Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reading Wreathe How-To (with running commentary)

Do you have a pile of pages from an old book just laying around?  You do if you made the secret treasure hide-out from this post.  If you’re like me, you don’t feel guilty ripping up a stinky book, but you feel guilty throwing all that perfectly good paper away.  So if you’re wondering what you should do with all those pages, read on.
You may remember from this post that my mom is a reader.  She loves reading.  She reads like mad.  She reads fiction, nonfiction, articles, medical journals (no, I’m really not kidding) and anything and everything else.  Apparently her presents for the year carry a common theme (I seriously didn’t plan this) because not only did I make her some sewn bookmarks for her birthday, but I also made her a “reading wreathe" for Mother’s Day!
I was inspired by this wreath on Samster Mommy.  Natasha painted hers a sunny yellow, so of course that caught my eye right away.  Then I clicked on her inspiration, which was a tutorial from Mary Janes and Galoshes.  Beautiful.  Love the butterflies.  So I decided to put the two together.
Here’s what you will need.  

Except for the change there in the background.  Quarters, nickels, dimes - NOT required.  I missed their presence when I snapped the photo.

floral wreath (got mine at the dollar store.  I was sad it was so small at first, but then I got really, really happy... read on and you’ll know why...)
an old book you can rip up (OR pages you can cut up... like maybe the pages you cut out of the hollowed out book you made?  Just sayin’).  (I know, there are two in the picture, I liked how it looked better.  You don’t really need that many pages, don’t worry).
a circle punch **(see note below)
a scalloped scissors ***(see note below)
a hot glue gun
a small strip of ribbon
a sewing machine (optional)
tissue paper (optional)
**If you have a circle punch with SCALLOPED edges, this is ideal.  I do not. So I used the punch and then scalloped the edges with the scissors.  I have a small circle (about 1 and 3/4 inch) so that’s what I used.  If you have a bigger one, this would go a lot faster.  If you have a bigger AND scalloped one, you’d really be flying. 
***Obviously, if you are lucky enough to have a scalloped punch, you won’t need this.  Obviously.
Okey dokey.  
1. You’ll start by ripping some pages out of your book - or gathering the pages you’ve previously cut from your book.  (At first I was dissapointed that some of my pages had these very poorly sketched pen and ink type drawings on them.  Then I realized that this added touches of color here and there, and I really like that.  So, if there’re some pictures, that’s cool.  
2. Next, you will punch holes out of the pages.  Correction.  You will punch A LOT of holes out of the pages.  Lots and lots of holes.  You’ll end up with a pile so big you think you will never need them all.  Then, you’ll punch some more, because you will need them, even though you think you don’t.

3. Now, fold each of these circles in half and then half again and use the scissors to scallop the curved edge.  After you do this a few times, switch to only folding the circles in half, since your scissors can’t handle it.  Or maybe that’s just me.

4. After spending about an eternity on that, you can begin to glue them to the floral wreath.  I found the best way to do this was to squish the circle up into an “X” shape.  Or, I guess it could be a “t” depending on how you look at it.  Dab a bit of hot glue onto the point of the “X” and stick it on the wreath.

5. Repeat.

6. Repeat again.

7. And again.  Stick them really close together at the base of each one so that the wreath is really full.  I think the fuller, the better.  Be sure to only fill the front and sides so the back is flat and can lay nicely against a door.  (or in the corner, which is where this may end up if it continues to take so blasted long to glue all these little circles on...)
9. When you get to this point, feel as if you will never, ever be done.  Maybe you should just give up now. 

10. Keep going.

11. When you run out of circles, and your wreath looks like this, allow yourself to feel just a little frustrated.  Call it a night and go to bed.  Good thing you DIDN’T procrastinate until the day before you have to have it done.
12. Feeling fresh the next night, go back up to step 2 and repeat all steps, until you run out of circles AGAIN.

13. Curse this stupid reading wreath idea.  (Whose idea was this anyway?)

14. Keep going.

15. When the wreath is full of cute little scalloped circle “flowerettes,” look at it from different angles and fill out any areas that need help.

16. Realize you need some sort of embellishment.

17. Cut some pages and some tissue paper into wide strips.  Fold them in half without creasing them and run them, one at a time, through the sewing machine with your length turned to the longest setting.  

18. Gather the paper up by pulling on the top thread.  Don’t pull too hard, or the thread will just rip the paper apart.  But if you don’t pull hard enough, it won’t gather at all.  Slowly and surely, work the gather down the page.  

20. Rip just enough pages to regret the whole idea, but not so many that you’re in tears.  Essentially, get your Irish stubbornness and your sense of determination into the game.  Nothing holds you back, not even sewn paper flowers.
21. Feel an amazing sense of relief that the tissue paper gathers much more easily.  You were about to question your sanity, again.
22. When they are all gathered, fold the very ends over slightly and use your hot glue to secure, then trim the threads.  Also, make a mental note to never, ever make paper flowers this way, EVER AGAIN.
23. Spiral the paper into a flower shape, securing into place with the hot glue.  
24. Using one of the paper strips that simply REFUSED to gather, tuck the end down at an angle and roll it loosely into a “bud” shape.

25. Put the spiral and the bud together to make a flower.

26. Make a few other paper flowers in different variations.

27. Glue them all in a neat little bunch on the wreath.  I like groupings of three’s, so that’s what I did.
28. Cut a short length of decorative ribbon and glue the ends to the back of the wreath making a loop.
29. Decide the back is ugly.  Cut some tissue paper strips and glue them flat around the back of the wreath.  Then realize that this really should have been the first step. 

Hang and enjoy!  Or gift it to an avid reader like I did!

Was all the sweat, cursing and tears worth it???  When your mom opens it and talks about how cool it is, you’ll know it was. 

(the reading wreathe in action on my mom's mantel)


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MrsDixon said...

This is adoreable! I am so inspired to make this!!! Great blog!

Unknown said...

Thanks, MrsDixon! It took a while, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Thanks for reading!!

Anonymous said...

I have this on my mantel and it is beautiful...
Mom :)

Unknown said...

awwww :)

Veronika said...

This is awesome. Love. Love. Love.

Kiera said...

you made me laugh and cry...I so want to make this...but it would end up half done and shoved in my laundry room...
I REALLY REALLY want to make it though...I want to make it to hang on my door for bookclub night (that I host once a year!)...I really want to make it out of our current bookclub book, Les Miserables...because it's a miserable book to read and would be so much better in a wreath hanging on my door!

Unknown said...

Ha ha ha ha!!! Too funny! I've actually never read the book, but I think you may like the musical better - although it's still a little depressing. It has a nice ending though... and the music is phenomenal. :) But you obviously know what I mean when I say that some books are better as decoration than as reading material. Try it! Do it! (And then send me a picture of it hanging on your door during book club) It won't take as long if you use a very little foam wreathe... ;)

Anonymous said...

I love the wreath - it is perfect, and I need to make a couple of them! I will have to go to the thrift store though - No old books laying around the house.

Unknown said...

Thank you! I pick up old books at the thrift store all the time for crafts like this. I don't want to desecrate the ones we actually read!

Tif said...


Unknown said...

Glad you like it Tif! Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

That's alot of circles!!

Super cute! :)

Unknown said...

Don't I know it!! The things I do for my mom! ;)
Thank you for checking it out, Ashley!

Unknown said...

That is beautiful! It's getting added to the list of things to make pronto. Thanks for sharing.


Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} said...

I love your take on the book wreath! The scallop circles are great. Your flowers are fabulous!

Tara said...

This is adorable. I love it and would love to have you link this up at my Creative Link Share Party over at Trendy Treehouse


I made a wreath out of book paper but I love this version and will have to try it too! Thanks for sharing on your blog.

Hope your having a great week. Tara

Wendy said...

That is so cute, and soooo much work, I know your mom loved it!

Megan said...

so pretty and full! great tutorial!

Prior said...

Glad you were honest, about the time spent, and it was a funny read! It is lovely and shows your effort...hmmm, should I try it? Lezlee

Stella Pearl Hair Clips said...

I love your inspirational blog and this is phenomenal! Thanks so much for sharing your talent.

Aaron {the girl with the boy's name} said...

Wow! I've made book wreaths before but nothing that beautiful or elaborate. I love it!

Gretta said...

Tears I had loads of them, laughing at you your so funny great sense of humour I love the wreath now you should start mine. Let me know when you get it done, or I will have to put myself through everything you just went through now Kimberly do you really want to do that to me huh? It is beautiful I will be moving soon and I can see that hanging on my new black door. I can hardly wait.

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