Decorative Cardboard Letters: Baby Shower Decorations

Idea:
My friend Dina is expecting her first child and her Bridesmaids and I are showering her with love! We had four weeks to get the decorations ready and went minimal and chic to make it on time.

I love letters and fonts. I will take any chance I can to make them and now that I had the time, I took a stab at creating decorative cardboard letters. The challenge: finding the right size and font letters. Michael’s and JoAnn’s carry at least one set of wood or paper mache letters ready to decorate but never have they carried letters in a font, size and price that really appealed to me.

Inspiration:
Jennifer Jones photographed the most adorable Vintage Lamb Themed Baby Shower and the cardboard letters used in the shower is probably the best execution of yarn-wrapped cardboard letters I’ve seen.

Ingredients & Investment:

What I love about this project is that I already had all the materials I needed for this project except for the yarn.  Yarn is fairly inexpensive and I needed it for two other yarn-based decorations I planned for the baby shower anyway.

  • Corrugated Cardboard Boxes
  • Mod Podge
  • Tissue Paper
  • Font of preference
  • Printer
  • Printer Paper
  • Knife: I LOVE the OLFA Utility Knife my sister handed down to me.  She regularly used it for all types of materials during her FIT Interior Design undergraduate days.
  • Cutting Board: Another hand-me-down from my sister.  She gave me two different sizes of the Alvin cutting mat.  Both get used for almost every project.
  • Yarn
  • Time
    • Cut cardboard into 4 Letters: ~20 minutes each
    • Assemble letters: ~15 minutes each
    • Wrap letters in tissue paper: ~1 hr each
    • Wrap letters in yarn: ~1 hr each

Instructions:

I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel so I searched the web and curated the best instructions by Serendipity Child for making cardboard letters from scratch.

I made a few tweaks along the way:

  • I wanted to make sure all parts of the letters were no thinner than 1/2″ but also didn’t want a chunky font.  So I picked a serif font and used Silhouette Studio to offset the letters until I achieved the desired 8.5″ tall letter.
  • I don’t have an eye for proper proportioning so I printed the letters, taped the letter to the cardboard and cut using the printed “stencil”.  Because the letters, at a height of 8.5″ were wider than the 8.5″ paper, I printed the same letter on the same sheet twice.  One print captured the majority of the letter.  The second print captured the remainder of the letter.  Once I got the majority of the letter cut, I moved it over to trace the remainder.  It’s hard to explain but I have a photo below with an example of the letter “A”.
  • Serendipity Child used gummed tape, PVA glue and tissue paper to wrap her letters.  As I said before, because I was wrapping the letters in yarn, I skipped the gummed tape step (also because I didn’t want buy gummed tape because I didn’t have it on hand) and substituted PVA with Mod Podge to affix the tissue paper to the letters.
  • Yarn wrapping serif font isn’t easy.  It was mostly trial and error but I found Let Birds Fly’s advice to ‘wrap in the direction you would write them’ helpful.

Images:

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Christmas Card: Packages Redux

Idea:
2014 was my third year making my own Christmas cards. Dropping a stack of finished handmade Christmas cards in the mail is rewarding but, this year I wanted my cards to be equally as whimsical but less time consuming to make.

Inspiration:
I’ve been trolling Pinterest for Christmas Card ideas since July. Loll of Stamping with Loll’s Christmas Packages Card beats them all with her simple and elegant design.

Images:

Photo credits: My very good friend Dina

Interesting Points:

After printing and cutting all the accommodation maps and envelope liners for Michelle & Joe’s Save the Dates I had a boatload of scrap white cardstock and cotton paper.  It’s a good thing I held on to them because I was able to use the scraps for my Christmas cards.

Decoupage: Booker’s Bourbon Packaging Facelift

Idea:

From now until next September, I will be collecting an assortment of glass bottles and wood boxes in preparation for my cousin’s big day.  The Booker’s Bourbon box came to me via my aunt last week.  It’s a great size but the print on the box makes it difficult for me to paint or stain it into a faux vintage cheese box.  What do I do with this box now?

Inspiration:

I’ve seen a number of Krafty Pearl’s beautiful decoupage projects but I haven’t found a reason or the courage to experiment with the technique. Til this day, the MDF crafts that Pearl gave me are all stored away, awaiting the day I develop a stronger decoupage technique because I don’t think I’ll be able to live with ruining any of the unique pieces with any decoupage missteps.

I tested my hands on this technique now that I have a box to recycle and can shamelessly decoupage without fear of ruining.

Ingredients:

  1. Wood / MDF Box
  2. Mod Podge Matte Finish
  3. Paint brush
  4. Paper.  I recommend rummaging through an old book / dictionary collection.  I was given an old dictionary which I’ve been slowly re-purposing page by page.  I used 3-4 pages for this project to cover the 4 sides.
  5. Newspaper / Magazines to use as liner to protect your work top

Instructions:

  1. Google ‘How to Decoupage’ and make sure you watch this video by Addicted 2 Decorating and have at it!

Images:

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Clothing Hanger Herb Wreath

Idea:
Autumn has arrived and I still have an entire 4×8 garden bed of lavender, thyme and sage. I left it all to mother nature last winter and incredibly they flourished this summer with a little bit of spring trimming. I want to make the most of this year’s harvest but I can’t possibly eat it all.

Inspiration:
Napa Style had beautiful Herb wreaths for sale in their catalog last year so I gave Google a search and found this great instructional by Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:
I substituted the wire wreath with two dry cleaners wire hangers.

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Images:

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Jute Twine Succulent Planters

Idea:
I’m a sucker for cute little things so I’ll be damned if I didn’t buy a 4 ounce succulent each time I made a visit to the garden center at Lowes. My challenge is I can’t justify buying a pretty pot at anything more than the cost of the $2.95 succulent. I know. I’m cheap. It’s a real problem. But, I also can’t bear the look of the plain black plastic pot that comes with the succulent. Not to mention the black pot that absorbs heat probably isn’t very good for the succulents.

Inspiration:
I’ve seen photos of tin cans wrapped in jute Twine. Why not jute twine pots?

Images:

Ingredients:

Jute Twine

ELMERS No-Wrinkle Rubber Cement

Wrap: Merry Green Christmas, Again.

Inspiration:

I’ve been wrapping all presents in wrinkled brown packaging paper since 2011 and until the shipping companies stop stuffing their boxes with rolls of brown paper I will continue on this march.  We all know how much wrapping paper costs so my brown paper wrapping was initially inspired by saving money.  I’m also a big advocate of being ‘green’ so  reusing packaging paper makes this wrapping method even sweeter.  It warms my heart to know that there are others, as posted by Rachel Wray Thompson on Apartment Therapy’s Re-Nest (Gift Wrap Guide: Ideas for Reusing Old Wrapping Paper), that are also part of this green wrapping movement.

Ideas:

While my wrapping paper stays the same through all occasions, the embellishments continually get better and fresher each year.  Last year, I collected pine cones to decorate the tree.  In sticking with the theme of incorporating my landscaping into Christmas decorations, this year, I decided to use the pruning scraps from my juniper blueberry delight shrub and tie them around all the gifts using twine.

Images:

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Interesting Points:

In the beginning, I was extra frugal with the paper usage.  Frugal with something obtained for free?  Funny right?  Well, thanks to the frugal gene that my mother passed on to me, after two years and many donations from family later, I have an over-abundance of brown paper.  Sometimes I’m tempted to use liberally but, if your’e doing the same as me, I advise you that as much as you’d like to, don’t abuse the availability of paper because you never know if and when the shipping companies will move to an alternative method of stuffing packages.  I cant imagine wrapping with foam popcorn – can you?

TOMS Ribbon Box

Idea & Inspiration:

As you may know by now, I find it very hard to throw things away. It’s a characteristic I’ve inherited from my mother. Perhaps deep down it’s the feeling that if I throw it away now, who’s to say I will not need it again or how can I assume I can even obtain it (financially, etc) again in the future? Thus, a hoarder is born.
I received a pair of TOMS for Christmas this year and if you have a pair you might have noticed the sleek design of their box. It was this design that made it so hard for me to throw the box away. Just as I was deconstructing it to put in the recycling bin, It occurred to me that it was the perfect size to store ribbon. I compared it to the Martha Stewart ribbon boxes that Krafty Pearl gave me and what do you know … It was almost perfect!

Instructions:
Copying is the highest form of flattery right? Well, I cracked Martha Stewart’s box open and came up with my own DIY design based on MS’s box. It’s really amazing what you can make with household items you would normally think to throw away.
I outfitted the box with a slit to feed the ribbon through. To make the rod, I grabbed a pants hanger from the dry cleaner, took only the paper part and cut it down to the width of the box. Finally, the supports for the rod can be made using very thick card stock or any shoe box lying around. I cut the card stock/shoe box to fit within the box and cut slits for the rod support. It took about 4 sheets per side. As you cut 1/2 the batch remember that they need to be opposite.

Ingredients:

  • TOMS Shoe box
  • dry cleaners pants hanger rod
  • old shoe box or thick card stock

Images:

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