliqué onto a scrap piece of tulle.

This is a close up of some of the lace on my dress (sorry, I won’t post pictures of my full dress until after the wedding!). Notice I added a few blue crystals (something blue).

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After I finished beading the lace, I cut the scrap tulle I used to bead it as close to the lace edges as I could, and then sewed  (using clear filament thread) the appliqué onto the back center of the train.

Here are a few close up shots of the edging and appliqué:

diy Veil lace applique

diy veil beaded lace

I will attach it to a comb/barrette according to my hairdresser’s wishes when the time comes.

For now, I just dance around the house with it on.  Too much fun!

Not So Quick DIY…

…But a great excuse to watch a lot of movies (or hockey playoffs in my case).

1000 Paper Cranes!

up close paper cranes1000 cranes

The tutorial I used is here (I needed video to figure it out).

I used the left over paper from my pyramid boxes (see below) to make 3 x 3, 2.5 x 2.5, and 2 x 2 inch squares.

diy wedding favor 11

So according to Japanese legend, I can now make my wish and have it granted by the majestic crane.

The crane motif is used in weddings because the bird mates for life,  is loyal/devoted to its partner, and shares in all responsibilities.

My wedding seems to be taking on an Eastern theme.