Two big, simple, but dynamic DIY projects turned out to be wonderful additions to Pete’s surprise fiesta over the weekend. And not only were they easy and inexpensive to make, but neither turned into trash post-event. As in… both might find their way to my future guest-room-soon-to-be-turned-office (the one I wrote about here last Friday) or bedroom just for fun.
I could hardly contain my excitement as I prepared the DIY flag bunting and rainbow garland last week; the hardest part was not being able to tell Pete all about my trials and errors and sore X-Acto fingertips. Of course, he’ll probably be happy to know that both projects also only cost $4 (and would have been <$3 if I had been able to find a damn 40% off coupon for Michael’s). Read that: both projects from one $4 pack of paper.
The first of the two that you’re about to get the low-down on was actually concepted to be an activity for the kids; I had wanted to create some banners or DIY bunting to decorate the pergolas, and what could be better than a traditional flag banner that we assemble on the fly with multi-color pieces of stock? I had discouraged people from bringing gifts but thought these flags could also serve as made on-site cards.
I chose this multi-pack of 65# paper. This pack of 50 pages labeled as “South Beach” seemed lively and fun, and not too masculine or feminine. Perfect for a kid-friendly, dude’s fiesta. Of course, I tore right into the packet, so all you’re seeing is the cover that I tossed aside and only found days later under my couch.
When it came time to decorating the scene at party time, I had thumbtacked string on the pergola (some light nylon that I already had on hand = free) and assembled a crafty flag kit with paper triangles, paper clips, and markers, colored pencils, and crayons for the kids (and adults) to use to decorate little Happy Birthday flags for Pete.
It was really fun – we hung up the flags on the fly as the kids (and adults) finished doodling and making impromptu birthday cards for the man. We hung them with paper clips in an assorted color pattern on the pre-hung strings and let the decor grow throughout the night.
The second project that you’ve obviously gotten a sneak peek of already was the rainbow garland.
Months ago, I was intrigued (and enamored, and excited) by DIY rainbow garland that I encountered on Mini-eco; the project has been making it’s rounds on the various crafty blogs and Pinterest, and I loved each and every iteration that I came across.
I can’t think of a better use of scrap paper that’s otherwise garbage, and I’ll start with that. The garland I made was created entirely from scraps of the triangular flag trimming; I sliced narrow pieces of paper to maximize what leftovers I had.
Lots of X-Acto cuts later, I had quite the coffee cup full of paper slips. I believe I took (on average) 7 extra slips from each of the 50 original pages of paper, which means I had about 350 pieces of paper that measured (approximately) half an inch wide by 6” long. They turned out to be fairly symmetrical even though I wasn’t exacting and only focused on making sure they were the same length.
I had never sewn paper before. Scratch that – I haven’t sewn paper since my very first kid-friendly-no-needle sewing machine that only accepted yarn and paper. I was about age 5 when I was rocking out projects on that. I don’t actually think in my adult life I’ve ever once given consideration to sewing anything but fabric, but I’m pleased to say it worked just as well as sewing fabric.
I centered the strips to be sewn beneath the needle, and fed them through slowly.
I eyeballed the center point of each strip to sew through and most were right on; don’t get too worried about being uber-exacting because once the garland is hung and spinning, you won’t notice anyways. The best tip I have is that you should sew a space or two between each piece of paper; if they’re sewn touching or overlapping in any way, you’ll lose the loose spinning effect.
Fun fact: I managed not to have any two of the same color side-by-side despite not following any color sequence during the process and having to alternate orange in every other space when it came down to the end.
Second fun fact: I went back and chopped apart the paper scraps that I still had into 3” mini strips and sewed them together too. I hardly had any waste from the original pack of $4 paper when all was said and done.
I guess you could say I made them more for my own enjoyment, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them a lot too.
I hung them on the deck and inside on a few doorways and the living room chandelier, and since they were the same colors as the flags we were decorating, it all went together nicely. In the breeze they’re quite a bit more visual and dynamic than any traditional streamers or garland that you’d hang for a birthday party.
I just loved how they swung and spun freely. Also, they go nicely with a strand of hung beer cans with some sort of hunting and fishing symbolism to the men. That remains the only evidence that there was ever a party at the house.
One more project lined up for tomorrow morning! And we’ll be back to our real day-to-day and sharing more on our adventure really soon.