Monday, October 24, 2011

Balloon Wreath Tutorial

Last year some time around Christmas, I got thinking about what I was going to do for decorations for my eldest son's birthday party. His birthday is in February! I swear, I was more excited about decorating for his birthday than I was for Christmas. When I get the urge to create something, I try my hardest to get it done. And done as cheaply as possible. (Hey, I never promised proper grammar on this blog!) I saw some of these wreaths available on Etsy for $50 - $75. There was no way I was paying that. So I set off to do it on my own.

Here's what you need to get started:

~ 18" straw wreath (purchased at Michael's) wrapped in plastic food wrap
~ 350 "Greening Pins" (the ones pictured here (in the brown boxes) are also from Michael's, but are available at Wal-Mart too, both in the florals dept.)
~ Balloons. The amount of balloons needed is equal to the amount of greening pins used. I used multi-colour balloons because I wanted to use this wreath for multiple birthdays for at least a few years.

For the sign in the center I used:
~white cardstock
~ matching grossgrain ribbon (one roll was PLENTY)
~ photo editing/design software of your choice (I used StoryBook Creator 3.0 for this, but Photoshop, or even MSPaint could work)

A few tips:
~ the smaller the diameter of wreath you make, the fewer pins and balloons you'll need. (and the cheaper the project will be in the end) I felt that 18" was a little on the large side. A 16" wreath would likely be a more managable size.
~ I thimble may be helpful for pushing in the pins. They aren't hard to get in, but after the first 20 or so, your thumbs will start to get a bit sore.
~ This is what a greening pin looks like: 

Let's get going!

1. Wrap your straw wreath in plastic food wrap. It doesn't have to look pretty, it's just to keep the wreath from falling apart as you work with it.
2. Take a greening pin and place an uninflated balloon over the bottom of the "u" of the greening pin.
3. Stick the pin into the wreath.
4. Repeat this process, placing the balloons reasonably close together. Don't worry about filling in the gaps just yet, waiting until you have the balloon covered and the colours spread out works much better.

To create the sign:

1. Draw a circle in your design software. fill it with your favourite colour or pattern. Add in your text. (Mine says "Welcome to my party, I am so happy to see you, come on in!" Add in your graphics (I added a balloon and a cupcake as graphics)
2. Print the circle out on card stock. Cut it out.
(Alternatively, you could also cut a circle out of your favourite scrapbook paper/cardstock and add a solid coloured circle with the text printed on as a layer on top)
3. String one length of ribbon across the diameter of the wreath on the back. Attach with greening pins.
4. Glue circle to the ribbon.
5. Attach a half length of ribbon to the top back of the sign for stability.

Add a loop of ribbon to the back of the wreath with a greening pin for hanging, and VOILA!

Of course, you don't have to use multi-coloured balloons or even balloons at all. You could experiment with different materials for different occasions such as Christmas or Easter (plastic eggs maybe?)

I'd say once everything was done, total cost was approx. $25-30. A far cry from what they are charging on Etsy, not including their shipping costs.

Have fun!

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