Archive | Wedding

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!

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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.

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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-


We’re Back!


And married!

Stay tuned for lots of posts- we have some house updates to fill you guys in on and a TON of wedding DIY projects to write about (as soon as we unpack our honeymoon bags and reclaim our house, there is still wedding stuff everywhere!).

Thank you everyone for being understanding about our lack of posts while we planned our wedding, said our “I do’s,” and jetted off to the other side of the world for a couple weeks!



It’s a new year, and as a new year’s present WordPress sent us this “annual report” that displays a bunch of our stats and figures in a really cool infographic (psst- check it out by clicking the image below!)

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Seeing all those stats made us all warm and fuzzy knowing our blog baby has done as well as it has (seriously, we thought only our moms would read this thing). But it also made us feel guilty about neglecting the blog for so long, so we wanted to touch base with you guys, let you know we’re still alive, and tell you that we have LOTS of stuff planned for 2014!

Item number one on the to-do list is to get our butts married already! Ok now I’m picturing just our butts united in holy matrimony. “Do you Katelyn’s butt take Evan’s butt to be your lawfully wedded butt-husband for as long as you both shall butt?” Ok I’m taking this butt thing too far. What a nice way to start a post. Sorry guys, I have the humor of a 13 year old boy.

-51 copy Item number two is to catch you guys up on the projects we’ve been completing! I’ll be honest, posts will probably still be few and far between until after the wedding this April, but we’ll have a butt load to share with you when we get our free time back (there I go with butts again…). A few things you can look forward too are:

-Fixing a door we used to have to body-check to close
-Moving a derpy off-center ceiling light (and replacing it with a new badass one!)
-Making an easy modern solid wood side table that’s way cheaper than you could buy in stores

IMG_4781 Item number three is to share our DIY wedding projects! We decided to keep them secret until after the wedding because we don’t want them to seem like old news by the time the big day gets here. But post-wedding, you’ll be seeing things like:

-Centerpieces we upcycled from free stuff
-A big still-in-progress backdrop we’re making
-An artsy guestbook alternative that we can display in our house forever

IMG_4309 copy Item number four is sharing all the projects we want to do this year! We are both super excited to have the time to tackle more house projects, like:

-Painting more rooms
-Painting the cream trim white (gulp!)
-Updating the lights/fans in all our rooms
-Painting our kitchen cabinets (if I grow the balls to do so)
-Giving our master bathroom a nice makeover (I still think it’s super awkward)
-Replacing our siding and giving our exterior a new paint job (might hire this one out though)

We are so happy that we still get views and comments from our readers and we’re really sorry the posts have been so slow lately! Cross my heart, as soon as we catch our breath after the wedding craziness we’ll be jumping headfirst into house stuff again and the consistent-blogging will commence!


Wedding Mode: Activated

I’ve been a terrible blog-mother. I have shoved our little creation into the closet under the stairs and neglected it for almost two weeks!

Things have been 100% wedding and work over here. I’m almost at my 6-months-til-the-wedding mark so I am getting. sh*t. done. Unfortunately, that means house projects have been put on hold for a while until I feel like I get a handle on things.


After all the vendors and logistics are in order, I’ll be tackling lots and lots of wedding DIY projects. But I’ve decided not to share a most of them on the blog until after the wedding because I realized I don’t want to give all the surprises away before the big day. But after the I do’s are exchanged, get ready for an all out wedding project EXPLOSION.

Also we decided to use this time to get stuff done on the house that we were planning to hire out anyway. So it’s still productive, just not 100% DIY. First on the list is… our patio!!!

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We are thinking about going with concrete for a more modern and geometric feel, kinda like this. Also, we thought pavers would be more expensive and time consuming. You guys have any thoughts on the concrete vs pavers debate? Most of what I’ve found online compares pavers to stamped concrete, which isn’t what we want, but it’s hard to find opinions on straight up concrete. Thanks!!


DIY Coffee Filter Flowers, 5 Ways

After gathering an army of painted wine bottles, I was still having a hard time deciding if I could somehow work them into our wedding centerpieces. They were pretty cool, but lacked a pop of color.

Enter coffee filter flowers.

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I’ve been eyeballing these things on Pinterest for months, waiting for an excuse to try making some hand-dyed ones. There are about five bajillion tutorials online explaining how to make them and I found/made up five methods I thought were worth sharing :)

Method #1 – Too Much Tape

This method I was not crazy about. It started off ok though.First off you fold your coffee filter in half over and over again til it’s this size (I think I folded it in half 4 times). Then you cut off the top (outside) so that it’s curved, and snip about 1/2 inch off the bottom (inside) so that when you open it there is a hole in the middle. Next make a cut from the outside to the inside so that you can open up the circle.


You make about 6 of these, then you roll out a long strip of tape and stick the coffee filters on one by one. You stick the inside circle of the coffee filters to the tape and crumple them as you go. Once you have a full strip of coffee filters, grab your stick (I used the ones we saved from our branch) and wrap the tape around it, starting at one end.


This is how they turned out for me. The end result is sort of… tall? I feel like there was too much tape and it wanted to angle upwards or downwards as I went. The last parts I taped were way further from the end of the stick than the first parts I taped. So meh, it was ok, but I wasn’t crazy about it.

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Onto Method #2 – Same Idea, Less Tape

For this method I basically did the same thing but I didn’t stick it all to one long strip of tape. I cut the 6 coffee filters the same way, and then instead of sticking them to tape and wrapping the tape around the stick, I started wrapping the filters themselves directly onto the stick.

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I used a small piece of clear tape to secure each filter. The result was a flower that was still tall but slightly less so. And definitely less bulky where the filters met the stick. Getting closer!

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Method #3 – Graduated Heights

For this method I continued to wrap each filter on individually, but this time I did not cut curves onto the ends for petals. More importantly, when I cut the tip off the inside of the filters, I cut off more from the filters that would be on the inside so that they would be shorter than the ones on the outside. See what I mean in the top left photo below? I was hoping this would make the flower less tall.


This method I liked. The flower didn’t turn out all “tall” and it looked more balanced. Yay!

Method #4 – Deep Petal Cuts

I wanted to try that technique with petals too. And since I had already done sort of medium sized petals, I wanted to do deeper cut petals this time. See the top left picture below how I cut more down the folded sides of my filter instead of just a little semi circle off the top? Once I had 5 or 6 of these, I cut slits in them from the outside to the center like before and started wrapping them one by one.


In the end I had this very pretty puffy flowers! I like!

Method #5 – Poke a Hole In It

There was another method I still wanted to try that didn’t involve cutting the slit in each coffee filter before wrapping it around the stick. Instead, you just make a small hole in the middle of each filter and poke the stick through it.

First you fold 5 or 6 coffee filters as usual and cut the outside ends to form petals. But this time, do NOT cut off the tips on the bottom. However, you do still want to cut the 5-6 filters so that they start off bigger and end up smaller. So the first one just barely cut off enough to give it a curved petal, and cut off a little more with each one.

Then poke the tip of your stick through them, starting with the largest and ending with the smallest, like the picture below.

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Then you take the smallest filter on top and crumple it around the end of the stick (like shown above). Use a small piece of clear tape to secure it. Then do the same thing with each filter. In the end, you have a big puff puff flower!

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Methods 3, 4 and 5 were definitely the easiest and yielded the best results for me. For any of these methods, you can experiment with the petal types (no petals at all, normal shallow-cut petals, or deeper-cut long petals).

Of course, I didn’t stop here. I moved onto the part I was most excited about- dying them!!!!

I’ve read some tutorials where you dye the filters before making the flowers, but I already had made mine and I didn’t want to start over, so I winged it. I took some acrylic paint we had on hand (but you could use the cheap cheap stuff at Micheal’s too) and put a few little dots of colors in the bottom of a plastic cup.

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Then I just kinda smashed the flower in there and tilted the cup around until all the paper was saturated.


I squeezed out the excess paint over the cup so that it would fall back in for the next flower.


I carefully spread the petals out and let it almost dry. Then I mixed a slightly darker shade of the same color, grabbed my brush, and hand painted some of the darker color just on the inside petals to give it a little dimension and a more realistic look. It’s still kinda soggy in the picture below.


Here is that same flower all dry. It looks really cool! And it’s interesting that the paint naturally got concentrated on the edges of the petals.



I had too much of the darker color I used for the middle of this one left over so I diluted it a bit more and used it for some pink flowers like this one.


Here’s that one after I painted the inside a bit darker and let it dry all the way too.

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I also tried some blue flowers, and they were pretty but ended up looking too unnatural and “icy.”


So I stuck with pink/peach tones for most of my flowers, and here they are!

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And some pretty detail shots of course….

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DIY Wine Bottles, 4 Ways

***Update! We did end up using one of these methods for the wedding- the silver and glitter bottles! Check it out!

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***End updates

So I’ve been trying to think of inexpensive DIY centerpiece ideas for the wedding. Incorporating wine bottles somehow sounded like the perfect option because they are free and there are about a billion wine bottle crafts all over pinterest.

Ironically Evan and I aren’t really wine drinkers (maybe we’ll like it when we’re all grown up), but we have lots of friends and family who were willing to save bottles for us and I’ve gathered quite the collection now!

After soaking the bottles in water to peel off the labels and then goo-gone-ing them to get off the residue, I came up with the ideas I wanted to try:

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1) My first thought was chalkboard paint. I thought being able to write table numbers or draw hearts or “E+K” on the bottles would be super cute.

2) The next idea was painting them silver using the same paint Evan used on our votives and branch. And maybe combining that with some silver glitter

3) I also thought doing a matte white could look cool and mod.

4) The last idea didn’t require sticker peeling or painting. I wanted to try doing yarn-wrapped bottles, so since my mom has a bunch of yarn she tackled these guys for me while I tried the painted bottles.

For #1, we picked up some Rustoleum chalkboard spray paint for $5 and I did 2 coats on a wine bottle and a Stella Cider (aka the best stuff ever) bottle. Super easy, super fast. And I used some chalk we had on hand to sketch some handwritten numbers. Sorry, the 4 got a little smeary when I picked it up!

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For #2, I spray painted more wine and Stella bottles silver. When they were dry, I taped off the bottom of one of them and used a foam brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge. Then I sprinkled silver glitter over it before the Mod Podge dried and removed the tape. In hindsight, I think I should have applied a thicker glue layer so I could get more glitter to stick.

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For #3, I picked up some satin white spray paint because Michael’s didn’t have flat. So it wasn’t the exact sheen (or lack thereof) I was going for, but it was close enough to get an idea. Oh yeah, and I also threw a pickle jar into this mix. You know, for good measure.

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Last but not least, #4: yarn wrapped bottles. All credit for this one goes to my awesome mom! Starting at the bottom, she applied a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue to just as much of the bottle she could work on at a time. Then she’d wrap that section until she ran out of glue, applied more glue, and continued to wrap.

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Aren’t they pretty? Mom did an awesome job!

I tried grouping my three types of painted bottles together to see how that would look too. Kind of a cool eclectic look, but it might get too busy once flowers are added.

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I think bottle groupings have some real potential as wedding decor. Not sure if I want to mix them or stick with all one paint. Also debating between real flowers and coffee filter flowers (which I’m gonna do a post on soon!). And we wanna add a few extra items that would make the grouping more “us.” We’ll keep you posted on things!


Evan’s Wedding DIY

Herro there! I’ve been up to my earlobes in wedding crafts lately. All. Up. In it. Last week I shared some DIY watercolor votives I tried, and Monday we shared our long overdue DIY marquee letters. But today’s post is about a couple wedding DIY projects the future hubs tackled himself :)

He was inspired by all the paint-“dipped” stuff that I’ve been showing him on Pinterest lately:

4f4a78efdcb0ab9bab648e10f38e3442 We weren’t sure if gold would fit our style, but silver was right up our alley. So Evan took a couple of our cheap votives and taped them off so that he could spray paint the bottom with some silver Krylon spray paint.

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan's Wedding DIY

Hi did another with the middle of the votive taped off (instead of the top) and when he was done we added them to our collection.

Evan's Wedding DIY Evan's Wedding DIY

The modern, geometric design is quite the juxtaposition to my artsy organic paint. We like how these turned out a lot, but again we aren’t sure if they’ll have a place in our wedding or not. All four of these have a place in our home though! Like on our office built ins:

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan's Wedding DIY

And on our dining room built ins:

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan’s wedding DIY did not end there though. He remembered this awesome wood+paint art installation he had seen by Holton Rower. We thought it could be really cool to make wooden platforms for our centerpieces to sit on that were done in that style.


So he grabbed a piece of scrap wood, some watered down acrylic paint, and got to work.

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This is what happened. It totally didn’t flow like it does in the installation. Probably because we were using far less paint, and I think they use a special thinner (we just used water).

Evan's Wedding DIY

It was a little busy with all that color, so Evan busted out his finger painting skills and swirled it around til it made a light gray. Then he added lines of white and pink, turning the board and letting gravity do it’s thing, creating drips.

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan's Wedding DIY

He kept adding more paint doing the same dripping technique, til eventually he was left with this. It’s pretty cool and marble-y looking but we both agree that it’s not gonna be in the wedding decor. we’re afraid it would make things way too busy. Though maybe we can come up with a simplified version, because we still think the idea is fun.

Evan's Wedding DIY

Ultimately, we aren’t sure we’ve found anything that’s gonna make the wedding cut, but it’s been fun crafting! If anyone has any ideas for simple and cheap crafts that could be incorporated into wedding decor, we are all ears!


Makin’ Loooooove… COMPLETE! {DIY Marquee Letters}


We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]


We finally got to use these at our wedding!! We ADORE how they turned out! It was 100% worth the time and effort.

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If you need to get caught up on the DIY Marquee Letter saga, check out part 1 and part 2.  You can also see a budget breakdown and materials list at the end of this post.

Here’s how it started: before we even bought our house, we went to a wedding expo and spotted these marquee letters. We instantly fell in L.O.V.E. with them and had to figure out how to make our own!

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So we made a template (psst- download it here), cut it out of plywood and stained it, and then we derped around for a few months doing all sorts of house things instead of completing this project.

Finally, we decided it was time give the people what they wanted finish ‘er up. And that meant doing the hardest part: adding the metal flashing to the sides. We bought four rolls of 6-inch aluminum flashing because we wanted our letters to have metal siding (there are some tutorials online using poster board for the sides but we wanted something a little more sturdy). We couldn’t find any tutorials for making wood and metal letters so we decided to wing it.

(Before we get into all the pictures, a quick side note: we worked on this project on and off over several months so don’t be surprised if our outfits, location, time of day, and Evan’s haircut-necessity-level change from picture to picture.)

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We started with the L because it was the easiest and because we are just OCD enough that the thought of doing the letters out of order bothered us. The first step when adding the flashing is to unroll your metal and sit the letter on it.

Choose where you want the start and the end of your metal to meet (for the L, we chose the bottom of it), then make your first bend in the metal. We used the help of a putty knife and a hammer to make our bends.

Draw a line on the metal where you want your bend to be, place the sharp end of a putty knife (or similar object) on that line, and hammer the handle of the putty knife so that the sharp end is pounded into the metal. This works best if you’re working on carpet or a rug instead of a hard table top or hard flooring. You need some give underneath the metal to allow the putty knife to push into it.

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You’ll notice in the photo above we have a few bends in the metal already. Once you make your first bend, you’ll need to measure along your letter to find out where on the metal roll to make the next bend. So for the L, we did it like this:

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We started the edge of the metal where it says “Start” above and measured how far that point was to the lower right hand corner of the L (where “A” meets “B”). On the metal, we measured that same length from the edge and made a 90 degree bend using the putty knife and hammer technique. We did that all around the L. The angle marks above our rainbow-esque metal flashing in the guide above indicate what direction the angle is bent at.

It’s pretty easy to do this for each letter as you go, but if you chose a complex looking font it could get tricky. Therefore, we highly recommend a sans-serif font!

For some letters, like the L, it was pretty easy for just one person to do the measurements and bends.

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But other letters were two-person jobs, like the E. I never thought about how many angles a capital E has until we had to bend sharp metal around every one of them! For the E, I needed to hold the flashing up while Evan measured and bent so that it didn’t fall onto itself. And sorry about the PJ’s. Although it took us months to finish this project, extra time could not be spared to get properly dressed.

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Once you have all your angles made, you’ll see the shape of the letter start to form and you can wrap the metal around your letter! Ahhhh!! Exciting!! Just don’t forget to cut off the extra metal (see it to the left of the L in the image below) with some sturdy clippers. We liked to leave a couple inches of overlap when we cut it.

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{DIY Marquee Letters} -

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We did not take a picture of the O at this stage of completion because it required a slightly different method. Since the metal did not have any bends or corners to hang onto, it wouldn’t stay put. So I had to pretty much wrap myself around the letter while Evan hammered nails in to anchor it. This is actually the only picture we have of this stage of the O because it was all hands on deck for this one.

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Which brings us to our next step: attaching the metal.

First we made guide lines on the metal so that we could center it against the edge of our plywood. Since our plywood was 1/2-inch thick and our metal flashing was 6-inches wide, we marked dots that were 2-3/4 inches from each side (so that there was a 1/2-inch space between them going down the center of the metal).

Then we connected our dots and used those as our guide. These marks were made on the side of the metal that would be attached to the wood.

In hindsight, it would have been easier to do this before bending the metal. Oh hindsight!

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On the other side of the metal (the side facing outside), we marked dots along the center of the metal (3 inches from the edge) so that we knew where to nail. We made a dot every inch or so, but you could do more or less if you wanted.

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Since we had our plywood and nail guides, we wrapped the metal around the letters, aligning the plywood with our 1/2 inch space on the inside of the metal. Evan hammered in a nail or two while I held it in place to keep it from shifting.

We used short 1/2-inch finishing nails to do the job. We started out originally using longer nails, but a few times we didn’t hammer them in straight enough and their ends poked through the wood (ooops!). When that happens it’s kind of a pain to carefully pull them out without causing more damage.

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But the 1/2-inch nails were harder to hammer because holding such a tiny nail was difficult. So we used our longer nails to hammer little pilot holes through the metal and just barely into the wood, and then hammered our shorter nails into the pilot holes. It was WAY easier. Also, we still (carefully) used the longer nails at the corners because we felt like that they might be a better anchor.

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So after Evan hammered in a couple nails to keep the metal from shifting, together we’d go down each side of the letter and create pilot holes, and then add our 1/2-inch nails. Lots and lots of nails.

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The V and the E needed a little extra help because there were areas in each that we couldn’t nail due to lack of space for the hammer. On the V, we couldn’t get the hammer passed a certain point in the “dip” of the V. So we decided to nail as far as we could and then use epoxy.

That didn’t work too well because it was hard to hold the metal against the wood long enough for it to set. We didn’t have a big clamp, so we tried to wedge enough random tools in there to hold the metal down in place. I’ll pause while you laugh.

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Yeah. That didn’t work. So we went to Home Depot, got some Gorilla Glue, and picked up a big clamp. And then taped the crap out of the whole thing because we really really didn’t want another glue fail.

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The Gorilla Glue worked! But it squished out the sides (womp womp) and we had to cut the excess off with a razor blade, which was annoying. When we did the other side of the V, we made sure to apply as little glue as possible so that we didn’t have the same problem again.

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Even though the Gorilla Glue worked, there were a lot of places on the E that we couldn’t use nails and we didn’t want to deal with all the gluing and clamping again.

So for the parts of the metal that went in between the “legs” of the E, we bent them so that the sides were curving toward the wood of the E (like the colored pieces in the image below) and then hammered a few nails in between each bent piece of metal to hold things in place (along with nails around the perimeter of the letter too of course). Since the curved metal naturally wanted to press against the wood, we didn’t need any glue there.

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After the metal was firmly attached to all our letters, it was time to screw in our lights! We used two packs of these outdoor lights. Depending on the size of your letters and the closeness of the holes you drilled, you may need more or less.

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We had to screw in the lights in a way that made sense with the flow of the letters. Meaning for the L, we started at the bottom (so that we didn’t have to have a cord running from the floor to the top of a letter) and we added lights going toward the top. But we skipped every other light so that when we reached the top of the L we could make our way back to the bottom, filling in the lights we had skipped on the way up.

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On the O, we went straight across from the L to the base of the O and looped around clockwise until we got to the part of the O that was closest to the top of the V, filling in every light up to that point. Then as we continued the O (past the point closest to the top of the V) we just filled in every other light again until we reached out O starting point, where we then backtracked and filled in the holes we missed. Similar to the method on the L.

Basically, any time you know you’re going to have to backtrack, start skipping every other hole so that when you make your way back you have holes to fill in.

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We wired the lights this way because we didn’t want to have long stretches (like from the outlet to the top of the L or the base of the O to the top of the V) where there were lights that weren’t being used. Because that meant wasted lights, and we really didn’t want to buy a third pack. Hope the graphic above helps make sense of it! If not, it will make more sense when you get to this point and start playing with it.

I am happy to say, after much measuring, hammering, cutting, hammering, gluing, and hammering… we are FINALLY done!

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So of course we had to take a million pictures…

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We love the look of the metal and wood. On this zoomed in picture of the O you can really see how snugly everything fits together.

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We L.O.V.E. them sooooooooo much! Can’t wait to have these at our wedding, and we are super excited that they’ll have a spot in our home for us to enjoy forever :)

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Finally, here’s the budget breakdown. This is all rounded, but it’s pretty accurate:

(2) 2ft x 4ft pieces of pre-sanded plywood – $30
(4) rolls of 6 inch metal (similar to this but longer and therefore pricier) – $24
(1) 8-oz can of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut – $5
(2) packs of clear globe lights – $38
Nails, hammers, clamps, saw, brushes, etc – already owned/needed to have anyway

TOTAL = $97

Not bad for four very sturdy 2-ft tall letters that we love!

PS- Check out part 1: making the template and part 2: cutting out and staining the letters for the full tutorial of this project! :D

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Votive Motive

We’ve got a wedding to plan with lots of DIY elements, so as promised I’m trying to write about one of our wedding DIY projects at least every couple weeks or so. We are still working on the L.O.V.E. marquee letters (that “E” is being difficult!) but in the meantime I’ve been brainstorming what kind of centerpieces I want to do.

And I feel like I’m going in circles. It’s hard to come up with something that I can make myself and duplicate 15 or so times without breaking the bank. Because honestly, who remembers centerpieces at anyone’s wedding except their own right? It’s not something I want to spend big bucks on.

I’ve been collecting wine bottles from friends and family so that I can use those somehow (yes, there will be some wine bottle DIY crafts in the future), but today I’m going to focus on votives that could possible be scattered around said wine bottles.

Evan and I each decided to tackle a votive idea. I loved these:

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And Evan was inspired by these:


But we’ll cover Evan’s craft of choice next time since this post might get a little lengthy if I try to squeeze in both.

So to tackle my water color inspired votives, I gathered my materials: some acrylic paint (you could use cheap stuff, I just used some we already had), a brush or two, some water, a palette to mix on (but you could use a paper plate), and my votive (we got a 4-pack at Ikea for $2).

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I picked a handful of colors (if you mix too many it will just turn brownish gray) and squirted out just a dot of paint from each onto the palette. Then I drizzled water over them til they became very liquidy and started to merge together.

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Unfortunately I got so excited about the next part that I forgot to take a picture, but don’t worry I took pictures when I did it to my second votive. For this part, you just dab your brush into the paint and then dab it around the top of the inside of the votive and let the paint run down. If it’s not running, add more water, and if color isn’t sticking to the glass, add more paint. I just kinda swirled it around in there until I had this:

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It was ok. I wasn’t sure about it though, so while my paint was out I decided to try another method I was curious about:


I probably should have spent more time on this one but it was sort of an afterthought. And I think this method would work better on a larger glass where there is room for more dots. Mine turned out ok but it was nothing to get excited about.

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The good news about acrylic paint is that it was still a little wet so I was able to wash it right out and start anew. I decided to try another water color votive with different colors. Here you can see how I did the paint drips. I would load up my brush with watery paint and press it against the inside of the votive so that the extra paint would squeeze out and run down the glass.

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Here’s how both my votives looked side by side when I was through.

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And here they are withe some candles in ’em.

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I think they turned out pretty cool. And they were super easy to do. But I also think having a bunch of these on every table might start looking a little busy, so I’m not 100% sold they’ll end up at the wedding. Regardless, for $1 it was totally worth the fun of experimenting with these and they’ll be a nice little pop of color in our home.


Oh Yeah, We Have a Wedding to Plan!

Have I mentioned Evan and I are engaged? Only like a billion times right. It seems like we keep forgetting that being engaged means we are currently planning a wedding. The problem is that we keep getting so caught up in house stuff that I forget I need to stay on top of wedding planning too.

Originally, this blog was supposed to be a home DIY blog with dashes of wedding DIY tossed in here and there. Aside from our unfinished DIY marque letters, we don’t have ANY wedding posts. What the what??? I am failing at this DIY bride thing.

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But from here on out, no more. Before Evan and I say our vows eight and a half months from now, I’m vowing to you guys that I will have at least ONE post every other week to update y’all on the wedding DIY happenings around here. At least until I run out of wedding DIY-ing to do. Which will take a while, since we’re doing everything ourselves without the help of a wedding planner.

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First on our list is to finish those marquee letters! We get hits on those posts everyday and I’m sad knowing everyone who reads them is left hanging. So hopefully by early next week we will have FINISHED marquee letters for you along with a full tutorial on how to do them yourself. Yay!