I just have to break in on the 31 Days of Interior Styling series to share these two awesome decor projects. In a way, they fit well with the series, because they are great styling accents for fall. On Monday night, I co-taught a DIY class at Jessica’s store, Prime and Polish in Minneapolis. We had such a fun night making plaster gourds and sweater vases.
Before I get into the projects, I want to gush a bit more about the class. It was so fun. It was my first time ever leading a DIY/craft class. Jessica and I started 3 hours before the class rearranging the store and getting everything set up. I shared a few pics on Instagram as we went.
As a newly discovered introvert myself, I know going to a new type of event can be intimidating. I know if I were an attendee, I would love to know what to expect. Who will be there? What will we do? Will I fit in? Well, I thought I would give you a brief run down on our first class. We had 9 enthusiastic students. They were so awesome! There was one group of 4 that had been friends since college. One student brought her mom. The rest came solo. We had some time to mingle and chat at the beginning and in-between projects. Everyone was so nice and the conversations flowed easily.
We set up the project table as one big square, so everyone was together. Everyone could see each others projects. They traded gourds and leaves during the plaster project. I was downright impressed with how quickly friends were made, especially during the sweater vase project. We thought everyone would want their own sweater to make a matching set, but were pleasantly surprised when students started sharing and trading sweater parts to create their vases.
I secretly hoped no one would want to use the turquoise and lime sweaters, but they were the most popular. One attendee made this awesome lime and turquoise set that I so wanted to steal. I took them just long enough to snap these pictures. Then, I reluctantly gave them back.
All in all, it was a fun and casual evening of DIY. Jessica and I did our best to keep it low-key, throw in a little humor, and keep the conversations going. We served ice water and wine during intermission between projects. All the attendees went home with a bag full of plaster gourds, leaves, and a set of sweater vases.
Join Us for the Next Class
We have three more classes planned for 2013, and with the first one under our belts we are more excited than ever to host more classes! If you are in the Twin Cities and would like to join us for an upcoming class, please go here to learn more. Registration will be open soon for the remaining three classes in 2013.
Now onto the projects…
The two projects we did in class are so good, I just have to share them here, too. Both of the projects take less then 30 minutes from start to finish. Both projects are inexpensive, but the result is gorgeous.
DIY Plaster Gourds and Fall Leaves
- Plaster of Paris (available at Michaels, Home Depot, and Lowes)
- Cold Water
- Faux gourds or pumpkins (we found ours at Michaels)
- Fabric leaves (sold in packages of 24 at Michaels – the smaller size is easier to work with)
- Wax Paper
- Paint Stir Stick
- Plastic bucket
- Foam Brush (optional)
- 220-grit sand paper (optional)
Step by Step:
- Prepare your working space. Lay out wax paper to set your plastered items on to dry. Have the items you want to plaster ready. You will only have 6-10 minutes of working time.
- Put on disposable gloves. Mix the Plaster of Paris according to the manufacturer’s instructions in the plastic bucket. Stir with stir stick until most lumps are gone. It will look like pancake batter.
- For rigid objects, like plastic gourds, dip and swirl in the plaster until coated. Set on wax paper to dry. You can carefully smooth out plaster or add plaster with your finger tips once you set the gourd on the wax paper.
- For flexible items, like fabric leaves, lay them on top of the plaster and press in with fingers until top of leaf is covered. Carefully pull out and lay flat on the wax paper. Use your fingers to add, touchup, or smooth out plaster once leaf is laying flat. When leaf is dry, you can easily break off any plaster drips at the edges of the leaf.
- It works best if your plaster is a runny pancake batter consistency. Add a small amount of extra water if needed to thin the plaster.
- The plaster will begin to thicken and harden within 6-10 minutes. You can add a small amount of water when this happens to extend working time by a few minutes.
- You can re-dip objects after drying for more coverage
- You can lightly sand plaster coated objects after they are fully dry with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth imperfections.
DIY Sweater Vases and Hurricanes
- Vases, hurricanes, or jars (straight or slightly curved sides work best)
- Sweaters (find them at thrift stores for $4-8)
- String or yarn to match sweater
- Yarn Needle
Step by Step:
- Insert a glass vase (cylinder shape or a vase with simple curves) into the sleeve of a sweater.
- Cuff the sweater, if desired. Place the cuff at the desired heigh on the vase. The rule of thirds is good to follow here; use the sweater sleeve/cuff to cover the bottom 1/3 of the vase, 2/3 of the vase, or cover almost the entire vase. Also, take into account any curves or interesting features on the vase. Play round until you get a look you like.
- Cut the sweater sleeve about 1” below the bottom of the vase.
- Thread a yarn needle with yarn or thick string. Pull it through near the cut edge of the sweater and tie it on to sweater to anchor thread. Do not trim the tail.
- Make a running stitch around the cut edge of the sweater.
- Pull the thread to gather the sweater on the bottom of the base, just enough so the sweater lays flat on the bottom of the vase. Tie the thread to the tail where you anchored it. Trim the threads.
- Look for sweaters with an interesting knit or cuff. Open knits look gorgeous with candles inside. Wide cuffs are fun to play with.
- Don’t let the sweater pucker on the bottom of the vase. If it does trim the sweater until it lays flat
- You can use the rest of the sweater to make more vases. Simply cut out a piece from the front or back of the sweater and sew into a sleeve with your sewing machine or by hand.
Fall Styling Ideas
The sweater vases and plaster gourds make fall styling easy. You can use them on your dining table, console table, and mantel. Here are some great ideas of how to use them in your decor:
- For an easy centerpiece, create a set of 3 sweater vases of varying heights/shapes. Fill them with the same fall blooms or branches.
- Sprinkle the plaster leaves all over the table.
- For a simple anywhere accent, put 3 plaster gourds in a wooden bowl.
- For cozy mood lighting, put dollar store glass candles inside the sweater vases.
- To use the small gourds on a mantel or bookshelf, set them on top of candlesticks for extra height. Try using two different height candlesticks with a gourd on each. Set one more gourd on the shelf at the base of the candlesticks. Similar to what I did here with tiger stripe pumpkins and here with glittered pumpkins (what can I say, I love a gourd on a candlestick).
- To create a pretty garland, use clothespins to hang the plaster leaves from jute twine.
Don’t forget to check out our upcoming DIY classes here.
Get a Free Copy of my book "Free Decorating"
"This book is so inspiring, I'm a self confessed "decor" addict, I buy anything I think "may" work only to take it home and be disappointed. After reading this book I can't wait to shop my own home and make more meaningful purchases." - Cori I.