Paper Punched Flower Balls

Today I'm sharing the last tutorial from my Spring Mantle: the little Flower Balls. Yes, that means they are finally all completed!!

These were the result of a pin (this one), curtesy of the blog The Idea Room. When I finally found a cheap flower punch at Wal-Mart (4$!!), this was the first thing I wanted to make. I totally thought they'd be super easy and fun to make. THOUGHT being the operative word.

I set out to do not 3, not 4, but 5 of them! Since, you know, I had 5 different colored cardstock on hand that would go well for spring.

Tools and materials:
~ 2 1/2 inch styrofoam balls, Dollarama, 1$ for 8
~ cardstock, Dollarama, 2$ for 50 sheets
~ Flower Punch, Wal-Mart, 4$
~ hot glue gun and glue sticks, or pins
~ band-aids (for when you get blisters and want to keep going just to finish the last ball haha!!)

Time: 1h30 to 2 hours PER BALL

It's extremely time consuming. And it hurts (if you didn't get the band-aid joke). One ball takes almost an entire 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet's worth of flower cutouts. That's a LOT of flowers. Sit in front of the TV, take your time, plan that this will take a week to do (or several). Or- hey- just make a couple!!

Alright, now that the warnings are over. Let me show you how I made them. They are still fun to make.

In the original tutorial she used straight pins instead of gluing them. Since I wanted to make 5, I knew it would take way too many straight pins, I couldn't find any that were all white, and I didn't want to spray paint them. So gluing it was!

Step 1: Punch. Punch. Punch punch punch. Punch Punch. Punch. Get it? You need A LOT of these little flowers.

Someone reminded me that this would be a job for the Silhouette, which is totally true! If you got one of those machines, use it, it will save you a lot of trouble!!

This is about half of what you need for 1 ball. Of course, the bigger the punch, the less flowers you need.

Step 2: Glue a first layer onto the ball, gluing the flowers as close to each other as possible. You can also overlap a little.

Step 3: Bend the petals of the flowers, it will give more volume and interest to the flower balls.

Step 4: Glue the bended petals flowers in between the previous layer, hiding the white styrofoam ball. Be aware that it's almost impossible to completely cover the ball, there will be some styrofoam showing, but it's not super jarring. Still, you want to foresee where the other flowers will go around the one you are gluing down, so you might turn it a bit, move it a little more to the left or right.

It's really quite simple isn't it? You may want to punch half the flower for one ball, give your finger a rest, cover with the first layer of flowers, punch the other ones, and fill in the rest. Or whatever works for you.

My tale of woe:
It took me 3 weeks to make them all. I did 3 in 4 days at first. Then it was Easter weekend. The next week, I did the 4th one but my finger was really hurting from the blister I got and the blister got worse. The band aids didn't help much, sadly. I had to finish punching the flowers for that ball with my left hand (I WAS gonna finish that ball that day! And I wanted to take the pictures...). I had to wait a week before my finger felt up to punching for the final flower. And I made it!! I think I got a callus now lol.

All in all, I'm happy they are done! And that I stuck to my original plan of making 5. But I'm ready to move on now that my spring mantle is officially DONE for this year!!

If you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out here (I didn't take new pictures with all the flower balls- horrible weather = bad lighting= horrible pictures). The Bunny Silhouette can be found here, and the Wooden Flowers I blogged about earlier in the week.

PS: Are you new to my blog? Can I interest you in staying a little while longer: check out my most popular posts (right hand sidebar ------->) or my Projects Page . Or you can learn a little more about me here, if you wish. Either way, have a GREAT day!!

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Painting Wooden Flowers: How-To and Tips

We’ve had horrible weather the past week here in Quebec, Canada. Last Monday was a beautifully hot day (28C/84F) but Tuesday’s high was Monday’s low… Wednesday was absolutely frigid (11C/52F; my ears were frozen and I wish I had a tuque coming in to school!), while Thursday was a very pleasant day (21C/70F), and back down we went on Friday and the rest of the weekend (6C/43F). To top it off, we’ve had rain all weekend, and we didn't really leave our little nest (aka apartment).

All that to say that sometimes it seems like spring isn’t quite here yet. So I’m REALLY glad that I have my bright and cheerful Spring Mantle.

Though the flowers are taking their sweet time to bloom outside (I saw some daffodils on the way home from school on Friday, yay!), inside I get to enjoy my lovely wooden flowers which I painted myself!

You saw them last week when I posted about my Spring Mantle, and I’m sorry this post was not up last week, BUT in return you get 2 posts this week! (Not kidding, the other one is already written up and scheduled!)

I started with 3 wooden flowers I got at Michaels. They were 3.50$ each but they had a 30% off Simply Wooden Surfaces, so they came at 2.45$ instead. Still a little pricier than I normally pay for any individual item (wished I had gone the day before with the 25% off everything coupon), but I really liked them and wanted some spring d├ęcor. Kinda wish I had gotten more now.

What I love about this collection from Michaels is that YOU get to pick the colors you want! So I got out my paints and started painting: the stems and leaves green (duh), the tulips pink and lavendar, and the flower blue. I gave them 2 coats. It dries quickly enough that I could do that in one sitting.

Tip: it’s best if you sand the wood pieces before you paint as it will give a nicer looking, smoother finish. I realized that after my first flower was dry and rough looking and rectified for the other ones.

I found the blue to be too dark after I applied the first coat, so I mixed some white into a small aliquot of the Tropical Blue that I put in these little containers. I think they are meant for beads, but they are great for when you mix a small amount of paint to make a new color but don’t want to throw it out after.

Kinda hard to photograph wet paint, but the blue dries darker, too.

I also sanded the pieces after painting, when the paint was dry. It made it even smoother, and also made a nicer finish, especially for the green.

This is before sanding over the painted leaves:

And this is after:

See the difference? There’s a side by side for you! It subdued the green and also made the grain of the wood pop more.

You might also notice from that pictures that I sanded the edges as well. The only sandpaper I have is 150 grit, which is medium coarse I would say (can range from 12 grit (extremely really coarse) to 2500 (really fine) if I remember correctly from when I worked for my dad who sells this stuff). I think it worked well for this. Wiki's got a great resume of what grit you should use for what kind of project here.

Sanding is really simple. I wasn’t sure how forgiving it would be since I’ve never distressed, but you really need to sand a lot. The picture below I sanded a bit.

And then wasn’t satisfied and sanded some more. Just press along the edge and move back and forth. If you press more towards the face of the leaf, then you sand wider, if that makes sense.

I really like how defined it looks once sanded down.

For the flower part, you can really see how smoother it is after sanding (left below)in the pink tulip. The edges don’t pop quite as much though because it’s a light color and the wood is also light.

The purple flower defines the edges more.

The blue flower was a particular case because I had first painted the darker tropical blue, and then the second coat was a more diluted version. Before sanding, it looked like this:

And after sanding:

I LOVE the effect it did! You see the darker blue peeking through, keeping in line with the grain of the wood. I really wish I would’ve painted the other flowers with a darker shade then a lighter shade. I was so pleasantly surprised when it did that!

This was my first project with wooden surfaces, and I felt right at home! I love working with wood! One day, I will have my own jigsaw and I will be able to cut out the shapes I want. Oh the fun I will have!!!!

Do you like the effect the sanding gave? Have you ever used this technique on wood before? If not, are you tempted to try now with my instructions and insights? You should, it's super easy and fun!!

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Spring Mantle

Before I get on with showing you my spring mantle, I want to let you know that I'm gonna be trying something on my Facebook page for the next few weeks. There will be an album to share my week/weekend going-ons, just little sneak peak of what I'm working on, some updates, and behind the scenes. I know I don't post often, so maybe this way I'll have more to share. It won't be as "official" as my blog, though, but more casual.

You can check out the first weekend here. (You don't need a Facebook account to view by the way!) I have updates on my mini rosebush I bought for Valentine's Day, and I show you how my tulips are growing (I'm so excited about that! but it's slow...). PLEASE let me know what you think about this idea of mine (like, dislike, don't care, whatever)!

Alright, so on with the subject of today: my spring mantle!

I already showed you a sneak peek of my mantle (or as I called it bantle because it's actually on top of a small bookshelf...) last week when I showed my Bunny Family Portrait, but I promised I would give you more and better pictures. So here they are!

What a difference sunlight makes, right?! Sadly, I can only take these kinds of pictures between 10 and noon when it's sunny. That's the only time I get direct sunlight into my living room because of the tall buildings surrounding us, and because we are on the first floor. And when it's not sunny, well you get pictures like the ones from last post.

If you didn't check out my tutorial for my Bunny Family Portrait, then you can do so here.

This portrait is not going anywhere yet! I love it too much, and haven't had it up very long at all, I still want to enjoy it.

The yellow vase I made the same way as I did my turquoise vase for my bedroom, and my Valentine's vase. That is I poured craft paint and swished it around, drained the excess and let dry.

This is the last time I do this technique! I've tried so many times to get it right, and now I'm just realizing that it's not meant to be. I had a lot of paint at the bottom after the first day with this vase, so I thought I'd just spread it out on the sides once again to thin it out so it dries quicker. Only thing is that made the paint bubble... and it wasn't really pretty.

So I started over again with less paint, and draining it a lot of excess paint. Then when I put the branches in, it scratched the bottom, as you can see bellow. Just keeping it real. Doesn't show that much, but it's a bummer none the less. If I were to try it again I'd go with enamel paint.

When I saw these grass tiles at the Dollarama, I thought they'd be perfect to add a bit of green to my mantle! Only problem is that the vase and the tulips were not really stable on it and kept toppling over. So I had to put that coaster under the vase.

The branches that are in the vase are also from Dollarama (ok pretty much everything I use here is from there- I'm cheap and on a student budget, what can I do?!).

I couldn't resist getting all 5 colors (there was also green, but I didn't like it); each branch has its own egg color, but the buds are multicolored.

I'll share with you how I made/painted the wooden tulips later in the week, so check back soon!

I also painted a paint stir stick to rest the tulips on so they wouldn't topple over.

The cute little bunnies I got in 2 packs at the Dollarama. Aren't they cute?

A couple of them let me take a little photoshoot of them hehe.

This little guy was very eager to please.

This little gal on the other hand was a little camera shy.

And lastly, I made these flower balls to finish the look.

To be honest, they are a little bit of a pain in the butt to make. I'll share with you the full tutorial soon too, once I actually finish all the balls I wanted to make. I've got 5 I wanted to make, but all that punching has made me get a blister on my finger, so I'm giving it a rest. Only 1 more to go, though! Maybe I'll just use my left hand to finish the last one... This project has taken a LONG time!

Can you tell I love color?! Everything about my mantle is colorful :D

So there you have, my spring mantle. Let me know what you think in the comments :D

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