I think I figured out why I was putting off making tissue paper pomanders for no apparent reason. Subconsciously, or physically, I must have known this project was going to be my first big fail.
If you’re planning a wedding, or have been in a wedding, or basically if you’ve spent any time on the Internet in the past year, I can almost guarantee you’ve seen the pomanders I was hoping to create. Just to refresh your memory, here they are:
Oh, Martha, you make things seem so simple. Seriously. How could this project be hard? Fold some tissue paper like a fan, tie it in the middle, cut the edges so they’re pretty, and separate the different pieces. Easy-peasy, right? WRONG!
I think my biggest issue was that I wanted to make miniature versions of these; like baseball-sized. I’m pretty sure if I was going for the full sized ones, they could have worked, but mine were horrendous. So horrendous, in fact, that I think even Charles got bored with playing with them rather quickly because most of his toys are more attractive than they were…
Yeah, in that second picture, Charles is actually spitting out a chunk of tissue paper pom. He eats grass and bugs, but is too classy to eat my crappy DIY tissue paper pomander…Thanks for the confidence booster, Charles!
But you know me well enough by now to know that I basically refuse to give up on an idea. So as I sat there playing with my huge DIY fail with Charles the Cat, I brainstormed. And I came up with the idea to make string balls (if you have a better name for these things, please let me know, haha, but this is the best I’ve got for now).
I’ve seen them around the web as a good DIY centerpiece. You basically dip string in a glue-water solution, wrap them around a balloon, let it dry for about a day, pop the balloon, et voila! So, I made a quick trip to Joann Fabric to get purple embroidery thread (some of it I think is technically crochet thread, I’m not 100% sure of that though), and then popped over to the Dollar Tree to get balloons, glue, and a balloon pump.
I got a 100 pack of water balloons and then a 25 pack of regular balloons (although I wasn’t going to fully inflate them). The first thing I did when I got home was blow up ALL the balloons. The balloon pump I picked up was a complete savior; I probably would have passed out if I tried to blow them all up myself. But, I still hurt my fingers from tying 125 balloons…
Then I was ready to get to work. I had my inflated balloons, my different strings, basic glue, and a cup to put the glue in:
Mix equal parts glue and water in a cup — this will ensure that the glue dries clear, and it’ll conserve glue as well. My initial idea was to cut a rather long string and throw it in the cup to soak up some glue-mixture:
But that didn’t work out so well…it came out in a big glob that I then had to untangle:
So, big, long string hastily thrown in the glue is NOT the most efficient way to do this…But, I was still able to un-tangle the string, wrap the balloon, and then set it on some parchment paper (like what you cook with) to dry. Then I tried wrapping the string around my four fingers and just dunking that hand into the glue. This worked much better, but was extremely messy. Not to mention the glue kind of dries out your hands. But I did a handful with this technique:
Then I realized I probably shouldn’t spend HOURS making these things before I can actually see a finished product because it would really suck to invest that much time in it just to decide I didn’t like it. So, I went and hid my string covered balloons in the spare bedroom so the cats couldn’t decide to play with them and called it a night.
The next day, when they were dry, I used a push pin to pop the balloons. And thankfully I really like them. I think I like them more then I like tissue pomanders, which is awesome. To finish them off, I rigged a string in my basement and hung them up so I could spray them with a finishing spray (an acrylic clear coat) — none of the instructions out there say to do this, but I feel like it will help make them stronger. And I already had the spray, so why the heck not, right? But look how cool these suckers turned out:
Since the project got the Amanda and Bryan seal of approval, I decided I’d work on a few more and try to figure out a more efficient way to make them, and here’s what I’ve got for you…
1. Don’t blow up all the balloons in the beginning. I don’t know why I thought I would be okay with making 125 of these in one day, but that’s insane. And the balloons are going to deflate, so I’m going to have to buy more. Yeah, it’s only $1 for a bag, but still.
2. Don’t mix your glue/water in a cup. Get a plate or a tupperware. I ended up using a square tupperware:
This way, you can put a string in there and it won’t get all tangled.
3. The best way I’ve found to make them is to cut 5 long strings. One at a time, put then in the glue mix and then place them on the parchment paper. Then wrap 1 balloon in all 5 pieces of string.
This works well because with multiple pieces of string, you’re less likely to get a big, glue-string blob. Also, when you’re wrapping the balloon, it gives you a chance to change direction to make sure the balloon is covered evenly.
Since I’m pretty sure I would lose my mind trying to do all these myself, they’re being added to a list of things to do with MOH Sam. We might try and wrap them up next weekend before/after/during the making of ribbon flower poms. Then, they’re going to be strung along fishing line to create garlands to hang in the entrance into the Grand Hall like a curtain of sorts. I’m super excited to see how this turns out!
Moral of the story, though, is a) never settle. If you have an idea in your head and your initial attempt to execute that vision doesn’t look how you want it to look, don’t just settle for it since you already started it. There are a million ways out there to achieve a vision! And b) don’t give up if it’s something you really want. I wasn’t set on having tissue poms, I was just set on having something round. Instead of throwing in the towel, I googled my butt off and found another idea. An idea that, in my opinion, is turning out way cooler than my original idea!
Happy Monday, Weddzilla readers!