Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wine to Water.

Nowadays, it's rare to have a unique idea. That's a bold blanket statement to start with, but that's how I feel. I'll present an idea in conversation, then struggle to remember where I saw that idea. The internet is overwhelming enough, but add in Pinterest, and I don't even know if my imagination works anymore.

I feel like my creativity worked for my water carafes I'm planning to use for my wedding. I'm pretty proud of it, too. If you find otherwise, please give me a week to live in my ignorant bliss. Maybe wait until after my wedding, even. I will take all evidence of otherwise starting July 15, 2014.

In the very early stages of wedding planning, I knew for certain that I wanted water on the tables. I am notorious for my fish or camel-like intake. There are very few restaurants that can keep up. As we're planning a July 5 wedding with an outdoor ceremony and a reception to follow in an un-airconditioned barn, hydration will be key and I wasn't going to trust anyone to mess that up.

So what's a water and wine-loving girl to do? Dress up wine bottles, of course.

We're taking wine bottles, wrapping them up in twine, labeling them so people don't feel self-conscious when they're hitting the bottle before dinner, and filling them with water. 

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. We were trying to create a mock table without the distraction of the craft table behind.

I took some suggestions from my sister Veronica and my friend Alex on the tags. I had planned on embossing them to add a little extra somethin-somethin. Veronica suggested I write 'Drink Me' on one side as a playful addition and a nod to one of our favorite movies, Alice in Wonderland. I want this wedding to be fun and I want that to be obvious. I added the 'Drink Me' to half of the tags, just because I was afraid it could be overkill on all of them, and look like some sort of potion collection. Which also wouldn't be a horrible thing because I love Hocus Pocus. 

That was all fine and dandy.  The tags were informative, playful, and a touch fancy with their embossing, but they were still so manilla, both literally and figuratively.  They were straight, perfect, and so wrong for the barn wedding. Alex suggested tea-dyed hang tags, which she used as seating assignments for her wedding. It was perfect too - the hang tags were hung on chicken wire in a frame. 

I had already starting wrapping bottles in twine and including the hang tags as you can see above, but I couldn't shake the thought of a tea-stained tag. A coworker had brought in boxes of tea after her vacation to Africa (side note: who knew Africa was a hot spot for tea?), so I had boxes of tea to spare. I had to try it.

I boiled about 14 quarts of water. This wasn't purposeful, it was just the size of the bowl that I filled up when the teapot started hissing. I then dropped in three teabags. I let that steep for a couple minutes while I laid out wax paper and the tea tags on the table. Using a foam brush, I started with a thin coat on the tag.

One thin layer of tea gave the tags a slightly darker color and a bit of a worn look. I loved the slight change, so I decided to go with it and be a little more adventurous as I stained 90 tags for the water wine bottles and retroactively stained those already attached to bottles. I then stained 200 tags to use as seating assignments. In my staining of 300 tags, I have a few tips:

1. Really splash on that tea. The puddles and drips will make each tag unique and give you the rustic, vintage look.

2. Layer strings, corners, anything over the tags to give a different look. I let the strings from the tags drop onto each other, and it gave some really cool shadows on some.

3. Paint multiple coats of tea. I used three, generous layers on each side, allowing six hours between coats to make sure everything was dry before another bombardment. 

4. The tags, paper, whatever will curl when you layer on the tea. Don't stress yourself by trying to flatten everything immediately - get through the round, and push them down if they're still curling. I would push the corners into puddles, which would help them to stick flat to the wax paper. Even still, they'll probably flatten as they dry.  

With that, I took 300 manilla shipping hang tags from standard to rustic for free. Well, I had to first buy the tags, which was just under $24 on Amazon. If I had to buy the tea, and I used six tea bags for 300 tags, I would have maybe spent $5.  We'll say I spent $30 on 300 tags, breaking that down to $0.10 a tag, and that's pretty awesome.

I'll be back with embossing tips, tricks, and favorite products later. I have some new things I'm trying out, and want to experiment first. 

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