Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pleated Paper Medallions

Back in November of 2009 I came across the most amazing post on Design*Sponge, and I have been ridiculously excited about one particular DIY project ever since.

OMG, I can't even put into words how enamored I am with every aspect of this look.  Mr. NM liked it, but he didn't want to kiss and hug it in quite the same way I did (probably because he's normal, and it's not normal to want to kiss and hug pictures on a computer screen.  Jus' saying...).  He did like the idea of paper décor suspended over the tables, though, so we started talking about how we could adapt those pleated paper medallions to better work with our wedding style and both of our personal aesthetics. 

Here were out criteria:  we knew we wanted to incorporate the graphic patterns we've woven through other projects, we liked the possibility of having a range of sizes including diameters over 12 inches, and the project needed to be affordable.  Hmm... fun designs on large, affordable sheets of paper...  Where could we find that?  Wrapping paper, of course! 

I scooped up about 16 rolls of wrapping paper from Target, eBay, and The Container Store for a little less than $75.  The tricky thing about estimating the amount you'll need is that wrapping paper comes in different lengths, different amounts per roll, and different types of materials.  The best deals by far were the large rolls from Target.  The other thing we purchased was the Scor-Pal ($25), to help us make more precise accordion folds.

Besides paper and a scoring board, the only other thing we used was to complete this project was our handy dandy glue gun.  And now for the how-to.

First order of business, making the wrapping paper double-sided.  To do this, Mr. NM cut it into squares and I used spray adhesive to stick one square to another.  It's helpful to roll the paper against itself to flatten it a bit before you glue it.  Might I also suggest using a very large box in a very open space - so you don't spray glue onto everything in your house and so you don't get high as a kite in the process. 

Next you just have to trim them up square.  For squares less than 12" we used our paper trimmer.  For larger than 12" we used a yardstick and cutting mat.  You'll need a pair of double-sided squares to make each pleated medallion.  Once they're squared up you can begin the scoring process.  I wanted 1/2 inch folds, so on one side I made score lines 1 inch apart, then I flipped the paper over and scored the 1/2 inch marks, also 1 inch apart.  Then you can accordion fold them.

Each accordion folded sheet now needs to be folded in half and glued to itself.  The result is a fan shape that will be half of a finished medallion.

Sometimes there would be a little extra tab of paper sticking out that I just trimmed up even with the other side.  I used the same process to glue two "fans" together.  Once the entire circle was together I noticed that some of the center pleats were expanding, making the middle area too "foldable."  Dotting some hot glue in the middle of the pleats (on each side of the medallion) took care of this.

And that's pretty much it.  I do want to share with you some other important things I learned along the way. 
If I were doing it all over again, I might prefer to stay away from really thick paper because it's harder to fold, and I would stay away from really shiny (almost plastic-like) paper because it's harder to adhere.  It's also good to know that the finished size of the squares you start out with will be the same diameter of the circles you end up with.  And finally, don't worry if your accordion folds aren't perfect because once the circle is completed the pleats are stretched out and it really doesn't make a hugely noticeable difference.

Now we just have to figure out how many we'll need in order to suspend them over 80 feet of tables, then find a way to store all of them for the next eight months or so.  Ya know, just some little details.  :-)  Oh, and as for the time it's taking to make these (because we're *way* not finished yet), I estimate that between Mr. NM and I we've spent 15 hours so far cutting, gluing, trimming, and some scoring.  We only have 8 completed medallions, so we'll probably need at least another 10 hours to finish scoring, folding, and assembling.  I'll update this post once we're finished to give the grand total time.

There are a lot of these pleated circles out there in blog land (also called pinwheels or rosettes).  What's your favorite kind, and have you ever used them for any of your own projects?

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