Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lace Lanterns for the Big Wedding

The bride-to-be wanted some dressy, lacy lanterns to "float" over the room where she and my son were getting married. After a whole bunch of trial and error, we nailed down a process and they sure turned out pretty!
It works best as a 2-3 person project because the materials you are working with are just so darn slippery! It can be done alone but it takes lots more time.

We picked an off-white lace and dipped circles we'd cut from it into a fabric stiffener and applied it to a large, inflated laytex balloon. We tied a string to the finished lace-covered balloons and hung them wet from a pipe in the basement. They drip! We had plastic down to catch the extra stiffener. The stuff is expensive and we wanted to save those drips for more balloon lanterns.

Once we had them all hanging to dry we took a couple of fans and set them on low to send a steady breeze to the bottom of the lanterns. The stiffening solution runs down to the bottom before it drips off so it's thickest there and takes longer to dry. They were dry within 24 hours but we left them hanging for several days, deciding the easiest way to transport them as around the balloon and then deflate and remove it once we got to the site of the wedding and reception.

Precious cargo!
Get me to the wedding on time!!!!!

A very tall son with an even taller telescoping pole comes in very helpful. The ceiling of the venue for the wedding was steel so the decorations had to be hung from it with magnets ~ easy once you figure out how to get the magnets up there.

We dropped a tiny, battery-operated tea light into each of them before hoisting them up to the ceiling.
The tea lights glowed very gently through the lace over the reception.

Ready for the party.
Now. Can I get showered, dressed and back here for family pictures in an hour.....

Advice from experience: use laytex balloons and a fabric stiffener product called "Stiffy". I bought it online for about six bucks a bottle. They carry it at Hobby Lobby but they only keep maybe 4-5 bottles on the shelf and we could only get 3-4 lanterns out of one bottle. Trust me, we tried wood glue and wallpaper paste instead of the stiffener ~ as suggested by several blogs we read ~ and our lanterns were a disaster. Varying products, temperature and humidity can all be factors I would suppose. Start experimenting early! The finished pieces are just gorgeous and looked absolutely beautiful glowing over the party. Wish I'd thought to take pictures but I was too busy having fun!