Thursday, October 31, 2013

Made & Found: Mini-Mourning Wreaths

After making my crepe paper crow mask, I was left with two rolls of black crepe paper streamers. I couldn't just let them languish in a craft supplies box somewhere. Not when it's Halloween and there's still time to make a last minute decoration. I mean, come on. So, I rallied my crepe paper, glue stick, and an old cardboard box to make some mini mourning wreaths. OK, I know it's a bit morbid--no one has died--but it is Halloween...

I'm not sure if mourning wreaths are a part of modern funerary customs, but there was a time when people placed wreaths tied with black ribbons on their doors to signify the death of a family member or a body lying inside (for wake purposes only). Perish the thought! The superstitious among you might wonder if making black wreaths to hang around the house could be an invitation to trouble with a capital T (as in Troubled Ghostie!), but I'm not too concerned. I guess we'll see how I feel about it when I get sucked into the television, Poltergeist-style.

You'll need crepe paper streamers, a scissors or boxcutter, stiff cardboard, and a glue stick. Cut the cardboard into large, medium, and small circles. I just traced around mixing bowls. If you're not entirely precise--and I'm not--you might have to trim the inside edge a bit to get everything even. For the best results, the cardboard wreath should be no wider than your crepe paper streamers.

Put a little glue on the cardboard, attach the end of the crepe streamer and start wrapping. You don't have to worry too much about this part looking nice because it's going to get covered up, but it is helpful to wrap as tightly as possible.

 Wrap all the way around and secure the end with a bit of glue. Apply glue around the inner edge of the wreath. I prefer to do it in increments, otherwise I'll end up with gluey hands. There's no avoiding it.

Attach the end of a crepe streamer to the glue and start folding. I tried to keep the distances between my folds somewhat consistent but, again, I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to these things. The key here is to make sure the the crepe paper is even with the inside edge of the wreath. Just stick to that and you'll be fine.

You've made it all the way around! Now you've probably noticed that the folds are not as secure as you'd like. Well, the next step is to swipe a little glue under each fold. Problem solved.

Time to make the bow and tails. I suppose you could tie a length of crepe into a bow and glue it on the wreath, but crepe crinkles so easily. We're going to skirt that issue by making a faux bow. Estimate the length of the bow for each of your wreath sizes, then double that when you cut the crepe. Fold the streamer in half, like below, and glue the edges together. These are the sides to the bow.

For the center, just cut a smallish piece of crepe (maybe four inches or so, depending on the size of your bow) and fold into a circle, glueing the ends. Then just glue the center piece onto the side piece and voila! A faux bow!

Find the place on your wreath where it looks like something went horribly awry and glue the bow onto that part. If your wreath is perfect, I have a feeling that you've already identified the perfect spot to place your bow. All that's left is to cut a couple of streamers for the tails of the bow and glue them to the back of the wreath. 

These are incredibly lightweight, so you can hang them virtually anywhere. They might even work on a front door, if they're not exposed to the harsh autumn elements. Wet crepe paper streamers would be a total nightmare, and not in a fun Halloweenie way.

It's getting a bit last minute for Halloween decor and costumes, but if you're still in need of Halloween inspiration, visit our Halloween page for costume and decor ideas, as well as suggestions for hip Halloween music. Happy Halloweeeeeeen!!!

P.S. If you're at all interested in funeral customs, the Victorians had some humdingers. The Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River, MA have a page dedicated to nothing but Victorian funeral customs. Basically, everything is a sign of impending death. Perfect Halloween reading, if I do say so myself.

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