Tag Archives: wedding

94: Papel Picado

Finished invite met with rave reviews from the guests.
Finished invite met with rave reviews from the guests.

I can happily announce after a whirlwind weekend that my dear friend Laura is now a Mrs!  Which means I get to show you the invitations and decorations.

My shoe sketch
My shoe sketch

Laura and I have been friends (and once even roommates successfully!) since our undergraduate days at Luther College.  The nice thing about working with Laura is that she trusts my design sense.  She basically asked for an invitation that had running shoes in it somewhere and that she really liked the look of papel picado.  Papel picado is a traditional paper craft of Mexico, with roots as far back as the Aztecs.  Artisans elaborately perforate pieces of tissue paper with chisels and the resulting designs are hung to celebrate festive events, such as Day of the Dead, Christmas, quinceañeras, and weddings.

Practice runs in the laser!
Practice runs in the laser!  Check back to Week 66 to see our tips on cutting paper!

The biggest challenge I had in designing the invites was balancing the full use of the background while making the design pronounced enough not to get lost.  Ryan’s designer eye helped with line thickness and consistency.  I thought dangling the pair of shoes jauntily from the ampersand added a nice sense of liveliness and fun to the invite, and we used the laser to full advantage with all those curves!

Invite mailing station
Invite mailing station – it was so fun to work with so much COLOR!  We mixed and matched envelopes, tissues and invites so nearly every one sent was a unique combination.
Mixed and matched colors made this very fun.
Mixed and matched colors made this very fun.
Decorations hanging from the gazebo were a nice touch (and the pommander was hanging in the center!). Photo courtesy of Jamie Wallace.
Decorations hanging from the gazebo were a nice touch (and the pomander was hanging in the center!). Photo courtesy of Jamie Wallace.

To continue the papel picado theme to the wedding itself, we purchased card stock in the matching colors (all from Paper Source!) and cut letter sized flags to string around the gazebo.  Traditionally, papel picado are made of tissue so artisans can chisel many layers at a time, but I’m thankful we went with card stock – the wind would have shredded them to pieces!  They withstood the gusts and were able to be transferred to the reception site and used again.

And finally, I was tickled pink that the photographers liked the papel picado so much they incorporated it in to the photo shoots of the bride and groom.  Here’s to your hard won, 10 years in the making happily ever after, Laura and Jesus!

The happy couple. Photo courtesy of Jamie Wallace.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Wallace.

90: Tissue Flower Pomander

Post two of three wedding posts, consider yourself forewarned!  This week I am working on a centerpiece for my friend Laura’s upcoming wedding, a tissue paper pomander.  Pomander is French for “apple of amber” and was originally a sweet smelling or perfumed ball.  In Medieval times it was a locket of perfume, in Victorian times, it was cured fruit studded with cloves.  Today, it’s a beautiful ball of flowers.

Paper flowers are a strong decorative element for the wedding, so making the pomander with tissue in the bride’s favorite colors made sense.  Making the pomander is not hard – make lots of tissue flowers, stick them to a styrofoam ball.

The three cuts - Purple is straight edges, red is curved, and the yellow is laser cut bracket edge
The three cuts – Purple is straight edges, red is curved, and the yellow is laser cut bracket edge.  I think the bracket edge gives it an interesting ruffled look, without being too spiky.

When perusing tutorials for tissue flowers on the internet, I saw that changing the shape of the edge of the flower made subtle differences to the end look of your bloom.  The post on the Hey, Let’s Make Stuff blog illustrated it very well, showing the difference between fringed edges, scalloped edges, pointed tips and concave edges.  In a classic case of tool overkill, I knew I could use the laser to make the decorative edging.

Clean Laser cuts
Clean Laser cuts

Because of the nature of laser cutting, it was easier for me to cut the decorative edge, basically a repeating bracket pattern, while the tissue was unfolded.  If you were cutting the edging by hand, you would wait until you folded the tissue, so one or two snips would make the design repeat the entire length – like cutting a paper doll chain or making a snowflake.

The tissue is attempting to escape the laser, but the Starman will save the day!
The tissue is attempting to escape the laser, but the Starman will save the day!

Not that I expected anything different, but cutting tissue in the laser was a breeze.  I folded the paper 8 layers thick and didn’t even get the hint of singe.  The problem with tissue is that it is so light, though, and really wanted to fly up.  I had to use what was handy, in this case Ryan’s Rush Starman coasters, to hold down individual cut sections.  This post is still safe for work, though, right?

There are so many tutorials out there, I won’t walk you though step by step of making the flowers, but here’s what they look like:

Stages of making a flower - blue is the fan fold, purple is attaching the wire around the middle, red is the fluffing stage with only he first layer separated, and yellow is the final bloom.
Stages of making a flower – Step 1 – blue is the fan fold.  Step 2 – purple is attaching the wire around the middle. Step 3 –  red is the fluffing stage with only the first layer separated and yellow is the fully fluffed final bloom.

And here is the (sort of) finished pomander!

A lovely tissue pomander...
A lovely tissue pomander…
...hiding the secret it's not DONE! I didn't cut enough flowers of give myself enough time to finish it before the post needed to go up. No worries, Laura, I'll finish it before the big day!
…hiding the secret it’s not DONE! I didn’t cut enough flowers OR give myself enough time to finish it before the post needed to go up. No worries, Laura, I’ll finish it before the big day!

 

34: Votive Holders

Here's a votive holder at the wedding reception itself!
Here’s a votive holder at the wedding reception itself!

I have a long and slightly bitter history trying to laser-engrave glass. The back of my old iPhone 4 wasn’t having it, and the fire flowers I tried to cultivate didn’t quite pass muster. Still, when a friend wants some glass engraved for her wedding, I’m certainly not going to turn her down!

A single lonely votive holder.
A single lonely votive holder.

Lara and Paul got married on August 23rd, and to celebrate the occasion, Lara wanted some personalized votive holders to give to guests as wedding favors. With a simple, clean design based off of her wedding invitations and website, my only concern was whether the glass she sourced would fight with me as much as my fire flower vase did. The votive holders she chose were also coated in a blue surface material, so I had some new concerns about whether the laser would properly burn away the blue.

A closeup of the engraving, featuring a right-facing flower!
A closeup of the engraving, featuring a right-facing flower!

As it turns out, I had little cause for worry. Not only did the glass etch beautifully with only a few test engravings to get the power settings right, it also cut clear through the blue, creating an excellent contrast even when viewed through the other side of the glass. One technique for engraving glass that I learned about after my previous attempts involved dithering the engraving slightly by marking locations to engrave with a dark gray rather than black proper. While this results in a slightly less detailed engraving, it reduces chipping, which was an issue I ran into a lot with the fire flower vase. In this case, though, I didn’t have to dither the engraving at all!

The cardboard template that allowed 20 votive holders to be processed in one pass.
The cardboard template that allowed 20 votive holders to be processed in one pass.

There was a gross amount of votive holders to engrave—literally 144—so I made sure to take what I learned about templates and I was able to process 20 at a time. This would make the project take far less time than processing a single glass at a time. It also allowed me to more easily implement one design element: a flower mid-piece that either faces left or right. In the design file for the template I whipped up, ten votive holders would feature right-facing flowers and ten would feature left-facing flowers. It’s a neat way of achieving balance that would have been nightmarish processing one holder at a time.

I come away from this week’s project definitely feeling better about working with glass, but I’ve surely got a lot left to learn, and a whole rotary engraving attachment still to acquire!

A nice stack. Don't light them in this configuration.
A nice stack. Don’t light them in this configuration.

27: Etched recipe boxes

Summer means it is wedding season!  And weddings mean gifts.   When Rebecca of Hugs are Fun came to me with her idea of etching recipe box for her sister-in-law’s bridal shower, and I knew it would be just perfect for my nephew’s wedding at the end of June as well.

Rebecca did the embroidery, too!  It's a great set.
Recipe box 1.  Rebecca did the embroidery, too! It’s a great set. Photo by Rebecca.
You can see how it looked with the transfer tape applied.
You can see how it looked with the transfer tape applied.

Rebecca planned a themed shower, based around the lovely design “Summer Love” by Casalastudio on Etsy.  She chose to etch the top of the the bamboo recipe box with the “LOVE”design.   We taped it so there would be the possibility of paining it, but Rebecca thought it looked great au natural!  You can see the rest of her post on the project on her blog.

For my nephew, we decided to go a little more personalized.  I went with a classic “kitchen” theme on the box, not really knowing the bride’s style.  I also decided to etch the front of the box rather than the top, so the design could be seen with the box open.

The finished piece - love the retro recipe cards!
The finished piece – love the retro recipe cards, printed from Love vs. Design!
Utterly satisfying sloppy paint job.  Notice the bubble in the transfer tape by the Ns in "McKanna"
Utterly satisfying sloppy paint job. Notice the bubble in the transfer tape by the Ns in “McKanna”
How the paint looked under the transfer tape bubble
How the paint looked under the transfer tape bubble

After the transfer tape was applied, we cut the design.  I painted it liberally and sloppily with black paint, knowing the transfer tape would take care of the mess.  I was almost right – the lesson here is to always double check your transfer tape is fully adhered after cutting as well.  After the paint was dry, I noticed a few bubbles along the cut lines, and black paint seeped under.  I used a latex paint, so here’s lesson two for you: newly dried latex paint comes up nicely with a fingernail if you put a hot wet compress on it first.  (Phew).

To compliment the retro / classic rolling pin look, I printed fabulous  (and free!) retro themed recipe cards from Love vs. Design.  The box size was a little odd, so we ended up making them a bit shorter before printing.  The wedding wasn’t that long ago so we haven’t heard how it was received, but I can only hope the bride and groom enjoy our taco seasoning recipe as much as we do, and fill the box with recipes of their own.

The design in the natural "fresh cut" finish
The design in the natural “fresh cut” finish
Peeling off the transfer tape
Peeling off the transfer tape

ampersand