Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Take on Luminaries

This week is much slower for me school-wise, so I'm hoping to have time to work on a few projects I've been putting off. I have a friend here at school who is also engaged and is planning a July wedding. We actually met our freshman year, which is an interesting story - Her mom works with David's mom and I'd heard a lot about her without ever meeting her before. The first week of school we were both going through Fall Formal Recruitment and I happened to see her name tag and that she was from my hometown. Surprisingly (I rarely will start a conversation with someone I don't know) I decided I was just going to ask if she happened to be the same girl I'd heard all about from David's mom. It turns out it was her, and we got to talking. We found out we have a lot in common - she'd been with her boyfriend about as long as I'd been with David and they were also in a long distance relationship. We talked a lot our first few months of school, and then on and off since then, but we've recently been hanging out a lot more. It's so fun to get together and be able to vent about school and talk about how much more exciting wedding planning is than studying. :) Last night we decided to go to Michael's because we both have some extra time this week to work on things and she brought up an idea her MOH's sister used in her wedding. I thought it'd be cute, and decided to pick up the supplies for it without really knowing where I'd use them. I'm glad I did, because I love how they turned out!

The materials you'll need are:
  • 3 photo mats - I used 5x7 mats (for a 4x6 picture), but you can use any size you want
  • 3 pictures printed out on thin paper or vellum
  • A tool to punch holes through the mats
  • Ribbon - I used 6 pieces cut in about 6-8 inch pieces
  • Tape
I just used the plain white photo mats I found for less than $2 each:

I guess I thought I was a lot stronger than I actually am, because I figured I'd be able to punch the holes using a hole punch. Uh, not so much. I ended up using the tip of a screwdriver to punch the hole and then used sissors to widen it a little bit, but I'm going to try to find a better method when I actually make them because I was bending the mat and I didn't leave the cleanest holes (as you can imagine). You'll want to punch the holes as close to the side of the mat as you can without it tearing. It doesn't matter where you place them vertically, so I just put mine even with the lines of the opening for the picture so that the holes would be uniform.

After you make the holes you'll want to attach the pictures to the back of the mats. I just used a couple pieces of tape to hold them in place. Once the pictures are attached, you can start threading the ribbon through the holes and tying the mats together. You want the ribbon to come through from the back to the front of each hole, so I'd suggest only actually tying 2 holes on the same side to start out with so that you're able to easily thread the ribbon from the back for the other holes. It's a lot harder to get your hand in the middle to thread the ribbon through if you tie each one as you go. Once you've threaded and tied all of the ribbon, you can tie the ribbons in bows. I used bows for this one, but I'm not sure if I like them. I might end up just tying the ribbon in knots. The bows did help cover up the places where I bent the mat, though.

Your luminaries should look something like this:


Then you'll place a LED tea light inside of your luminaries. I didn't have any on hand, so I (very carefully) used a votive. 

I just used computer paper for my pictures, but I'll probably use vellum when I actually make them. And I'll be waiting for the mats to go on sale to make this project a little more budget friendly. I know they're 50% off fairly regularly which would make each one cost less than $3.

I'm not sure yet where I'll use them, but I definitely want to incorporate them somehow! I've always liked the look of luminaries and I love that the candle light makes it look like we're glowing.

Are you using any form of luminaries? Any ideas for where I could incorporate mine?


  1. Those are so cute! I wonder if you could figure out some way to attach them from the inside so you don't have to punch holes at all. Maybe you could use some sort of tape and run it down the inside corners??
    You could put your menu on one side of it and your pictures in the others and mix it in with your centerpieces.

  2. These are great! We're having the dessert and dancing part of our reception in a separate room and I'm looking for non-floral centerpieces to use there. Might use this on the dessert tables - it looks really cute.

  3. How funny...did I not see this post on your blog back then? I absolutely love it. I love the way you made yours too with the ribbon and mats instead of frames. So super cute.

  4. I linked to this page from my blog! Love this idea!


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