Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wreaths and Shenanigans

Happy Wednesday!

I know, I failed this week--I didn't post a Totally Obsessed Tuesday. BUT.  I have a really good reason!  I was working on a project yesterday, and now I can bring you a lovely tutorial on how to make your own burlap rag wreath.

Last week, I did a whole song and dance about fall decor.  Well, Jessica, friendboss Courtney's roommate (who I don't talk about very often, but I should, because she's just as awesome as Courtney), saw the burlap wreath, and decided she wanted to make one.  So off I went to the Happiest Place On Earth (Hobby Lobby, for those of you who don't know me well enough) to pick up some supplies.

You'll need one wire wreath, like this one.  I found it at Hobby Lobby for $3 in the floral section.

I was a little dumb, and forgot to take a picture of the burlap ribbon before I cut it to shreds.  But I found that at HL as well, near the floral section, and I believe each roll was around $7.  I will warn you--I originally bought three rolls. Then Jessica had to go out and buy three more... And that STILL was not enough to complete two wreaths.  It takes a LOT of burlap.  For one wreath, I would say start with four 15 foot rolls. (I promise it's worth it in the end!)  Poor Jessica's still isn't done because she ran out of burlap at 10 last night and HL was closed.  There was even a desperate, middle of the night run to Wal-Mart and Target, but they failed us, and had no burlap.  If she gets it done today and is happy with it, I'll try to get a picture of her wreath too.

To decorate our wreaths, I also picked up some wooden letters, some fake leaves (which actually came from the dollar store, as did the ribbon), some scrapbook paper, and some paint.  You'll see all these in a minute.

The most annoying part by far was cutting the burlap into ribbons.  THIS IS A MESSY PROCESS.  You WILL be covered in burlap fuzz.  It itches.  Wear long pants and be prepared to clean up after.  Also, see in the photo how the burlap is woven?  Some of the little strings will start coming off, and you'll think it's the end of the world. It's not.  It looks fine once it's done. It's kind of messy.  But they call that shabby-chic, or something, right?  Messy is in.

Okay.  So, gather up all you stuff, and then cut the burlap into ribbons.  Mine were probably an inch wide, and however tall the burlap ribbon is. (Yep, I should have measured.  Oops.)  I suggest doing all the cutting at once, because you sort of get on a roll with the tying.

Then you're ready to start tying the ribbons on.  Seriously, just take a ribbon, and tie it in a single, simple knot around one of the wires. Then, keep going.  I tied from right to left, starting at the inside wire, if that makes sense.

It WILL look like a hot mess for a while.  For the first 20 minutes or so, I sat there thinking Oh Lord, what did I get myself in to...?  But I swear, it turns out great.  It starts to look better the more you do. 

You'll need to kind of squish the burlap together after you finish each row, or it comes out looking too sparse.  It probably took me around two hours total to get all the burlap tied on.  I did it mostly while Gavin was napping.

Then it's time to get on to decorating.  I picked up a nice wooden letter "R," some brown paint, and some cute paisley scrapbook paper for mine.  First, I painted the R (top and sides) in the brown paint and let it dry.

Yes, I know this is an S. I forgot to take a picture of my letter, so this is Jessica's.

Then I traced the R onto the scrapbook paper and cut it out.  (This took two tries, because the first time I was dumb and did it backwards.  This is what happens when you improvise.  Trial and error).  Then it was time to use some of my favorite-ever products.

First, I mod-podged the scrapbook paper onto the R.  I have a can of spray adhesive I could have used, but I find that to be messier most of the time.  Then, once the paper was secured on to the wood, I covered it in a layer of poly.

I picked this up at Lowe's in the flooring department ages ago.  It makes a nice, hard seal over the scrapbook paper, and adds a little bit of shine.  I wish I could poly my whole life--once you coat something in poly, you can just wipe it with a damp cloth to clean it.  Imagine being able to do that to your couch.  Your clothes.  Your dogs.

Yes, it's a recurring fantasy I have when I'm cleaning.

Back to business.  Make sure the poly is WATER based.  They have an oil base as well, and I think it's cheaper, but that has sort of a yellowish tint to it and doesn't look as nice.  I did a coat of poly to protect my letter from the elements since it'll be hanging on the front door.  Also, it makes a nice hard surface over the paper so it won't fade or get rubbed off over time.  (I made coasters out of scrapbook paper months ago using this same poly, and my coffee is sitting on one of them as I write this.  This shit is durable.)

 Ta-da!  A pretty letter.  To put it on the wreath, I just used hot glue.  For a while, I debated ways to get it on there so it would still be removable, so I could change the theme of the wreath with the seasons.  Then Jessica and I decided to just repeat our crafting day three more times and make different wreaths for each season, since we kept finding more adorable ones on Pinterest.  So hot glue it is.

Since I decided to make this a "fall wreath" for real, I added in a few of the fake leaves as well.  My original idea was to have the letter kind of sitting on a spray of leaves, but the paper and the leaves kind of clashed.  So I just spaced them out around the rest of the wreath (burning myself like fifteen times in the process, which I always do when I use hot glue).

Aaaaand DONE.  I was going to hang it with ribbon, but the ribbon I bought was the stupid kind with wires in it, and I couldn't get the wires out.  (Courtney and Jessica had a fabulous time laughing at me as I tried--and failed--to pull them out with my teeth.)

I think I did a pretty bad-ass job!  It's simple, but very cute for fall.  I'm in love with it.  Please excuse my ugly front door.  It's a rental door and I can't do anything about it.  Which is why I needed the wreath.

Hope you liked the tutorial.  If you were inspired to make a wreath of your own, send us pictures!  I'd love to see.

Now I have to go wash off more burlap fuzz.  In the meantime, while you wait with baited breath for my next post, go like my Facebook page.  I finally bit the bullet and created one, so go give us a thumbs up!

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