Sunday, June 19, 2011

A DIY Dilemma

For as long as I can remember, I've oohed and aahed over big floral letters used to decorate the church doors.  These letters were always on my to-do list, and now that the wedding is a handful of weeks away, I figured I may as well get crackin' on these mega monograms.  I poked around the internet, looking at various options and tutorials, because I didn't want this project to tax my weenie DIY skills or cost too much.  After mixing a couple different tactical strategies, I got to work, eager to see how this whole thing would turn out.

Instead of buying pre-shaped letters made of wood, plastic, or styrofoam, I took a slightly different approach by cutting them out of cardboard.  I snagged a spare shipment box from a neighborhood retailer and then kind of eye-balled how I wanted the letters to look, hoping for the best.  I used a combination of scissors and a kitchen knife to slice through the cardboard, depending on the shape I was trying to cut.  Here are the letters after lots and lots of cutting:

I was a bit panicked that the W looked so much skinnier than the J, but they were the same height and similar widths, so I decided to roll with it.

Next came the flowers.  Instead of dropping a pretty penny on buying a buttload of life-size silk flowers or losing years off my life hot-gluing teeny, tiny decorative flower petals, I opted to purchase three nine-foot Hawaiian garlands from eBay.  I got a hearty amount of flowers for under $10, including shipping, so I considered that a success.  The only hang-up was that the flowers were meant for luau decor, so they were a bit on the bright side:

I figured that if Mrs. Seashell had some luck with spray paint, I would do the same, once all the flowers were affixed.  As I own neither a hot glue gun nor any spray adhesive, I was particularly worried about how these blasted flowers were going to get onto the cardboard, until it truly came to me in the middle of the night - staples.  Easy, non-permanent (in case of any erroneous placement), and free since I already had them!  I got to work and started stapling the garland flowers all over my letters.

I started out with a pretty spotty amount of flowers, since I wasn't sure how far each garland would take me.  I ended up using each and every last flower, but that resulted in some tightly-packed letters, which helped to obscure the fact that the backing was rinky-dinky cardboard.  Once all the flowers were stapled on, I grabbed a can of ivory spray paint to transform these letters from luau to wedding.  Here's where I ran into my first glitch.  Because the flowers were so bright and so tightly packed, it was impossible to fully coat them with the paint, even after using the entire can of spray paint.  As a result, the finished look was kind of... pastel instead of purely ivory.  At this point, I was wringing my hands, trying to figure out how to handle the color situation - grab a second can of spray paint and be more precise with my application, or shrug my shoulders and accept my pastel fate?

How do you handle unexpected issues in your projects?

(all photos personal.)

1 comment:

  1. The cardboard is a good idea! I have no clue about the spray paint though.