At end of part 1, I hoped this project wouldn’t take too long. The final picture of part 1 was taken on February 12. The Aisle Runner was not fully done until May 2. Obviously other things were happening at the same time, including a 2.5 week trip to Virginia in the middle of that, but I promise I was working on this runner regularly!
So now it was time to cut the octagon out. Each side of the octagon is pretty much exactly 3 feet, so we had to lay two cutting mats next to each other to protect our floors and have a continuous straight line. Cutting with an x-acto knife will get you a straighter, smoother edge than cutting with scissor, and since the fabric is non-woven it won’t unravel–So no finishing needed. (We used scissors since we didn’t have a long enough straight edge to use for cutting) Now I did have to cut into my seams, meaning my securing backstitch was lost. To prevent the seams from splitting, I taped the underside with cloth adhesive tape.
A perfect fit! That blue tape underneath in the middle denotes the center of the octagon. Next I measured out where I wanted the large LOVE to go I put tape around on the inside edge of this box and tape around the entire octagon to give it that white-border pop (To keep it simple, I decided the white border should be 1 width of tape, and the tape we had was approximately 1.75″) Then it was time to paint! (With a plastic drop cloth underneath, of course!) If I was doing this over, I would have gotten a nicer drop cloth–the plastic one was impossible to keep taut and the wrinkles in it led to paint wrinkles on the final product. Not a big deal, but something I would have changed.
At this point we realized how foolish we were. We got acrylic paint and realized that we were going to need a LOT MORE of it. So we decided to keep the red in acrylic because so much was already done (above is 8 oz of acrylic paint) and then get latex paint from the hardware store for the rest. For what it’s worth, the acrylic paint hid those “paint wrinkles” a little better, but also let the flowers on the fabric show through. The latex paint showed the paint wrinkles more, but hid the flowers. Latex paint saved us a good chunk of money and time–we used the cheapest stuff Home Depot had.
Once the red paint was finished and dried, it was time to paint the LOVE. To make sure it looked neat and tidy, I printed out a line image of LOVE to scale. I did this in Adobe Illustrator–I set up the artboard and images to the real dimensions I wanted, and then in the Scaling print options I selected Tile Imageable Areas. If you select Tile Full Pages, then you assemble your pages edge-to-edge and your image will have gaps inside your printer margins. Tile Imageable areas accounts for your printer margins, and you assemble the pages by overlapping them the appropriate amount. Read more about printing on multiple pages in Illustrator here.
Once your 20+ pages are printed, you have to assemble them! The way I chose to assemble mine is I cut two margins off of each page–always the top and the left, where applicable. So I didn’t cut any corners on the top left sheet above, because there would be no overlap. I used a guillotine style paper cutter, and shined my iPhone’s flashlight on it from underneath to more clearly where I needed to cut. Then I overlapped the left edges over the right edges and the top edges over the bottom edges and taped appropriately to hold it all together. At the end I laid it out on the floor and adjusted as needed to get any wrinkles or bulges out.
Then I laid it underneath my aisle runner. Note: do not be a fool and do what I did. Be sure to put plastic between your paper artwork and your aisle runner. Keep reading to find out what happens if you don’t heed my warning.
I painted the L and the V squares first, for taping ease, and then did the O and the E squares. To start, I rough painted in the squares and then went in with a smaller brush to get right up on the letter edge. I did all the color first, then the white to fill in the letters and the white on the border.
TA-DA! At least this is how I felt before I lifted it…
See what happened was the paper underneath the LOVE essentially got glued to the back of the octagon. And since it was near impossible to keep the octagon nice and taut and wrinkle free, that means these huge wrinkles were glued into centerpiece of my whole wedding. Awesome. Using command hooks and clip hangers I hung the octagon on the wall to help me deal with it without breaking my back.
The latex paint was so much stronger than the acrylic paint that if I tried to peel the paper off. After a minor panic attack, I realized that paper would dissolve when wet. So, lacking a proper spray bottle, I used my iron’s spray function and went to town soaking the paper and using a rag to exfoliate the paper off.
Next up was measuring out where the squares were going to go. When I envisioned this project, I imagined stretching out the entire runner and painting it all at once and the project taking like a week… Then I realized I didn’t have a 50′ stretch in my house. Whoops. So we measured in two chunks.
We went down each side of the runner and had to do it twice since someone messed up. Even after the second check, when we were painting the actual squares we went in with a T-Square to average the two marks.
After marking the squares, we moved camp to our craft room where I could get 1.75 squares on the table. Either I dropped the ball and didn’t take pictures for 2 months or all the pictures I took during this time are lost, but it’s basically the same process.
- Print and assemble image for square, be sure to print the line marks between squares so it’s all spaced properly.
- Tape image down to surface (Eventually I switched back to the floor to speed things along)
- Put drop cloth over image
- Put runner on top of drop cloth, align properly. I used pattern weights to weigh down the runner when painting.
- Tape edges for the white border, and tape any LIFE sections out
- Rough paint color, then fine paint the color
- Paint any lettering
- Paint white border and touch up the square as needed
- Move to next section and repeat!
After it was all painted, I went through each square and pressed out any wrinkles and touched up any bald spots.
When I rolled it up for travel, I realized the runner had actually stretched about 2 inches side to side!
We also painted these wooden circles to complete the look and to help weigh it down. On the backs of them I wrote which space they corresponded to, so whomever was setting up the runner would know.
Then at our final planning meeting at our venue, we gave it a test run. It was SUPER windy that day, and the double sided duct tape we used to fasten it to the wood decking worked like a charm!! On our wedding day, we taped the entire perimeter of the octagon and about a 3″ piece of tape at each space.
The runner was a big hit. I’m so glad our ceremony and reception were at the same place, I saw guests going back to check out the runner throughout the whole evening!
My awesome father-in-law took a picture of each square. I’m glad he did because we only kept 2 squares plus the giant LOVE when we sadly cut it up!
So there you have it! The pièce de résistance of my wedding. What do you think?!