Colorful Paper Garland

We recently had a snowy Saturday that caused all of our plans to be cancelled.  I took it as proof that the universe supported my Creative Recharge and wanted me to continue embracing it – so I spent the better part of the day working on some colorful and creative projects.

Amy's craftroom

The best seat in the house (depending on who you ask): my craftroom.

First, some background: every year I treat myself to a page-a-day calendar.  This year I got the Farmer’s Almanac calendar, hoping it would would be filled with gardening tips and weather predictions for 2015.  Much to my dismay, it was instead full of boring bird facts and outdated wives tales.  Bummer.  The bigger bummer is that as a tree-hugger I already feel guilty about buying & using page-a-day calendars.  So, when I bought a replacement, I couldn’t just toss this one in the trash.  So, I upcycled it into colorful paper garland:

Colorful paper garland

I’ve been wanting to make paper garland for a while as it combines 2 of my favorite things: paper and sewing!  Like I mentioned in my last post, I used my gelli plate to layer different colors and textures onto the calendar pages.

Gelli prints

Every tutorial I’ve found on making paper garland suggests using thicker paper (probably to keep the paper from curling) – but these pages were THIN.  Even after I modge-podged 2 sheets together, the squares were still pretty flimsy.  So, I ended up also modge-podging a blank calendar page in the middle.  The layers of paint + 27 coats of modge podge* + 3 calendar pages = the perfect thickness.

Once all my sheets were dry, I used a circle puncher to cut 2-inch circles from each square.  I was able to fit 3 circles per square:

Circle cut outs

Oh don’t worry…I kept the hole-y squares and already have a creative plan for them!

I then flattened all of the circles under a stack of magazines (HGTV magazines in case you’re wondering).

Gell print circles

They kind of remind me of artsy Pogs. Yup – Pogs, remember those?? #90s

Gelli print circles

Gelli print circles

Gelli print circle

I love how you can still see the calendar text on this one!

After taking 4,000 pictures, it was finally time to sew the circles together!  This tutorial gave me the clever idea of using tape to ensure I would sew all my circles in the center.

sewing paper circles

Sewing paper circles

Sewing + tea = happy Amy

I used silver thread for a little extra whimsy :)

Paper garland

When I was done, I draped it on an antique window we have in our Family Room:

Paper garland on an antique window

Paper garland close-up

I loooooove how it turned out!  The combination of upcycling, colorful paints, sewing and the fact that I now have some new homemade décor makes this one of my favorite projects ever.

I still have about 300 calendar pages left…perhaps I should try my hand at origami??  We’ll see!

* In case you’re wondering “Gee, I wonder how these didn’t end up air bubbles/glue wrinkles?” it’s because before I glued the sheets together, I coated each sheet with a thin layer of modge podge first.  Once that layer was thoroughly dry, I would modge modge 2 pieces together (again using as little as possible).  Since each square is 3 sheets of paper, this was VERY time consuming, but worth it.

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