July 6, 2010

Vintage Ephemera Cameo Wreath

The summer has been flying by so fast that the Fourth of July, and our annual Chili Cook-off, snuck up on me like a neighborhood bully with handful of firecrackers!  I had decided not to stress about decorations and go easy and casual...that is, until the night before the big event.  It was at about 9:00 p.m. that I felt a sudden drive to decorate.  

Once again, forced to use only what I had on hand, creativity was pushed to the max and some nice little projects were born. Whew!  My favorite is the wreath I created with just a handful of old book pages, a scanner, my trusty glue gun, and some inspiration from "Poor Richard".

What I like best about this project (besides the repurposing/upcycling aspect) is its versatility.  You can make the little "cameos" to suit any theme:  Favorite Authors, Family Tree, Great Thinkers, Famous Women, Poets, Artists, etc.  

Because it was the 4th of July, and since I have a collection of old engravings of US Presidents, I went with a "Founding Fathers" theme.  Click the link HERE to download images of the presidents used in this project for free.  

Vintage Ephemera Cameo Wreath DIY

4thofJuly009.jpg picture by sarahjmorriss1) Find yourself a wreath to use as your "canvas".  I used a grapevine wreath leftover from Christmas crafts, but you could use foam or wire as well.

2) Make paper rosettes in different widths and sizes. I used three different types of paper from old books that I purchased, already falling to pieces, at garage sales. I like the contrast of the different shades of aging provided by the dictionary pages, sheet music pages, and school primer pages. To make a paper rosette out of a single piece of paper, your paper will need to be at least three times as long as it is wide.  For smaller paper (like those I used from the school primer), make two separate fan folds and glue together for a full rosette.

4thofJuly011.jpg picture by sarahjmorriss3) Dry-fit the rosettes around the wreath to achieve good proportion and layout.  When you're satisfied with the design, glue in place.

4) Print black and white bust portraits on watercolor paper (or other medium weight ivory colored paper).  Trim and then mount on black paper.  Trim, leaving a thin black border.  

5) Glue "Cameos" in the centers of some of the rosettes.
4thofJuly007.jpg picture by sarahjmorriss
6) Print names of each person on same paper as the cameos.  Trim to create thin banners and v-cut the ends.    Optional:  embellish with small Dresden accents  (Click HERE for source).  Bend to give dimension.  Glue each side of name banner just beneath Cameo, allowing the center to bow out.

7) Optional:  Print quotes or anecdotes appropriate to your subject.  For my wreath, I chose some clever, witty, and inspiring quotes from Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack.  Trim, v-cut, bow and glue in similar fashion to the name banners.


This post has been linked-up with:
BFF Open House Linky Party @ The Answer is Chocolate


  1. omy goodness! I LOVE this! I work at a Jr. High and this would be perfect in my Americana classroom, but like you said, change the faces and it would fit any occassion, so super cool... I'm glad you visited my blog and I will follow you around now! Lezlee

  2. That's awesome! I lived in the US for a few years and really miss the 4th July. Thanks for stopping by my blog, it was great to meet you!

  3. Jenn thank-you! That was a really nice comment you left me.

    You are truly talented! Looking through your work is amazing.


  4. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [07 Jul 12:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  5. You know I LOVED this wreath. It was absolutely perfect for the 4th!

  6. Jenn,

    These are so special and thanks so much for the engravings...just wonderful of you to share them.

    I stay off in fabric mostly but this does inspire me to use more paper.

    I'd love for to drop by for a peek at my rosettes.

    Have a wonderful day,
    Stephanie ♥

  7. I really like this Idea! I may do something like this in the future:) Thanks for the inspiration and for stoppin by Chick Hardware!



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