Handi-hour Crafting: Paper Wreaths

  • GLORIA KENYON: Hi, I’m Gloria Kenyon, Public Programs Coordinator for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, and today I’m joined by Libby Weiler for our Handi-Hour craft. Libby, what do you do here at SAAM?

    LIBBY WEILER: I do a hodgepodge of things. I’m a photographer. I update the website. I’m a creative person, so I like doing crafts.

    GK: So, this is our flower wreath for our May Handi-Hour craft. This is just scrapbook paper in a variety of different colors. It’s really nice and stiff so it’ll really curl. This is a peony template that I printed from the internet, and so we’re going to use that as our basis. You can do whatever flower you want – roses, daisies. This is just a cardboard wreath base and you can decorate this however you want. We left it really plan for this one.

    So, to get started, and Libby’s already done a couple of her flowers already, we’re just going to trace our flower template. This is a basic peony template and it comes with a variety of different sizes. I just went with four different sizes. So, you just trace these out. I’m just going to do this little one on yellow.

    LW: I have one traced out. Do you want me to cut it out?

    GK: Yeah, go ahead and cut yours out while I’m tracing, and then I’ll cut mine out. This is just the basic method you can do to make this wreath, for any type of flower wreath or any kind of paper, just to get yourself started, get an idea and see what you can do and you can make from it to make it your own.

    LW: And what flower was this?

    GK: This is a peony.

    LW: And why did you decide on this flower?

    GK: I really like peonies, and I really like their structure, so they’re really nice and full, and so I think on a wreath it looks just really good, and clean, and simple. Sometimes I really like simple for a project like this.

    LW: The colors I chose for the purple one here kind of reminded me of the cherry blossoms. Not so much the blue, but this one, when it’s all put together kind of reminded me of that.

    GK: So, now to get these curved petals, as you can see we’ve got a nice little three-dimensional aspect going on there, we’re going to use– this is a letter opener, you can also use a bone folder or a pair of scissors. Libby is going to use the letter opener; I’m going to use the scissors. We’re just going to curl our petals. You want to make sure where you have any pencil or marker where you traced your template out stays on the back of the flower. So, when you curve it, whichever direction you’re curving it, make sure that remains on the back. I’m just going to start curling these up.

    LW: What’s the trick here?

    GK: You take the flat of your scissors or your letter opener, hold it down – I call this the base, where the petal cutout meets the rest of the paper – and just pull. It’s like curling ribbon.

    LW: Okay. When I’m done curling it, would it help if I kind of squish it?

    GK: Yeah, that helps it keep its shape. It’s kind of– if you ever bake, and you know, bread dough has elasticity, paper has elasticity, too. So it just curls up and remembers where it’s supposed to go. I like to stack them up as I’m curling them so they stay together, kind of get to know each other.

    LW: How’s that looking?

    GK: It looks really good. You can actually start gluing those while I’m finishing up here. So take them apart. A glue stick works really well for this. So, just take your glue and just make a little dot right in the center of your flower.

    LW: And then you just put one on top?

    GK: Yep, and then when you line them up– so put it on top and then kind of adjust it so that where your petals separate - perfect – you get a nice overlap, so you don’t have any gaps or holes. So, you can take your wreath from and glue those onto your wreath now.

    LW: I'm going to do like you did and do every other one.

    GK: You can alternate, and you just space them out how you want. I space mine apart a little bit, kind of using this hole for the rope, and you can string– Libby already strung hers, I like to string mine last, you can string it before. And I like to place my leaves kind of around to help me guide where I’m going to put my flowers. Once I placed these two flowers, I realized I needed a little bit more of a leaf here. So, I just free-handed my leaf shape. If you’re really into botany, you can make your leaves match the actual flowers. I just made a really generic leaf shape, so I’m just going to cut those out and glue that on to fill in my wreath.

    LW: And I already have some cut out, so I’m just going to go ahead and stick them in there.

    GK: Yep. This is a really fast, fun, easy craft.

    LW: Oh, I like what you’re doing there. You’re putting a center in it.

    GK: Yeah, so just put a nice center in, a nice little contrast to give it an extra pop of color. Got this, and just fill the rest in with my different colors and my leaves, and then when it’s all done– Libby already strung hers, but I’ll just string my cord through. You can do a nice colored ribbon, you can do a nice piece of cotton. This is just nice fiber to match the cardboard. So, there you go, and this is what a finished one looks like. Thanks so much for joining me today, Libby.

    LW: Yeah!

    GK: See you next time.

    Public Programs Coordinator Gloria Kenyon demonstrates crafting for the next Handi Hour program at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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