‘Weekend Handmade’: Do-it-yourself floral luminarias


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The simple botanical luminarias in Kelly Wilkinson’s new book, “Weekend Handmade,” disprove the notion that do-it-yourself projects don’t turn out as they appear in books. The pressed-flower lanterns that I made with my kids actually turned out better than I imagined, inspiring us to make more as inexpensive holiday gifts.

I began by searching for botanical fodder in my Hancock Park neighborhood. The recent windstorm made it easy to collect castaway flowers, ferns and other items. OK, and I plucked a few.


We skipped purple sage and lavender, as they were too thick to be pressed between the thin panels of wax paper. Instead we used wispy ferns, scarlet bougainvillea petals, Mexican primrose flowers and maple leaves, dried under heavy art books over a few days and then assembled in about an hour one evening after school.

Using a craft knife, we cut eight 9-by-41/2-inch strips of wax paper to make two lanterns. (In a Mom moment, I accidentally crumpled four of the wax pieces thinking they were trash. Oops.) We arranged the botanical items between two sheets of wax paper, then applied a clothes iron set on low. The sheets fused quickly. Then we bound four panels in the shape of a sleeve using pretty Japanese washi paper tape, which is available in craft stores, specialty stationery outlets such as the Paper Source and online shops too.

The final step is the most dramatic. Add a tea light inside a glass container, and voilà — the waxy sleeve glows, casting beautiful illumination that could be used indoors or out.

The success of the lantern bodes well for “Weekend Handmade”(STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books, $27.50), which is subtitled “More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Crafting.” I’ll give the tea towel apron a shot, as well as coasters made from bingo cards and an end table hand-blocked with gilded paper and Mod Podge.

I was happy with the lanterns’ look and especially happy with the cost – about $10 for the two lanterns, with enough materials to make several more.



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