Crafting: Book Vases

Do you fancy yourself a Bibliophile? Or maybe you just love the look, feel and smell of old books. Either way, this one’s for you! Today I’ll show you how to make a ‘vase’ out of a hardcover book. It’s the perfect piece to decorate your favorite reading nook or a book shelf and is easy to make requiring just a few tools and no special skills.

What you’ll need:

Hardcover book
Craft knife (or a scroll or band saw)

The book I used I found at a thrift store for $1.00. I especially loved the green coloring on the top edge. If you feel bad destroying good books, look for ones with missing or torn pages.
Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the book and draw your vase shape. I’ve created a JPG of the shape I drew and you can download it here. It can be sized up or down to fit the height of your book. If you draw your own, keep in mind it will be twice as wide when it’s finished, so you’ll want to make the shape much thinner than you would think for it to look proportional when cut.

Cut your template shape out of the cardboard and place it onto the first page of the book, snug against the binding. You can trace it with a pencil if you’d like to have a guidline if your template moves, but it’s easiest to cut along the template. I taped mine in place at the top and bottom to hold it secure.
With a sharp knife, cut along the template, gradually slicing through all pages of the book.
Alternatively, if you have a scroll saw or band saw, you can do it in a fraction of the time! Just trace your template and go. (I recommend removing the cover before cutting the pages with a saw.) I cut half of my vase by hand and finished with a band saw, to try both techniques.

When cutting by hand, I found it easiest to move the template further into the book as I continued cutting, every 1/4″ of pages or so.
Once complete, cut off the covers, leaving the spine binding in tact. Open the book and fold it backward, gluing together the first and last pages with craft glue or a glue gun. Hold for a few seconds until secure.
I used a thin pencil top and bottom to keep the shape of the center hole while gluing.

Spread out the pages and you’re done! Since you do end up with a small opening along the spine, you can use this as a ‘vase’ for a silk flower stem or some dried pieces like I show in my opening photo. You can also create a small cluster in different sizes and shapes for a unique arrangement.
The possibilities for this project are only limited by your imagination so get creative and have fun — happy crafting!

Crafting: A Ribbon Poinsettia Wreath

Today I have a fun holiday craft project that lends itself to so many applications, making ribbon poinsettias. I’ll be showing you how to make a wreath out of them but you can also make single blooms or a small cluster to sew on a hat, wear as a brooch or to decorate your holiday gift packages.

What you’ll need:
A styrofoam wreath form (I used an 8″ for the finished wreath shown)
Satin or velvet ribbon, 1.5″ width, various colors
Straight pins
Artificial flower stamen (or beads)
Thin craft or floral wire

When choosing a color scheme, you can go traditional Christmas with red, gold and pine green or try something different like yellow, goldenrod and seafoam green.

Start by wrapping your wreath form with ribbon. Secure the ribbon end with straight pins and wrap tightly around until completely covered. Secure end with pins. I used ivory ribbon but in hindsight, I think green would have looked nice as well.

To make the flowers, cut the ribbon end into a point. You can experiment with different angles of the point for slightly different sizes and shapes. Fold the ribbon over on itself and cut the other end to match the point. Also cut different length pieces for a variety of bloom sizes. I used ribbon pieces measuring 3″ – 4″ from point to point. You will need 3 cut pieces for each flower.
Note: Handle the ribbon with care as the edges will start to fray the more you work with it. You can also seal the edges with a fray block or similar product.

Fold each piece of ribbon in half, with the top on the inside, then fold each flap down in half. Hold with a straight pin and repeat with the other two pieces of ribbon. Place them on the same pin.
Holding all 3 ‘petals’ together, wrap tightly around the center with wire and remove the pin. Then wrap around once in between each petal, this helps to spread them out a bit. Secure the wire at the back and trim loose ends. You can then shape the flower.
To make the leaves, cut a length of ribbon about 4.5″ long. With the back facing up, fold on an angle at the center. Next fold the left tail shown above back behind the first fold. Pinch together at the bottom and secure with a piece of wire.
Note: I used a wired ribbon for the leaves because it was all I could find in the green I liked. It worked with no problems but you’ll need ribbon without wire for the flowers.

To add the stamen, cut the tops off the artificial stamen and secure with clear craft glue. You can also glue or wire beads on as well.
Secure the flowers and leaves to the wreath using straight pins. I think it actually looked quite lovely with just 3 flowers and a leaf on the ivory wreath, so you can play around with different designs. You could also wrap a piece of thin red ribbon around the exposed ivory wreath for a cute candy cane effect.
You can hang the wreath from the wall on a nail or hook, or you can loop a ribbon around the wreath to hang it from on the wall or a doorknob. Aside from a lovely decoration, I think this would make a very special gift.
I’m making a larger 12″ wreath in yellow and goldenrod for myself so I’ll be sure to share some photos when it is complete. I’d love to hear what you think about this project and how it goes if you try your hand at making these little ribbon poinsettias. Happy crafting!

May Day Flower Cones

Happy May Day, everyone! May Day (May 1st) is celebrated in many places around the world. The traditions and stories surrounding May Day vary from place to place but there is one thing that is similar in most celebrations – the use of flowers! One of the most popularly known May Day traditions is to hang spring flowers and/or other small gifts on a neighbor’s doorknob. One fun and easy way to do this is by using homemade paper cones. Here I show you how to make a small one but you can easily adjust the size by starting with a larger piece of paper.
What you’ll need:
7″ square of paper (or larger if desired, 8″ – 10″ work well)
30″ length of ribbon (longer for bigger cone)
decorative edged scissors
hole punch
craft glue or glue stick
flowers – fresh, silk, even paper
Use the decorative scissors to cut a scalloped edge (or other design of your choice) along two sides of the paper. These will be the top.
Lay the square flat, face side down, in a diamond shape and apply a dab of glue to the left point. Begin rolling the cone using a pencil to shape the bottom point and hold the glue corner in place until secure.
Next you will punch the holes for the ribbon. Punch three in the front, one on either side and two in the back (see photos for reference). Begin threading the ribbon from the back, putting one end in each back hole, leaving a length to use as the hanging loop.
From the inside, thread the ribbon back out through the next holes, back inside through the outer front holes and finally both ends to the front through the middle hole. Tie a bow and you are done! This size cone will hold a small sprig or a handful of daises or tulips but you can start with a larger square of paper to hang a more impressive bouquet. About 10″ is the largest piece of paper you would want to use.
Now all you have to do is fill it and find a doorknob to hang it on! Wouldn’t it be a lovely surprise to come home to or wake up to tomorrow morning? And don’t worry if you are a day or two late, this May Day tradition can be celebrated through the weekend.
Find more fun and easy craft projects here.

Crafting: Tissue Paper Pom-Pom Flowers

Welcome to the first in a new, highly-requested, How-To series! I’m still trying to think of some snappy little title, so that may change one day. Every other Tuesday I’ll be bringing you a new project and will cover a broad range of crafts and levels of difficulty. 
This week we’re making simple tissue paper pom-pom flowers. I’m highly addicted to making paper flowers of all kinds and will share a variety of others with you in the future but I thought this quick and easy project was a great starter!
What you’ll need for one 5″ flower:
4 pieces of tissue paper, 10″ x 5″
18″ piece of thin wire, floral or any other type
Stack the four sheets of tissue on top of each other. Make 3/8″ accordion folds, creasing after each fold. I find it easiest to make one fold, flip it over, make the other, and repeat, so you are always folding up away from you and it’s easy to see.
Fold the 18″ piece of wire in half and slip over the center of the folded tissue. Twist the bottom closed. Using sharp scissors, trim the ends of the paper into rounded or pointy shapes. I chose rounded for this one.
Separate the four tissues layers, one at a time until the flower begins to take shape. Depending on what you will use them for, you can keep the bottom flat or you can puff them into a ball for hanging.
You can use these little flowers just about anywhere! I love using them as napkin rings for a summer picnic or when we have guests over. You can use them to decorate a basket or the back of a chair, make a bouquet for a vase or they are beautiful as a bow on a gift.
Try layering different colors of tissue for a beautiful effect or embellishing the centers with buttons or beads. You can also easily make other sizes by starting with different sized tissue. In the future I will show you how to make really big ones to hang from the ceiling. I hope you have fun making these pretty little flowers. I’d love to hear about what uses you find for them!
I’ll have a PDF instruction sheet that you can download or print 
available later today.