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.

Bridal & Bridesmaids Hangers

This wasn’t something I had given much thought too.  But I do want the standard dress hanging photo the morning of the wedding.

I do not want a plastic or wire hanger though.

And with just me and two bridesmaids (matrons), I don’t think we need our name on them. I won’t be a “Mrs.” and I don’t need “Bride” spelled out because I think the white wedding dress makes that clear.

Just something pretty, a little girly.

In an earlier post, I had made these really simple, fast, easy ribbon/tulle/lace flowers. [Click here for that tutorial]

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Since these flowers have thin wire “stems” they were easy to wrap around a felt covered hanger.

diy bride hanger 1diy bridal hanger 2diy bridesmaid hanger

 

 

The wire gets covered up by wrapping flowers on each side.  You can also tie some ribbon, tulle, or a bow around the top.

Simple. Easy. Fast.  I think these will work just fine for the photograph 🙂

Bride hanger

 

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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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.

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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).

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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.

Small diy corsagesmall diy corsage pintiny corsages paper flower corsage2013-08-14 13.08.56

Shoes, Strass & Pearls

So I have never been into shoes.  I care if the color matches what I’m wearing and if they are comfortable. But, I saw another crafter strass her shoes in pearls and I said “want.”

No way am I wearing 4-5″ heels on the big day, but I didn’t want flats either (I’m only 5’3″).  I specifically looked for one inch heels, but had trouble finding them until I hit the girls section of the department store (subtract two from your woman’s U.S. size and that is your girl’s size).I found these little girl shoes on clearance for $10. Let the strass experiment begin!before strassdiy pearl strass in progress

First to go was the little cutesy hear buckle on the front.  I replaced it with a green and pearl brooch. Then E-6000 glue, a little gem setter (stick with a wax ball on the end) and paper plate full of different size pearl flat backs (2, 3, 4, 5, & 8mm rounds, a few oblongs, and some rhinestones 4-6mm). Overall, it took about 2000 flat backs and 1 tube of glue to do these size 6 (girls size 4) shoes.

DIY pearl strass shoes diy pearl strass shoes 2DIY pearl strass shoes 42013-07-22 12.57.59

So comfortable and my first pair of really, really special shoes.  I wish I was a better photographer so it would show how sparkly they are.

SUPPLIES:

Shoes (preferably not patent leather)

Flat backs in various styles and sizes to your preference

Skewer (or small pointy stick) to adjust/move flat backs around

E-6000 glue

Gem setter (or a stick with some dried glue on the end for picking up the flat backs from a tray/plate).

DIY pearl strass shoes 3

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!

Materials:

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:

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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!