I am so excited to share this gorgeous book page wreath with you! It was inspired by a beautifully versatile corn husk wreath that I have owned for 20 years. Not many decor items would have stood the test of time for that many years, but I still very happily use this wreath on a regular basis because I adore it so much. I bought my wreath from a farmer who made them to sell along with his pumpkins in the fall. Though I have kept an eye out for another lest mine needed replacing, I have never found another anything like it. Since not many of us have access to enough corn husks with which to make a wreath like mine, not to mention the skills and tools needed, I went in search of an easily obtainable substitute material that would result in an extravagantly full and fluffy work of art.
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Versatility is the name of the game for me when it comes to accessories! I tend to gather pieces that I fall in love with and use them over and over throughout the house. This project meets all my criteria! It’s easy to construct from economical materials, and so neutral in style and color that it will span all manner of decorating styles and color schemes! Win, win, win!
Book Page Wreath Supply List
12″ Grapevine Wreath
On one of our junking excursions about a year ago, the Wildman and I picked up an old set of Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedias. The pages were perfectly aged and they had off white covers that would lend themselves perfectly to designing vignettes for myself or clients. Best of all? The entire set was only $3.00! Can you believe it? When the Wildman very politely inquired what I was going to do with an entire set of old encyclopedias, I explained to him that for $3.00 this was a purchase that one need not have a current plan for. It was clear that their purpose would present itself to my wild and wandering imagination in due course!
The process is extremely simple. I actually slid the paper cutter right into the book and cut the strips of pages to the 3.5″ size needed without ever having to separate them from the book binding. A task that can be a bit tedious is totally avoided!
The next step is to simply use your “fringing” scissors to cut along one entire length of the book pages. (I got mine at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon. I have included a link in case you can’t find these scissors in your area.) The number of pages you can cut at one time will depend on the thickness of your book pages. Mine were fairly thick, so I only fringed two pages at a time. Trying to cut too much bulk at one time may knock your scissors out of alignment causing them not to cut correctly, not to mention the extra wear and tear on your hands. You will be cutting a lot of fringe so you may want to consider wrapping your thumb and forefinger with padded band aids to protect yourself from blisters. (I speak from experience! )
Now it’s time to roll your pages into the plumes that you will then glue into the grapevine wreath. You may find that rolling them around a pencil makes it easier. I ended up rolling most of mine without the aid of a pencil by starting the roll and then pushing it along my leg or a table surface to finish. Once the plume is rolled, pinch the unfringed end down flat. This is the end you will glue to the wreath so it will need to be flat to fit between the grapevine. This also allows you to make mountains of plumes before you start gluing because the pinching makes the book page stay rolled up.
The next step is to glue the plumes into the wreath using your glue gun. Start by attaching plumes around the entire center opening of the wreath. Then work in sections to attach plumes from center moving towards the outside of the wreath. Experimenting with several different methods proved that this is the fastest, easiest way to attach the plumes and also resulted in a uniform outer edge when finished. After burning myself a few times I scavenged around the house to find something flat to help me poke the flat edge of the plumes between the grape vines on the wreath. In some spaces it will make sense to put the plume in place and then glue it. For others you will need to apply the glue and then put the plume in place. A manicure orange stick became my saving grace and saved the tips of my fingers, but a Popsicle stick would work also and the upside of that option is that you get a sweet treat out of the deal!
In areas that seem sparse, I cut a bit of length of the flat end of the plume, applied glue and placed it into the area that did not look full enough allowing the glue to attach it to the more secure plumes surrounding it. About 90% of the plumes are glued into the actual grapevine making this a very sturdy wreath! I also left some of the grapevine tendrils in place allowing them to come up through the plumes. I really like the natural element that the curly q’s create, but you can easily hide the entirety of the wreath.
Since I am a person who needs variety, I would cut and fringe pages for a while, then roll plumes for a while, then glue for a while. Then I would start all over. The project used almost two entire volumes of encyclopedia book pages. You will need to adjust your system based on your own boredom threshold and how long your hands will hold out when using the scissors. (Even better, find a friend to help “fringe” your pages!)
When the glue dry, just fluff the fringe with your fingers and you are ready to embellish as you please! The possibilities for how to use this book page wreath are endless! I threaded ribbon through the grapevine on the back of wreath and then wrapped it loosely around the wreath to tie a simple bow in front. Since many of the book pages have black and white pictures on them the variegation in color is amazing! Because I favor imperfection, I also love the variation in heights of the plumes! (If you are a perfectionist, simply give your wreath a little hair cut to get it all one consistent length.)
This wreath could definitely be used without any adornment and still be awe inspiring! However, the sky is the limit with this project! Ornaments could be nestled and glued among the fringe, or glitter could be applied to the finished wreath to add a layer of glitz! Choose whatever will make it uniquely yours!
Okay, here comes the true confession portion of our chat . . . .
You know how when you’re in the planning stage of creating you can convince yourself that you can whip a project out in no time . . . .
Like that weekend DIY that you and your husband undertake only to realize that you didn’t buy quite enough of a certain material and, upon returning to the store, you discover that said material is sold out and another shipment is not expected for two more weeks . . . .
Or the time you were sure that you could remove all of the old wallpaper in the bathroom in two days with a little time left over, and five days later you are still peeling away . . . .
This project was a little like that for me. To be fair, I was flying blind on this one. I was really focused on figuring out the best way to construct the wreath before I presented it to you in a post. To quote Thomas Edison, “I did not fail. I found 10,000 ways it didn’t work.” Okay, maybe not 10,000. It was more like 10 in this case. I had scheduled two days for the book page wreath and ended up spending four days completing it. That is not to say that I sat at the table working on this for four days straight. I did eat, sleep, feed the kitties and such. Well, until day four when I forgot to eat lunch because I was consumed with finishing so I could get the project posted today!
Just remember, creating is supposed to be fun, so give yourself some grace if a project doesn’t end up going quite as fast as you would like. In the end it is always worth it to be able to say you made it yourself when someone wants to know where you obtained such a beautiful specimen! I really hope you will give this wreath a try. I truly believe that you will fall in love with it and that it will become one of your very favorite accessories to decorate with for years to come!