Broke-Ass Tag: Centerpiece

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Affiliate Disclaimer NewDIY or DIE Easy Stained Glass Without Soldering or CuttingAdult coloring books are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They’re a proven way to calm the hell down, which is a total necessity when you’re planning a wedding. This DIY takes that coloring book idea, crosses it with some good old fashioned paint by numbers, then at the end you have a gorgeous display-worthy piece that will not only be a beautiful addition to your wedding decor, but look great in your home long after you’re unpacked from the honeymoon!

On the long list of things I love to DIY, cutting glass and soldering it together never made it to the list. It’s a shame because I’ve loved the look of stained glass for about as long as I could remember. The huge, colored windows were a big factor in choosing my wedding venue and I tend to gawk any time I pass a church or old home, so I was super excited to discover a way to recreate the look easily and relatively quickly.

Vitrail is the magic potion that makes this a reality and while it’s tucked away with some of the more advanced supplies at your local art store, it’s surprisingly easy to use. You can find starter kits in six and 12 colors; I recommend 12 to get all of your basic colors plus a few extra (including gold!). The colors are extremely easy to mix to get any specific in-between shades you want. You only need a few other supplies to get this project going, so let’s take a look!

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Start with a glass piece that curves in no more than one direction. This can be a cube, cylinder (my piece for this project) or a flat plane of glass. Grab a template. This can be something you freehand draw or download from the internet (just Google “stained glass template” for a huge selection ranging from easy-peasy to intimidatingly intricate). You can even borrow a page from one of your adult coloring books! Grab a roll of tape, a paint brush or two, an oil-based solvent (like mineral spirits) to clean your brushes, a few disposable cups if you want to mix colors, a tube of cerne relief outliner, a pair of protective gloves and you’re ready to go.

Place your template inside of your glass and secure it with a couple pieces of tape. This gives you something to trace if freehand drawing isn’t your cup of tea.

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Take the tube of cerne relief outliner and snip the tip close to the end. This will give you a fine line to outline your work. Start tracing the lines on your template with the outliner. It easily wipes off if you make a mistake, so don’t worry if you didn’t get it perfect. If you plan to paint a large portion of the glass, go in stages. The outliner will be dry to the touch in about 10 minutes, which keeps you from dragging your hand through wet paint (I totally made that mistake!). Once you’ve outlined your whole template, set it aside and catch up on whatever you’re binge watching for an episode or start outlining a new piece. About a half an hour will give everything time to completely dry.

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Start painting just like you’d color in a page. Use your brush to apply a very thin coat of vitrail, filling in each of the spaces as you go. The paint is translucent, so if you’re using a dark color outliner, you won’t be able to tell if you got outside the lines a little. Keeping the coat thin will keep it from running down the side of your vase.

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If you want to mix colors, use your brush to add a few drops of each to a disposable cup and swirl together. It’s that easy. Adding a bit of gold will give you a pretty shimmer, if you like. Once you’ve painted the project, let it sit overnight to fully dry. Clean your brushes well with a solvent, otherwise the vitrail will dry and the brushes go in the trash.

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Touch up any thin spots or colors you think need a second coat. The more vitrail you add, the bolder and brighter your colors will look. When the paint is dry, you’ll have some smooth texture which adds to that genuine stained glass look!

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Let any touch ups completely dry, and that’s it! You’ve got a super gorge, waterproof piece that will look lovely with fresh flowers or just housing a candle or LED light (especially housing a candle or LED light)!

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Now it’s up to you to figure out how to use your new skill. Stained glass votive holders that double as table numbers? A window pane that serves as a bar menu?

Do you have any other ideas on how to use this project for your wedding? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 9/28

     07_Christen-Leigh-Reception-153
    Photo: Persimmon Images
    I’m having a hard time with my reception decor. Weddings traditionally have these dramatic floral arrangements, but that has never been my style. I’m such a girly girl, but I’ve never really cared much about flowers. They’re expensive and then they die. I’d much rather have an edible arrangement, but they don’t make great centerpieces, so they’re off the table.
    Despite my reservations, I did find a simple floral idea that I liked and started to get excited about. I thought that I would do the arranging myself, though, to save money. It was simple enough. I even found a flower farm near my venue where I could buy flowers directly. Local, native flowers, seasonal, and no middle man. Plus good for the environment, right? Has to be more economical. Well, although it may be cheaper than a traditional floral design, it’s still not cheap. For just my bouquet, his boutonniere, and loose flowers for five table arrangements and simple ceremony mason jars, the cost came to $600. I know some people spend thousands of dollars on flowers alone, but $600 when I still have to do the work myself didn’t seem to be a lot of savings.
    It made me pause and take a step back. I was getting attached to this design, but why?  I don’t even like flowers. I know for some, flowers are the No. 1 splurge, but for me, I don’t think the decor will be the most memorable part of my wedding, so why should I be spending so much effort and budget on it?
    So. I’m now looking for non-floral alternatives for decor. I’m still going to do a couple small arrangements per table (we’re doing long barn tables), but they will probably just be a few stems each in a mason jar or something like that. Because we’re doing these big tables, though, they’ll look naked without some other things. I’m thinking about pumpkins since it’s a fall wedding, and orange is one of my colors. Plus, they take up a lot of space!

    What are some other cost-effective ways to decorate without breaking the bank on the floral budget?  Or have you found other ways to do flowers on the cheap?