Friday, June 28, 2013

DIY Wedding Crafts: Gift Bags & Paper Fans

I decided it's time to get specific with some of the tips I shared in one of my previous wedding planning posts, 6 Tips for Wedding Planning on a Budget. Tip #6 was to "get crafty" and save money by creating some of your own items for your wedding. This post will show you how to make some crafty things for your big day! (Hopefully a second installment will be coming soon!)

Personalized Welcome Bags

Welcome bags/boxes/gifts are a great way to tell out-of-town guests that you're glad they traveled to attend your wedding. They can be as simple or elaborate as you want, but one thing I recommend is making it personal. Connect it to the theme of your wedding, add a personal note, make it your own style.

For my wedding I created these bags and tags to hold all sorts of goodies.

Obviously this craft is more assembly-oriented than crafty, but like everything else, you can make it your own and do as much creating as you want. I purchased the bags and tags at Hobby Lobby, the "M" stamp for $1 at Michael's craft store and the state stamp was a customized order from the Etsy shop StampCouture. The striped string was part of a scrapbooking pack I purchased from Michael's to use on our favors.

After deciding a layout for the front and back, I hand-lettered the "welcome to" portion of the tag, then stamped it. After that was dry, I hand-wrote the message on the back because I felt like hand-writing something was better than typing it up. (Obviously lots more time-consuming, but a personalized touch.) Then I stamped the bags with the same color ink from the tag. The tags will be tied on the bag handles.

The bags will be filled with treats like popcorn, chocolate, little bottles of moscato for our wine drinking friends, and other items we picked out, like playing cards, hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works, and a local visitor's guide. You can find lots of fun items in the "dollar section" of Target and Michael's or Jo-Ann Fabrics. Also check clearance bins.

Decorative Paper Fan Circles

This craft is simple and can add a whimsical, lovely and unique touch to your wedding table. I stumbled across this idea one day while looking at centerpiece ideas and pinned it so I could come back and try it. In the end, I made 60 fans of varying size and paper pattern, three for each table at my reception.

The key to making these work with your decor is to pick the right colors and size of fan. I recommend doing a couple of test fans in different sizes so you can decide what you want. I also recommend using paper that is easy to fold (so no card stock). The width of each fold will determine the height of your paper fan and the width will, of course, determine the width of your fan. The length effects how close the fan folds are to each other when you complete the circle.

You will need paper (I used large scrapbooking sheets), scissors, glue (I used tacky craft glue) and paper clips (two per fan).


1. Cut your paper into long strips. The width you cut the strips will become the diameter of your paper fans. The length will determine how close your fan folds are to each other. (See image above, the bigger fans had more folds and ended up with a more defined look. The smaller fan had less folds and ended up with a flatter look.) Choose a width for your folds and begin folding back and forth as shown below.

2. Once your strip of paper has been folded like an accordion, gather it up and hold it together at the middle.

3. Fold the bundle in half at the center, first one way and then the other. This will get the center loosened up and prepped for you to make the circle.

4. Put glue on half of one of the ends of your folded strip of paper. Press it together with the other half. This will connect one half of your circle.

5. Place a paper clip on the folded end to hold it together while the glue dries.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other end of your folded fan to bring it into a full circle. I also recommend placing a bead or two of glue at the center of your circle to help hold the shape of the fan.

I hope you find these DIYs helpful. I have other craft ideas pinned on my Pinterest boards and I am planning to share some more DIYs with you in the future! Please feel free to ask questions or share your favorite wedding crafts, suggestions and tips in the comments!

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