Archive | Arting & Crafting

I’m a FAN of DIY wedding program fans!

Creating paper fans for your wedding is really a BREEZE! Plus, when people compliment them you’ll feel super COOL. You may even develop an AIR of confidence! You’ll be skipping around with GUSTo! Truly, this is a project that will BLOW your guests away!

Ok I’m done. For now. But no promises there won’t be more fan puns later in this post.

Anyways, when I was compiling our wedding project roundup a couple weeks ago, I realized that there were some wedding DIY’s I never posted about. Terrible! So I’m trying to make up for it now. I get to relive wedding planning days of yore, and you guys get a fun and easy tutorial! It’s a WIND-WIND situation I’d say.

Ok I’m weak for puns! But check out these cute fans!

DIY wedding program fans - I designed these by creating little sketches of myself, Evan, and our bridal party. Cute huh? Then I used the same colors, fonts, and design elements that I used in other printed materials for our wedding (like invites and such) to make sure everything matched. I’m a graphic designer, so I couldn’t help but brand my wedding haha.

program illustrations v2 I decided to make the fans 5.5” wide by 8.5” tall, aka half of regular sheet of paper, to minimize cutting. Then I bought white cardstock and wooden fan handles. For the cardstock, I used 65 lb weight which seemed to be the perfect thickness for a fan. There are also kits you can get on amazon like this that might make things easier, especially if you want your paper to have rounded corners. I’m not that fancy, so good ol’ 90 degree corners worked just fine for me.

Once I printed the front and back designs next to each other, I cut the cardstock in half and taped either side to the wooden stick using double sticky tape. Some tutorials use glue, but me and glue are not friends, so tape it is!

DIY wedding program fans - I placed tape on the handle and along the outer edge of the blank side of the paper, then stuck it all together. It was really so simple.

DIY wedding program fans - And there you have it! These were SUPER easy and cheap, and a great way to add a little more personal flair to your wedding. Maybe your fans have wedding party illustrations like mine, maybe they are dipped in glitter, maybe they have lyrics to a special song you and your spouse share, or maybe they are straight up functional and just have your wedding program- lots of options!

DIY wedding program fans - Hope this tutorial makes at least one of your 2,347 wedding to-do’s a little easier! Keep an eye out for other quick and easier wedding tutorials mixed into our usual home DIY project posts. Have a great Sunday y’all!


Wedding Project Roundup

Hey everyone! It was our two year anniversary this past week, can you believe it?

11233168_10100107584327190_2117511645406056350_o We’ve been having fun reliving all the wedding memories, and I was actually talking to some coworkers about allllll the DIY projects we tackled for the big day. So I thought it would be fun to do a wedding project roundup in honor of our 730 days as a married couple. Here goes!

1) If you want an easy wedding project (that would also be super cute for birthday parties or showers), you could try making DIY heart paper straws! The cool thing about these is you don’t have to make one for every single person if it’s a large event, just enough for a sprinkling of pretty heart straws amongst your guests.

Reception-63 2) If you’re looking for something a bit larger scale, you could try making a DIY paper lantern chandelier. Again, this would also be suuuper cute hanging above a dessert table at a shower or party! We actually ended up selling ours after the wedding to someone throwing a baby shower.

Reception-17 10373703_835624170550_8305555891174426498_n 3) You can see in the photo above our DIY centerpieces, which we collected tonnnnnns of bottles for. I realize now that that makes us sound like we drink a lot. We actually just have lots of generous friends and families that helped us collect them! Who might really like wine…

10270592_835624155580_248134231184137967_n (1) 4) One of the most fun things about our wedding was our photobooth- we created the booth and backdrop ourselves, and brought around 200 props for everyone to have fun with. It was chaos, and it was awesome. We DIY’d a photobooth box that incorporated a camera and a monitor so people would see themselves- which makes for the best pictures!

20140412_215733-MOTION IMG_5326 5) Of course, having a photobooth means you’ve gotta have an awesome backdrop to go along with it! We created one by building a framework with wooden legs and curtain rods, from which we hung fabric strips that I’d dyed shades of pink, peach, and blue. You can check out instructions on building the frame here and creating the fabric backdrop here.

Portraits-398 6) We also DIY’d our own dessert table, which was oh-so-delish (who doesn’t want their mom’s desserts at their wedding?) but also offered up some logistical challenges. Here are some tips if you want to tackle your own!

Reception-108 7) Next, we wanted something for the entry of our venue (you know, so people knew they were at the right place) but we also wanted it to be something we could take home later and hang in our house. Enter nail and string letters! These were super quick, easy, and fun to make!

Portraits-4 8) And speaking of letter art, this brings me to our most commented on, most pinned, most popular project- our L.O.V.E. marquee letters. They literally were a labor of love, but they are our favorite thing we’ve ever built. These currently live in our living room and I can’t imagine our house without them! Here you can read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 of the tutorial.


Well there you have it folks! Lots and lots of projects for this spring wedding season. Also, going through this post made me realize there are some wedding DIY’s I never posted about. Time to get writing!!



Big Ass Art Using an Ikea Print – 2!

Hey y’all! I’m back with our second adventure in giant cheap re-purposed canvases and lots (lots!) of paint. If you missed the first giant Ikea print we painted over, you can check it out here.

IMG_7490 Evan hit the ground running on that painting and had it done in about an hour. Which in my mind is pretty amazing. Not to brag on my hubby, but he’s got mad confidence with a paint brush.

Me, not so much. I work more in the digital art side of things, meaning if I can’t ctrl-Z away a mistake, I get a little nervous/sweaty. So thinking about painting a giant 55” x 39” canvas had me doubting my skills. But determined to turn this old print into something we really loved, I grabbed some tape, some paint, and a big brush and I got to work on that canvas. Very. Slowly.

I started by taping off the edges to protect the frame, then I roughly painted a coat of white over the old print. I didn’t worry about getting the white perfect- it just needed to be a light base for the other colors to go over, like a primer.

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! What followed is a clear evidence of me not knowing what the heck I was doing. I’m a planner y’all, and when I don’t plan, bad stuff happens. I really struggled at the beginning, but then I realized the ctrl-Z of acrylic paint is just add more paint. So that’s what I did. In 15-20 minute increments over the course of a few weeks, my painting evolved:

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! I just squeezed paint directly onto the canvas and mixed it with any other colors that were still wet. First I tried a combination of long and short brush strokes, then I settled on short and it started looking a lot more like an actual painting. Finally I looked at it and said hey! I think I’m done!

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art!  Just to be sure we hung it up on the wall before taking the tape off the edges. After a couple days of still liking it, the tape came off and we called this baby officially complete! (sorry the gif is so dark- did it at night, was too excited to wait for good lighting!)


Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art! And this concludes our big ass Ikea print double feature! After the success of these two, we are seriously considering buying more prints just to paint over them next time we want a really big canvas! It really does feel good to turn something you’re “meh” about into something you’re “wow!” about.

Turning an IKEA printed canvas into art!


Big ass art using an Ikea print

You may remember a couple large Ikea prints that lived in our apartment above our desks. At one time or another, each of these made their way onto our dining room built-ins. You can see them both in the photo below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For a while after we moved into the house this one hung out in our dining room:

IMG_3271 And by the time we swapped out our light fixture, we had swapped the big paintings too.

IMG_6100 We loved the size of those things but we were getting tired of the prints themselves. When you’re getting tired of something SO BIG, it’s very frustrating because it’s not like you can just pretend you don’t see it.

We originally thought about getting rid of them, but then we realized hey- if you can’t beat em, paint em! After all, at $49.99 and 55″x39″ it would be way more expensive to go out and buy a frame and blank canvas of that size.

I mocked up a few photoshop color schemes to see what we would look good before we committed with actual paint. There was already a lot going on on our shelves, and with such a large canvas, it could get crazy and overbearing fast, so we wanted something more abstract and sublte.

Evan first started by taping off the frame and painting a layer of white over the whole canvas. Well, except not in that order, because it wasn’t til after he started painting that we realized taping the frame off would be a good idea. Ooops!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - Painting something so big can be a little daunting. Unless you’re my husband, who did this whole thing in about an hour flat! Look at him go!


One reason he was able to do it in one sitting is because we mixed a slow-dry medium with the paint that kept it workable for longer. So he never had to worry about the paint drying out too fast.

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - We used acrylic paint, which adhered well to the sorta fakey-canvas (it wasn’t actually a true canvas material, but it was close enough). Something like watercolor for example may not have stuck as well. We are super happy with how it turned out!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - After looking at the photo above we realized a lot has changed on our built-ins since we actually took this picture, and especially since the last time they were featured on the blog. Crazy how much of a difference little changes here and there can make over the course of a few years! Here are the built ins (with the big art) now!

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - The large piece is perfect for layering with other art, which is great because art is something we have a LOT of in this house. Also before you ask, yes, that is a tiny 3D printed octopus sitting on the frame.

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - And here’s a fun little side by side. The shelves look so empty in the beginning (the far left).

Big ass art by painting over an IKEA canvas print - After seeing the finished product we started thinking that we might even go buy MORE of these cheap Ikea prints simply to have a huge frame and canvas to paint on at a low price. But before we buy more ourselves, we have a second big ass Ikea print to take care of… and I’m gonna attempt to paint that one, so wish me luck!


DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

I can’t even tell you how much time I spent ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over beautiful dessert tables on pinterest. Then I started wondering about the practical stuff like, wait a minute how are we gonna transport all this? When are we gonna have time to cook this stuff? It’s an outdoor wedding, how do we keep bugs away? And these desserts aren’t gonna refill themselves throughout the night, how are we gonna do that?

You can find all sorts of info on how to create color schemes or add height to your items, but I had a hard time finding answers to my less-than-glamorous questions. If you’re looking to DIY your own dessert table, hopefully this post will shed some light on the nitty gritty!

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Tip 1) Choose your tasties

I decided to keep it simple. There are beautiful dessert tables out there with 20 different options to choose from, but I knew I wanted to keep it under 5 types of desserts (excluding our little cake) for the sake of practicality. It’s easier to make big batches of a few things than small batches of a lot of things.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Also, having tons and tons of rice krispie treats stacked on your counters kinda makes you look like a drug lord.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Evan and I each picked a couple favorites we loved. For example, my mom’s homemade rice krispie treats were a must for me, and Evan definitely had to have his mom’s chocolate/toffee/pecan candy (affectionately named “Hans Pecans”). We brainstormed with our families to come up with a few other tasty treats as well.

Because our desserts had to travel to a different city, we made sure to choose things that were pretty sturdy. Nothing with frosting that would get messed up or anything too delicate that would crumble. And if you’re having an outdoor wedding and it’s hot, make sure your items won’t melt!

Also, we wanted items that would freeze well because we knew we’d have to make some in advance! This was SUCH a huge help. Some items we made the weekend before and froze, and let them defrost on the 3 hour drive to the venue. If you decide to do this, make sure you test it well in advance so you know if your items will survive the freeze.

Tip 2) Guilt your family/friends into helping. Reward with tasty treats.

Recruit help!!! My mom made the rice krispies and lemon bundts, Evan’s mom made Hans Pecans and brown sugar poundcake bundts, and my grandma made banana muffins. Don’t try to take on all the baking yourself- one person does not have enough ovens to handle that! Don’t forget to get help wrapping up any items that need to be wrapped up too (you’ll notice our bundt cakes are wrapped). It’s fun to have a dessert wrapping/eating party :)

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

You’ll notice some s’mores packs above- those were our favors! We wrapped those up while we were doing our bundts too.

Tip 3) Figure out what all these sweets are gonna sit on

I really tried to minimize decor expenditures as much as possible. So nope, I didn’t rent crystal dessert stands or go antiquing to find the perfect eclectic mix of dishes. I borrowed- a LOT. Most of the cake stands you see here are borrowed from our awesome friends and family. We just had to purchase a couple things, which I don’t feel too bad about because we will use them in the future. We mixed white and clear cake stands and let the desserts take the stage.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Having trouble adding height to your display? Get creative! The stand with our main cake is sitting on top of an upside down planter I found at Homegoods, and the 2 cake stands on either side of it aren’t actually stands, the are platters glued to candlesticks! Super cheap and easy.

If you are having your wedding outside, keep in mind that bugs can be an issue. That’s why we individually wrapped our moist/stickier items AND had cake domes to go over things. Yes we did have a few uncovered items, but they were “sturdier” (rice krispies and mini muffins) and they held up just fine, no issues with bugs. It helps that there was a breeze all night and it wasn’t during the heat of summer.

If you’re worried, you could definitely individually wrap every type of dessert or cover everything with domes, then remove the domes when it is dessert time after dinner. Also, if your venue has fans you could have the fans near the table which will help keep bugs at bay. Again, for us it ended up not being a huge issue because it wasn’t the middle of summer and we had a nice breeze, so our “less moist/sticky” items being left uncovered method worked just fine.

Tip 4) Make it feel like you

This was the fun part- all the pinterest-y little details that make your dessert table uniquely yours. Granted, the biggest part of that for us was the fact that everything was homemade- but even if you buy everything from the store, which you totally could do, you can still make it feel 100% you. To do that, we used a table overlay my mom made to match our runners, I made custom chalkboard labels that said what the items were and who made them, and we had quirky little Toki Doki cake toppers because we are weird like that. Have fun with it!

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Also the dessert table is a great place to display your bouquet after the ceremony! Because it’s damn gorgeous but who wants to carry that massive thing? Putting it on the cake table gets it in all the photos and looks so pretty.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Tip 5) Your desserts are delicious- keep em coming!

Since we DIY’d our own dessert table, there was no vendor automatically responsible for the practical things like refilling desserts, keeping the table clean, topping off the fork supply, etc. Make sure you talk to vendors, family, or friends who can take care of these things! We hired an extra server through our catering company to help keep an eye on the table. It’s a little detail that you definitely don’t want to forget.

Well I hope this helps! It’s awesome to see the pretty side of dessert tables on pinterest…

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

…but it’s good to see the practical side too! Especially when it’s a very involved endeavor!

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Hope this post helps any DIY brides-to-be with the logistics side of doing your own dessert table! If you have any questions please let me know and I’ll do my best to help out :)

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips


Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

We took on a lot of very time intensive wedding DIY projects (I’m looking at you marquee letters, backdrop, photobooth, and chandelier). So in order to not make ourselves completely crazy, we tackled some quick and easy DIY projects too. That makes sense right? “We have so many big projects, quick, throw in some little ones too because we need even more work to do!” We are crazy.

Anyway, the good news about these projects is they were all SUPER quick and easy, and some can be used for stuff other than weddings- baby showers, birthdays, holiday get togethers, Diablo III parties (are we the only ones that have those?), etc. Today I shall be covering one of those projects: DIY paper heart straws

I’ll start by saying that paper heart straws are the most adorable things ever (aside from kittens). They are also super easy to make, and cheap! Though for a wedding-sized batch, the cost can start to add up. That’s why I was happy to find this box of 144 straws on Amazon for $7.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

One batch was the perfect amount for the whole wedding (about 150 people). This brand sells them in a few other colors, but gray was my jam. Mainly because it would be a great accompaniment to the pretty pink hearts I was gonna stick on ’em.

This project was made WAY easier because I had one of those heart-shaped cutter things from Michaels (you can see it in the photo below). I also picked up some pink scrapbook paper that was stiff enough to be sturdy, but bendable enough to wrap around the straw without popping off.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

For each straw I punched out two hearts and then stuck double sticky tape on the straw and on the widest two points of one of the hearts. That way when I put it together, the hearts were taped to each other and to the straw itself.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

I would just pinch the sides together like so, not worrying that there was a little gap as the heart cutouts got closer to the straw.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

Boom. Straw complete. So very easy.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

Then I just did it to 50 more! I didn’t do it to ALL the straws because, a) not everyone would want to be walking around with a heart straw, b) it would have made it more difficult to fit them all in the little mason jars they were going to be put into, and c) I didn’t feel like it.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

My mom brought 3 large mason jars that we could put these into, but the jars were actually too tall, so we improvised and brought some ice cream salt at the grocery store to act as vase filler. It’s basically big chunky salt crystals, and was way cheaper than any actual vase filler.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

They were super cute at our drink station at the wedding! Just another one of those little details that made things that much more personal :)

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

Plus it helps that our friends look like models so pictures of them with the straws automatically make the straws look awesome.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

I plan on doing a few more quick and easy tutorials like this, so keep your eyes peeled!


To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II)

Hi again errybody! I’m back today to share part II of our DIY backdrop. A couple weeks ago, I told y’all about how Evan and I decided to create a backdrop for our wedding. It was going to be used for the ceremony AND our DIY photobooth, but the ceremony area ended up having the prettiest flowers on the big day so we decided to keep it for the photobooth only- and we’re so glad we did! The photobooth was a HUGE hit!!

In the last post I shared how we (and by “we” I mean Evan. I was just the assistant) made the wooden frame for our backdrop. Today I’m going to take you through my contribution to this project- the actual fabric itself.

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I’d seen TONS of pretty fabric and ribbon backdrops on Pinterest- but ribbon would get real expensive real fast, so that option was nixed pretty early on. I liked the idea of fabric strips, but I wanted to do a really soft, subtle gradient and I wasn’t sure I would find all the colors I needed to do that. So I decided to make the colors myself aka become a fabric dye mixologist aka end up with really weird looking perma-stained hands.

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So I bought some white muslin fabric since it was super cheap and easy to dye. We guessed what length we would want it to be and just bought just enough for that. When we got home, we laid it out and got to tearing! If you have a cat, they can really help with this part.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

Unfortunately, because we were Mochi-wrangling, we didn’t get a pic of the tearing process. But it’s super simple: just make little snips with scissors along the edge and start ripping. We made our snips 2-3 inches apart so that our strips would be 2-3 inches wide. With other fabrics you might need to cut down the whole length of the strip, but with muslin it’s way easier to rip away. Plus I liked the natural looking ripped edges more than I would have liked a sharp cut edge anyway. We left a few pieces in bigger sections so I could test out if it was easier to rip and then dye, or dye and then rip.

Speaking of dye, I bought a few different colors of Rit dye (Petal, Violet, and Aquamarine) and got everything ready to go!

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To use the dye, just follow the instructions on the bottle. You get warm water and put a weeeee little bit of dye in and mix it about. The water doesn’t have to be boiling or anything, just warm. Though it even works with cold water if you leave it in there long enough.

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Please excuse the nail polish haha. Anyway, I left the fabric in the dye for a little while and impatiently checked and checked until I decided to pull it out to prevent it from getting over-saturated. Since I was going for pastels, I wanted the color to be very faint. Unfortunately, even at it’s faintest it was still… too much.

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See that light pink in the middle of the pile that looks like a washed out highlighter? That’s how it turned out, and it was a little too glowy for me. So I decided I’d try mixing my colors to (hopefully) tone it down. Spoiler: when I used the mixed dye to color the fabric, it turned out like the darker pink part of the pile in the photo above. Which had better, warmer undertones, but was too dark to be pastel. Dang.

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Then I discovered that Rit actually has a color mixing guide on their website! Totally should have checked that out beforehand! Turned out I needed to get some tan dye to warm up and subdue the brightness of my colors.

I started out following the rules, measuring teaspoons of dyes and cups of water, but by the end I was winging it. The dye was really forgiving, and because I wanted all my strips to vary, it was ok if the color was a little different each time. Also, if you dye the fabric one color and don’t quite like it, you can dye it again in another color to get sort of a wash of that second color onto the first. For example, many times my pink mixes were still too pink or my blues were still too blue, so I’d make a batch of tan dye and leave the pinks and blues in there for a while to soak up the tan. Hope all this makes sense and isn’t too confusing. It’s not that hard once you start getting your hands dirty, I promise :)

I found that I liked tearing the fabric into strips first and then dying it, but you may like doing it the other way around. After I pulled out each strip from the dye and rung it out, I let it air dry hanging in the shower. You can see that it dries pretty wrinkly, but I thought that actually gave it a nice shabby chic effect.

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Once it was dry, I set up a couple curtain rods so I could see how it would look once it was more put together. As I mentioned in the last post, we decided to use two curtain rods for the backdrop: one in front for the fabric, and one behind to hang sheer white curtains from (to act as sort of a backdrop for my backdrop, if you will).

Here’s how it looked when I hung it all up!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - And here’s how it looked about 30 seconds later.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

To attach the fabric to the curtain rod, I just folded it over and pinned it to itself with a safety pin. I kept going, adding more and more neutral pinkish-tan pieces to pull everything together. Once we finished the wooden backdrop frame, I was super excited to actually put it all together!

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And then… womp womp. Somehow in my excitement about dying, I totally got the wrong length for my fabric. It was like our backdrop was wearing high waters. Luckily, I had bought the last of a bolt of fabric and was cutting it as I went, so I still had a little bit that was uncut.

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But it definitely wasn’t enough to match the amount of too-short strands. It ended up looking like just a handful of full length pieces peeking out from underneath the short ones. But I didn’t want to toss all my beautifully dyed, vertically challenged fabric and I didn’t want to buy a buttload more fabric either. So I got sneaky.

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Yep, I took a few of the short strips and cut them up into even smaller bits that were just long enough to bridge the gap from the short strips to the floor. I tried to match up colors and widths on some so it would look like a continuous strand. On others, I’d purposefully pin (for example) a skinny blue piece behind a wide pink piece and just look at it and pretend that a full length blue piece was hiding behind the big pink one. Which is totally what it looked like!

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After pinning everything in place, I just hand stitched it together. Unless you were looking at it as closely as this photo was, the seams were pretty much invisible!

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Excited about my fabric ninja skills, I made my way across the bottom and filled in the gap to the floor.

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And finally… ta-da!!!!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

To transport the fabric to the wedding, I split the curtain rod in half and rolled up each side. Then I put them both in a trashbag together to keep the rolls of fabric in place.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

And there you have it! It was super easy to transport, reassemble, and disassemble at the end of the night. Plus… it looked gorgeous!!!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) -

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To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part I)

Good golly I love bad puns!

After our wedding got published on Wedding Chicks, our blog traffic got cah-razy and we’ve been getting lots of requests for more wedding tutorials- especially for the backdrop we made for our DIY photobooth!

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The photobooth was SUPER popular, and we knew our family/friends would be taking tons of photos, so I wanted to make a nice backdrop for everyone to stand in front of.

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We actually planned on using the backdrop as our ceremony backdrop and then later moving it to the photobooth area, but we decided against that for a couple reasons. First off, the wind was SUPER crazy during set up and we worried it would be blowing all over us during the ceremony. Observe.

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Luckily the wind was just a light breeze for the rest of the night so this ended up not being an issue anyway. But also, the flowers that day on the gazebo were so so beautiful that we did not want to cover anything up. (Plus they matched the flower in my hair so it was pretty much meant to be!)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop -

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop -

But enough pretty pictures (though I could look at these all day!) – onto the DIY (aka lots of not-as-pretty but hopefully helpful pictures!)

Our backdrop consisted of a couple parts- the frame and the fabric. I’ll start with the frame.

To make our frame, we decided to build two legs with feet to keep them sturdy, and notches on top of the legs that could hold 2 curtain rods for our fabric to hang from. In the picture below, you can see the front-on view (along with close up photos of the notches).

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Here is a top-down view of the feet. I’ll get into more details about these soon, just wanted y’all to have a visual first.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop -

We knew we’d be driving this contraption from Houston to Austin for the wedding, so we wanted something that would pack well and be easy to set up. To make it pack well, the legs needed to be removable from the feet so everything could lay flat. And instead of doing wood across the top we decided on curtain rods because they were also easy to remove AND the curtain rods would allow our width to be adjustable (we didn’t want to be locked into a specific width).

We started with the feet. We knew we wanted them to be able to hold a 2×4 vertically in place as a leg, but that 2×4 also needed to be easily removable. We bought some 2×4’s and got them cut at Home Depot into 6 pieces. Evan sanded a few rough edges, but how much sanding you do will depend on how polished you want it to be. We didn’t do much haha.

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For each foot, Evan placed 2 pieces parallel to each other and one across the top. The plan was to secure the top one to the bottom two with some long screws, so he drilled pilot holes first.

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With the pilot holes drilled, he then secured the boards with 5 long screws on each side. We wanted this backdrop to be sturdy people! I’ve seen too many “wedding fail” videos to risk this thing crashing down on us (or small children, or grandparents, or drunk uncles).

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To make assembly and disassembly easy, Evan decided we could use L brackets and these little bolts with pins to hold everything in place. You’ll see what I mean as we get there. First, we used a 2×4 to space two L brackets in the center of each foot. We made sure they were as tight as they could be against the 2×4.

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As you can see above, we secured those to the foot with screws and washers. Since I was holding the 2×4 steady, I didn’t get photos of the next part, but basically Evan then drilled screws through those two holes in the L bracket and out the other side of the 2×4. These holes were just barely big enough to hold our bolts, so everything was nice and snug. Then we used a rubber mallet to pound the bolts through the holes, like so:

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And below is a photo of what the bolts and pins look like in real life. You can get these at Home Depot.

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After the bolts were pounded through, we made things extra extra secure by popping a little pin through the other end. Like I said, I was not taking any chances of this thing being flimsy! The photos below were taken after we stained it, but they really help demonstrate, so just pretend that wood is still a blonde :)

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For the legs, you can really do whatever height you want. We wanted something that was tall enough for Evan to stand in front of, so we just used the full length of the 2×4’s you get at Home Depot.

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Evan stained them using the same stain we used for our marquee letters and string-and-nail letters: Minwax’s Dark Walnut.

After we stained it, we labeled the feet and legs so that when we reassembled things we would put the correct leg with the correct foot. Even though you’d think 2×4’s are all the same size, there is a little variation sometimes. And since we wanted the legs to fit so snugly in the brackets on each foot, we wanted to make sure we paired the right leg with the foot that was fitted to it. So we labeled the left foot and leg with an A, and the right foot and leg with a B.

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Then we cut notches in the top of each 2×4 that would be able to hold the curtain rods going across the top. Again, we chose to use curtain rods (instead of another 2×4 or PVC) because they would be width-adjustable. Plus, we already had them, so they were freeeee.

We roughly sharpied on some zig-zags onto our wood as guides (since that would be easier to cut than anything rounded out).

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Then just a couple quick cuts and we had notches for our curtain rods to sit nicely into!

Pssst, the reason we did two notches on each leg instead of one is because I’ve seen too many barren-looking backdrops. You know, where the breeze flutters it a bit and you see how sparse all those fabric strips look when there is no solidity to them. So I decided to have one curtain rod with fabric strips, and another curtain rod behind it with white sheer curtains that would act as a solid background for the fabric. The awesome part was that we already had cheap white sheer curtains from Ikea so we just used those!

The curtain rods sat nicely in the top of the notches when everything was assembled. And that’s pretty much it for the frame, all done!

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This post is starting to get long, and now that we’ve finished going over the backdrop frame, I think we’ll call it a day and write about the fabric in part II! But below, you can get a little sneak peek of how it all started coming together :)

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PS- you can hop on over and see Part II (making the fabric) right here!


Nailed It! DIY Free-Standing Nail & String Letters

You guys learned about our love of large typography when we made our DIY L.O.V.E. Marquee letters (which looked AMAZING at our wedding by the way!)

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DIY Nail & String Letters -

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Well the large-wooden-letter train did not stop there! We also wanted to do a large “E” and a large “K” (for Evan and Katelyn) to hang at the entrance of our venue. But it was sort of a last minute addition to the DIY to-do list (and by “last minute” I mean we still had like 2 months… I plan things very far in advance, so 2 months to go counts as last minute), so we didn’t want to take on anything too complicated.

Then I remembered seeing all those cool string & nail letters on Pinterest and it was settled! (Not sure what I’m referring too? Check out these). Of course, we had to do something a littttttle different than what was already out there. You’ll notice that most existing examples are some sort of rectangular “canvas” (wood, foam board, etc) with the nails outlining the letters. We wanted free standing letters.

First we chose a font and printed it really large, similar to how we did for the L.O.V.E. letters, across multiple sheets of paper.

DIY Nail & String Letters - DIY Nail & String Letters -

There are a couple ways to print them that way. When we did the marquee letters, we used a Windows computer which gives you the option to tile your print. You just mess with the settings in the “Page Setup.” Here are some more detailed instructions:

This time we used (aka the most awkward website to tell your friends to go to), which is a site that will print large scale images as multiple dots. It asks you to upload an image, set how many sheets you want it to be, and adjust the frequency of the dot grid (how tight or far apart the dots are). When you print your image, you kind of have to connect the dots (literally) to get your solid outline, but it works in a pinch if you don’t have a Windows

Once we taped together our sheets and cut out our letters, we were ready to go. Mochi wasn’t ready for us to go, but we were ready to go.

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We picked up one piece of 2 feet x 4 feet pre-sanded plywood (the same kind we used for the marquee letters), we traced out the letters, and Evan cut them with his jigsaw. Somehow forgot to take photos of this part. Then we hammered thin finishing nails at regular increments around the perimeter of the letters. Somehow forgot to take photos of that part too. Seriously, we stop blogging for a few months to plan a little wedding and all our tutorial-making skills go out the window. Anyway, here is how things were looking after the nails were in.

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We tried to get pretty close to the edge with the nails, but not tooooo close because we didn’t want the wood to split.

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In retrospect, we should have stained them before we added the nails. But the nails weren’t too hard to stain around. And since they were a dark color, any stain that got on them didn’t really show up. We used a Minwax stain in Dark Walnut and Evan swiped it on with a brush and then spread it out with an old T-shirt rag.

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Then we moved onto the E. Looking good!

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Once they were dry we took them inside to start stringing ’em up. This was the fun part :D

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I couldn’t decide on what colors to use so I got 3 different teals and 3 different peaches to choose from. We ended up using… all of them! Yep, we got started with a teal on the E and a peach on the K and then just decided to keep going until we used up all the string because we didn’t want to go back to the store, even though the colors weren’t the same. It turned out pretty sweet though!

Below you can see the K after one color of string (it looks white in the photo but it’s actually a light peach) and again after all three colors of string were added.

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To add the string, we would tie one end tightly to a nail and just start zig zagging around, trying to get the string pretty evenly distributed around the letter. When we finished one color, we would tie it off on the closest nail and start a new color.

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Annnnnnd done! It was super fast and easy adding the string.

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The letters looked super cute at the wedding! We used fishing wire to hang them on the big wooden doors at the entrance of our venue.

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And the awesome part is that now we get to use them as art in our home! There is a lot of wedding decor that gets used on the big day and never again, but we tried to make as much as possible usable in our home after the wedding. Now we have these letters hanging on the brick in our entryway.

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You can see them here looking into our living room. (Pay no attention to those stray wires hanging from the ceiling, all will be explained in good time…)

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DIY Paper Lantern Chandelier

As y’all know, we DIY’d a lot of wedding projects. I reeeeeeally wanted to incorporate paper lanterns in a creative way to give our decor a sense of whimsy, so I landed on the idea of a paper lantern chandelier. Yes this was a project for our wedding, but I really think it could be used for any party, and a scaled down version could even be cute in a nursery!

Isn’t the finished product pretty? This is the prettiest picture you’ll see in this post for a while, bear with us while we get our hands dirty putting this thing together!

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I had seen a lot of cool paper lantern chandeliers on Pinterest that were basically hula hoops with paper lanterns attached to them. But the problem with those was that you were limited by the size of the hula hoops. We wanted something a bit larger, so we had to get creative.

It was puzzling to come up with something light enough to be suspended, but sturdy enough to hold its shape. We browsed Home Depot trying to look at building materials and imagine them working. We considered building a wood frame but thought it would be too heavy. Then we thought about PVC piping but thought it might not be too pretty with all the joints. But that led us to the idea of using our good ol’ buddy PEX piping for the basic framework- and we just so happen to have some leftover from our pipe replacement last year!

DIY Paper Lantern Chandelier-

The cool part about choosing PEX piping for this project is that it already wants to be in a circle and you can easily adjust the size. We decided on a 54″ diameter. To attach its ends to each other, we actually used a cheap PVC fitting and kinda forced it to work. Technically the fitting is sized for something a hair smaller, but the PEX is flexible so we were able to make it work

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This large circle gave the the basic framework for our chandelier, but we had to come up with some way to hang it. We decided to attach pieces of thin nylon rope across the diameter at regular intervals. At the center where all the rope pieces met, we would use a hook that it could be hung from.

We used a long piece of wood from another project to trace lines in pencil directly onto our garage floor. And we used a right angle to make sure we got the spacing/angle accurate.

DIY Paper Lantern Chandelier-

You know, math stuff. This left us with a lovely design on our garage floor that we could center our PEX circle on top of.

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Once we got it centered, we made a mark on the PEX wherever a line met it. This showed us each spot on the circle that we needed to attach our rope to.


To attach the rope, we bought some eye hooks that were long enough to go through the PEX. Evan drilled holes through the PEX at each mark so that we could pop the eye hooks in.


Make sure you drill holes that are the correct size for the hooks; you want the hooks to fit snugly inside. After the holes were drilled, we popped in our hooks with their loops facing the inside of the circle. We secured them with nuts on the other side.


Then we cut 4 pieces of rope to go through our 8 hooks like so.


We were worried simply tying the rope in a knot at each eye hook would look messy and not be secure enough. So we used a trick Evan knew to secure them better. First we looped the rope through the hook and got a small zip tie ready.


The w pulled the zip tie as tight as we could around the loop of rope. We used pliers to grip it tightly so we could really pull. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. Clearly we were pulling so vigorously that the camera couldn’t handle it.


Then we cut off the extra plastic from the zip tie as close as we could, and repeated the steps with a second zip tie (since we wanted to be super secure).


We repeated this all the way around your circle, pulling our rope tight so that there’s not extra slack.

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At the center where all the ropes met, we hooked on a quick link (you can find them at Home Depot) which gave us a point to hang the whole deal from.


To test it, we used the same type of rope, tied one end to the central link, and hung it from our garage ceiling. The good news about using the link to hang it from is that you can adjust it from side to side until it is balanced. Sucess!

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We decided it was good enough to bring inside and hang some paper lanterns. But once we added that extra weight, things started to get weird. Although the warping was kind of cool in a way, we worried once we added lighting to our lanterns it would be too heavy and the frame wouldn’t be strong enough. Womp womp.


We knew we had to call in reinforcements. And by “call in” I mean browse Home Depot again til we figured something out.

First we were thinking dowels, but then we came across these lightweight wood trim pieces that were actually cheaper. Score!

We hoped that 3 pieces going across our PEX circle would be enough, so we snagged those and headed home. We laid them out on our garage floor and put one long screw through all 3 of them from the top down. Because it was a screw (not a nail), this allowed us to adjust the wood pieces little by little until we got them evenly spaced.


Once we had the spacing right, we secured them with a couple nails to keep them from moving anymore.


The next part was a little tricky. We wanted to use the tension from our wooden pieces to push out from the center against our circle in order to keep the PEX from warping. So we decided to make holes in the PEX that the ends of the wood could pop into. Evan used his drill to make the hole, wiggling it back and forth to make it wide enough for the wood. He did not make the holes go all the way through the PEX, just through one wall.


Then he sanded down the corners of the end of the wood so it would pop in more smoothly.




It was a little tricky measuring the spots for the other holes. Once we popped in the first wood piece, it pushed against the PEX and made it oblong. So much so that we were worried it would pop off our PVC fitting! So we secured it with a couple nails before moving forward.


Because the first wood piece made the circle want to turn oblong, we had to hold it into a circle and mark the places we thought we needed to drill, then try it and see if it worked. It required a little trial by error but we got it!


Next came a very satisfying part… spray painting! Up until this point our paper lantern chandelier frame looked a little mish moshed, but painting it all pretty silver really brought it all together.


Now that our frame was sturdy, we decided to try hanging paper lanterns again. But let me back track a bit. We had to find a way to hang them that would make it very easy and quick to disassemble and reassemble our chandelier (since we would have to transport it from our house to the wedding and back).

We went with fishing line because it is pretty invisible. We tied one end of each piece of fishing line to the PEX, tight enough that the paper lanterns wouldn’t slide around on their own, but loose enough that we could easily move the line from side to side as we determined our final layout.


On the end of each piece of fishing line, instead of tying it directly to the paper lantern itself, we tied it to a small washer, like this:


This allowed us to more easily switch lanterns around as we determined the layout, and it let us remove the lanterns for transportation. The lanterns easily hooked into them.


Once we decided on a final layout, we added a tiny drop of glue to each string where it was tied to the PEX so that it stayed in place permanently. I also added a label to the bottom of each string to make it easy to reassemble at the wedding (I just used colored sticky notes and a sharpie, you can sort of see the little squares above each paper lantern in the photo below).

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The photo above puts the scale into perspective. This thing was pretty big! Lastly, we wanted to add lights so that all our hard work was still visible even once it got dark outside. There are a lot of ways to add lights, like making throwies or ordering LED’s meant for paper lanterns. But because this was for a wedding and would need to be set up that morning, we wanted something that we knew would last a really long time and remain bright throughout the night.

We bought LED under cabinet lights on Amazon, and I forgot to take a photo of just them but they are basically little discs with lots of LED bulbs within them. Evan put his engineering skills to good use and printed hooks that we could glue to the back of the lights and hang them from each lantern’s metal frame.


Note, in the photo above we had not glued them, we just used the stickies that came with the lights to stick them on. But those ended up not being strong enough to we had to glue the hooks on instead.

We turned on the lights and hung the hooks off of each of the lanterns, and voila!

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It was awesome to get to use this at the wedding! And even with the lights, which were the most expensive part, it was thousands less than having a professional vendor set up light paper lanterns at your wedding venue. Woohoo!

DIY Paper Lantern Chandelier-

DIY Paper Lantern Chandelier-