Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paper Lace (and glass) Lanterns

So you want a little mood lighting....okay.

While skimming online for ideas, I saw some beautiful lanterns with intricate lace-like designs used as an outdoor table setting idea for late summer evenings.  They were lovely, and looked like the gorgeous metal ones that you see hanging from trees or sitting on outdoor (or indoor) tables as beautiful decorations.  The post suggested trying to make them using grey punched paper and a cylindrical vase.  I didn't have any lace punches, but I do have my Silhouette, which I knew could do the job.  So... of course I decided to try it out.  I love these types of lanterns and loved how simple it seemed to make them.  Turns out, it really is that simple (if your spray adhesive top/presser doesn't break on you mid-process...but more on that funny story at the end of this post).  And the great thing is, if you have a Silhouette and spray adhesive already, this project costs you about $2. :)  My pocket book loves that.

Items needed are:
*a cylindrical vase or cup
*dark colored paper (thin paper works well for this, as it helps make it easier to adhere)
*spray adhesive (such as Elmer's), and
*your Silhouette and a lace design image of your choosing.  (I used the following, which are still located on the Silhoutte online store: Leaf lace, and fleur background lace. There are more there that I really liked that you might want to try, but the ones I used were ones I already owned. Why pay more? ;) There are even nice Christmas/snowflake lace images available, which might make for really cute decorative Christmas lanterns.)

It looks like there are a lot of steps below, but I'm just being detailed.  If you want the short version, skim to the very end.

First, you can find hurricane lanterns and vases that will work at your dollar store or easily at a local thrift store.  I just happened to be thrifting one day, couldn't find any perfectly cylindrical vases (needs to be that so your can wrap the paper perfectly), so just bought these two cups.  They are now lovely vases. :)

Next, measure the circumference and height of each cup to know how much paper you are going to need for each lantern.  Yes, it has been over 15 years since I have needed to calculate the circumference of anything...but I trusted that the formula was still diameter (width across the top) multiplied by pi (3.14....etc.).  ;)  Then use those measurements to decide the sizing of your lace images on Silhouette Studio.  Luckily, I could fit both of them on one page, with the excess portion of each image hanging off the 'no-cut' zone of the mat (i.e. it wouldn't be read or cut by the silhouette).

Let images overlap the cutting edge of the mat in order to get the size image you want for your cut.

After the images were cut, use your spatula to pull each lacy image up, careful not to break any of the delicate pieces.  (p.s. our silhouette spatulas are only $5.95 right now, which is 1-2 dollars cheaper than you can get it at most other places online.  Just in case you want to get one for you or a friend. ;) )

Finally, take your paper outside to spray.  Turn in over so that back is facing upwards, be sure you have some kind of surface protector under it so that you don't stick-i-fy your patio, and then follow the instructions on your spray adhesive. Quickly bring it to the paper and place the cup on it precisely so the bottom and top of the image line up with the cup.  Roll it around the glass, pressing the paper firmly in place, and then cut away any extra.  Fill with a votive or small candle. :)

Note: I liked to keep one of the "edges" of each image on my lantern (the vertical edge of the image), and rolled it from there.  Doing this allowed me to cut away the excess right where the overlap hit that sharp edge, which then covered up the cuts as the paper just blended into that dark edge.  Just a thought.  You can try doing without that (i.e. press it in the middle first, and then bring around the two sides), but I was afraid it wouldn't look as clean where the paper meets otherwise.

Funny Note:  After spraying and adhering my first lantern, I went to spray the paper of the second.  This is when my Elmer's Spray Adhesive top decided to start dripping and going a little a-wall on me, covering my fingers in adhesive, but not the paper.  Now, my fingers are extremely tacky (yes, making it very fun to type this) and hard to pull apart if I leave them touching any one thing for too long. I am about to go online as soon as I finish this post to look up how to get rid of permanent adhesive on your skin.  How am I supposed to take out my contacts tonight?  Gulp.  Ask my roommate to do it for me? haha. We'll see.

Also, for a little more variation of height, try adding a glass candle stick holder glued to the bottom of  your lantern.  You can find these at the dollar store for, you guessed it, a dollar. :)

Anyways.  There it is.  Cut, cut a little more, spray, roll, and fill with candles for some delicate and lovely mood lighting for a beautiful summer evening.  (Those are the short directions.) I hope you have many excuses and perfect nights to enjoy them. :)

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