Back in January, we had some friends over for a fondue night and to celebrate Sarah's birthday. The meal was great, but unfortunately, due to the week's events, I completely forgot to get my friend a birthday gift. D'oh! Luckily, I had plans to see her last night so I could finally give her a gift. I found the perfect gift for my gardening friend online...a Wine Bottle Plant Nanny.
The concept is simple - fill an empty wine bottle with water, place it upside down in the Plant Nanny, stick the Plant Nanny in your plant, and then just go about your business. The Nanny takes care of watering your plants for you.
(Both Plant Nanny images from Amazon.com.)
Awesome, right? The only problem with this perfect gift is that it was sold out everywhere. Geez!
Feeling defeated in my hunt for the perfect gift, I decided maybe I should make something. I do like to be crafty, afterall. After finding this cute wreath online, the decision to go the crafty route was set in stone. This would be perfect for my
gardening nerdy book reader friend.
(Image from Living With Lindsay.)
The best part was that I already had most of the supplies on hand. I sent Doc to Michael's after work one day to grab a styrofoam wreath, and then I was all set. I read the online tutorial one day at work and then just decided to wing it at home. I'll show you how I did mine just in case you have any interest in making one for yourself.
The first thing I did (and this was not part of the tutorial) was wrap my styrofoam wreath. I used leftover dropcloth fabric from this project since I already had it on hand.
I did not even try to make it look pretty. There was no need for perfection since you wouldn't be able to see it. I just wanted to make sure the styrofoam was covered so it wouldn't disintegrate when I started putting hot glue all over it.
Next step: find the perfect book. I wanted pages that weren't white-white and I didn't want a very wide book because I didn't want the pages on my wreath to stand up too tall.
The winning book:
I have no idea why we have The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need on our shelf, but I'm pretty sure it was just collecting dust there. Actually, I do remember that when Doc bought the house we live in I purchased a box of old books from a yard sale to help fill up the built-in bookshelves. Maybe that's where it came from.
To make the pages look aged, I smeared brown craft paint on the edges of the book.
The dried paint did make the pages stick together a little, but they were pretty easy to pull apart. Just do it carefully and only one page at a time. If you get overly excited about tearing out pages and try to do a handful of them at a time, you'll just end up ripping them all. Trust me, I know.
Once the paint was dried and I had ripped out a handful of pages, it was time to start gluing them to my wreath. The first layer actually got glued to the back. I just folded and rolled the pages different ways (but without creasing the folds), loaded them up with hot glue on the bottom edge, and stuck them down along the perimeter of the back of my wreath.
Here's how it looked from the front once I flipped it over.
To glue on the remaining rows of pages, I had to fold a little ledge on each rolled page to create a surface to put the glue on. I folded it like so:
I glued the next row of pages down as close to the base row as I could get.
Here's how it was looking after two rows - the base row on the back and one row on the front - had been glued down.
Then was when I realized I had a big, big problem. I was already on page 101 of my 170-page book, which meant that I'd already used 59% of my pages and was definitely not 59% finished covering my wreath. Uh-oh.
So, back to the bookshelves I went, this time searching for a book that was similar in width and in color to my Investment book. Here's where you should learn from my mistake by either choosing a very thick, fat book to use or having two matching books on hand from the get-go.
Luckily, Sandra Brown came through for me and was able to lend a hand with her Tempest In Eden. (I'm hoping this was another yard-sale purchase and not a book that Doc had in his collection.)
Now, even though I still had a few Investment pages left to use, I decided to go ahead and switch over to the Tempest In Eden. While the color of the pages were definitely close, there was still just a slight difference. I wanted to be able to work my remaining Investment pages in later, so I saved them.
Off I went, rolling, folding, and gluing my pages. After a while, my wreath was beginning to shape up.
For the last row of pages in the center of the wreath, I did not fold the pages. Instead, I glued them down just like I did the base row, except these were glued to the inside of the wreath form. I liked that the height of them was a little bit lower than the other pages - it made the wreath look a little curved.
Here's how the wreath looked at this point, with all the rows glued down.
The wreath looked fine at this point and it would be totally fine to stop there. I had decided, though, that I wanted my wreath to be really thick and full, so I decided to fill in some of the holes that you can see.
This is where those leftover Investment pages came in handy. I used every last page of Tempest In Eden to complete the rows and so I wanted to sprinkle in the Investment pages (and their slightly darker color) throughout the wreath.
For this step, I was not going to be folding down the end of the page to make a shelf to glue to. But, I didn't want these pages to stick up further than the other ones (that were shorter due to the fold). So, I rolled them up like the others...
...and then cut off about the same amount that I folded down on the other pages. Then I smothered all sides of the end in hot glue.
To add it to the wreath, I just found a hole and slid it right in. It glued itself to the base of the wreath and to other pages.
I was ok with the page unrolling a little bit so that it would fill in the gap.
I'll be honest, I'm a little OCD and can be a perfectionist about things, so I spent a loooong time filling gaps. Plus, I wanted to use up all of my pages. Why not, right?
After all my pages had been glued down, I decided to clean up the back a little by covering it with another piece of dropcloth fabric. Here's where you can learn from me again - trace your styrofoam wreath BEFORE you start gluing pages to it. I obviously did not think to do that and just kinda had to wing it. I traced a couple plates and then trimmed down my circle to fit. Then, I just glued it to the back using more hot glue.
For the last step, I created a hook to easily hang the wreath. I used a small piece of ribbon and glued it together like this:
Then I hot glued it and pinned it onto the wreath.
Finally, my wreath was complete. Yay!
Here's an iPhone photo of it in the daylight so you can kinda see the different page colors.
I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. I have to admit, I was tempted to just keep it for myself. But, I guess I can always make another one, right? Hopefully it will find a good spot to hang in Sarah's home.
Here are some different versions of book page wreaths I've found online.
Obviously I'm biased, but I like the way mine looks the best! :) Happy very-late birthday, S!