Sunday, February 13, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Lunar New Year Firecracker Wall Hanging

Update: Looking for 2014 Chinese New Year Crafts? Click the following:

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Chinese New Year was February 3rd this year. There are still a few days left to celebrate! Here is my totally westernized and crafty interpretation of hanging firecrackers, a traditional decoration during this time of year.

Firecrackers

I used the Chinese character for “Love” on some of the firecrackers, even though you would usually use “Lucky” or “Prosperous”. On other firecrackers I used a cutout of blossoms on a branch, and all the firecrackers are suspended from an embroidery hoop adorned with this year’s Rabbit. And to clarify, they’re just fake firecrackers, in my case made from empty toilet paper rolls.

Here’s a picture of one we saw at a Chinese restaurant, to give you an idea of the real fake thing, and another one I saw at the Asian grocery store amid a plethora of sweet snacks:

Firecrackers_real  firecracker99

Speaking of snacks, a few of mine have a candy surprise inside.

Firecrackers_candy

 

How to make a Lunar New Year Firecracker Wall Hanging.

Materials:

Firecrackers1

  • Not shown: Empty Toilet Paper Rolls. How did I forget to include one in the picture? Duh…it’s only the star of the show. I used 20 rolls total, 6 of which were made from paper towel rolls cut to size.
  • Individually-wrapped treats (optional)
  • Red wrapping paper, cut to 10x6.5” pieces (in however many TP rolls you have)
  • Yellow or gold tissue paper, cut to 11x6.5” pieces (in however many TP rolls you have)
  • Transparent tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Gold ribbon and natural-colored twine (not shown)
  • Gold and red glitter
  • Mod Podge or craft glue
  • Yellow or gold paper for shape cutouts and something to cut with (I used a Cricut, or you could use a paper punch, stamps or stickers.
  • Xyron sticker maker (optional)
  • Embroidery Hoop (mine was 7”)
  • Red fabric and white fabric (for rabbit)
  • Fusible webbing such as Steam-A-Seam2
  • Iron and ironing board (not shown)
  • Brown embroidery thread and needle
  • Sewing machine and black thread (not shown)
  • Red 1/2” ribbon

Directions

First we’ll make the firecrackers. This part is optional for if you want to fill some of the firecrackers with candy (note: just fill a few with candy…it might be too heavy if you did all of them. I made 5 with candy). So cut a slit along the seam of your TP roll, so it goes about halfway through. Then all you do is twist it to open as above.

Firecrackers2

Fill with candy. The red candy and the white rabbit candy are from my childhood. I found the rice crackers at the store…I thought the girls would get a kick out of the pirate (ARRR!). But notice just the bag (in the “materials” picture above) has a pirate on it, not the individual packs! ARRRR ‘tis so lame…these crackers should walk the plank.

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If you opt out of using candy, then start here. Place the red wrapping paper face down, and the tissue paper on top with 1/2 an inch sticking out on either side. Then center the TP roll at one edge.

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Tape the edge of the papers to the roll and cover the roll.

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Pinch the sides and tie one end with twine and the other with gold ribbon. Or you could use all gold ribbon if you have enough…I thought I wouldn’t have enough and it actually looks like the string you use to light a firecracker so I thought it was cool. Repeat with all the other TP rolls.

Firecrackers7 

Time to apply the glitter for some bling, because Lunar New Year is all about the bling. At the girls’ preschool, I observed they used a shallow box for the kids to shake glitter onto their projects, so I put all my supplies in there plus two firecrackers at a time.

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Paint some Mod Podge onto one side of the firecrackers and shake shake shake

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Then turn over, apply more Mod Podge and shake shake shake

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Shake your glitter, Shake your glitter.

When you’ve done them all, let dry.

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While they’re drying you can cut out the shapes you’ll apply to the firecrackers. I used the Pagoda cartridge in my Cricut. You can apply them using Mod Podge but I used a rather thick cardstock. So I used my Xyron machine to apply adhesive. The “Love” character is cut in two parts so that’s why it doesn’t look right (not that I would really know, heh).

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And peel and stick. Set these guys aside for now.

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Now for the embroidery hoop. I used a rabbit from a doodle by my mom, which I saved (on the right…my girls then colored over them). I enlarged it by hand to fit the embroidery hoop, which was easier said than done…it was so hard to achieve the same cuteness!

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Cut around your outline about 1/8 inch and trace onto a piece of white fabric. I used some lightweight twill. 

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Then peel off one layer of paper from a piece of Steam-A-Seam2 fusible webbing and press the fabric onto the sticky side.

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Cut out along the outline, cutting the fabric, the sticky webbing and the paper on the other side.

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Put the red fabric into the hoop and center the rabbit onto it. Use a disappearing ink pen to mark where it goes (so I marked the top of his head between the ears and at his chin).

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Remove the fabric from the embroidery hoop and take the red fabric and the rabbit to your ironing board. Peel off the back paper and place onto the red fabric, lining up your marks.

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And fuse on the rabbit.

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At this point I realized I didn’t draw the rabbit’s face. I just used a colored pencil or you could use disappearing ink. Anyways, stitch the rabbit around the edges with black thread for some contrast. I just used a straight stitch. Or you could embroider that by hand. Then embroider the face with brown embroidery thread.

Firecrackers20a

Before we insert the fabric back into the embroidery hoop, we need to attach the ribbon onto which the firecrackers will tie. Take the inner hoop and put a dollop of hot glue on the inside.

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Then take some red ribbon and place the onto the hot glue, perpendicular to the hoop.

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Wrap it around once and put another dollop of hot glue on top of the ribbon end. Wrap the ribbon around again, pressing down onto the glue.

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Insert the fabric back into the embroidery hoop. Here it is from the front, before trimming away the excess fabric:

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And from the back:

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Now we can start tying on the firecrackers! If you put candy in any of them, save those for the bottom to make it easier for visiting kiddos to take home. Don’t cut off the ribbon yet. After you tie on a few firecrackers, hang it up and keep tying from there, otherwise as you carry it over with too many firecrackers, it will twist and turn and drive you nuts. To hang an embroidery hoop, use a thin nail and hang it by the horizontal screw.

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And you’re done. Top:

Firecrackers

Bottom:

Firecrackers_end

Full view. I think I might have gone just slightly overboard with 20 TP rolls. I’m sure it would be just fine with fewer.

Firecrackers_all

If you celebrate, Happy New Year! Gung Hay Fat Choy, or as my girls say, “Gung Hay Bok Choy!”

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1 comment:

  1. HI! Followed you from Of Mice and Ramen... not sure how, but I'm so glad I did! Your crafts are awesome and I am so excited to try your firecrackers next year for Chinese New Year! That is so cool! It will beat my boring lanterns! :)
    Thanks for the tutorial... can't wait to read more of your great ideas!

    ReplyDelete

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