Burlap Summer Wreath

I make a lot of wreaths . . .  But I wanted something for summer that I could put up after the 4th of July, and I’ve been wanting to try a burlap wreath, so there you go.

 

So, the key factor here is that I had virtually no idea how you’re supposed to make a burlap wreath.  I don’t know if I did mine the “right” way or not, but I like how it turned out so I guess that’s all that matters.

 

Here is what I started with:

 

 

I should start writing the cost of each item and taking a picture of that because I can’t remember exactly how much these were.  I know the burlap was the more expensive item, $5 or $6, and I think the wreath frame was under $3.  I got both in Walmart in the same aisle as flowers and wreath supplies.

 

 

 

To loop the burlap, I just went through every other space.  I think maybe you’re supposed to loop the burlap through the innermost and outermost slots to get bigger loops, but like I said, I really don’t know.

 

 

Each time I looped the burlap through the slots, I adjusted the material to make it loopy.

.

 

 

Then I alternated which slots I went through  (that is, if I went over-under-over-under on one pass, I went under-over-under-over right next to it).

 

Again, after pulling the burlap through, I fluffed it up.

 

 

I ended up doing three “rows” of burlap for each section of the wreath (counting the space between the cross pieces as a section).

 

 

Then I just kept going, not really sure if I was going to like the result or not (I think the loops are supposed to be bigger and fluffier than what I did), until I ended up with this:

 

 

There was only a little bit of burlap left so I tied it into a huge bow and made that the top of the wreath.

 

 

 

 

This is how mine looked up close.

 

Finally, I went to the Dollar Tree and bought five bunches of flowers.  I love the dark centers of the daisies.

 

 

 

 

 

I just stuck the flowers right into the burlap.  Eventually I will probably hot glue them to make them more permanent.

 

 

I think it’s pretty good for not knowing what I was doing!    I’ll leave it up until it’s time to change to fall decor . . . such a bittersweet thought.  Summer has gone by way too fast!

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Fourth of July Rag Wreath

 

Edit: I got a new camera!  You can see the difference between the new one (first and last picture) and the old one (all the other pictures in this post).

 

Here’s a project that anyone can do!  I know because I first did this in second grade (except I didn’t have to cut the fabric then).  It’s easy, fun, and requires few materials.

 

You will need:

 

  • a foam or straw wreath (I got mine from Walmart for under $3.  I opted for straw because it was slightly cheaper than the foam, and because I figured if I didn’t have enough fabric, maybe I could leave some of the straw showing and it would look okay.

 

 

  • about 3 yards of cotton fabric – I used three different kinds (there are four in the picture but I didn’t use the red print).  Check your fabric scraps before you buy anything – the flag fabric is actually from  my mom’s scrap bin.  I spent about $10 on fabric but if I hadn’t bought the red bandanna print I could’ve spent a few dollars less.

 

 

  • a sharpened pencil, pen, chopstick, knitting needle – something that comes to a blunt point (too sharp and it will poke holes in the fabric, but if it doesn’t have a point it’ll be really hard to drive into the wreath) – I went through all my chopsticks and found one that was a little more tapered at the end than the others

Step 1. Cut all the fabric into 4-inch squares using pinking shears – not only is it cute, it prevents the material from fraying.  The best part is, it doesn’t matter if the measurements aren’t exact or if you don’t cut in a straight line.  The fabric is going to get all crumpled up anyway so it won’t make any difference.

 

 

 

Step 2.  Wrap a fabric square around your chopstick (or whatever) – you want the tip of the chopstick to be  in the center of the fabric.  Drive it into the wreath so that the fabric is secure.

 

Step 3. Repeat Step 2 until you run out of fabric. I alternated patterns, but you could also create stripes or a different pattern depending on what you want your wreath to look like.

 

 

 

 

And there you go!  The finished product is full, fluffy, and lots of fun!  I added some adhesive foam stars in red, silver, and blue (the silver showed up best).  I love my wreath so much I think I’ll make another non-patriotic one to put up for the rest of the summer.

 

 

The one thing I would have done differently is, I would have left the plastic wrap on the wreath.  That straw is messy!  But I ended up with a really nice piece of holiday decor for about $10!

 

Spring Wreath

 

I love my spring wreath!  It was easy to make and much cheaper than buying one.

 

I found lots of different grapevine wreaths on Pinterest, so I can’t point to one in particular that was my inspiration.  These were my materials:

 

  • 2 branches of silk flowers from Dollar Tree
  • 1 bunch of fake grass from Dollar Tree
  • 1 grapevine wreath from Walmart – I can’t actually remember how much it was, but I was surprised at how cheap it was because it’s huge!  I am pretty sure it was under $5
  • 1 bird’s nest from Dollar Tree
  • 1 bird accessory from Walmart (it was right next to the wreath, in the floral aisle)
  • There’s a spool of ribbon, but I ended up not using it.  It’s also from Dollar Tree.

The Dollar tree had several packages of the cute little bird nests, but every one of them had at least two of the eggs sunk in, probably during packaging and transport.  In a stroke of brilliance, I stuck a long needle through the end of each one and popped the plastic back out from the inside.  There was even a little hole in the seam of each egg already, so it wasn’t at all hard to do.

 

Problem solved!

 

 

 

 

The flowers were easy to attach – I just stuck the stems into the wreath.  I didn’t secure them with anything because they’re wedged in pretty tight.

 

The flower branches will stick straight out unless you tie them somehow.  Floral tape would probably be best, and hot glue would probably work to, but I have a ton of thin wire that I use for just about every project so I can get rid of it.  So I wired the flowers to the wreath.

 

Once the flowers and grass are in the wreath you can still adjust them – the grass is kind of covering the flowers in the picture above so I pulled and twisted a bit to get everything where I wanted.  I also pulled a few of the grass pieces apart and stuck them farther up on the wreath.

 

The bird’s nest was tricky to attach without hot glue.  I wired it in very delicately.  Then when I hung it up on my door, I realized it looked weird to have the nest hanging vertically, so I re-positioned it.  If you use hot glue to make wreaths, make sure you know exactly where you want things to go before gluing.  Wire is a lot easier to redo than glue.

 

 

 

Finally, I attached the bird – it actually came with a little clip, but that wasn’t very secure and it fell off, and then the clip broke off anyway and I had to tape it on.  Hot glue would probably be best for the bird.

 

I love the way my wreath turned out!

Fall Leaf Garland

 

A big, beautiful garland is a great way to decorate your mantel, banister, balcony, or (if you don’t have any of those things) hutch.  Buying one can cost close to $30 plus shipping at Afloral (my favorite place to buy silk flowers online) or as much as $80 at Hobby Lobby (which, FYI, has very reasonable shipping prices, last time I checked).  I made mine for $13 thanks to a great tutorial I found on Pinterest.  And I didn’t even have to buy grapevine.

 

Inspiration

(Source)

 

Unlike most of the other DIY garlands I looked up, this one is full, lush, and looks realistic – and it is a cinch to make!

 

Process

You can click the link under the picture for the tutorial, or you can just read on.

 

You will need:

 

– fake leaves (make sure they are the kind with a hole in the stem – see picture below) – I used four bunches that I found at Walmart for $3 each

– twine or yarn

– large-ish needle (it has to be large enough to accommodate your twine/yarn, but small enough to go through the hole in the leaf stems without pulling on the plastic)

– any embellishments you want – I used pinecones from my mom’s backyard and some little foam vegetable things from the Dollar Tree ($1 pack of 5 vegetables)

 

Sorry for the blurriness, but hopefully you can see the hole in between the leaf stems – this is what you need because it’s how you thread the leaves on the garland.

 

Step 1.  Measure your yarn (or twine) – I made my garland about 3 yards long – thread your needle, and knot it.  Make sure the knot is large enough that the leaves won’t slip off the end.

 

Step 2.  Take the leaves off their bunches and start threading.  I had two different colored bunches – a yellowish-greenish-brownish bunch and a reddish-orangeish-yellowish bunch – so I alternated.

 

 

Step 3.  Keep going until you run out of leaves.  Really, it’s that simple.

 

This is the point at which I diverged from the tutorial.  The tutorial above was, strictly speaking, for a garland to put on the outside of a house.  Mine was to put on top of my hutch (someday mantel, I hope), and I noticed that when I strung the leaves tightly together until the stems touched, the resulting garland was very, very thick:

 

Not only did that mean I would need more leaves to make my 9′ garland (remember, the goal here was to save money), but I wasn’t sure it would lay right on my hutch.  So I just spread the leaves out a little.

 

 

It may not look like it in the picture, but I thought it looked better.  So I kept working that way until I was out of leaves.

 

 

Step 4.  Add your embellishments.  I used Tacky Glue to add my pinecones directly to the yarn, but to glue the little vegetables to the leaves, hot glue is a better option.  I also coated my vegetables in Mod Podge and sprinkled them with green glitter for a little sparkle.

 

Result

I’m very proud of my garland!  And it was so easy to make, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Block Letters

UPDATE:  I did another set of these for my mom, and they turned out (I think) a lot nicer than the ones I did for myself.  I might redo mine sometime.

 

 

 

 

I love the trend of using words to decorate!  I wanted to include some in my fall decorating, but I also wanted to save money.  I made my blocks for free using materials I had on hand.

 

Inspiration

I found these pictures (among others) on Pinterest:

(Source)

 

(found on Pinterest)

These things are all over the place; I’m sure you’ve seen similar things before.  I wanted to recreate a similar look, but without using a lot of money (or power tools).

 

Process

You will need:

– wooden blocks (the number depends on what words you’re writing)

– paint

– paintbrush

– Sharpie (or a small paintbrush if you are painting the letters on)

– stencils (optional – see Improvements)

– Mod Podge

 

At first I thought of putting letters on mason jars.  Then I remembered that my mom had a ton of wooden blocks sitting up in her attic that haven’t been used since we were little kids.  They were already sanded and there were several of the same size.  My mom said I could take as many as I wanted.  I picked out a few different sizes.  My idea was to write letters on the front and back of each block, so that I could turn them around to go with a different season (in this case, Thanksgiving and Christmas).

 

After rinsing off the dust, I painted one side of each block.  I wanted to use two different colors.

 

 

 

 

 

They dried pretty quickly in the sun.  I painted the opposite side as well.  Then I did another coat of each color because these particular blocks absorbed a lot of the paint.

 

I did the letters freehand (see below for Improvements).  Before writing the letters, I had printed them out so I had a sample of the font I wanted to use.  On most of them I just used a Sharpie.

 

(These are the blocks that I planned to write on both sides of)

 

(I’ve only done one side of these but I’ll probably add another side later on)

 

I used paint for the second side of my larger blocks.

 

 

After they were dry, I just finished them off with a coat of Mod Podge.  And that was it!

 

Result

 

 

Improvements

The most obvious way to take these blocks a step up is to use a stencil for the letters.  I have another set of blocks that I’m going to make for my mom, so I’ll try that with them.

 

If you’re really good with a paintbrush, you can also embellish the background of your blocks so it’s not just a solid color.

 

If you have cubes, and you want to go for maximum versatility, I bet you could recreate these blocks which can be made to spell 16 different seasonal words!  (The link isn’t a tutorial, but it pretty much tells you how to do it).  I might try it myself!

Fall Ribbon Wreath

 

Fall is coming, and as I browse Pinterest I am getting more and more excited about decorating my small apartment for the season and its holidays.  I thought I’d start by trying my hand at making a ribbon wreath.  Since I didn’t actually look for a tutorial, I completely made up my design, and although I’m happy with how my wreath turned out, I don’t recommend you follow my method.  Instead, I recommend this step-by-step tutorial.

 

A beautiful wreath can cost a minimum of $20 and upwards of $100 if you buy it.  My wreath cost less than $10 to make with the following items:

 

– wreath form from the Dollar Tree, $1

(I used a wooden form because I didn’t know what I was doing; you should use styrofoam for a ribbon wreath, and they sell those at the Dollar Tree too)

– four spools of wide ribbon,  also from the Dollar Tree – $4

(You will probably need more ribbon than this if you use the tutorial I posted – the more ribbon you have, the fuller and richer your wreath looks.  The spools at the Dollar Tree only have 3 yards of ribbon each, so look for spools that have more than that.  If you want to order online, I highly recommend JKM Ribbon – and BBCrafts – great selection and amazing prices).

– sunflower bunch from Walmart, $3

– one spool of goldish 3/4″ ribbon from the Dollar Tree, $1 (I later took this off to use elsewhere; it didn’t add much)

– thin wire I had on hand

(the tutorial I posted uses straight pins – trust me, don’t do it my way)


Total: $9

 

In case you want to know, what I did was I wired loops of ribbons together and wired them onto my wreath.  It was time-consuming and poky, and while again, I’m happy with the overall result, I think it would have been much easier and less painful if I had used a styrofoam wreath form and pinned the ribbons (in bunches) onto the wreath.  I’ll try it that way come Christmas.

Tissue Paper Pumpkins

Holidays are all about people coming together, and one of my favorite parts of decorating is sharing ideas with other people.  I got the idea for this project from a total stranger in Walmart!  Thank you!

Inspiration

While browsing Pinterest (again) for decorating ideas, I came across a site that has 50 (count ’em) pumpkin crafts – basically 50 different ways to make pumpkins out of things that are not pumpkins.  This one was my favorite:

(Source)

 

This project uses fabric to create the look of a pumpkin.  It’s a fairly inexpensive project (if you can find large quilting squares for a good price), but while I was looking for fabric squares at Walmart and telling my mom about this project, a lady in the same aisle said she’d seen the same craft done with tissue paper – much cheaper!  I thanked her and switched gears.  Thanks to her, I was able to recreate this craft for free.

 

Process

For each pumpkin, you will need:

– 1 roll of toilet paper (the larger the better)

– 1 sheet of orange tissue paper

– green tissue paper

– brown paper (a brown paper bag works)

– Scotch or double-stick tape

 

My mom supplied the orange tissue paper (she’s a schoolteacher so there is lots of tissue paper at her school) and brown paper bag, but I already had the rest of the supplies.  You might have everything you need lying around your house, especially if you are the kind of person who saves tissue paper after opening presents.

 

Step 1. Fold your tissue paper in half and place the toilet paper in the center.

 

 

Step 2.  Fold one corner of the tissue paper up and stuff the end into the toilet paper tube, keeping the tissue paper as close to the toilet paper as possible.

 

 

Step 3.  Tuck an adjacent corner into the tube the same way, folding excess paper underneath to hide it.

 

 

 

Step 4.  Fold in a third side, leaving one corner.

 

 

Step 5. Fold in the last corner.  Remember to tuck all the excess paper underneath your folds so it doesn’t stick out.

 

 

Step 6.  Cut a large strip of brown paper – about the same size as copy paper is plenty – and fold it in half lengthwise.

 

Step 7.  Roll the paper into a cylinder.

 

 

Step 8. Twist the tube like you’re wringing out a washcloth.

 

 

Step 9.  Stuff the brown paper into the center of your pumpkin.  The excess tissue paper will make the hole small enough to hold your “stem” in place.

 

 

Step 10.  Cut out a leaf shape in green tissue paper.  I tried this freehand and it was awful, so since I didn’t have a leaf pattern with me, I traced the shape of a leaf from one of my silk flower arrangements.  If you want to use my pattern, click on the picture below to view it larger, then right-click it and save.

 

 

Step 11. Tape the leaf onto the pumpkin.  Ta-da!

 

 

I made three pumpkins using two  shades of orange tissue paper.  Since I wanted all three pumpkins to look a little different, I put polka-dots on one sheet.  You can fancy up your tissue paper by adding a design of your own.

 

 

In other news, I’ve been taking pictures with my almost 3-year-old cell phone, which is not what it used to be.  I’d use my camera, but it’s twice as old and takes pictures twice as slowly.  Maybe someday I’ll have a new camera; until then, bear with me. ^_^