Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Attaching Your "Flowers"

When first reading about this project, I got it in my head that Styrofoam would be a better medium for the ball than a paper lantern. I don’t know what I was thinking. Not only is it heavier and harder to work with, but Styrofoam balls are also expensive!

So I stuck to what the girls that had already done this project told me to do and went with paper lanterns.

I ordered my paper lanterns from in the sizes of 10”, 12” and 16”. I was actually going for either 10”, 12” and 14” or 12”, 14” and 16” but the 14” paper lanterns were always sold out. I ordered in either white or off white, depending on what was in stock. And keep in mind that each paper flower stands about 2-2 ½” off of the paper lantern, so a 10” lantern becomes a 14” pomander. Even in varying sizes, the total order (with shipping) came to less than $20.

I would make a good pile of flowers before I did this stage of things. I actually kept a box of flowers in our living room. I would “fluff” flowers while we watched television at night and then throw them all into the box to wait until I had enough done to finish a pomander at once.

So, I already owned a hot glue gun. I used a mini glue gun, but size doesn’t really matter, whichever you’d prefer. Heat up the hot glue gun and open up your paper lanterns. They ship to you flat and you have to assemble them. This is easy and hard all at the same. Well, that’s not true. It’s not hard at all. I was just worried about sticking that metal bar through the fragile paper and ruining things…

Obsessive much, I know.

Anyway. Once your paper lantern is constructed, I would recommend starting at the bottom of the lantern. I did this backwards on the first one, and the poor flowers at the top got all smushed by the time that I finished because I kept sticking my arm into the lantern and smashing them. For me, it was easiest for me to get my hand inside the lantern at the top…if it’s easier for you to go through the bottom, then start at the top. Just start at the opposite end of where you plan on getting inside the lantern from. You’ll just want to make sure that the bottom of the lantern (since this is the part that when hanging you can look up and see) looks the best and is really full. (you can barely even see the opening, huh?)

Take a paper flower and fluff any smushing that may have happened while in the box.

Find the middle of the flower and stick your finger into it.
Keeping that finger in the middle, fold the fuzzy wire down flat.
Add a good dollop of hot glue around the head of the wire.
Allow the glue to cool for a minute before attempting the next step or else you WILL burn your fingers. Please, learn from my mistakes!

Once ready, position the paper flower on the “top” of the lantern and ease your hand other hand inside the lantern to apply pressure from both sides. See, why you have to cool the glue off? Now you are pushing from the center of the flower on the top and the center of the hot glue dot on the back. It will still be warm. Trust me. Just be careful and take your time. When the glue cooled a little and becomes just warm instead of hot, the flower is probably pretty firm. You can test gently.

Repeat the process for all of your flowers. When placing the next flower, I recommend getting them nice and close in together. This helps them look more real, and “fluffs” them even more. (The “mums” cover more ground than the “roses” seem to, which was also another reason that I went with them for my flower.)

Here’s a shot of a nearly finished lantern…just to keep you encouraged on your progress…
Also, you’ll notice that I alternated white and cream flowers. My artistic little sister and I thought that blending the two colors might make it more “real.” I have to admit that she was right. The first pomander that I did I alternated one to one. But it was too much white. Not enough to re-do the whole thing or anything, but just not quite right. So all of the other ones I have just put a white one in every once in a while. No real pattern or anything.

I will attach these to the underside of the roof of the arbor at our ceremony site with some black satin ribbon that I can find at any craft store.
So what do you think? Do you think that they look as classy and neat as I do? I LOVE them! And they have been worth the work. And since I can watch Platinum Weddings, Rich Bride/Poor Bride, My Fair Wedding and various other wedding shows while doing all of these activities; I have to ask the question…is it really work? I think not.

Did you have a project that when you started it you really weren’t sure how it was going to turn out, and then as it progressed you just fell in love with it?

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