Tuesday, February 8, 2011

OMG They're Finally Done

I've mentioned our paper garlands here and here, and I'd like to formally annouce that they are finally freakin' finished!  Holy crapballs did they take way wAy WaY longer than I anticipated (big surprise there).  At final count, they have been a "work in progress" for 4 weeks now and Mr. NM (bless his little heart) did 99.5% of the work.  He's been "circling" (as he calls it) 2-3 weekday evenings each week and multiple hours-long chunks on both Saturday and Sunday.  As a result of this project I've decided that when I post tutorials or project updates for you, I going to try and estimate for you how much time each thing took in addition to giving a cost breakdown.  I know details like that would've been helpful for a chronic time-underestimator like myself, so I hope it will be useful to you, too.

We wanted to use bright blue ribbon to connect all of our black/white/gray circles, but if we hadn't cared about that pop of color then there would have been a much easier way to do this.  But no - we had to go and make it difficult for ourselves.

The process began with some calculations.  (Stick with me here!  This isn't complicated math, but it looks like it when you write it all out.)  We were going for two "curtains" of strands that were each 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide in order to hang behind the candy buffet and cake buffet tables.  Because the bottom couple of feet would be behind the table, we only had to make each strand 6 feet long and then hang them above the table.  We played around with the spacing of the circles until we found something we liked, and that resulted in 25 circles spread evenly over the 6 feet of ribbon.   We initially made them single-sided because I was hoping that the strands would hang without twisting, but no such luck, and that increased our tally to 50 circles per strand to make them double-sided.  Another spacing issue was how many strands we would need to cover the 6 feet width of the entire curtain, and we found out that we liked spacing of 7 strands per foot.  The calculation was 50 (double-sided) circles per strand x 7 strands per foot x 6 feet of curtain per table x 2 tables.  That equals 4200 circles, which I used my Gazelle to cut then I organized them into a plastic case I happened to have lying around.  We cut our ribbon lengths to 7 feet in order to have an extra foot for attaching to the frames (which I'll cover later).  That meant 4 strands per 10yd spool of ribbon, so for 84 strands we needed 21 spools of ribbon.  

Then Mr. NM sat with a ruler in front of him, dabbing hot glue and applying circles at 1", 4", 7", and 10".  After about 30 hours of work, we had all of our single-sided strands.  (Mr. NM would like me to tell you that this work is "mindless" and you can totally watch "man movies" in order to inject some testosterone into the process of "circling.")  At some point we enlisted help in the form of a friend and an extra glue gun. 

{two kids and their craft guns}

Adding backs to each of the circles took significantly less time than the first phase, but it was still at least another 10 hours.  Unfortunately some of this time was spent untangling the strands, so I highly suggest you find a way to reduce tangling.  We draped them over hangers and hung them in a doorway, which helped a bit but wasn't an ideal solution.  Hundreds of circles, glue sticks, glue gun burns, trigger finger bruises, and curse words later, Mr. NM arrived at the final circle.

At 8:30 last Saturday night, they were finally, blissfully, thankfully done...  40ish long hours of work later.  Mr. NM said he didn't even want me writing out how long it took because it feels nuts to think he spent an entire work week completing this task.  And he's right, it's craziness!  But we have faith that this project is going to provide two incredible focal points for the reception, and that's exhilirating!  I so can't wait to see them in action!

So here was our supply list to make our 84 double-sided paper and ribbon garlands:

60 sheets (6 packs) of 8.5x11" solid color paper - $16 from createforless.com
84 sheets of 12x12 patterned paper - $23 from createforless.com and Michael's
36 "sheets" of 12x12 patterned wrapping paper from 3 different rolls - $10 from Michael's and eBay
21 rolls of 1/8" ribbon - $10 from Michael's
1 glue guns (plus one that we already had) - $3 from Michael's
40 glue sticks (plus 40 we already had) - $5 from Michael's

Total cost: $67
Total time: about 40 hours

Have you ever tallied the actual number of hours you're spending on wedding tasks?  What's the most time-consuming project you've tackled so far?


  1. GOOOOOODNESS!!! I thought about doing this - and I saw your post that you were, so I said to myself I would wait and see how it turned out for you. I can honestly say I may pass this project up. It certainly looks worth it and I'm sure it will be such a dramtic touch to your decor, but I don't think I can wrestle my BMs into doing that many hours of work...lol. Good for you and Mr. NM!!!!

  2. Crazy, right? If I'd known it was going to be that many hours worth of work, I might have passed it up myself. :-)


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