Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{Post 1,087} Fall Candle Holders

Here's another Pinterest-inspired project that was more difficult than it should have been.  But now that I have some experience under my belt, I'm rolling along and nearly finished.

These are four fall candle holders.  The Mod Podge (MP) is wet in the picture.  They are quite pretty when dry.  I know this because they were dry before I put on this last coat of stuff.  Later I will post a picture of them with candles inside.  

This came about because someone asked me if I was "doing" Thanksgiving at my house.  We made the decision some years ago that we would always stay home for Thanksgiving (barring any very unusual circumstances).  We invite others who are not traveling to see their families and take in single college students that would otherwise be alone for the day.  It's usually a big ordeal.

Well, this same person asked me what I was using to decorate.  The question took me by surprise, so I answered, "Food."  I truly hadn't thought about it.  What is more beautiful than a bountiful buffet including a wide array of desserts?  I knew I'd be cooking all day Wednesday as well as Thursday morning right up to the 20-minute feast.  It did get me thinking, however.

I had pinned a picture of a clear glass jar that had fall leaves Mod Podged to it.  It was made by a CHILD!!  How easy could that be?  It was actually quite frustrating.  They had left out a few pertinent details.

The most important (but unmentioned) was that a large-mouthed jar was necessary.  At least something you can get your hand down into (for placing the candle!).  I tried a regular-sized canning jar.  No go.  I peeled off my leaves (which was easy because the stinkin' things didn't stick in the first place) and washed the jar.  

I eventually found out these important steps:

Gather a variety of leaves in both color and size.  You might have a tiny space that needs a little more color.  We have some great leaves around here.  Rachel was getting them for me as we came home from an errand.  We saw a magnificent red-leaved tree in someone's yard (fairly close to the house).  I told her to ring the bell and ask them first in case they looked out the window and saw her making off with their leaves.  When Rachel asked how many she could have, the lady said, "Take them all!"  Hahaha...that's someone who does NOT like to rake!

One must "press" the leaves to dry them and make them perfectly flat before using the MP to hold them to the jar.  I did this by layering them in an old phone book (the one I use for paper-piecing foundations, incidentally).  The first batch was pressed for 3 days because I was out of town.  I did a batch last night for just a few hours, and they were divine.  Place something heavy on the book or whatever to really PRESS them.

Make sure your leaves are not too thick.  I had some fabulous green leaves (I don't know which kind...not magnolia--I'm not that stupid!) that refused to bend around the jars curved surface.  See the little white string in the above picture in the lower right-hand corner (in the shadow of the MP bottle?)?  That's waxed dental floss.  I would not be outdone by a recalcitrant leaf, so after applying more MP to the outer surface of the leaf, I wrapped the dental floss around the jar to keep the stem and top of the leaf in place (ha!  take that you stupid leaf!).  Victory was mine.  Later I carefully unwrapped the string and put another coat of MP on.

At first I thought I'd just use canning jars I had here.  That idea quickly went south because I didn't have any wide-mouthed ones.  I didn't want to buy any jars either.  Ironically enough, as I was leaving yesterday to take my daughter to her piano lesson, I texted her teacher that if she was just about to throw away a large-mouthed clear jar, save it for me...I was on my way.  Ironically enough, she WAS about to pitch a salsa jar.  It was PERFECT!  I also repurposed two natural peanut butter jars.  Since we switched to a mostly whole foods diet over a year ago, we don't buy much stuff in jars.    Another sacrifice on my part (I'm such a martyr).  My fourth jar IS a wide-mouthed canning jar, but I only had the one.  I purposely used 4 different sized jars.  The perfectionist in me just had to let that detail go!

Whew--if you've read all this, you are either a true friend, or someone with too much time on their hands.  Picture of the finished product later...and some quilting!



Kath said...

These are lovely Joan. I don't think we have Mod podge in England, but I was wondering about trying PVA glue, which dries clear.
I should love to see them lit up.

Janet O. said...

Yup, I read it all. I saw this on another blog without any details as to the making. I was interesting in the experience of the actual creation. Thanks for the info. I think they will be beautiful at your Thanksgiving dinner!

Me and My Stitches said...

I recently saw these on another blog too, and think they are just wonderful - so creative!

Becky Wingo said...

Hello! I love your jars and had not done this type of work with leaves before - awesome! Imagine small dried flowers for a spring set - pretty! Anyway - I wanted to share a few things as well - for regular mouthed canning jars (ie not wide mouthed) you can use those little shot-glass looking votive candle holders and they sit down in those jars just perfectly! Of course, you miss the effect of the candle glowing through. Also - you can iron the leaves - between two sheets of waxed paper. And, finally, to give an added punch, after applying the MP, sprinkle clear glitter all over the jar - can be a little tricky to get it on evenly, but it is stunning visually with a candle inside. Love the fall leaves - just beautiful - thanks for sharing! Becky at bngwingo@yahoo.com

Christina said...

I read the whole post :)

And I love your fall leaves jars! So pretty! Amazing that they stay their colors too.