Paper strip heart garland

After making a garland of 30’s for my husband’s birthday last year (mentioned here) and then a 3D paper star Christmas garland, I really wanted to make another garland which could stay up in our apartment all year round! I saw some beautiful paper strip heart garlands on Pinterest (such as from here) and decided that was exactly what I wanted to do myself. I’ve seen them made from books, comics or maps, but I used some plain and patterned paper that I already had.

paper strip heart garland

Aren’t they pretty?!

To make this, all you will need is some paper, a ruler and a pencil to mark your strip widths, scissors or a cutting knife to cut your paper into strips, and a stapler. You could use paper strips instead of sheets of paper to make this a very quick craft.

Firstly, I cut my paper into strips 1″ wide and then I had to choose the length. I had seen some hearts which used 4″, 6″ and 8″ length strips but I felt like that made the insides too small. So I made a trial heart with 5″, 6.5″ and 8″ length strips. I quite liked it but I wanted bigger hearts as they were going to hang from the ceiling.

This is the trial heart:

yellow paper heart

To make my heart bigger, I used 6″, 8″ and 10″ length strips instead. You need 2 strips of each length for one heart. I used plain coloured paper with some scrapbook patterned paper for the inside of the hearts. I thought that the plain paper might look a bit boring so I drew a pattern on the outside strips with a white pen. I cut my strips from A4 paper, and the cut-off from the 8″ strip was just the right length for a hanging piece! (it was something like 3″ in length)

paper strips for heart garland

Once your strips are ready, all you have to do is to line up the ends of the strips and staple them together, and then bring the free ends round to make the heart shape and line up those ends together and staple them together too. A word of warning: if your paper is only patterned on one side, check very carefully which way round the strips are before stapling. I had to take apart at least 2 hearts and re-do them because I got this wrong!

I also punched a small hole in the hanging piece to hang it on some ribbon. And there you are, a finished heart!

scrapbook paper heart

paper strip heart

Of course, I wanted a garland so I didn’t stop at one… (I made 10 in the end)

coloured paper hearts

pretty pastel hearts

And here is the garland all hung up :)

pastel colours paper strip garland

heart garland hanging

green blue yellow paper hearts

I’m really pleased with it, and it was so easy to make. If you already had paper strips ready to use and you didn’t decorate them by hand, you could whip up a long garland in half an hour! Let me know if you have a go at one yourself!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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How to make a wire button heart

Even though it is the beginning of February, I decided that I would make this wire button heart a while ago. So it’s not really a Valentines project, although it would make a sweet gift for your loved one!

Handmade wire button heart

I found this project on the Hobbycraft website here. I found it to be a bit more complicated than the tutorial suggests, so I’ve added some detail below. It took me well over 2 hours to make the heart, which included restarting at one point so it wasn’t the quick make that I thought it would be. I’ve tried to put what I learned into this tutorial so that you can do it a little more easily. I hope you find this useful!

For this project you will need:

  • Approximately 2m of wire. I used 0.6mm (22 gauge) silver plated craft wire. Check that two pieces of your wire fits into each hole of your buttons with plenty of space to spare.
  • 18 buttons (you can use more or less as you wish). The buttons I used were approximately 15mm diameter.
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Vice (if you have one – I don’t, but it would have been useful!)
  • Ribbon (I used 3/8″ wide grosgrain ribbon)

1. Lay out your buttons in a heart shape to see how big the heart will be and to pick the pattern of your buttons. Mine measured about 15cm across. I had 3 types of buttons so I just alternated them to get a nice pattern.

Lay out buttons in a heart shape

2. Cut two pieces of wire with your wire cutters, each approximately 1m long (you can adjust this, depending on how big your heart layout is compared to mine).

3. At one end, wind both wires together into a loop about 3cm from the ends of the wires and roughly wrap the free ends around the base of the loop. This is the loop that you will hang your ribbon on. Cut off the free ends with your wire cutters.

Double wire loop

4. Thread the wires through one hole of your first button from back to front (this should be the top centre one). Now thread the wires back through the second hole. This is the hardest part! Start by pulling the wires until you have large loops above the button:

Threading the button - wire loops

Before you start pulling any tighter you need to do two things: (1) make sure that the two wires aren’t tangled (I moved the wires around in the hole until they were running parallel), and (2) make sure the button is pushed back to the bottom of the wire wrapping/twist and put your finger on the wire going into the back of the button to stop it moving. I frequently found that the button had moved once I had pulled my wires tight. These are both very difficult to correct once you have pulled the wires tight.

Now pull one of the wires until it is tight across the button. Use pliers to grip the wire if it helps. Pull very slowly and gently and if you notice the wire kinking or twisting, immediately stop pulling and pull some wire back through the hole to smooth out your loop before slowly pulling tight again. Once you have one wire tight, repeat with the second one.

Threaded ribbons on wire

The first heart I made broke so I had to start again. This was because I was tugging and bending at a wire that had got all kinked up, and I was much too rough with it and the wire broke! This is why you must be very gentle and make sure that there are no kinks or twists in the wire when you are pulling it through. After that I made very good use of my nylon jawed pliers (my favourite jewellery tool!) to smooth out the wire at every opportunity, which definitely helped the second time I made the button heart.

5. Twist the wires together so that you have a twisted length of about 1-1.5cm (for me this was about 5-6 twists). The Hobbycraft tutorial does not say to twist the wires between the buttons but I chose to do it to make the heart stiffer, as the wire I was using is quite soft so I thought my heart would lose its shape really easily.

I found it easiest to twist the wire if the button was gently clamped whilst making the twists. I do not have a vice so I used a pair of pliers as shown in the picture. I held the pliers closed between my thighs so that I had both hands free for the twisting (I’ve not shared a photo of that – it looked very odd!). The hardest bit was to stop the long wires tangling while twisting. I had to stop twisting and untangle them every couple of twists.

Clamping and twisting wire

6. Thread the next button on and repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have used up all the buttons. This will take some time! Your work should look something like this:

Long string of buttons on wire

7. Now check that the buttons are all secure and not loose. If any of them are loose and rattle, just hold that button and the one next to it and make a full twist so that the twisted wire between the two buttons becomes tighter and holds the button in place.

8. Bend your string of buttons into a rough heart shape. I started by holding the button that will be at the bottom centre and bending the wire up either side. Then curve the sides in at the top until the two ends meet.

Rough heart shape

9. Bend the free end around the base of the wrapped wire loop…Connecting the two ends together

… and then wrap the wire around the other wire wrap (keeping it hidden behind the button). Trim the ends with your wire cutters.

10. Bend your heart into a more well-defined heart shape, thread a ribbon through the loop and hang somewhere in your home! Mine is hanging on the chest of drawers in our bedroom :)

Hanging wire button heart

Let me know if you make a wire button heart. I’d love to hear how you got on!

Update: mini wire button hearts are now available to buy in the Little Koo Etsy shop! Click here to check them out!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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