April 30, 2013

Making A Multi-Color Deco Mesh Wreath

roll of the stuff, but sometimes you might want to add more
than one color to jazz it up or to go with a party theme. 
The wreath pictured above looks like just a blue wreath
but actually it is three different shades/patterns of blue.

You could use this same technique to make a wreath with
two, three, or more very different colors of deco mesh. 

Here are the supplies that were used on the baby boy wreath:

1 solid color light blue deco mesh roll (21" x 30')
1 solid color medium blue deco mesh roll (21" x 30')
1 patterned deco mesh roll (10" x 30')
a 19" wire wreath form
a package of light blue chenille stems
light blue craft paint
various ribbons and embellishments

Paint the wreath form in a similar color to the deco mesh you
 are going to use for the first layer.  The mesh is see-through so if
 you don't paint the wreath form, dark green wires might show.

This paint job does not have to be perfect.  The paint dries quickly
so add a second coat if too much of the green is showing through.

There are official deco mesh "work wreaths" that you can buy
to skip this step and the next one but they can be hard to find.
You may have a source near you but if not you can order 
them online if you don't like this homemade wreath base. 

The wire wreath forms come in different sizes.  
The one this wreath is made on is 19".  It was $4 at Hobby 
Lobby. Jo Ann's prices are similar; Michaels' are a little more.

Next, add the chenille stems to the wreath form.
Put at least 7 stems around the outer ring.

At the points you have decided is about equally spaced
around the outer wire, fold the chenille stem in half, from the 
back of the wreath push the "V" shaped stem so that each side
is on on opposite side of the outer wire at that point. 
Then twist the "arms" together tightly twice on the top 
(the "good" side, the rounded up side) of the wreath form. 

Once it is twisted on, hot glue the twisted stem in place from
the back of the wreath making sure that the "arms" are  facing
 out to be able to "embrace" the deco mesh as you add it on top. 

This is a photo from the backside of the wreath:

Then decide where you want more chenille stems on the
inner ring of the wreath form.  They will be spaced in between
where you placed the outer ring of chenille stems.  

I put 7 chenille stems on the inside ring also.
Add the inner ring stems with the folding, twisting, gluing
just like you did the outer ring.

This is the largest circular deco mesh wreath I have made and
I ended up adding a few more chenille stems as I went along to
hold the deco mesh at the places I wanted it to bunch. 
Depending on the size of wreath you are working on, you may 
need to add more attachment places too but it is easy. 

The base color for this wreath is the lightest blue deco mesh. 

To start, unwrap the mesh and unroll several feet of it.

Be sure to leave a "tail" of about 12" before your first
gathering point that you will attach to the wire frame.

Gather the deco mesh (I think it is easiest to do it like an
accordian pleat) and keep it pinched tightly.

Pick a point on the outer wire of the frame and attach the 
gathered/pinched deco mesh to the frame by placing it into 
the "arms" of the chenille stem that you have glued down. 
Twist the arms around the gathered point a couple of times.

Then move up the deco mesh length about a foot or so and
do another gather. For a trial run, keep the mesh gathered and
pinched but place it at the next attachment point along the 
outer wire to see if you like the size of the "pouf" or "bunch"
that the mesh makes. If you want the pouf bigger,
 move your pleat further along the mesh; if you want
 it smaller, redo the pleat closer to the original one. 

Twist the arms around your second gather.

Continue around the outer wire gathering and attaching the mesh.
When you are coming back around to your starting point,
attach a pouf end on top of your beginning "arms",
 twist it on, and then move on to the inner ring of 
the wreath without cutting the deco mesh.

Attach mesh poufs around the inner ring of the wreath.

When you have added as much of the first color as you 
want on the wreath, you can cut it.  Leave about 12" of tail.

Long tails like these ensure that the mesh will not pull 
out of the chenille stems over time and they add to the 
fullness of the mesh look. To hide the tails, pull them to the
backside of the wreath and use about a half of a chenille
stem to secure the end of the tail onto the wreath form.

In above picture
pink x is beginning attachment point of mesh
dark blue x is beginning tail being secured to the frame
green x is ending attachment point of mesh
orange x is ending tail being secured to the frame
Here is how wreath looks from the front after two
 rounds (outer ring & inner ring) of the first color:

To add the second color of deco mesh, use the same technique
of leaving a tail, gathering, poufing, attaching.  Use the same
chenille stem open "arms" to attach the poufs. You can zig-zag
the second color between the inner and outer rings. You also
can add more chenille stems to the other two rings if you 
want to have more points of attachment for the mesh. 

The light blue deco mesh is from a local source that is about
a 30-minute drive from my house.  They have a better color 
selection than the only other local place I have found deco
mesh which is Hobby Lobby.  The local source (Southern Homes
and Gardens in Wetumpka, Alabama) usually sells the solid color
rolls of deco mesh for about $8; patterns are about $12.
Hobby Lobby rolls are $10 normally but you can catch them 
at 50% off regularly or use a 40% coupon.  A good online
source for those who do not have local access to deco mesh
seems to be Mardi Gras Outlet. I have not ordered from them
yet but they have a good selection and reasonable prices. 

The light blue deco mesh is a tighter weave than the medium
blue deco mesh.  Different manufacturers have varying
degrees of quality...just FYI...they are not all the same. 

Below is the back of the wreath after the second color
of mesh has been added.  Hide and attach the tails the same.
The pink x shows the end of the tail being secured to the
frame. Any cut ends will be raggy...just tuck them in. 

Another thing to keep in mind when buying deco mesh is the
width.  You get more bang for your buck with the 21" width.
There are 10" wide rolls out there that cost almost the same. 

The next layer on this wreath is a 10" wide mesh.  It adds
some pattern and variety to the mix of meshes.  The chenille
stem arms still have plenty of room to add more layers of poufs.
Attach, gather and pouf the 10" mesh the same as the wider mesh. 

Here is  the wreath after the third layer of mesh:

Initially your expenses for multi-color deco mesh wreaths
will be more because you are buying more than one color
of the mesh.  However, you will have a lot of left over mesh
 from a multi-color wreath that you can use on future 
deco mesh wreaths...or make doubles while you are at it.

The baby boy that I made this wreath for has a light blue,
dark blue and tan nursery so I tried to go with those colors.
One roll of ribbon that got added on top of the meshes was
the nursery colors with baby boy sayings.  It got attached
with the chenille stem open arms also.  

This cute teddy bear came from Hobby Lobby. He was
only $3.50.  The red ribbon around his neck got swapped 
out for a blue ribbon with little footprints on it. 

When you are attaching other items to the deco mesh wreaths,
they need to be very light weight to be added directly to the 
mesh.  Otherwise, you need to wire them and attach them 
directly to the wire wreath form.  Teddy got a chenille stem
(sorry, Teddy!) wrapped around his neck,twisted in back 
and then attached directly to a ring on the wreath form. 

Another way to add more color and interest to the deco mesh
wreaths is to add lengths of ribbon to the wire frame.

At the spot you want to add the ribbon (wired ribbon is best),
separate the mesh poufs and find a wire ring on the form.

Then make a simple knot to attach the ribbon, fluff the mesh 
back in place and there you have another pop of color. 

When you are through adding mesh and ribbon to the chenille
stems, twist them and bring each end to the back of the wreath. 

A regular wreath hanger or even a suction cup with a
 hook can loop onto the outermost wire ring on the back 
of the wreath form.  Deco mesh wreaths are very
light weight and do not require much support. 

I have a habit of, when in doubt, under-embellishing something.
In the end, the mom and I decided to add the baby's name
to the wreath so I was glad I had not added the other items
I had purchased to put on the wreath. So the wreath went to
the baby shower as you see it above but here's how the 
 wreath will look in the baby's nursery:

You could cut letters out of craft foam to get the same effect.
I did find these little wooden letters at Michael's so I just 
painted them a tan color with acrylic craft paint.

When spacing the letters out, most of them conveniently
ended up on top of a deco mesh pouf so I could just
add a little hot glue and attach them directly on the mesh.

  The "A" however fell into a "ditch" in the mesh.
To remedy that, the end of a whole chenille stem was hot
glued on to  the back of the "A" at the top and another
 one on the middle bar of the letter the same way.

Then the free ends of the chenille stems were wrapped
 around the wire frame and the "A" was able to stand on its' own. 

Little Blake has not been born yet...maybe he will 
arrive on Mother's Day!  I will keep you posted. 
p.s. The Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends NOT putting birth announcement
type wreaths or dispays on the front of an actual home where a newborn lives.

I am sharing this wreath at
Anything Blue Party @ The Dedicated House blog

April 19, 2013

How To Make A Burlap Door Hanging

Burlap door (or wall) hangings are so very easy and
inexpensive to make that you might end up with a 
whole collection of painted burlap shapes for 
different occasions and seasons. 

Here's a couple of  my other burlap hangings:

The one I made most recently was for a baby shower.
It ended up being a simple design since it was for a boy
and I didn't want to "gussie it up" too much but depending
on the theme of your burlap hanging, you can add lots
of colors and/or designs to your creation. 

Start out with a basic shape. I chose a baby onesie. 
 I admit that I "googled" the internet to find a simple onesie
 shape to copy.  You might be more creative than me and
 not need to do that (but it is a good source for getting ideas).

Draw your shape our on a piece of paper the size that
 you want your hanging to be. 

I wanted the onesie to be the same shape on both sides so 
I drew one side on a folded piece of newspaper and cut it out. 

This will be your pattern.

Place the pattern on a double thickness of burlap
 and pin it into place. Cut around the pattern.
  This will create the front and back of your hanging.

Remove the pins and the pattern. 

You can use natural colored burlap for your hanging.
For this project I got white burlap since it was the same 
price as natural and I was going to be painting it a light color.

To join the front and the back burlap pieces you can sew
around the edges or you can hot glue them.

Whether you are sewing or gluing, be sure to leave an
opening if you want to stuff the hanging later.
Actually, I left an opening in one side and on each of the
sleeves so that I could get the stuffing in the arms easily.

If you are hot gluing, remember that the burlap has a fairly
open weave.  The glue will come through the layers so be
 careful not to burn your fingers.  Only glue a few inches at 
the time then make sure the top and bottom layers are joined 
before moving along the edges to glue more.

  You will not be turning the shape inside out.  The burlap 
will fray some but you can trim the strings off later. 

After the front and back are joined, you can start painting.

The paint is what gives the burlap the stiffness that makes
this project seem like it is more difficult than it is. 

You probably don't have to paint the front and back if the 
back is not going to show but it will add good stiffness.

Plan on having at least two bottles of regular craft paint
 if you want the back and front painted the same color.  
The burlap soaks up a lot of paint.  It seems to be easier to
spread the paint if you have some water to occasionally 
dip the brush in to make the paint a little less thick.

This onesie is all one color so it was easy to paint.
If you are going to add circles or dots to the design, I would
just go on and paint the shape all one color then add the do-das.
(To see circles on painted burlap click here.)

If you are going to have areas of color or stripes, you 
might want to paint them in as you go.   To have enough 
coverage and stiffness, plan on at least two coats of paint. 

Dry each coat of paint before adding more. Drying can take
 time since you are painting on fabric so this is not a good 
last-minute project ....take it from a last-minute person.

After two coats of dried paint the hanging was stiff
and looked good but I probably should have put three coats.

The main design element of this burlap hanging is the
baby's name so I wanted it to be big and in a cute font.
The one I decided on was "Fontdinerdotcom". 

After printing it out from the computer and OK-ing the size
on the onesie, most of the paper around the text was cut away.
Then to transfer the text to the painted burlap, pencil was
scribbled on the back side of the paper behind the text...

...and then the edges of the text was traced onto the burlap.

Usually that technique works better to transfer a design.
The painted burlap did not "take" the tracing very well but
it was good enough to follow if you looked closely. 

The baby boy's nursery fabric is light blue, dark blue and
tan colors so I went with a tan for the lettering.  Acrylic 
paint was applied with a small brush for the name. 

For the final paint step, I like to outline the design in a thin
line of puffy paint.  I don't know why but it seems to "finish 
off" the painted burlap hangings well. White was used since this
was for a baby but black looks good on more colorful pieces.

The shoulder seams were not the way I intended but after I 
had done one side wrong, I had to do the other side the same. 

To make the burlap hang-able, add a length of aluminum
wire to the piece.  Just poke the end of the wire through
the painted burlap and fashion it into a curl then make a 
upside down "U" shape and repeat on the other side.

You don't have to stuff the hanging but it just seems to add
some dimension to it.  There are probably lots of things you
could use to stuff the hangings with but I like to use plastic
bags from the grocery store, etc.   The only problem with them
is that if your paint is not thick enough, bright writing on the 
bags can show through the burlap.  You can cut the writing 
off  the bag before stuffing if you like. 

Try not to stretch and fray the burlap at the openings you
 have left.  It helps to use a ruler or yardstick and not your
 hands to push the stuffing in to accomplish this. 

After you have the hanging as puffy as you want,
sew or hot glue the fronts to the backs at the openings.
Trim away loose burlap strings and frayed edges. 

The hangings will do fine on a covered door but probably not
on a mailbox out in the rain (or snow or sleet or hail). 

At the actual shower, the baby boy burlap hanging 
was used inside the house.

After the shower, the mommy hung the burlap onesie on the 
soon-to-be-born baby's door and added a bow on one side
of the hanger...a good finishing touch. 

Sources and Costs
1/2 yard 45' burlap @ Hobby Lobby $2
3 bottles of acrylic paint @ Michael's $3
Aluminum wire @ Dollar Tree $1
(I already had the puffy paint from JoAnns...
to purchase would be about $4 if I remember right
but one bottle would do many hangings)

I am sharing this post at 
Flaunt It Friday @ Chic On A Shoestring
Inspire Me Please Link Party @ Liz Marie Blog
Be Inspired @ Common Ground blog
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Anything Blue @ The Dedicated House
Weekend Bloggy Reading @ Serenity Now
Saturday Show & Tell @ Cheerios & Lattes
The Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch
Give Me The Goods Party @ Rain On the Roof
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here

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