22 May

DIY Projects :: Reworking the Generic and Old

When you think of the word budget, what do you think of? Cheap? Plastic? Generic? For example, when I see carnations, I gag. Well, not really, but I do think of cheap. But there are ways to rework the overused carnations and other elements such as tissue paper and doilies into easy and impressive accents. What do carnations, tissue papers and doilies have in common? They are all cheap, overworked and unappreciated. There are ways to trim the budget by using these overused and stale decoration ideas in a new and chic manner.

Carnation Overkill

Carnations are grown all over the world, including counties such as “The Iraq”, Kenya, India, Turkey and  China. Being available year round and coming in a variety of shades (about 10,000 different varieties) makes this a commonly filler flower in bouquets. If it is kept properly hydrated, it will remain fresh and fragrant for about three weeks. The key to carnations: use in bulk.


Whimsical Centerpieces: Carnations are bunched together in a vase wrapped in aspidistra leaves. Silver wire is tied to give it a modern feel.

Bed of Roses Carnations: Carnations are always better in masses. This is a great way to display your escort cards, a aisle runner or a centerpiece. Floral foam are found in a variety of shapes and sizes. This project can be made weeks in advance, just remember to follow the last step.

  • Fill a sink or large bowl with cool water, and mix with floral food, following label instructions. Submerge the foam water for 1 hour, then place on a tray.
  • Cut flower stems about 1 inch from the head. Starting from the middle of the foam, insert the cut stems into the form, clustering the blooms close together.
  • To use this arrangement as a centerpiece, set it on a tray or plate. Every 4 days, place your arrangement in a sink and water it from above; let it drain. Your arrangement should last for up to 2 weeks in a cool, humid location.

Kiss me Carnation: Pomander or “kissing ball” are an easy way to add elevation and excitement to a table urchase floral foam balls in the size of your choice (available at any floral supply store or online), flowers (sturdy flowers so they don’t get crushed) and wire.

  • To prepare the ball for hanging, wrap wire around the diameter of the ball, then wrap it again but in the opposite direction to divide the ball into quarters. Twist the ends of the wire into a small loop (you’ll slip the ribbon through this loop later to hang the ball).
  • Soak the foam in water.
  • Trim the stems of the flowers at an angle, leaving an inch or so beneath the head. Insert flowers. If the stems of your chosen flowers are strong enough, you can insert them into the ball as is. Insert the flowers in a straight line, creating a ring around the ball. Then cover each half of the ball with flowers, overlapping the petals slightly and making sure to fill in all the gaps.
  • Slip ribbon through the loop you created at the top of the ball.

Tissue Paper Tension

The gift bag stuffed with tissue paper is ever present at every birthday, wedding or any event that has presents. Tissue paper is the go-to when you are in a rush or don’t want to wrap a present. The key to tissue paper: using non-standard colors and creating texture.


Cute as a Button: With a little creativity, wrapping up favors can look cute and fresh. Pair tissue paper with parchment paper and tie ribbon. This person used personalized buttons to top each gift, a gift within a gift. Cute! Tissue paper comes in a variety of colors, patterns and textures. Find one that fits your budget and needs. Don’t forget to price compare! (Indigo Bunting)

Ring around the Paper: Similar to the bed of carnations or kissing ball, tightly packing tissue paper creates a huge impact when bunched in masses. Elizabeth’s simple directions will show you the steps in creating this gorgeous wreath you can use year round. (Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Gorgeous Garland: Need something to drape down the aisle or hang from the trees? Try this simple project that is easy to create but has a huge wow factor without being pretentious. Who would have thought they are made out of coffee filters and tissue paper. Both items are recyclable and are whisper thin, allowing light trickle through. Perfect for an outdoor garden party or indoor shower. (Pam Garrison)

  • Gather tissue paper, coffee filters, fabric and other paper materials and cut into similar sizes.
  • Tie a knot about 6 inches from the one end of the string.
  • Punch a hole in the middle of the circles or use a needle to feed the string through the whole. For each section, be sure to tie off with a knot so the paper packets are held in the same area.
  • Repeat

Dated Doilies

Doilies are reminiscent of a age gone by. Dust would collect as they were used to protect the furniture. If you reuse your grandmother’s doilies for these projects, she might get offended. The key to doilies: using them in alternative methods will break the stuffy/dusty doily stereotype.


High Flyin’ Flags: To incorporate a non-grandmaesque doily decoration, just colored doilies to create a stringed garland. This project is super easy and will bring you back to your drink in no time. Fold doilies of various sizes and colors in half. Use twine, ribbon or string and glue the doilies. Hang and drink. (Martha Stewart)

Illuminate Me: Using luminaries automatically adds romance and creates an intimate space. The candlelight really adds depth to the party. Follow these simple instructions to add doilies to the paper lanterns to create a display worth gushing about. (Martha Stewart)

Paper Runner: This project calls for cloth doilies, but paper doilies are fine as well. The openwork and spaces of the doilies allow the table cloth underneath to shine through. Adding different textures (unlike the picture) will help mix it up. Use metal chargers or burlap runners to help contrast with the traditionally feminine doilies. (Martha Stewart).

What do you think? Do you still hate carnations? Or will you give them a chance?


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