One of my guilty pleasures is grabbing a drive-thru coffee to enjoy while sitting in the mind-numbingly dull car pool lane, so I had begun to accumulate an embarrassing number of empty coffee cups in my car, much to the disgust of Him Indoors! Consequently, I decided to create a recycled door wreath and use up these cups plus the leftover paint I had from the Lego head storage containers I made earlier in the week! Door wreaths are very popular here in America and not just at Christmas... and many people have Autumnal themed garlands and wreaths adorning their front doors in anticipation of Thanksgiving next week. I don't like to waste resources and try to adhere to the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, recycle!) wherever possible, and this was a good opportunity to put this into practice! Back in October, I had also made some spooky giant spiders to climb over my roof for Halloween and had some leftover pipe insulation and duct tape which I could upcycle too!
You will need...
- A selection of paper coffee cups, washed and dried.
- Yellow spray paint.
- Dried black beans.
- Brown and black acrylic paint, plus a paintbrush.
- A styrofoam wreath (or a length of pipe insulation, or even a kids swimming noodle!).
- Duct tape.
- Bronze, brown, orange or gold colored wide ribbon.
- Dressmaking pins.
- Optional: bronze or gold glitter.
To create a wreath to celebrate the golden warmth of Autumn harvest, I could think of nothing better than beautiful sunflowers! They are a native species here in America, and produce flowers well into Fall, especially here in the South. The image of sunflowers hanging up to dry so their seeds can be harvested is a potent symbol of harvest time and Thanksgiving! So the first task in making this wreath is to create some sunflowers! For this you will need a variety of paper coffee cups and some scissors. Cut the cups down in height so that they are only about 2-3 inches tall. Then create vertical cuts in the sides of the cup all the way down to the base. The cuts should be spaced about 1/4-1/2 an inch apart. Then fan out the sides of the cup to create a flower shape.
The easiest way to paint the flowers is to use a spray paint. Prepare your working area carefully with sheets of newspaper or cardboard and ensure you are in a well-ventilated space, preferrably outdoors. Follow the instructions on your paint can, and spray the paper cup flowers a bright yellow color. You will need to paint both sides and will probably need a few coats (leave 5-10 minutes in between coats) to cover up the designs on the cups! After the final coat, you will need to leave them for about an hour until they are fully dry.
While waiting for the flowers to dry you can create the wreath ring. You can buy ready made wreath rings in most craft shops... they are available in styrofoam, raffia and wire. However, they can be quite pricey depending on the size (they were $10 in my local store!). A much thriftier idea is to create one from either a length of pipe insulation (which you can get for about $1 at a DIY store) or grab one of those swimming noodles for kids that you get in the Dollar Store! Cut it to the desired length and bring the ends together to make a ring (opposing angled cuts make this much easier). Tape the ends together with duct tape and you're set to go! Once you have created your wreath ring it is a good idea to wrap it in some seasonal colored wide ribbon... that way the gaps between your flowers look good too! Make sure you have enough ribbon remaining to create a bow and loop to hang your wreath! I had a roll with 25 feet of 2" wide ribbon and this was the perfect amount!
Once the yellow paint is dry, you can then start work on making the cups look more like sunflowers. In the center of each flower (the inside base of the cup) spread a large blob of glue (PVA or craft glue is fine). While the glue is still wet sprinkle over it a small handful of dried beans. Leave to dry.
Then you will need to mix up some brown and black acrylic paint. Don't fully mix the two colors together so that you have a mottled finish. Paint thickly over the beans so the base of the cup is completely covered. Then mixed a little of this paint with some water (approximately 1:1 ratio) so that you have a thin, watery paint. Using rough brush strokes paint over the yellow petals. The idea is to create a rustic, textured look so don't try to be too neat ... the brushstrokes and drips add to the look! While the paint is still wet, a little bronze/gold glitter over the center really adds some seasonal sparkle! Leave the flowers to dry.
Finally, you will need to fix your flowers onto your wreath. You could use a hot glue gun for this (on my Christmas list!) or just use dressmaking pins like I did! The advantage of using pins is that they flowers are re-positional... useful when trying to space them out in an eye-pleasing arrangement! Finish with a loop of ribbon at the top to hang it from your door and a large bow! Ta-dah!!!! Hang from your front door and feel smug (and saintly for your thrifty & eco-conscious efforts) when you see the envious looks from your neighbors & visitors!