Monday, February 13, 2012

Heart Wreath - Tutorial

Let me begin this post by saying I have never written a tutorial before. This is just a really great idea that simply needed to be shared. There are two parts to this post, how to make the wreath form, and some tips on cutting circles faster.

DIY Heart Wreath Form

Plumbing Insulation
Bailing Wire (about 50")
Wire Cutters
Duct Tape 

I am somewhat of a late-in-the-season crafter. I like to make seasonal decor, but by the time I get around to it, the supplies are often sold out from stores because everyone else wanted to make the same thing. This year, I wanted to make one of the adorable heart wreaths I have seen popping up all over pinterest, but all the heart wreath forms were sold out well over a month before V-day. Enter my awesome (and brilliant!) friend Kendall. She showed me this brilliant idea that has also been popping up everywhere. Not only is it way cheaper to make your own wreath forms, just think of the shape possibilities!

Transforming my dollar's worth of piping into a stunning heart was not as easy as I hoped, but not terribly difficult either. Start with a 24" length of plumbing insulation, and cut as shown in the diagram above. I love that you can cut it with scissors. Then thread your bailing wire through the entire length of tube and sort of wrestle it into a heart shape. The inner support is necessary to hold the right shape, but it is hardly visible once the wreath is finished. Just wrap any excess wire around your wreath form to keep it out of the way. After I began decorating my wreath I noticed the top didn't want to stay put, so I secured it with criss-cross strips of duct tape on the front and back. I tried hot glue, but the result was only frustration and burned fingers. The duct tape held perfectly though. I was also a little concerned about the kinks in the top of the heart, but once covered they weren't noticeable.

The second half of my great idea - How to cut out a million circles without going crazy.

1 yd Felt (72" wide, or equivalent)
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
T-Square or Cutting Edge

If I made this wreath again, I would probably just use squares of felt instead of circles. It would save a TON of effort and it is still plenty cute.But if you insist on having circles, here are some tips from me:

Fold your felt in half and cut two layers at once. Use your rotary cutter/mat setup to cut out as many 3" squares as you can. You will need more or less squares/circles depending on how tight you pack them. I used every single circle I cut (from 1 yd) and had to rearrange a little to fill my wreath.

Once you have a pile of approximately a billion squares, it is time to start the circle step. Fold each square in quarters and cut off the corner as shown. It takes a while to get a feel for the best curve to cut, but don't worry, you will have plenty of practice. Don't worry about your circles being too smooth, you won't even notice once your wreath is complete.

My original inspiration for this project came from The Idea Room, so once you have all your pieces collected head on there, or here, for instructions on how to put your wreath together. You will want to pick up a package of straight pins to finish your wreath. I balked at the idea of using pins on a finished project, but it was so easy and I don't know how else I would have done it.

All said this wreath cost $6.
I think it was well worth it.

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