Collect up some old round doilies. Get a bottle of clothing starch (not the spray kind, but rather the thick liquid, make sure it has no dye or bluing in it ~ I used Sta-Flo from Winco) & pull out some of your mixing bowls. I used my stainless steel bowls with the grip rings as well as a few glass bowls ~ just find a few with the shape & size you like. Throw doilies into the wash & then into the dryer.
Pour some straight starch (no watering down!) into a bowl ( not the ones you'll be using to dry the shapes) & dunk your doily.
Squeeze the starch into the doily threads ~ dunk it again, let it drip off ~ MILDLY squeeze it again, just enough so that the doily is still saturated but not dripping all over wasting your starch.
Turn your ~designated shapes~ bowls upside down & put the doily onto it, stretching it evenly all around, arranging it to look like you want it to. (By the way, see that doily being stretched? It has too much fabric in the middle & did not make a good candidate for a doily lantern. See the dry ones on the bowls next to it? Those ARE good for doily lanterns. I found out that a small fabric center is not a problem, but a larger one is.)
Another note ~ see how there is almost too much fullness at the bottom of this doily? I also did not care for that look, but the real reason that this doily just didn't work as well, is that the fabric is too hard to smoosh off of the bowl once it's dried.
Let it sit till it's completely dry (overnight works fine... these are "make in advance" type decorations ~:-D~)
Another note: see that doily in the background ( ecru, larger holes, on the stainless steel bowl?) ~ see how the edges are rippled up? That is another way to deal with too much fullness on the outer edge of your doily. Just shape it the way you want, let it dry ALL THE WAY & be sure to be careful when you are removing it from the bowl.
Oh yes ~ & do you see the bag of ballons in the background? I bought those in anticipation of making these lovely lanterns, because I had read that that was what needed, however, I quickly found out that it was a waste of money. The balloons are not sturdy enough to pull & stretch & shape the doilies around it, & if you coat it with plastic wrap first, it's even worse. It slides all over the place. Perhaps if you were to use a much hardier glue than starch, & a round playground ball ( the kind that has little cross-hatches in it), you could actually pull off the round lantern, but those weren't materials that I had access to easily, and I didn't want to ruin the doilies I had with glue anyway, & I also knew I could wash out starch without a problem.
Some folks have used sugar starch, but that takes a really long time to dry, & since I only had 6 wks to reception day, that really wasn't an option either. (ooohhhh, only 4 wks to go at this point ~ what the HECK am I doing writing on my blog???? :-D)
~ to remove the doily, press hard against the bowl, sort of mooshing it off of the bowl. DO NOT peel it up, or you will lose the shape. If you don't like it, or want to re-use the doilies later, you can just throw them into the wash, & VOILA ~ doily is back to it's former grandeur! ;-D
Be sure to smooth out any extra decorations on the doily, or you will have little folded over flowers like I did. If this does happen to you ~ just put the doily back over the bowl in it's dried form, and moosh some more starch on the flower parts, fixing them, let it dry, and VOILA! ~ need for perfection completed. ;-D
Nice open airy doilies seem to work a little better than the heavier types, however, both can produce beautiful results.
These next few pics are my testers~ I went down to the church where we are holding my daughter's reception & hung a few up to see how & where & with what sort of string to hang them. White ribbon looks pretty & intentional, while green kite string blends in very well with the trees & leaves & greenery.
Overall~ I love the effect. A word of warning, however, if you intend to do this for your reception, be certain to start at least 6 wks in advance. Since I only had about 5 bowl shapes that seemed to fit the doilies I had, I could only make 4 or five of these a day, & we need about 35 - 40 doilies, since I have 5 or 6 trees to decorate & it looked like about 7 per tree looked right.
Next post I will show Cream cheese mints, easy molded chocolates & hand-dyed vintage cutter/stained crocheted tablecloths.