It really isn't good form to be late to your own party, is it? The Halloween tricksters have obviously been out in force this morning, but I'm here at last and very happy to let you know that this is, indeed, a celebration of all things ghostly, ghoulish, wicked and wonderful. A few weeks ago, Julie and I decided it might be fun to organise a Copy+Paste Project Halloween blog party and, along with a few of our spookiest chums, we've got together to share plenty of tricks, tutorials, pretty projects and an especially special treat.
For my 'trick', I’ve been inspired by the darkly resourceful Violet Baudelaire, although I think Morticia Addams would probably approve, too. Tissue paper flowers might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Halloween, but these dahlia-like blooms are big, bold and look amazing in shades of deepest, darkest black. Just in case you’re reading this after the event, though, don’t be put off – the flowers and project ideas below can easily be adapted to work at other times of year which, by strange coincidence, is a trait shared by many of the projects in our Copy+Paste Christmas workshop.
So, to make a basic flower, you start by cutting two strips of tissue paper, each around 50cm long and 12-15cm wide. (I used plain black tissue for the bouquet project and a metallic, bronze-black colour for the garland.) With the sheets layered one on top of the other, concertina-fold them along the full length.
Snip a length of jewellery wire and wrap it around the centre of your folded tissue. Twist the wire ends together to hold in place. To create the spiky, dahlia effect, snip each end of the tissue strip into a point.
Now you can start working your flower into shape. Starting at one edge of the strip, pull the upper part of each fold upwards, and the lower part downwards. Pull gently but firmly, making your way along the strip in order.
You might be able to see in the image above that a little of the folded wire is still visible in the centre of the flower. You can either leave this as it is or cover it up – I added buttons to the metallic flowers and, for the matt black set, spread glue in the centre before sprinkling (black) glitter on top.
Once both groups of flowers were assembled, I set about putting them to use. The black group was simplest. With their green wire stems twisted loosely together, I tied seven into a small posy using a length of velvet ribbon.
These are my Violet set and would, I think, be a wonderful finishing touch to any ghoulish-but-girly Halloween costume. Think dark-coloured frock and stripy tights, or maybe even a Corpse Bride-style wedding dress. If you’re not the dressing-up type, you could try sinking them into a vase or jam jar instead, either as part of a larger Halloween display, or on their own as a simple seasonal decoration.
The metallic flowers, I used to create a simple garland that I’m planning to string above my fireplace. If you want to try something similar, snip your fabric into small rectangles (I used a medium-weight suiting fabric). Fold over a hem along one short edge and fix in place to create a narrow channel along the top of your rectangle. You can either stitch or stick this down – for speed, I ironed on a thin strip of fusible webbing.
To decorate the bottom edge, cut a strip of lace and, again, stitch or glue into place.
Add a flower by stitching a button over the centre, sewing through both the fabric and the tissue paper to secure.
Make as many of these simple flags as you like, and then thread a length of ribbon or trim through the channel in each one to join them together.
Despite the fact the above projects are officially my ‘trick’, they’re really not all that tricky. If you want to make them work for other holidays, it’s as simple as changing up the colours – fold a set of red flowers to make Christmas poinsettias, glue a selection of pastel shades round a polystyrene form to create a pretty wreath for spring, or just make a single bloom to decorate the front of a birthday card.
What with this being a party, I'm now sending you off to mingle with some particularly splendid guests. It's always easier when you’ve been properly introduced, so here you go with a quick run-down of the Halloween heroines who've pitched-in to the party and have both a trick and a treat waiting for you on their blogs:
First up are a couple of people who've already signed-up to '12 Days' and are getting to know each other on our class blog.
Gabrielle (sign-up number one!) is our environmentally-friendly friend and has a pretty stamped something for you at The Green Gal, inspired by this equally-amazing leafy project she made a few weeks ago.
Art-journalling, book-loving Kelly, was also an early sign-up. Pop in to see what she's prepared for you here.
And then there's Sarah LP who, over at Paper Obsession, has been playing along with the pre-class quiz we set this week as well as creating a little Halloween goodness for you to visit.
Next, head on over to see what Anne Lawrence found time to prepare for us in between teaching students of her own.
Ashley Watts is planning to spend November up to her ears in words - around 50,000 of them, in fact! She's taking part in NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated), but before that kicks off, she's scribbled down a little spooky something for us.
And then we have an especially well-dressed pair who've recently taken to trend-spotting in their 'Fashion Forward' posts. Katherine's take on trick or treating is at Paper Pocket, and Clair Rigby's got a little fashion-inspired project to share with you in more ways than one. Not only has she made a pretty Halloween-ish project, she's also offering you the chance to win it over at Obstinate Pursuit.
Sharmaine Kruijver shares her take on Halloween couture in a fabulous layout over here.
Last but not least, there’s self-proclaimed 'art-tart', Michelle Jackson Mogford. Last Halloween, ex-theatre designer, Michelle, transformed an old church into a witch's castle for a local fundraiser so it’s probably safe to say she'll have something special for us!
And just on the off-chance all of that doesn't sound tempting enough, I'll leave you with a few sneaky peeks at their amazing work. Whatever you're up to this weekend, have a very happy Halloween.