My Miss 9 wanted pink walls…
After a summer of painting my summerhouse and shed (no mean feat, I might add – who knew that the base coat for anything outdoors would be so thick and heavy!?), a discarded wheelbarrow for planting herbs, some picture frames and a (yet unfinished) metal chair, I was definitely not painting anything for a whole year!
Furthermore, Miss 9’s favourite colour might be pink now but it also could be black in two years. So instead of pink walls, I scoured the internet for ideas on decorating a soon-to-be tween’s room and do you know what I found? Nothing. Zippo. Nada. (Just like appropriate tween wear – which is a whole different story.) It appears that, in the whole wide world, there are decorating ideas for babies, toddlers, young kids… and then teens and adults. There is no tween category!
I did, however, find a whole heap of “pretty” from Pinterest, Etsy and various blogs. (I might’ve got distracted somewhat, funny that!) Searching for decorating ideas led me to a world of girly parties and there, I found a load of gorgeous images of ribbon garlands which looked insanely easy to make and later recycle! So that’s what I did. I finished the garland in about two hours on a Saturday afternoon AND with Miss 9’s very enthusiastic help! Something this pretty and easy just had to be shared so read on below to find out how I made my ribbon garland.
- A multitude of ribbons, in coordinating colours and textures. At least 10 spools. But this depends on how long you’d like your garland to be. (While shopping at Kin Soon, my Miss 9 wanted pink and purple but I and Ordinary People co-founder, Angela, loved an aqua and pink combo. We won!)
- Tulle (for filler, and because it’s so light and feathery, girly and pretty, like candy floss) – buy the cheapest of tulle you can, the $2 per metre ones will do
- Rope or similar (to hang on the wall and to tie the ribbons on)
- Ruler or tape measure
- Needle and thread (not completely necessary)
- A lighter (this is to seal the ends of the ribbons so it doesn’t fray)
I spent about SGD$35 on ribbons in Kin Soon. This was while on holidays in Singapore when I met up with my fabulous Angela of Ordinary People at The Hangar for a bit of coffee and after, a bit of craft shopping. The $35 included cheap satin-type ribbons interspersed with better quality grosgrain, plain and patterned ribbons. I also bought slightly more expensive crochet lace ribbons. I’m not sure if this added much to the garland as there was so little in the reel and you really need a few reels for it to show, but it was so pretty that I couldn’t help myself. Burlap too, I thought, would be a good filler but again there was so little in the reel, it was definitely NOT a good filler. (It would pay to read the meterage on the label, but I have spatial issues at the best of times!) I can’t tell you exactly how many reels of ribbons you will need, as it really depends on the length and width that you want your garland to be. For me, I bought nine reels of varying lengths.
I have an 18” ruler (don’t ask me why it’s in imperial measurements!), so I cut the ribbons into 3 ruler lengths for simplicity (54” or 137cm). Really it depends on how long you want your ribbons to hang, so use your own judgement when cutting the ribbons. Maybe test one out before cutting them all out so you don’t waste ribbon. Remember that you will be doubling them over to make the garland.
Next step is to measure the space where your garland will hang and cut your rope (or similar), allowing enough length for a casual, droopy bit in the middle. I found a nice space on my lovely tiled floors to stretch this out on (I do apologise about the photo, the tiles so have to go!) and Miss 9 tied the ribbons all along the rope whilst I cut and sealed the ends of ribbons! Easy! She halved the ribbon and and brought the ends through the loops in a knot over the rope. I have also seen photos on the internet where the ribbon is literally just tied onto the rope or halved and knotted – so do this in any way you prefer.
The only other instruction I gave her was not to put two of the same ribbons together, but in the whole scheme of things, I don’t think this would matter! And then simply fill, fill, fill in any gaps!
Then, remember that dreaded “OMG do I need to sew?” needle and thread on our supplies list?! Well, we found that the knots loosened after a few minutes, so I very untidily and hastily sewed the knots together. You can see that I was not too concerned about matching thread colour with ribbon colour and it really is quite messy, but no one is going to look too closely at our garland – and anyone who does will most likely be 9! I am not sure how else to very simply tighten the knots, so feel free to leave a comment if you have any suggestions. Furthermore, you can definitely be neater with knotting the ribbons (i.e. all in the same direction), but this was Miss 9’s project, so I didn’t want to be too pedantic!
Finally, just make sure that no rope is showing – we’ve still got a bit showing, but I have ordered (from Amazon) champagne and hot pink coloured tulle strips to fill these in.
By the way, it is much easier to buy the tulle in strips rather than manually cutting them. This is coming from someone who has wrestled with tulle before! With the additional strips of ordered tulle, ours will be complete, but Miss 9 was sooooo excited, she absolutely needed it to be hung up that very day! We knotted the ends and hung it on the existing screws on the walls. A fabulous way to hide those screws that I haven’t bothered to take out, sand, fill and repaint on Miss 9’s grey walls.
That’s it! An afternoon of entertaining and appeasing Miss “I want pink walls” and a pretty girly garland to show for it. So for some DIY decorating, this is as easy as it comes. Do it. It really was easy and not too pricey either!
Note: A garland made of fabric strips was also on the ideas list, but having to tear fabric strips and find colour coordinating fabric was perhaps slightly higher on the difficulty scale. Probably more expensive on that scale too, unless one has a basket of coordinating scraps handy already!