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.

Origami Pomanders

simple wedding pomanderwedding pomander1

origami pomander diy

Styrofoam balls for craft projects gives me sticker shock.  I wanted some smaller pomanders to go with my large origami topiaries I made earlier (posted here).  They will be hanging about the ceremony space and on the ends of the pews.  The best thing about this project is no styrofoam balls needed (yay!).  So the cost is the cost of paper and some ribbon.


Paper cut into squares (recommend 4″ or 5″ squares or the pomander will be too tiny).

Ribbon (about 2′ per pomander)

Glue gun, scissors

Maybe a stick/skewer to help thread the ribbon.

origami pomanders 1

Cost & Time:

The cost is paper.  A 12″ x 12″ sheet of scrapbook paper makes almost 2 flowers and is about $.20 each (about 7 sheets of paper per pomander). Glue sticks, the cost of your ribbon (I spent $3 for a spool which was more than enough to do eight pomanders).

Folding the flowers takes about 5 minutes each (x 12 flowers); gluing them together in the pomander takes about 10 minutes.


1) Cut your selected paper into perfect squares and make kusudama flowers.  Each pomander requires 12 completed flowers all of the same size.  For instructions on how to make the flower, see this tutorial.

2) Cut your ribbon to length (how far you want it to hang down) –about 2 feet–and fold it in the middle.  Thread it through the center of one of your flowers (this will be your top flower in the pomander).  I had to use a skewer to help thread the ribbon through.  Knot the ribbon close to the ends and pull the loop taut so the knot sits snuggly right at the base of the flower (see the pics below).

origami pomander 2origami pomander 3origami pomander 4origami pomander 5

3) Now you will start the first row of 5 flowers.  Take a loose flower and place it snuggly against the ribboned (top) flower so that one of the petals fits between two petals of the top flower.  Make sure the base of the flowers line up with each other.  Glue in place.

origami pomander 6origami pomander 7

4) For the next flower, you will get a better fit if you match two petals of the loose flower to the two petals of the top (ribbon) flower.  A petal of the previous glued flower (step 3) will sit in-between of the loose flower (picture explains it much better!) —

origami pomander 8

Glue three more flowers working around and that completes row 1.  As you go, just make sure the base (pointy end) of the flowers all line up.  At this point you have completed half of the pomander and it will sit flat.

origami pomander 92014-02-20 18.56.29

5) This step is a repeat of step 3 & 4 above.  This is just row two –five more loose flowers glued to the flowers of the first row.  Again, keep the flower base lined up.

origami pomander 11origami pomander 12

6) You now have one flower left and one hole to fill.  Glue in the last flower.  Look over your pomander and glue up any loose spots.


easy origami pomander diy

Add an extra bow around the base of ribbon if you like.  Or some pretty button/crystal centers to the flowers.

Paper Time (part 1)

What is it about weddings that make you go all paper crazy?  I’ve always been into hand-made invitations (especially in the age of FaceBook/E-vites), but I was little prepared for paper learning curve…And that I would care so much.

This post is a first in a series dedicated to the paper productions for our wedding.  I have been designing, tweaking, shopping (with coupons and during sales of course), and having a great time.  Who knows, I may become a scrapbooker after this.

So the Save the Dates were the first thing I made (earlier post here).  They have all been sent. One hurdle down.

Next, the invitation.  I have been tweaking so long on this design, I feel I can tweak no more.  After working on all the bits and pieces, I finally put together one complete invitation last night and I am happy.  Very Happy with the cost (under $60 for nearly 100 invites!).  Hope you like them!

DIY Envelope liner

First up, the “outside.” I did a DIY envelope liner using silver tissue paper that I embossed using my Cuttlebug. I just traced the flap of the envelope onto card stock and added a few inches in length (so the liner would fall below the visible opening).  I can cut and emboss about ten to twelve sheets of tissue paper at a time, so this went really fast.  The tissue paper is so light, just an ordinary glue stick is all that is needed to paste it in.

I wanted a modern twist on the classic invitation, so I used vellum to wrap the invitation card which mimics the inner envelope. I purchased this particular vellum from the craft store open stock collection for $.12 per 12″x12″ sheet.  The vellum is sheet is cut down to 10.5″x12″ and then cut into thirds (short ways) which gives me three wraps per sheet (note: my invitation card size is an A2 –5.5″x 4.25″).

To hold the vellum is a circle with a smaller circle inside–but not completely cut (so more like two half circles inside).  These are cut from pearl card stock and then embossed with the Cuttlebug with a swirl design (more swirls to come!).  The circle “buckle” is about 1.5″ square and I can get 20-24 circles per 12×12 sheet (again, open stock paper at $.12 each).

DIY wedding invitations

So you open up the vellum to the actual card.  Who knew you can cut a standard 8.5″x11″ piece of paper and get two A2 cards? OK, I may be the only person who didn’t know that.  But what a deal! Two cards per sheet of card stock which I bought in a pack of 50 sheets for about $5.  Nothing fancy about the paper here.  I didn’t want a sheen or texture because I wanted the heat embossed stamp to be the star (and stamping/embossing on texture or glossy/shiny/satiny paper is nightmarish).

Stamping and using embossing powder takes a little practice, but is not difficult. On black paper, I found I needed a light pigment ink (like silver or white) and then the powder in the color of choice. I used a pearl green fine powder).  To keep the green powder only where I wanted, I quickly rub each card surface with a dryer sheet.  I do about ten at a time, stamp, pour powder, set aside. Stamp, pour powder from the last invitation onto the new one, set aside….  It is surprising how little powder you actually need. Just one little 1/2 jar of the powder is probably enough to due a 1000.

OK, so after I have about 10 stamped and powdered, I use a small angled painting brush to clean up stray powder bits.  I then use the heating gun on all ten (one at a time).  Still I found a few green embossed sparkles where they shouldn’t be.  Depending on how anal you are, I used a black crayon (yes, crayon) over those green spots which made them disappear like magic.  I then stack the completed cards and put a heavy book on them to take care of any warping during the heating process.

diy wedding invitation 2Open up the card to the text insert and rsvp card (names and personal information blocked out–but all your missing are our middle and last names and the location–no biggie).  Both the invitation text and little rsvp envelope are made from ivory bonded resume’ paper.  It doesn’t show in the photo, but it has a very subtle (and I think classy) design and texture to it.  I printed the text using a laser printer. I created a text box in Pages (or Word, or what ever word processing program you use) in the size I wanted (in my case 5″x3.75″) and just typed my text inside –right justified so I could do another matching heat embossed stamp.  With my size, I could print four text inserts on a 8.5×11 sheet, and again the resume paper came in a box of 50 sheets for about $8.

I used the same paper to make the little rsvp envelope on top.  I created it using my Silhouette machine, but it is a simple cut to do by hand.  Here is the template (Download the JPG by clicking HERE).  I, of course, then had to emboss the envelope with the swirl design using my Cuttlebug 🙂

envelope template

Onto the actual invitation text insert: Not a gazillion of different fonts (just two: copperplate and Channel, both available for free at Dafont.com) , little stories, etc., but just the facts.  We are the hosts (so no parents’ names), our wedding is not in a church (so “pleasure of your company” instead of “Honour of your presence”), date, time (all spelled out), location (place, city, state, no zip code), reception at the same location.

For this inside heat embossed stamp, I used green pigment ink and then used clear, detailed embossing powder.  With the clear powder, the stray bits do not show up and you do not have to be as careful getting all the strays that are sticking apart from the stamp off the paper.  When heating, the clear bits really just don’t show.

diy invitation 3

I cut a frame (1/4″ thick) to go over the text sheet –sort of a reverse layering than one usually uses.  This will help protect the heat embossed stamp, and hides any crooked hand cuts on my text cut.  I used the same card stock on the frame that I used for the rsvp card.  In fact, I printed the rsvp card inside the frame to conserve paper (see below). I use 1/4″ double-side tape to attach the frame and invite text to the card.

rsvp card frame silhouette

The RSVP card is a simple designed, inspired by gift card holder/old library card holders.  Designed in Silhouette (see above), I wanted the “RSVP” to really stand out in hopes (*fingers crossed*) that guests will rsvp in a timely manner.  We opted for online rsvp’s because:

1) Half of our guests are international –International post is subject to delays and we will really need a timely headcount,

2) Adding return postage for a mailed rsvp card adds significant expense due to international rates,

3) It is more environmentally friendly (less paper),

4) It reduces the outgoing postage because it helps keep the entire invitation under one ounce (standard postage for standard letter sizes under one ounce).  If you can keep your invitation to a standard letter size and underweight, you will save significant $$$$ on your budget.  As I was designing and tweaking, I kept weighed the invitation on our kitchen scale just to make sure.  I should also add, that the whole design started with the selection of the envelopes.  Not so great when you design a great card/invitation only to find there is nothing out there to mail it in 😦

I love the rsvp card.  I think it adds a little something-something to the invitation.  Just a touch of special.  You will notice I also added a little printed swirl design to the card itself.

 diy wedding rsvp insert 2

And so there it is.  Our wedding invitation (awww).  This just got real!

 diy wedding rsvp insert 1

Here are a few general pointers I learned along the way.

1. If you DIY, skip the pre-boxed print yourself invitation suites available at paper/craft stores.  I have used them before and they are a nightmare to line up correctly, etc.  You can buy really nice paper that is easier to print on, and then trim/cut to the size you want.  You will have a lot less stress, a lot less waist, and something more unique.

2. Select your envelopes first, design the invitation to fit the envelope.  Selecting standard, non-black envelopes will save you significantly in postage costs.

3. Buy a few papers, stamps, embellishments, etc., and play around with it months before you need to get serious.  Open stock paper is cheap, stamps and inks are too.  A good paper trimmer/cutter is your friend (and has many uses beyond the invitation).

4. If you can, use colored pigment ink to stamp, and then CLEAR embossing powder.  Stray bits of powder will not show nearly as much with the clear.  However, when heat embossing on dark colors (like black), the colored ink just didn’t work for me.  You have to practice on scrap to get the look you want.

5. Edit. Edit again. Get others to look at it and edit.  Then, edit again.  Once they are out, typos, wrong phone numbers, addresses, times, etc., cannot be fixed.  You need other people’s eyes on your wording.  Trust me. Up until the last minute I had a wrong phone number on our rsvp card.  It was my own phone number.  You stare at something so long, you just don’t see details anymore.  Luckily, I hadn’t printed a lot of cards before my fiancé noticed the mistake.  I also had the design critiqued online on a wedding forum (thank you Wedding Bee!).  Very helpful!

So here is the price breakdown/supply list for my design:

Bonded resume’ paper 50 sheet pack (invitation insert and rsvp envelopes) …..$5

Black card stock 50 sheet pack (card) ……$5

32 Open stock vellum 12″x12′ sheets @ $.12 each …. about $4

32 open stock green card stock 12″x12″ sheets @ $.12 each ……about $4

5(ish) open stock pearl green card stock 12″x12″ sheets @ $.12 each….round to a $1

Stamps, ink, embossing powder……$13

Various practice bits (paper, stamps, powder, etc.,)…..Let’s say about $10

150 Envelopes (found these on clearance as part of a note card suite, still have the cards left over)….$8

Silver tissue paper (envelope liner)…..$1

1/4″ double-sided tape….$7

Total cost for 95 invitations*….$58 (about $.60 per invite, including the practice bits)

Postage will add an additional $70.  We had budgeted about $500 for invitation, so WOOT! WOOT!

It is only fair to note that I did not add in the price of a paper cutter/trimmer (about $10ish), Cuttlebug machine & embossing folders (about $50), heat gun (about $10), and Silhouette machine (about $250).  I already had all these tools and use them on a number of other projects.

“Unique” and “Different”

I’m never sure if those words are compliment or not, but they can definitely describe the chair ties/sashes I made.

curly chairs sash

curly chair tieswedding chair ties diy2013-11-25 10.27.50

I came across this sashay yarn (Red Heart-“Conga”) that was a perfect match to our ombre green wedding colors.  After crocheting 150-ish fortune cookie wedding favors, how hard could it be?

Answer–not hard at all, but it does take some time (about 30 TV watching hours) to complete enough ties for our roughly 150 guest chairs.

The curly tie is just a smaller (read less stitches) variation of a scarf pattern (click here for a video tutorial on how to do a scarf: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1b7QAY6JVA).  The only pattern difference is I did only 2-3 loops per ruffle, so they are quite thinner than scarfs.

I just measured how long I wanted them to fall down the back of the chair, made three strands per “tie” and knotted at one end.  Then you slip over your chair band one tie behind and two in front.  You can tie a loose knot with the ties if you like. Shown my picture above is an organza chair tie which is knotted in the back-the sashay curls just cover the organza knot.

Make one ruffle strand at a time–
sashay yarn projects

Tie three strands (or more or less) together on one end–
2013-11-25 10.28.44

If you don’t crochet (or knit), the same effect is achieved by a loose gather stitch along one edge, then tie off to secure.

Time and Money:

I’m not a lightening fast crocheter, but I could casually complete about 2 each hour while watching football or other TV.

By only doing 2-3 loops per ruffle, I could net about 5 complete chair ties (not individual strands, but the complete tie)  from one skein.  The skein of yarn varies in price from $3 to $5 each.  Not too bad for unique & different.  If you don’t have the time, I sell them here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/203153261/10-custom-curly-chair-ties-wedding-chair?ref=shop_home_active_5 (shameless plug).

They are such pretty ruffles.  I could also see them used as pew decorations, table skirting, gift bows….

unique chair sash weddingunique chair ties

Cake and Dessert, yum.

I finally finished our cake and dessert stand–yippee!

diy cake standdiy cake stand 2diy wedding cake standdiy wedding cake stand 4

Made from this old broken down brass chandelier:

2013-07-08 15.53.51

Although it didn’t take all that long, I did hit a few bumps along the way.   We will only have a 2-tier wedding cake to sit on top in the middle, but I wanted it to be extra stable, so I added the four posts around the center.  I used 1/4″ dowel rods.

The top round is made from a 12″ unfinished wood round with a hole drilled in the center (it came that way, it is for a diy clock). I then glued a 14″ cake board on top of it so I will have room to put flowers around our cake.  I drilled holes about a .3″ deep into the top wood piece to hold the dowels (and wood glue).  I repeated the drill holes on a bottom wood piece.  This way, the center isn’t taking all the weight and prevents swaying & wobbling.

The smaller rounds are 8″ and made from pre-made wood plaques (1/2 inch thick).

I used decorative papers and ribbon, plus strung glass & pearl beads all around.  I tested the weight on the middle, it will easily hold 50lbs with little wobble.  At 40 lbs  it is extremely stable.

So happy to have this one done!

2013-09-02 16.31.33 chandelier cake stand