Sunday, September 29, 2013

A New Twist on an Old Favorite!

The studio was briefly hijacked at the end of the summer to produce centerpieces and decorations for a dear friend's bridal shower.  She loves antiques and has a beautiful wedding gown covered in lace, which quickly became the theme we worked the day around.  I recalled some fun lamps made from antique doilies that I thought would make a great basket for our centerpieces.  They were on Dos Family Blog and the post with its simple instructions can be found here.  You can see two of my baskets below in progress.  I had a tough time finding a round beach ball, since by the end of summer the Halloween decorations are already out, so I ended up with a "ladies workout ball" from the dollar store.  It was thick and easy to inflate and deflate.  I used white school glue, for the six I made I went through close to a half gallon.  To simplify it, I placed the balls in paper bowls with the plug side down, so I would be able to access it when it came time to remove it.  Wearing gloves, I poured the glue into a paper bowl and dipped the doilies right in there to saturate them.  I squeezed the excess glue off, draped them on the ball and smoothed until they covered the way I wanted them to.  I then let them dry for 24 hours with a fan on them.

Below you can see the baskets before we filled them.  Some general tips:

When checking to see if they are dry, there will be a point where they are no longer wet, but they are soft.  You will know they are dry when they feel hard and crunchy - if you remove the interior support too soon they will collapse.

White school glue was just right for our purposes, but it is a slave to moisture and humidity.  If you want these to be more durable or appropriate for outside you should consider sealing them with a spray glaze or spray lacquer.  You will want to very slowly build up many thin coats of spray lacquer.  If you really saturate it by painting it on or spraying super heavy the glue may not hold up to the liquid and collapse.

I didn't have a bunch of old doilies laying around, but found them at a reasonable price at Factory Direct Craft where I could order them in sets of a dozen.  They have a nice variety, so if you were doing a very special piece you could order individual pieces, but the bulk worked for us.  I ordered two different sized round doilies and a set of heart shaped doilies in an ecru color to create some contrast.  Their prices were hands down the cheapest I found from a US vendor, they immediately sent a confirmation and I received my order within the week I placed it at no extra charge.  I found cheaper prices on some international sites, but many of them had ship times of up to three months and surprise charges at check out.

We filled our baskets (and the room) with paper flower pom-poms.  If you haven't made them before, they could not be more simple and Martha Stuart offers a great tutorial you can check out here.  We made varying sizes of small flowers for the centerpieces and made huge ones to fill the room and the window sills.

The key was finding a lot of tissue paper in just the two colors we wanted.  This elevated the final pieces and helped tie in our theme.  I found the colors I needed at a store called Bags & Bows that specializes in retail gift wrap supplies.  It allowed me to order a ream (400 sheets) in colors of my choice for under $20.  They have more than 100 solid colors and the economy reams start at $13.  Again, they shipped fast and the delivery was packaged well to protect the tissue paper from the elements.  

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