Sugar and Dancing

And paper lanterns.  They go together, right?

The dance area at our venue is separate from the banquet area (the pass through bar area is in-between the two spaces).  The dance hall will be dimly lit because I have my heart set on a star-field projector so we can all pretend we are dancing under the night sky (and the room is in rougher shape and all white).  This space will also hold the sweets tables.  The ice cream bar, the wedding cake, the dessert bar and the candy/popcorn bar.  Yes, I definitely have a sweet tooth.

But food requires some light.  So I came up with this idea:

paper lanterns wedding

 

paper lanterns signscandy bar sign

 

Using battery operated LED string lights (after Christmas clearance), 84″ double shepherd hooks, two buckets (OK actually Tidy Cat litter bucket containers), four 12″ paper lanterns, and lettering from plain black paper using my Silhouette Cameo.  I have lights and signs!

These will be placed right behind the sweets tables–lighting your way to a sugar high.

 

And while I was at it, I made these to demarcate the dance “floor” (area) in the same room:

paper lanterns wedding

These six foot lights will go in each corner of the area where people will be dancing.  Since it is just one large room, I liked the idea of marking it off.  Plus they give off such a pretty glow.

I used a 1″x2″ cut to length and set it in plaster of paris inside regular flower pots.  I wrapped battery operated LEDs around the wood pole, and used tea cup hooks to hang the lanterns (one hook on each end of the lantern to keep them from bopping around).  The black band hides the seam between the two lanterns since they don’t meet up perfectly.  The band is a 2″ piece of paper looped around.  To finish it off, I also put a loop of paper at the top too.  I have not yet covered the plaster at the top of the pots, but am planning to just use shredded tissue paper (or raffia, or silver sparkly stuff–whatever looks best).

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They are quite stable, but I do wonder how long they will last at the reception before someone puts their hand (or head, or other body part) through the lantern.  Good thing the lanterns are only a couple bucks each 🙂

 

A Stand-Up Bar Menu

I love our venue.  It is a historic old courthouse with hight ceiling, beautiful chandeliers and woodwork, grand doors, and intricate moldings and carvings.  But with all the rooms on such a grand scale, some of the decor has to be as well.

So I made this:

 

DIY Bar Menu wedding

 

A five foot bar sign, big enough for even my older guests to read from far away (and my fiancé who needs reading glasses, but often does not seem to have them with him).

The sign will go as noted in the below photo of our venue:

reception hall bar set up

 

The large floor bar menu is an easy, and very inexpensive project. It takes a foam board (available at most home improvement stores for about $4-5) such as this:

foam board

 

Which usually come in packs of 6 to 8 boards roughly 14″” by 4′ tall (made for insulation in-between studs).  I bought a few packages to make our photo booth backdrop and had a few left over to make the bar sign.

I covered it in fabric (some old drapes I had), just wrapped it like a package.  Printed and cut out the signs and pinned them on.  I did use my Silhouette Cameo to design, print and cut, but the same thing can be done with any word processing program and scissors/punches (or even pre-cut shapes).

diy bar menu wedding 2

There are many serious things about a wedding. But this is one area we both decided early on to be whimsical.  Signature drinks named after our cats.  Hence, the cat photos on the bar sign.   Three cats, three signature drinks (one is non-alcoholic, which I highly recommend so all your guests feel included).

Unfortunately, we had a last minute change and could no longer have a full liquor permit.  So wine and beer only.  No problem –there are plenty of wine-based cocktails.

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So just about a month away now.  I *think* things are all coming together.  Just a few more last minute DIYs such as programs and menu cards (posts coming soon).

Random Acts of DIY

As the wedding approaches (only 3.5 months to go–Woot!), I have been organizing and packing away all the projects, decor, etc.  There are several projects that don’t really need a tutorial, but I wanted to include here anyway.  I actually use this blog in part to help keep myself organized.

A ring bearer box instead of pillow.  We will not be putting our rings in this, my grand-nephew will only be 3 years old.

diy ring bearer box

Supplies needed: unpainted wood or paper mache’ box, paint, ribbon, flower or other decor.  If you wish to decorate the inside (which may not be needed if you won’t have the rings in there), you’ll need  foam/styrofoam cut to fit the inside of the box and material or wide ribbon to cover the foam.

Total cost for this project was about $1-2, the box was $.90, plus a little ribbon, a few paper flowers, and paint.

ring bearer box

The flower girls will be wearing these tutus I made from strips of tulle and crocheted bodice.  They both will have a strapless slip underneath so that they have full coverage.

Each one is embellished differently so the girls will know their dress.  On their request, I added the crystal strands coming down.  They are 3 & 5 years old and want that extra sparkle.

[Please ignore the pillow and floor lamp I am using as dress forms 🙂 ]

flower girl tutus 1

flower girl tutu

flower girl tutu diy

Supplies needed. Lots of tulle.  If you buy it on a spool (6″ to 12″ wide, it will save you a lot of cutting), a tube-top like bodice (I crotched mine, but lots of people use headbands), embellishments.  Optional are the shoulder straps and belt sash.  I actually used chair sashes for both.  I had to make both of these last fall, and little ones grow fast.  So I took their measurements, added a few inches (everywhere) and made the whole thing adjustable with elastic and ties (you can see this in the back of the dress where the shoulder straps are weaved through). There are lots of tutorials available for diy tutus such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIsdx62Qtlg

Total cost for this project (both tutus) was about $20–most of that in tulle, but I wanted them very full.

The flower girl pomanders match their dresses (I used the same yarn) and was one of the first DIY projects I did.  I crocheted mini flowers (learn how here), beads and straight pins to attach to a 4″ styrofoam ball.  The littles ones can toss these around all they want with no damage, except for dirt.  The cost and supplies are: styrofoam ball ($2), yarn ($2), ribbon & pins ($2-5 depending on type).

crotched pomander

Bridesmaids’ jewelry which is not their gift, but for them to keep.  I’m still a novice at jewelry making, but I love how these turned out. Cost and supplies depends on the jewelry you are making.  For this set, about $5 using sterling silver findings and beads, and glass/crystal beads.

bridesmaid jewelry

When trying on my wedding dress, I fell in love with look of statement necklace with it.  So I made this one.  I still haven’t made the earrings, but I’ll get to work on that 🙂

I used Swarovski crystal pearls, crystals, and silver lined beads.  Total cost was about $10-15.

diy statement necklace

bridal statement necklace

My garter is another crochet project that I did early on.  I have a simpler one without the crystals for tossing. You need yarn, beads, elastic, ribbon/embellishments.  Total cost is about $3-5 (for both garters).

diy crocheted garter

And finally, our cake topper. Yes that is Barbie and Ken, but they were the right size (2.5″ tall –they were ornaments in a previous life) and they are higher quality than the little plastic ones in the stores.  Plus, they kind of look like us (fiancé is tall and thin, I have dark hair and bangs). I painted them to match our scheme, added a cat and hockey stick/puck to match our life.  They are mounted on a 4″ wood round outlined in flat-back pearls.  I blinged Barbie out a bit just because.

Cost and supplies: the Barbie/Ken ornament was $5. I had the little ceramic cat. The hockey stick is a popsicle stick cut and sanded to shape.  The puck is a sweet tart painted black and sealed. The wood round is $1, paint, flat back pearls (about $1-2 if you don’t already have some), ribbon (I used one-quarter from a $3 spool).

DIY cake topperdiy cake topper 2diy cake topper 3diy cake topper 4

So it is all packed up, semi-organized and waiting.  If you want further details on any of these projects, leave a comment and I will answer the best I can.

More little things…Bathroom Baskets

diy bathroom baskets

 

A simple bathroom courtesy basket or tray.  Easy, inexpensive, and a simple way to let guests know you are thinking of them.

Are they necessary? No.  Generally they are not missed if not present.  But if you have about 30 minutes of time to assemble and $5-$20 to purchase some products, your guests will be touched.

Bonus–Can serve double duty as an emergency kit for you & and your bridal party.

 

courtesy bathroom basket

What you need:

A tray, a basket, box, pail (etc.) to hold some items

Items (see suggested list below)

A little sign (let them know it is OK to use and that it is from you)

Decor/fabric/flowers (all optional)

Suggested Items:

  • Mints*
  • Hairspray
  • Lotion
  • Aspirin/Tylenol/Ibuprofen*
  • Tums/Rolaids/Anti-acid*
  • Bandaids (various sizes)*
  • Tampons/panty liners
  • Nail file/Emery board(s)
  • Nail clippers
  • Clear nail polish (hose runs)
  • Sewing kit*
  • Mouthwash
  • Individual use floss pics (or dental floss)*
  • Body spray
  • Bobbie pins
  • Hair ties
  • Safety pins
  • Combs
  • Baby powder
  • Stain remover stick*

*What I feel is most important

Most of these you purchase for a $1 or less (BigLots! Dollar Store) or use your stash from hotel stays (am I the only one that grabs the courtesy items from the room?).

My basket has all of the listed items, and it was less than $20, including the basket and “decor” (which is just a $.50 chair sash I had left over used as a liner and puffed to make the side bows).

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The (easy) fabric flower experiment

Lace, ribbon, organza, frilly sashay yarn, tulle.  Pretty material for pretty fabric flowers.

I have been pondering the fabric flower bouquet, but I still really love the idea of real roses for me to carry.  Of course that doesn’t stop me from playing around and experimenting with different techniques for fabric flowers.  They make beautiful hair pieces, belts, decor.  This morning I think I found the easiest way to make them.

I experimented with all types of ribbon, fabric, yarn, lace, tulle…

easiest fabric flowers 1

easiest fabric flowers 2

easy ribbon flowers 1

These are so, so easy to make.  No sewing, no gluing.

Supplies:

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Buttons, beads, pearls –anything that can be wired for the center of the flower

Wire–I used common 22 gauge silver wire

Scissors, wire cutters, round nose pliers

Your ribbon (or lace, or tulle…)

Step 1:

Cut a piece of wire about 10″ (longer or shorter is fine, it depends on what you wish to do with the flower). Wire your center button/bead.  Use just enough wire to twist enough times to hold it securely.  Cut excess off of the tail piece.

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Step 2:

Thread the other end of the wire through the end of your ribbon.  Then you will “sew” back and forth along the edge of the ribbon.  This will make the gathers/petals of your flower.

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For most of my flowers, I found I needed about 2 feet of ribbon, but you can decide this one for yourself.

Step 3:

Pull the ribbon up towards the center button/bead.  Mess with it so it looks pretty.  If you find you need more/less ribbon, add & take away at will (the beauty of no sew or glue).

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Step 4:

Once you’ve messed with it long enough and like how it looks, use your fingers to hold the lace tightly against the center.  You want the flower as flat as you can get it.  Take your round nose pliers up tight against the ribbon of the back of the flower & twist the wire into a loop.  This will hold the fabric/ribbon in place.  You can make two loops for extra security and then flatten them against the fabric.

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DONE!

Different fabrics & ribbons give completely different looks.  You can experiment with different types of gathers too.  The grey flower was done with sashay yarn.

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Little Details, continued…

Napkin rings.  Not a big deal except I need them for 160 guests.  I thought of just folding the napkins at the place setting, but that would mean a portion of my precious set up time would be used up by folding napkins at the setting.

Napkin rings

Pros -fold the napkins, put in ring & store away in a tote.  Take it out, plop it at the setting. Easy. Can add to the overall decor.

Cons-How much does 160-ish napkin rings cost? If I DIY, how long will that take?

In my continuous pursuit to minimize the setting up process before the wedding, I said YES to the napkin rings.  I toyed with different designs:

The bling ring: 

bling_napkins

Now this one is easy, but the raw material (the bling ribbon) is pricey. Buy about 10 yards to do 100 rings (around $40). Using a piece of paper you’ve wrapped around your folded/rolled napkin as a template for length, cut the ribbon, glue the seams.  I recommend a higher end craft glue or low temp glue gun.

But I am not having a bling wedding.

The ring to double as wine charm triple as guest favor:

images crystall charms diy napkin rings

The most expensive and time consuming choice, but very pretty, serves extra functions (favor/keep track of one’s drink).  I will admit I made a few of these using just regular wire and a few beads on each.  They looked good, but not great, on the napkins.  If I were to do this, I would use memory wire for the ease of making them, taking them off the napkin/putting on the wine glass.  Memory wire will get pricey though, and the costs of these will be about $50-$100 for 100 depending on the type of beads you use.  They will also take the longest to make.  But this would be worth it since it may serve as a favor for your guests.

A few cons though for my situation–I already made favors (doesn’t mean I couldn’t have more though, right?), the rings would need to be different for each guest if they are to serve as wine charms (no big deal for me either since I’m not a fan of match-matchy). Many/most guests would leave them on the glass creating more of clean up headache at the end of the night.  We are at a DIY venue with rented china/glassware.  All the charms would have to be removed before packing the dirty glasses to avoid extra rental charges.

In the end, I decided the extra DIY time (and it is time consuming), the extra expense, and the extra clean up time was not worth it. (Well mostly the extra DIY time).

The Ribbon Ring –cheap and easy (but still pretty & functional):

DIY ribbon napkin ringsDIY ribbon napkin rings 2

Ultimately my choice 🙂  The ombre ribbon I used was/is the inspiration for my entire wedding color scheme -from the light warm ivory-apple, sagey-willow greens-to the near black.  Imagine the above setting on the table with willow (or apple green) table cloths, black satin runner, and of course my painted flower centerpieces.

Reminder photo:

painted paper flower

So much ado about this little detail.  But here is the quick tutorial on how I made these.  The total cost was the cost of the ribbon (about $15) for 160 napkin rings.  All the napkins are neatly rolled and ringed waiting in a plastic tote.  Easiest set-up ever.

Supplies:

Cardboard rolls –as in paper towel/toilet paper innards.   1 four inch toilet paper roll = 4 napkin rings.  Plan accordingly. You could also use strips of cards stock/thin cardboard–just add and extra step to glue them into a circle.

1 to 1.5  inch ribbon in chosen color/style.  Each napkin ring requires 6″ of ribbon, so 1 yard of ribbon = 6 rings, 160 rings = 27(ish) yards. You do not need wired ribbon for this project.

A combination of these (but you don’t necessarily need them all): glue stick, double sided tape, fabric tac glue.

Napkins (ha ha)-I purchased these lovely black satin pin-tuck napkins from a previous bride for $.25 each.  A bargain!

Steps:

1.  Cut the cardboard rolls to 1 inch thickness.  A guillotine cutter works well for this, but so would a decent pair of scissors:

diy napkin rings 2diy napkin rings 3

2 (optional). Quickly paint the inside of the cardboard tubes.  Why? So they blend with the ribbon and look less like a toilet paper roll.  Spray painted black for mine, took about 2 minutes to do around 30 or so.  Besides, laying them out like this is its own art form 🙂

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3. Cut your ribbon.  You need a little bit of overlap when covering.  For standard rolls, 6″ is perfect.  You can cut the ribbon all at once, or do as I did, cut as you go by just wrapping the ribbon around the roll and cutting off.  Notice the overlap below–

diy napkin rings 4

4. Fold over one side of the raw edge cut ribbon and secure with a small piece of double sided tape (fabric glue or glue stick works as well).  Cover the cardboard roll with glue stick glue (or again use double sided tape).  I caution against fabric glue over the whole thing as it may seep through your ribbon giving it water-like marks.  I used a regular (kid’s) glue stick and it worked wonderfully.

diy napkin rings 5diy napkin rings 6

5. Wrap the ribbon around the cardboard, line up the outer edges so they meet at the seam.  You can put a small dap of fabric glue on the overlap if you feel the double sided tape isn’t enough to hold the seam in place.

diy napkin rings 7diy napkin rings 8diy napkin rings 9diy napkin rings 10diy napkin rings 11

Done.

In the time I wrote this post, I could have easily made a dozen, so it is very quick work.  The cardboard is just enough to make them really easy to slide on and off too.  These work well for bow-tie napkins to (see below), but we opted for a simple double rolled design.

diy napkin rings 12

In the end, do people really care about the napkin rings. No, not really.  I just like the little details.  When you have enough of the “little things,” you end up with a cohesive overall look and design.

The little details

It’s football season, so time to tackle those simple projects that can easily be done while watching the game(s).  First up, dry embossed cocktail napkins.

If you have a Cuttlebug (or similar embossing machine), you can turn plain and boring $1-for-50 cocktail napkins into something a little bit more interesting.

DIY embossed napkins 1DIY embossed napkins 2

I found I could run 2-3 napkins through at a time, completing a several hundred napkins in about an hour.  All while watching my Denver Broncos Sunday afternoon.  Not too bad. Maybe just a little bit too easy 🙂

If you don’t have an embossing machine, you can still personalize plain napkins with a permanent ink pad and a stamp.  Make sure the ink is permanent/water proof (it will state it on the pad).

diy personalized cocktail napkins

How many do you need?  

For the bar/beverage station–

       -about 3 per guest  (150 guests x 3 napkins = 450 cocktail napkins)

For appetizer stations–

       -about 1-2 per guest  (150 guests x 1.5 napkins  = 225 napkins)

For dessert stations–

      -about 1-2 per guest  (150 guest x 1.5 napkins  = 225 napkins)

Better to have more than you need than to run out.  If your event is longer than 4 hours, add a few hundred more napkins.  They are rather inexpensive after all. If you do a general emboss design rather than a personal/wedding specific stamp/emboss (e.g., names & date), any that are left over can be used for future occasions.

Origami Paper Flower Topiary (the WTHWIT? project)

So there I was, happily folding Kusudama flowers for cocktail hour centerpieces, boutonnieres, etc., and thought I should make a topiary of these.  I wanted some more decor around our dessert/candy/ice cream bar, but also wanted to block off the tables, nicely, so guests wouldn’t indulge before the cake cutting.

After days upon days of folding these flowers, I began calling this the WTHWIT? project–as in–What The Hell Was I Thinking?  This took hundreds of flowers, each flower takes 5 petal folds –Well, you can do the math.

But, I really love how they turned out!

paper flower topiarypaper flower topiary 2origami flower topiary

So if you have lots of time to sit and fold (and fold, and fold)–like several seasons of Breaking Bad or Mad Men, this is the project for you!

What You’ll Need:

Paper–lots.  I used 12″x12″ because it easily cuts into 3″ &  4″ squares to make the Kusudama flowers.

Styrofoam ball, 2″-5″ smaller than the desired finished size of your topiary ball 

4″ wood skewers-100s of these (check the BBQ section of your supermarket)

Half inch or larger wood dowel or pvc pipe cut to 5″ inches shorter than desired finished height of your topiary

Pot(s) or container(s) for the base & method for hold dowel/pipe in place (e.g, packed sand/dirt, plaster of paris, cement, styrofoam)

Low temp glue gun & lots of glue sticks

diy topiary supplies

Cost:

About $25 for both topiaries, with parts left over.

I spent about $10 on the nicer papers (12×12 sheets); I had the pvc pipe, but dowels cost about $.75 each; Plaster of Paris is about $10 for a large bag (which is more than you’ll need for 2 topiaries)-or use free dirt; the skewers were $.19 for a bag of 100; the 8″ styrofoam ball was the most expensive item at $8 retail, but I used a 1/2 off coupon for them; ribbon $2 for a spool of organza green 1.5″.

Step 1:

Cut your paper into 3″ and 4″ squares.  If you are doing a smaller topiary, you’ll probably want smaller flowers.  This is a design decision.

Get very comfortable.  Fold, fold, and fold some more.  For a tutorial on how to make these Kusudama origami flowers, check out this tutorial.

I used approximately 200 flowers per topiary to get the 12″ diameter I wanted.  Smaller topiaries will require less flowers.

Step 2:

Skewer your flowers.  Insert the pointy end through the top of your flower then pull through so there is about 1″ of the skewer left inside the flower (see the pics below).  Secure with a drop of hot glue on the base.

diy topiary 1paper flower topiary diy 2diy origami topiary 3

Step 3:

After you have many flowers made and skewered, start sticking.  The skewer on the end of the flower will increase the overall diameter of your finished topiary.  Now if you are like me and got sticker shock and the price of larger styrofoam balls ($20 for a 12″ –are you kidding me???), the skewer method is a much more economical choice.  Plus, it allows for re-poking and fine adjustments, as opposed to directly glueing onto the ball.

Get the flowers as close together as you can and try to avoid large gaps.  I ended up adding some smaller flowers from a punch to fill in as well.  But this is optional.

I did find it quite helpful to first attach the dowel/pvc pipe to the styrofoam ball before I started adding the flowers so it would give me something to hold onto.

paper flower topiary 4paper flower topiary 6paper flower topiary 7

Step 4:

Secure it all together.  Add some styrofoam glue (or low temp hot glue) to your dowel and re-attach to the styrofoam ball.  Then attach the other end to the base inside your container.  I used plaster of paris in old plastic flower pots because I wanted a nice heavy, secure base.  But for smaller topiaries, styrofoam will work  too.  You can even use packed garden dirt and/or sand.

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Just make sure everything is stable, non-wobbly and can withstand a cat rubbing up against it (ha ha).

diy kusudama topiaries

Step 5: 

Finish it off.  I put my ugly plastic containers inside these nicer metal ones (which is great -I can change them out if desired), some raffia or petals to cover up the base top, and perhaps a nice bow on where the styrofoam ball meets the dowel.

I’ll be stringing a ribbon between these two as a way to “rope off” the dessert table with a nice “wait for it” sign.

diy origami topiaryorigami topiary

It may be a while before I fold anything more….

Corsage Pins for my Lovely Attendants

I know having attendants is old fashioned.  Most brides have their bridesmaids, and that’s it.  But I have four lovely nieces that I wanted to include. They each have a small duty (e.g., guest book, flowers, cord presentation, and dinner MC).  Once I finished the boutonnieres for the groomsmen and ushers, I wanted a corsage pin for the lovely ladies.  I have two kinds of paper flowers as decor for our wedding, painted rose-like flowers (soft and organic) and the kusudama origami flowers (more structured).  The men got the kusudama flowers on their bouts, so that leaves little tiny versions of my painted paper roses for the ladies.  The giant (or even large) corsage was out given their taste, so I made these small pins for them to wear to show their special status in the wedding.

diy corsage pinsdiy corsage pin paper flowermini corsagemini paper corsage

The instructions are a bit long since I included how to make the little rose flower.

Supplies: 

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Paper cut into little tear drop shapes (about .5 to 1″ long).  Optional–Paint a piece of paper first and then cut out the little petals (or use patterned paper).  Regular copy/printer paper will work or slightly heavier, but not card stock.

Small cocktail straw/stirrer

1.5″ or wider satin ribbon

.5″ complimentary ribbon

Floral wire (22 gauge)

A brooch/pin finding (or a regular corsage straight pin would work)

Glue gun (a must)

Needle & Thread to match your wider ribbon

Making the Flower

This is just a tiny version of my large painted paper flowers I previously presented.

Step 1:  Cut out about a dozen tear-drop shaped petal from your paper about 1″ long and in various widths (.3 to 1″ wide at top).

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Starting with the “skinny” petals, dab some hot glue on the pointy (small) end and adhere to the tip of your cocktail straw. Shape the petal by gently bending it inwards towards the straw.

paper flower corsage tutorial 1paper flower corsage tutorial 2

Glue another one opposite of the first petal.

paper flower corsage tutorial 3paper flower corsage tutorial 4

With a scrap piece of paper, roll it up and glue in the center of your two glued petals.  The center of your flower is complete.

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Step 2: Continue adding petals and shaping going around the tip of straw.  Use wider petals as you work your way to the outside of the flower. I use a small skewer stick to gently roll the tips of the petals as I go. Keep going until you like the looks of it.  Put it aside.

paper flower corsage tutorial 7 2013-08-14 12.32.02paper flower corsage tutorial 11.paper flower corsage tutorial 9paper flower corsage tutorial 10

Making the Corsage Pin

Step 1:  Cut a piece of your wide ribbon about 8″ long.  Fold over the ends and glue them down to give it a finished edge.

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You need to sew a loose gather stitch about 1/4 up from one end. Nothing fancy here.  This is to just make working with the ribbon a lot easier.  Gather the ribbon and tie off.  It should NOT be a tight gather/ruffle, but semi-loose. It should form a seashell shape (see pic below).

paper flower corsage tutorial 12

Step 2:  A wee bit tricky of a step, but not too bad…

Cut a piece of floral wire and bend it into a “U” shape.  (note: I have my gathered ribbon smoothed out a bit in this pic, but when evenly gathered it still looks like the picture above-sea shellish shape. Your gather should be loose enough to do this).

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On the end with stitching, gather up the ribbon so it is even (see picture).

paper flower corsage tutorial 13

Take your wire and place it over the end of the ribbon (just about where your stitches are) and loosely twist the ends to close it.  Just enough to hold the ribbon.

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Now turn your pieceover and fan out the top of your ribbon so it looks like this:

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Step 3: Slide your flower on the cocktail straw down through the wire.   Get the flower base under the wire. Make sure all the ribbon edge is still in the wire loop and everything is where you want it.

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Turn it over and twist that sucker tight.

corsage tutorial 15

Flatten out the twisted wire so it is flush with the back of the ribbon.

Step 4 (optional): If you are attaching a brooch finding to the back of your corsage, form a sort of “field goal” shape with your two wire ends.  Thread your finding over the wires (see pic), put some hot glue on the ribbon where the finding will rest, and bend down the wires to hold it all together (the glue is for a little extra assuredness).  You may need to cut excess wire off of the ends before bending it down.

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Step 5: Time to cut that straw.  The first one I made, I cut the straw right away and it really made the piece hard to work with, so be sure to cut the straw down as a last step (or close to last step).  My little skewer is pointing to where to cut, but basically you don’t want the straw to show, but leave enough so that it is still under the wire.

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After cutting, you can pinch your ribbon together over the straw, with a little glue to hold it.

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Step 6: Cover the wire with a little bow in your complimentary color (just a dab of glue to hold it on)   I used a small sheer organza ribbon.  You could also glue some flatback pears or rhinestones too.  At this point I also put a little bit of glue at the top back of the flower to hold it to the top part of the ribbon.

DIY corsage how to

Done.

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DIY Boutonnieres

Or “bouts” for the spelling challenged (like me).

I was making these Kusudama origami flowers for our cocktail/social hour decor:

origami flowers centerpiece

and my fiance thought they would make nice bouts.  Always looking to do things in advance (and save a few dollars too), I happily agreed.

Here are bouts!

diy boutonnieres

DIY paper flower boutonniere  DIY paper flower boutonniere 2 DIY paper flower boutonniere DIY paper flower boutonniere 4

I was happy with how easy they were to make.  Just a few hours for all ten, and that included making the flowers.  The cost is under a dollar for each one–if you have to purchase everything.  It is less than that if you already have a few supplies on hand.  Also, I think they look great.

Supplies: 

supplies

Floral wire: 18 gauge for the “stem” of the bout.

Jewelry wire for wiring your beads (gauge depends on the size of the hole in your beads)

Beads for the center

Leaves, or tulle, or fabric/ribbon for the backing of the bout (optional)

Plastic Straws-I recommend the shorter/smaller cocktail stirrer/straws

Floral tape (or wasabi tape) and ribbon (the ribbon is optional)

Scissors & Wire cutters

Kusudama flowers (for a how to on making these, click here).  I used 2″ squares to make mine, except for the ring bearer’s bout–I used 1.5″.

Step 1: The Center

Assuming you already have the flower made, you’ll need to string your beads for the center of your flower. I chose these glass teardrop beads and thought five of them in the center looked nice.  Cut your jewelry wire about 2-3″ long.  You’ll need one wire for each bead.

diy bout 1

Thread the wire through the bead and bend over about an inch and twist your wire tightly to hold the bead.  Do this for each bead.

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Grab all five of the wired beads and keeping them even on top, twist the wires so they are all connected together.  You’ll then want to twist in a 18 gauge floral wire. The floral wire will be your stem.  The beading wire is just not strong enough on its own.

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Step 2: Assemble the Bout

With the beaded wire and floral wire all twisted with one another, thread these through the center opening of your flower.  Cut your cocktail straw down to the desired size.  The cut straw needs to be a tad shorter than the floral wire on the flower (see picture).  The straw will serve to thicken up the stem of your bout and give the tape/ribbon something to cling to.

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Thread the wires through the straw.  You should have some floral wire sticking out of the end of the straw.  Bend it up over the straw.  This will hold everything nice and tight.

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You may want to put a touch of glue at the base of the flower where it meets the stem for added stayputtedness (not a real word).  At this point, you wrap the stem in floral tape (or whatever tape you choose), just be sure to wrap tightly around the base of the flower and get all the way to the bottom of the stem.  With floral tape, I have to do in two parts.  I use about a 5″ section to wrap just the base, and then another 5″ piece to do the rest.  If you are as bad as me with floral tape, you can wrap the whole thing in ribbon when you are done and the tape will not show.

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There are lots of things one can use as a background for their flower. I found these leaves taking up space in my craft room.  If I didn’t have them, I probably would have cut a circle of tulle, or stole a leaf from a plastic plant, or even made one out of paper.

Lay your flower and center it on your background piece.  Secure it with floral tape. Since my leaf was bigger than the base of the flower, I just pinched it in on both sides and then wrapped with tape.

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Congratulations! Your bout is done! You can add a few finishing touches if you like…

Step 3: Finishing Touches (these steps are all optional)

Since floral tape is sticky and I have cats, I finished off the stems with organza ribbon to prevent the bouts from being cat hair magnets. I just placed a dot of hot glue on the back of the bout (where the flower meets the stem) and wrapped all the way to the bottom.  A spot of hot glue on the tip of the end held the ribbon in place.

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I used a pair of small pliers to curl the stem of the bout as well.

Here they all are with cute little tags and their pins.  I love the little tiny one for the ring bearer 🙂

DIY paper flower boutonnieres