Two Feather Boas Walk Into a Plumbing Department

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  December 9, 2011 — 16 Comments

My best blogging bud Britt and I got to talking a while back about how we are both thrifty decorating ladies, and we got the idea to do a little challengeroo to see how cheaply each of us could whip up a Christmas wreath. If you have never visited Britt’s blog, Knewlywifed, you should. She’s hilarious, full of great ideas, and has an adorable little baby boy. She tells the best stories and shares delicious recipes. I promise you will not be disappointed.

But back to the wreath. I kept procrastinating. I don’t know why. But I finally got ‘er done this weekend. Here’s what I whipped up for just under $5 (dog not included).

(side note: I just checked out Britt’s post and she totally whooped me at a grand total of $1.38 for her wreath. I tell ya, that girl is amazing!)

I started with a 6′ length of foam pipe insulation from Lowe’s. It cost less than a dollar. Foam wreath forms are expensive and I had spotted the idea on Pinterest to use something like this instead (or, even more genius, a pool noodle, but those are harder to come by this time of year and probably not quite so outrageously cheap).

I knew that I wanted to hang the wreath in front of that mirror in my dining room sitting area, so I took some measurements and decided that 18″ would be a good size. Then, I turned to my old friend the internet to do what I have long forgotten how: calculate the circumference of a circle.

Turns out I needed to cut my length of foam down to just about 56.5″. No prob with a tape measure and some sturdy scissors.

Then, I cut each end at a 45 degree angle, trimming as necessary until the two pieces fit nicely together.

See what I mean? I used some hot glue to secure.

Then slapped on some clear packing tape to make the junction smoother and stronger.

If you’re trying this at home, you may want to do this next step before forming your foam into a circle. The foam had a slit up one side so that it could be slipped over a pipe, and a strip of plastic covered each self-adhesive edge. I slowly went around the circle and removed the plastic, carefully pressing the edges together so that the foam maintained a nice cylindrical shape. I think this would have been easier if the foam were still stretched out straight, but I got ‘er done. Also, I was really surprised at how strong the adhesive was! Don’t expect those pieces to come undone easily once you’ve stuck them together.

At this point my wreath was looking pretty good, except for a spot or two where it just didn’t curve nicely. And apparently I forgot to take my camera off of macro mode after that last close up, so please excuse the blurriness of the next few pictures.

I reinforced the problem areas with tape and voila, the awkward bends are replaced by gentle curves.

I gave the whole thing a quick coat of white craft paint. I didn’t worry too much about getting it on nicely, just enough so that the grey would be less likely to show through the feathers.

Then, I took my two feather boas (snagged on sale at Hobby Lobby for about three bucks total) and started wrapping, securing every few inches with a dab of hot glue.

Unfortunately, two boas didn’t make it all the way around. I was faced with a conundrum. I really didn’t want to go back to Hobby Lobby for another boa, especially since I knew they were unlikely to still be so deeply discounted.

My first idea was to make the wreath smaller. I removed the tape and cut through the hot glue holding the two ends together.

But then, I got another idea. Instead of wrapping the boa all the way around the foam, I decided to cover only the front and sides with a zigzag technique. Kind of like how my mom taught me to make lights and garland stretch further on the Christmas tree. Wrap around to the side, then back to the other side, and so on. The little bit you save by not wrapping all the way around on each revolution really adds up. I gently removed the boas (hot glue is pretty easy to undo) and tried out my new technique. Look how far one boa reached this time!

And as if it was meant to be, the second boa got me right to the very end. Yay!

I stealthily reattached the ends and made sure they were sufficiently obscured by the feathers, then stepped back to admire my genius.

The next step was hanging it. I went into my ribbon stash and found a perfectly sized scrap of black satin ribbon. I hot glued the ends to the back of the wreath.

While I waited for the glue to dry, I measured the larger frame surrounding my mirror and pressed a thumbtack into the back center.

Then I just looped the ribbon over the thumbtack and hung the frame back up on the wall, leaving the wreath to float right over the mirror. It didn’t look quite right, though. The wreath was hanging too low.

I took it down and reattached the ribbon with the ends a little bit further apart, making the wreath hang a bit higher. Perfection!

Ta-da! My first ever feather wreath. I like that it’s neutral and versatile, and could maybe even be used for occasions other then Christmas. I’m thinking, though, about sprinkling it with a dash of glitter for a little extra glam, or finding a way to temporarily nestle some sparkly silver balls or jingle bells within the feathers. What do you think?

I want to thank Britt for coming up with the idea for this challenge and for being so awesome. She is seriously one of the funniest people I’ve ever “met” (we’re only internet/telephone buddies so far, though there has been talk of a real-life meetup) and I promise promise promise if you start reading her blog you will love her as much as I do. You’re the best, Britt!

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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16 responses to Two Feather Boas Walk Into a Plumbing Department

  1. I love the white feather! I think it’s perfectly fine just the way it is.

  2. It looks great! Can you see the reflection of the back in the mirror?

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap December 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Not at all. It sits so close to the mirror and the feathers are so fluffy that the only way you’d know the back was bare is if you tilted it forward to sneak a peek.

  3. She may have beat you with the cost, but your wreath is much classier and prettier! Looks great with the with the sofa!

  4. Charlotte! I love this! It is so fun and elegant. I’m dreaming up a whole bunch of boa wreaths now! And I love the second frame you added. I’ve got an old window frame in my house that I’m thinking needs a second frame now.

    As always, I love, love it! And thanks for your sweet words. You are the best :) I’m thinking this needs to be a yearly expedition!

  5. Janet (Country Mouse December 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Love it! I can imagine several different colors of wreaths around. This is beautiful and elegant.

  6. I found your blog from Britt’s . .. And I love your wreath! Great job! :)

  7. found you via britt and umm is it wrong for me to have two front door wreaths? i am in love with both of them, i would’ve never thought of either of these ideas and i love them both!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap December 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

      If having too many wreaths is wrong I don’t wanna be right. The heart wants what the heart wants!

  8. This looks fabulous! Plus, I absolutely love the way the 2nd frame frames the wreath so nicely! I definitely see a possibility for a pink boa wreath in a little girls room maybe one day down the line!

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