Hearts and Crafts

the-numbers

As a teenage girl, I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what my dream wedding would look like and I even glamourized the idea of being a professional wedding planner. But, times have changed and today I would choose buying insulation and updating the siding on our house over a designer gown and a big cake. So it was surprising this year when I learned that there is still a little bit of that romantic teenager inside me, thanks to a friend who has a story that happens to be the embodiment of a classic fairytale – she is getting married in Europe this weekend in what promises to be a breathtakingly beautiful day, rain or shine.

The logistics of planning an overseas wedding are quite incredible and I was more than happy to jump at the opportunity to help with just a few of the countless details that this lovely girl has been staying on top of over the last few months.

My Project: Table numbers for the rustic centre-pieces on the tables at the reception. The bride-to-be had seen a cute concept online that she really liked and my clever sister suggested that we could easily craft something similar ourselves – all it would take was a trip to a craft store and a little creativity.

the-inspiration

Sourced online by the bride.

The concept was a simple DIY: a heart affixed to a stick with a table number stamped or painted on. All we needed was a vision and we cobbled together our plan after sourcing some gorgeous paper over a lunch hour several weeks ago. The bride would cut out the hearts and take care of spray painting the numbers with a stencil she borrowed from friends. My sister and I would handle the final assembly using cake-pop sticks we found in the baking aisle of the craft store, some two-way tape, a glue gun, and a sheet of bristol board for sturdiness.

We chose four different paper designs so we would have some variety, and stuck with a cream colour scheme to align with the rustic theme of the wedding. (Think mason jars, burlap, handmade wooden accents, outdoors, so-pretty-it-hurts…) While we were planning to use wooden shish-kebab sticks, the paper sticks we found by chance turned out to be the perfect option since the final product resembles an enormous heart-shaped paper lollipop.

Before we started the assembly mission, I tested making a couple ahead of time to get the method right. The bride had created a template heart to cut all the paper and she gave it to me with the heart cut-outs, so I used the template to trace a handful of hearts onto a sheet of bristol board and then cut them all at the same time. (We decided to re-enforce each paper heart with a bristol board heart so there would be no chance of the paper flopping over once we stuck the hearts to the sticks.)

The hearts, pre-bristol board.

The hearts, pre-bristol board.

When I started pairing the bristol board hearts with the paper, I found that I kept having to cut down the bristol board so it wouldn’t stick out beyond the beautiful paper hearts so I made a second template that was a little bit smaller than the first, which effectively made all the subsequent bristol board heart cut-outs just a teeny bit smaller than the paper.

Bristol board taped onto the heart cut-out.

Bristol board taped onto the heart cut-out.

Two-way tape proved to be the best tool for sticking the paper and bristol board together. All it took was a few pieces placed along the edges of the paper and careful alignment of the bristol board so it would sit just inside the border of the paper. When both hearts were affixed to the bristol board, I ran a few more pieces of two-way tape along the top and sides of one of the hearts along with one piece running down the centre of the heart, for the stick. Then I stuck the stick onto the heart with the tape, and placed the other heart on top, aligning the top part of the two hearts as closely as possible.

Lastly was the tricky part – at least for a semi-clutzy, semi-messy person such as myself. Hot glue gun. Enough said. I wanted to make sure that the bottom of the two hearts would hold around the stick, so I added a squirt of glue on either side of the hearts as far in as possible, and then a final bit of glue at the very base of the heart, on either side of the stick. This was the most challenging part because it also required a minute of patience to hold the base together while the glue set. If I let go too soon the bottom would spring apart, but if I held too tight then the glue would start to ooze out onto the gorgeous paper.

The completed prototype.

The completed prototype.

Once I had the prototype completed (and obviously approved by the bride!) I worked out a system with my sister for the mass production of the remaining table numbers that had to be created.

  • We traced and cut out all of the bristol board hearts, and numbered them for good measure so we wouldn’t lose track of whether we had enough to match with all the paper hearts.
  • We taped all of the bristol board hearts to the paper, and I started heating the glue gun.
  • To make sure that the sticks would always be placed at roughly the same height as the prototype, we used a pencil to make a mark on the inside of the heart to indicate where the top of the stick should be placed, using the prototype as a guide.
  • We began taping the pairs of hearts together and roughly taping the sticks in the centre and while my sister finished taping, I started using the glue gun for the sides and base.
  • When my sister finished taping, she joined me in the careful work of gently pinching and holding the base together for one minute at a time.

Altogether, the mass production took less than two hours. It was so much fun (I mean, arts and crafts, what more can a girl ask for?) and it made me feel happy to contribute to my new friend’s special day. And I think I said out loud (more than once): “Can I just make table centre-pieces for a living?!”

The final product!

The final product!

A little bit of the teenager in me felt a spark while I was working on these lovely centre-pieces for the lovely bride. No, I am not about to quit my day job to pursue a career in wedding planning and crafting. Yes, I am realizing that creativity should be a central part of my day-to-day life because it makes me feel alive and happy. And maybe, maybe I can get on board with this whole “wedding” thing. But only if I can make everything with my own two hands – just look!

1-2-3

4-5-6

7-8-9

10-11-12

13-14-15

Most of all, I am so thrilled for my friend, who is celebrating her love story this weekend with her man. I cannot wait to hear all about it when she gets back to town in a few weeks!

Update: Below is a photograph of the centre-piece at my friend’s wedding, a beautiful final product.

centerpiece

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