Tuesday, September 06, 2011

DIY Party Decorations: Paper Heart Garland

My sister just hosted a bridal shower for a coworker and she asked for my help with the decorations.  How nice!  :)  Since the shower was last weekend, we planned a not-quite-fall apple themed soiree.  I whipped up a design board for inspiration from my favorite source: Google image search.  Here is all the appley goodness:
We decided the paper heart garland was a must, so I got to work replicating it.  I found a tutorial here at Colour Her Hope.  Here is my version:

heart garland header

step 1
Select your paper. 
You could simply buy double-sided scrapbook paper, or print your own, you could even use newspaper or old book pages.  The original inspiration garland was made with an old copy of Shakespeare’s plays.  Since ours was for a wedding shower, something romantic was in order.  So I searched online for text from Romeo and Juliet and also Pride and Prejudice.  I just copied and pasted the text into word and resized it to fit the page, taking out some of the paragraph breaks.  I changed the fonts, too, R+J to Georgia font, and P+P to Liorah BT (a script font) to mix it up a little.  Then I printed 12 pages front and back of each one on ivory colored paper.  FYI, 12 pages included the whole R+J play, and only seven chapters of P+P.  :)  After printing, I decided that the paper was too bland and it needed some antiquing, so I tea-stained all the pages. 
step 2
Cut your strips. 
After they were dry I ironed them flat and cut the pages into 1” strips.  My version of the paper heart requires two large (1” x 11”) strips, two medium (1” x 9.5”) strips, and three small (1” x 8.5”) strips, plus two staples.  :) 
The real garland has double sided paper, but for this tutorial, I just used a scrap piece of paper with text on only one side.  (It is from Michael’s master’s thesis in case you feel like reading the strips… lol)  Don’t forget to use double-sided paper for the full effect!
step 3
Arrange your strips for one half of the heart. 
I started in the middle of the heart with one small strip folded in half to make a 1” x 4.25” piece.   Then layer behind it one large, medium, and small strip.
Line up the bottom edges of your four strips, and fold down the opposite edges one at a time to meet the other end, starting with the smallest first.  Each one will be progressively larger and loop out to make it look like half a heart on one side. 
step 4  
Arrange the second half opposite the first half.
Hold onto that end and add three more strips, large, medium, then small on the other side of your center strip.  Fold them down like you did the first half, to match.  Now you have a whole heart with three strips per side.  You can do it with more strips to make more little hearts inside.  I did some with three and some with two for variation.
step 5
Staple together.
Now align the strips by laying the heart against the table so the front face will be perfectly flat and then staple through all layers at the bottom point.  One more staple in the middle of the heart will secure all the pieces for hanging.  Lastly, punch a hole in the center strip at the top.  That’s how you will hang your hearts on the garland.  Repeat steps 2-5 for as many hearts as you want.  I made 20 of each kind (two and three strip versions) for a total of 40.  This made quite a bit of garland, like 20’ or so, which is a LOT!  But we needed a lot for our big party room.
And here are the real versions that I made with the tea stained “literature”.
step 6
String them up.
Decide what you want to use to hang your garland and tie little loops at the top of each heart.  You could just string them on there without the loops, but the loop gives it more movement after you hang it, so it can twist and turn and dance.  I used sisal twine (I found this at the hardware store in a huge roll… Score!) and strung each one on the twine and tied it in place.  I tried to randomly arrange them about 5” apart.  I would put them slightly farther apart if I was doing it again, but I had about 40 hearts so I figured I could put them closer together. 
I found it really helps to have a feline assistant to chew on your twine and bat the paper hearts off the table.  If you need one for your project, Bandit would be happy to oblige.
step 7
Hang up your garland, then stand back and admire your handiwork!
IMG_6659  IMG_6662
You can customize these for your party theme with colored paper and yarn, curling ribbon or string.  I also think single hearts would make beautiful Christmas tree ornaments.  Maybe use 1/2” strips and make tiny hearts to hang on the tree.  And of course, this would be perfect for Valentine’s decor. :)  This one is destined to live on after the shower as wedding reception decor for our bride!
Check back soon for more projects from the apple themed shower!


Anonymous said...

I see those talented hands, again.....