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

 

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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 now a break from the usual DIY…BRIDEZILLA!

I love, love, love Halloween.  This year, only this costume seemed appropriate…

Bridezilla DIY Costume

Notice the spikes along my spine too 🙂  My fiancé had to sew me into the dress because I couldn’t zip it up all the way (and I didn’t want to ruin this lovely vintage dress).

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The tail and feet were easy enough to sew.  I used an aluminum dryer vent for the tail, covered it in batting (wrapped thicker on one end and gradually thinner to the tip).  This made it very light weight and wiggly.

The feet were done by basically sewing slip covers (with toes) over very large slippers and then stuffed with extra batting fluff.

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I made the veil & bouquet too 🙂 The veil was actually my practice veil I did last spring before making my “real” one seen here.

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It is fun being a Bridezilla, but only for Halloween.

Sorry for no step by step, I just made it up as I went along.  The key is the dress.  I was lucky to find this one at Goodwill for $25.  A perfect fit.

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: 

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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):

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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:

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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–

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

DIY Photo Booth: Stuff & Stuff

So over the last few days I’ve knocked out the props and backdrop for the wedding photo booth.  Nothing too special here, just ideas borrowed from several people.  I loved the oversized paper flower backdrops I’ve seen.  I did ours with a twist. We are both sociology professors, so instead of all white craft paper, I used introductory sociology text books.  The flowers are glued onto a 4′ by 8′ foam insulation board.  The flowers–well I just made them up as I went along.  The pinwheels are the fastest to make, definitely.  You can click here for more instructions on making large paper flowers. This project took about 4 hours to complete.  I am still debating on whether or not we need two panels (?).

large paper flower backdrop

 

For the props, the Dollar Store is my best friend.  Oversized glasses, hats, etc.  I also made the speech bubbles and other facial accessories.  These are all made with foam sheets, construction paper, craft sticks, and tons of hot glue.  I just did these free hand, but there are many templates out there (like here, for example).

 

 

photo booth props diy.

 

I love the projects that are kid like.  These were both a blast and easy to do.

Painted Paper Flowers

Two nieces married, now it’s my turn. I’m getting married!

I’ve been experimenting with paper flowers for a while. I love the stylized look. They don’t wilt, require no water, and can be done way in advance.

To make it just wee bit more messy, and since I love the look, I paint the petals. I’ve made several styles thus far, but the pics below show my favorite.

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Supplies

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*Regular copy paper (or drawing paper)
*Hot glue gun
*Stick
*2 colors (or more) craft acrylic paint (the cheaper the paint the better, I’ve found)
*Water
*Paint brush (for painting and rolling)
*Tape

CuriousPurplePig Rating: 8.5 oinks, could be messier. I do manage to get paint in my hair though.  Very easy. Takes about 30 minutes per flower.

Steps

Each petal is cut from regular 8×11 paper, free form “teardrop” shape. The outside petals take 1/4 of the sheet, the inside ones, 1/6th. I advise at least 5 petals of each size (10 total). I stack the paper and do them all at once. I cut waves into the edges too.

Lightly fold the paper in 4ths for the larger petals:

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And into 6ths for the smaller, inside petals (fold in half, then into thirds):

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Using two colors of watered down craft acrylic paint, I quickly paint each side of the petals. The water helps to blend the colors. Just follow the form of the petal with your strokes. Only use one brush for both colors. Don’t worry too much how it looks. UPDATE: After making about 50 of these flowers, I’ve found that the cheaper the craft acrylic paint the better.  The “good stuff” is too thick and has to be watered down to much.  I don’t want to offend Craft Smart brand, but it works really well for watered down/blended effects like these flowers. I also only spend about 30 seconds on each side of the petal while painting it.  You don’t have to do designer petals because when it is all put together, it will look great despite the quick paint job.

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I used more darker color on the smaller inside petals, and went lighter on the outside. More water mixed in lightens the paint too.

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{{{{{paint drying}}}}}

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Find a center stick. I have a bunch of old dried stems lying around that I use. But a skewer stick will work too (or a stick from your yard–even better). The larger the flower, the larger the diameter the stick.

UPDATE: I switched from using sticks to florist wire stems like these:

I then glue a piece of styrofoam or rolled paper on the end to give it a larger diameter base to glue the petals. With the wire, I can bend and shape the flowers as needed in the centerpiece, much better.18_gauge_green_stem_floral_wires_20pcs

I use a paint brush handle to roll the paper edges.

Low temp glue glue gun, my best friend. Attach the petals by gluing at the base.

If the paper tears a bit, just dab with glue to seal it. Keep working around until you like it.

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I used more glue and then florist tape to secure it more to the stick.

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Done!

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Cat, for scale.

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Some of my other large, and very small, paper flowers…

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Crepe Paper Streamer Flowers


This is an easy paper flower made from crepe paper streamers.  I adapted this flower from the Brides Cafe which used sheets of crepe paper.  However, streamers are more readily available, less expensive, and it cuts down on cutting.

Supplies:

Crepe paper streamer in your choice of colors (be sure to buy green if you want to add leaves & stems).  It’s about $1 for two rolls, each roll will make about 20 flowers. Skewer sticks (or you can use wire). Again about $1 for 50 sticks.  White school glue.

supplies

Time Commitment:

About 2 minutes per flower, with some drying time.

Skill:

Have to be able to hold a stick.

Purple Pig Rating:

8 oinks out of 10.  A decent messy factor since I manage to get glue all over my hands and eventually in my hair.  Very easy and cheap.  They look great, but making a whole bunch can get tedious.  I recommend mini-flower making sessions.

Detailed Step by Step:

1. Cut about a two foot length of streamer.

2. Fold the streamer in half, then in half again, then again…until it is about 1 inch or so wide.  Cut a rounded “petal” shape along the top.  Unfold & lie flat.

3.  Lightly squirt some glue along one short edge and along the bottom for a few inches.  Place your stick (I used a skewer) about 1/2 way up on the edge.  Remember, this is crepe paper, so a little glue goes a long way.  You also do not need complete, uniform glue coverage along the bottom.

4. Roll the stick a few turns to make the inside petal.  How many turns exactly? Just until you like the look–but at least 1 complete turn so it will be glued to the stick when you are finished.

5. Add more glue to extend your glue line along the bottom a by a few inches more (you’ll keep doing this as you go) and start rolling the stick slowly while you use your fingers to gently gather the streamer to the stick.  Just keep rolling, gathering, and sticking the crepe paper.  Here’s lots of pictures:

When you get to the end of the stream, add glue along the short end and finish rolling/gathering.

6.  Pinch the paper along the bottom where it meets the stick to make sure there is good contact with glue, paper, and stick.  I add just a bit more glue around the bottom as a just in case measure.  Then you just need to let it dry (hang upside down while drying if you used a lot of glue along the base).

6a. (Optional Step) Stem & Base with green crepe paper streamer–Cut about 2 inches of green, fold in half, fold in half again (and again) cut a point on BOTH short ends.  Unfold & lie flat.  Then fold in half long ways so the point ends do NOT line up.  Glue along the bottom straight edge and roll onto the base of the flower.  You can then continue to wrap the stick in green paper if you like (or paint it).

6b. (Optional Dual or triple, or ? colored flowers): Do the same procedure as above, but cut some alternate colors and glue at the base.  I did this at random intervals.

And that’s it.  I could have made 10-15 flowers in the time it took me to write this tutorial, it’s that easy.