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!

 

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Miscellaneous Mini Projects

Okay, this isn’t a single project or a DIY tutorial, just a conglomeration of the other stuff I used to decorate, most of which I already had or was left over from another project.

You’ve already seen my Fall Leaf Garland, but the other part of the picture below is my red candles.  They came in a two-pack at the Dollar Tree, and each candle holder was also $1, so that’s $3 for those.

The sunflowers were left over from my Fall Ribbon Wreath, and the bud vase I had on hand.  The roses were left over from hair pieces I made for a group in last year’s Nutcracker production, and I scavenged the leaves last year from decorations my mom no longer uses.  The mason jars were on hand too.

Originally I was going to fill the jars with small nuts, or dried corn kernels, or something like that, but it’s too early to go scavenging for fallen acorns and I never got around to looking at the store, so I found a jar of dried rose leaves (collected over the years from dance recitals and so forth) and used that instead.  That makes the total amount I spent on flower arrangements $0.

 

I found this pumpkin thing last year at Walmart for $8.  They had at least three different designs of this thing. I had real votive candles in it before, but when I put it on my hutch I thought floralytes would be safer.  I found them at a dollar store in a 3-pack.  The leaves were more of what I had on hand or leftover from previous flower arrangements.  Total for this piece: $9.

 

Last, I got these candles at the Dollar Tree for $1 each – they are vanilla-scented so I figure I can use them for multiple seasons.

I was going to put them in mason jars also but they were too big!  So I was going to take them back and get smaller candles, but then I thought they might look nice in my candy dishes.  They used to be my grandma’s . I put more dried roses around them and I thought they looked pretty nice.  Total for these pieces: $3.

Five mini-projects (if you count the flower arrangements as two), and the total I spent on them was $15.  The best way to save money on decorating is to find new ways to use the old stuff you already have.

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. ^_^