Monday, September 25, 2017

DIY Lantern Wedding Centerpieces

With my wedding just 2 months away (at the time I'm writing this) it's time to get things moving.  This entry is about the centerpieces I'm making. My fiancee Found this picture of a lantern with flowers on the top that she wanted.

So I found some lanterns sold at Kirkland's that we both liked.

We also found some nice large plates (or chargers) at Kirkland's that we bought and decided to use under each lantern

Together they look pretty good.

But now it's time to make it look more like the photo my fiancee supplied me.  For this I'll need some pliers, wire cutters and a small screw driver.

Since it's just a little too hot in Arizona for nice, real flowers we bought plastic flowers and trimmed each stem with the wire cutters.

We also bought some plastic Ivy to decorate around the bottom of the lantern.

Unfortunately this lantern doesn't have a door, so I had to disassemble it a little.  Removing 4 small screws from the bottom gets the bottom of the lantern and the candle off.

Next I unscrewed 4 more screws on the inside top which removed the top cap and loop of the lantern.   Underneath is a hole for me to place flowers through - which is great.  If there wasn't a hole I would have had to drill one.

I began fitting in the flowers on the top.

First light blue flowers, then dark blue flowers...

...and lastly some peach colored flowers to make the top look nice and full.

For the bottom I taped up some ivy into a ring... wrap around the base of the lantern. The ivy works, but I'm not crazy about the clearly plastic base surrounding the candle.

So I went back out and bought some moss, which I wrapped around the candle.

With the lantern all together again, the moss looks great.

I added some large leaves to the flower on the top, but wasn't crazy about them.

Removing the leaves makes it look nicer. 

My fiancee really likes them...

...but she thinks they could be made to look a little nicer.

So my my fiancee and I did a little more shopping for round nicer flowers for the tops of the lanterns.

So we have 4 lanterns - which is half of what we need for our wedding.

We also did away with that particular Ivy that was around the bottom.  We'll have to find something better when we go out and buy the other lanterns.

Aside from the 4 other lanterns to make, I had to make one bigger centerpiece for the Sweet Heart Table.  For this I'm using a very nice lantern I've had my eye on for some time from Pier One.

When I bought this lantern it didn't come with a candle, so that is something else I'll have to pick up later.

I used the flowers from the prototype lantern I made earlier, 

...this time placing them around the base of the lantern.

The plate that goes underneath this lantern is of the same style as the other chargers, but larger and rectangular.

The lantern fits nicely, but my fiancee felt it needed a bit more.

So I added some of the new flower bushels we bought for the other lanterns and now it looks nice and full.

We also found a nice candle for the inside.

Eventually we bought the 4 remaining lanterns and flowers and repeated the processes from earlier.  We also found a better, fuller-looking Ivy to put around each lantern.

Since we now have 9 large and decorated lanterns, we decorated the house with them until the wedding.  2 on the fireplace mantle, 2 on the dining room buffet table with the sweet heart centerpiece...

...2 on one book shelf in the living room...

...and two on the other book shelf in the living room.

Come wedding day, this is how our centerpieces looked on each table.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Down and Dirty Gift Boxes

For my upcoming wedding I want to make some gift boxes for the bridesmaids, groomsmen and other family members.  Unfortunately I do not have a lot of time left to make these, so I searched online for inexpensive wood boxes.

The boxes above can be found at Michael's Arts & Crafts stores.  I bought 7 boxes for the bridesmaids and some of the women in our family.  These gift boxes will hold embroidered handkerchiefs I special ordered. 

These boxes are nice, but raw.  There are a lot of imperfections to fix and there is no finish, so the wood feels rough.  The first step was to removed the hinges and clasps from each box.

Having a magnetic tray is very helpful for not losing any of the small hardware.

A magnetic pick up tool is also helpful for when I dropped the very small screws on the floor and under my work bench.

With all the boxes apart, it was time to start perfecting these boxes.

I used my belt sander to round over all the edges of the tops and bottoms of each box.

Without rounding over the edges, the boxes look like this...

...after rounding over, the edges look like this.

Next I used some wood filler to fill in a lot of cracks and imperfections.

The wood filler works great on the smaller cracks...

...but some of the larger cracks needed extra attention.

Those big cracks received a small bead of wood glue...

...which filled and strengthened the wood.

Once all the filler dried I sanded the whole boxes with finer sandpaper.

It took me the better part of one morning to get this far.

Next I cleaned up the boxes and prepped them for staining.

I used Danish oil with walnut coloring on these boxes.  I applied it with a rag.

For the inside corners I used a small brush.

The inside box top and box bottom didn't receive any Danish oil, as they will eventually get covered up.

After the oil was applied I let the boxes dry for several hours.

Once dry, I reassembled each box.

Then I brought them inside and took out my stamp set.

I added different stamp designs to every box using silver ink.  Black ink would have shown through better, but sadly my black ink pad had dried up.

After putting designs on each box, I added each person's name.

They didn't all come out super straight, but I think it looks cool still.

Once all the boxes were stamped, it was back into the workshop... receive a coat of satin clear enamel.

Every surface received the clear coat and was left to dry for a few more hours.

Once dry, I sanded each box with a very fine sanding sponge.

Then they were cleaned up and brought inside again.

Next I took some old fabric I had lying around from my older days of product photography, and cut them into pieces that would fit the bottom of the boxes.

I then used hot glue to glue the fabric to the bottom edges of the box.

With all of those complete, I then designed some cards for each of the people receiving these gifts and printed them out.

I cut out the cards and attached them to the inside-top of each box.

The last thing to do was wait for my embroidered handkerchiefs to show up.

I'll keep the handkerchiefs in their plastic packaging until the day of the wedding.  If I took them out now and placed them in each box, they would no doubtingly smell a bit like Danish oil and Clear Coat come the wedding.

With all the boxes done for the women receiving gifts, I repeated the process for all the men receiving gifts.

The men received personalized Swiss army knives in a smaller box.  But I used the same stamps,  fabric for the bottoms and also printed my thank yous on each box top.

All these boxes only took me a few days to make and I think they look great.  A small sign of appreciation for those close to us.