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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Flower Light Strand

An extremely popular decorating accent right now is corded lights. For a Christmas present for my friend Heather I decided to add flowers onto a regular strand of white lights that she could decorate with. These are normally pretty expensive in stores but I found this project on like I do with most of my projects. There was no tutorial but just a description explaining that the flowers were made from an egg carton. 2 extra large sets of eggs later it was time to craft some flowers.

2 18 count egg cartons made of cardboard
Hot glue gun
Hot glue refills
Strand of lights (white or green) **make sure they work**
Acrylic paint (desired color. I used purple and pink for an accent)
Paint brushes
Expo knife
Cutting board (or in my case an old ceramic coaster)

Step 1: Eat the eggs
SOO many eggs. lol. I had scrambled eggs almost every day for a while. Or an egg sandwich. Or even baking things that use eggs. You can do this. Its a good source of protein ;)

Step 2: Cut the cartons
Use the scissors to cut the cups out of the egg carton. It doesn't have to be neat but has to be straight lines. Try to make sure you don't rip any of the cups when trying to cut. I would suggest using the scissors that have the rubber in the handles and make sure they are sharp. Your hands will start to hurt after a while.

Here are the cups cut straight from the carton. Note that some of them have specific shapes. You will want to use their shapes to your advantage when deciding on how to shape the flowers.

Step 3: Creating petals
After you have all the cups cut out you will want to shape the cups into flowers. To start with, cut slits in the cups vertically from the base. You can cut either 3 or 4 slits for how many petals you would like them to have. I suggest doing a good mixture of both. Once you have cut the slits in the cups you will want to round off the individual petal edges. This is more challenging because if you pull the cardboard too far it will rip.

When I cut and finished a 4 petal section I would place it in the discarded lid. Then I would work on a 3 petal section to stack on top. You will want to have 2 or 3 layers for each flower. Use your judgement in deciding how many you need. Depending on the way the cups had to be cut some looked bare with just 2 cup stacks, while others only needed 2 cup stacks.

Here are the flowers after they have been rounded off and stacked. You can see that the petals are aligned so that it fills in the gaps between the petals.

Step 4: Painting
Be prepared to make a mess. When you start painting you will want to do each cup stack one at a time. When starting to paint do the bottom cup first. You will need to paint the entire piece. This is where the messy part starts. It is inevitable that you will have to hold onto a painted section in order to cover the whole thing with paint. Once you finish the color that you want to be the main color you will want to add an accent color to the inside of the petals. This will add the illusion of being a real flower. I used purple for my main color and then a hot pink to accent with. You will add the accent color to the bottom center and the center of the petals from the bottom until about halfway up. Do this in a rounded area that matches the roundness of the petal. You wont have to use a lot of color. Just enough that you can see the color difference. You will want to do this for each layer and stack the flowers exactly how they originally were once you finish them.

This is an image of the flower after the next step, but you can see that the color is painted all over and then there is a slight accent to the center that is the pink I added. The cardboard likes to absorb the paint so when it dries like it did here it fades a lot. If you are looking for more dramatic effects then I would let the first layer dry before adding the accent color.

Step 5: Cutting the center
This is the hardest part of the project; cutting the hole in the center of each flower petal. Before you start slicing I would count the amount of flowers stacks you have made and see how you want them laid out on the light string. When I did mine I didn't have enough flowers so I had to create some out of the 3 petal stacks. In the end, I had a flower on the light closest to the end and then every 4 to the other end. So there were 3 empty lights in between each flower.

Once you know exactly how many you will need you can start cutting. Use the cutting board as a base so you don't cut into your table. Grab your expo knife and carefully create circles in the very center of the petals.

Words of Wisdom: You can always cut out more if you make them too small, but if you make them too big it is going to be harder to make them fit the cord. Some light strands have bigger lights and some smaller. In my case, there were actually some different sized bulbs on this strand so one hole for one would not always fit the next. Air on the side of caution.

I also suggest putting them on the cord and seeing if they fit. You can create a line in which you will have them on the cord. So then you can try it out, make sure it fits, then start on the next one. If there are 3 stacked on top of each other the holes will be different sizes because one will have to be pushed back further than the others. These will be the things you will start to notice.

Here is what the flower should look like once you get all the petals on the light bulb.

Step 6: Hot gluing the flowers
Prepare for pain and I mean that in the happiest of ways. lol. Hot glue and I have a love hate relationship. I love it and it hates me. A bit one sided, I know.

To glue the petals to the light bulb base you will start with the bottom petal. Add some glue to the part below the light bulb. Take into consideration how many you are stacking. If it are stacking 3 the bottom petal should be a bit lower than if there were just stacking 2. When adding them they do not have to be very low, just low enough that the top petal is below the light bulb. You would have seen the correct distance when you practiced in step 5.

Once you have put some glue in a ring around the bulb base then put on the bottom petal. Repeat this for the rest of the petals used.

Now comes the painful part. You are going to want to make sure that the petals are all securely glued to both the light bulb base and each other. I suggest pushing (lightly so not to rip the flowers) the petals into each other. You can push from both the top and the bottom This makes sure they are all stuck together. I find that I often stick the tips on my fingers right into the hot glue. If you haven't ever used hot glue before you will see that it burns pretty bad immediately when touched but cools very quickly. It will not do serious damage and rolls right off. Even though it causes me to girly scream in pain every few minutes or so it is important to make sure to get them on there good. Wouldn't want to have to do it again

Step 7: Touch up
Now that you have all the flowers glued on you will want to go back through and make sure there are no places missing paint. Like I mentioned before, the cardboard absorbs the paint. There is a possibility that the brown or white is showing some. Also, I noticed while my flowers were drying that some parts would get stuck together and remove paint or stick to the base I had them sitting on to dry. You don't want to give someone a gift that has paint missing.

Here again is the final image of the flower light strand. On the left is the image I found on pinterest. Theirs were a little different than mine in both shape and color but overall I really liked my end result. Especially when I didn't have a tutorial to follow. Just kind of wing it and hope for the best.

If anyone has any questions let me know! Would love to assist anyone who would like to try out this craft!

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