Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Party Puffery, A Tutorial

With my birthday this week, I'm in hit-and-miss party planning mode. I know it's... unconventional... throwing your own party, but I love baking, unusual themes, seeing smiles, and knowing loved ones are there, stress-free, having a good time. To me, that's a gift.

But this year my budget is really tight. As in, virtually nonexistent. But it's okay, the challenge has forced me to get creative and transform things around the house.

For instance, would you believe the handmade puffs above were made from these humble offerings? Here, look:

Old packing paper from moving. Coffee filters. Straight sewing pins. Styrofoam balls.

I have tons of crinkled-up paper and tissue from moving. I had a trash bag full of paper that had been wound around glasses and crumbled in corners of boxes and wrapped around breakables. As I was about to toss it in the car last week, headed for the recycling drop, I scolded myself: find a way to use it for the party, then recycle it.

And a puffery craze was born. Here's what I did:

 Find paper or tissue around the house. It can be anything: newpaper, old paperback books, magazines, catalogues, packing paper, grocery/fast food paper sacks, old lists, term papers, drawings... anything so long as it's clean. Cut the pieces into uniform circles in any size you like. I traced around a flattened out coffee filter (8-12 cup size) for my puffs.

Grab your paper or coffee filter- just one now- and pinch together in the middle as in the picture above. Give it a good little twist at the base of your pinch.

Pin it on your styrofoam ball. Just jab the pin right in. (The size of your balls will determine the overall dimension of your puffs, of course. I used grapefruit-sized balls for these, but am on the lookout for a few bowling ball-sized ones, too. Your preference.)

 Continue pinching and pinning your circles. The closer you can get them, the fuller- and better!- the puff.  Here's my packing paper puff with the top completed:

 I estimated that I could pinch and pin a puff (say that fast five times) in ten minutes. Or a bit longer, if you were horsing around with your sister and jamming out to that song from the Subaru commercial during the process.

And certainly, you could spray paint these. Or use colored tissue. Or dye your coffee filters. Or use colorful scrap paper. Your imagination's the limit! I think I'm going to try a few with water-logged, vintage book pages and old Anthropologie catalogues.

Once they're done, secure a hanging ribbon using a touch of hot glue. Then hang to your heart's delight!

Truth be told, I think this will be my most favorite party yet. :)  -Brin


Shelley in SC said...

Absolutely love these!! Simple, fun, easy, big impact. Thanks for the idea!

Narayan Pillai said...

Fabulous use of those papers! Great work! Advance wishes for your birthday! Have a great party, enjoy and may all your dreams come true!:)

Vee said...

You may have missed your calling...Miss Party Planner. These are terrific. I know that you will host a wonderful party!

Sue said...

Happy Birthday! Enjoy celebrating!!

Anonymous said...

Genius, I love the party poufs. HaPpY BiRtHdAy!

sister sheri said...

These are adorable! I feel the same way about planning my birthday... which is today...

Happy Birthday! Praying this is a year that will knock your socks off!

Kristie @ Comfy Cozy said...

So cute! I've been wanting to make Martha Stewart's pom poms forever. I may give these a try instead.

Rebecca said...

What a fun spring craft this would be for young girls. I can remember making something similar as a teenager.

Brin! You gave me a fantastic idea! I work for a Domestic Violence shelter, and have a weekly "group" where the ladies do various art projects. Its more of a bonding and relaxed time than the other heavier groups. This would be easy, fun, and inexpensive!

LindaSonia said...

Can I just say the bread in your blog header looks YUMMY!! :-)

Adrienne said...

I love the idea of throwing yourself a birthday party. One of my dear friends does that every year. She takes us to some of the most wonderful places and always says 'no gifts'. We always ignore that and make sure she is celebrated from our hearts!