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How-Tuesday: Garland Guest Book handmade and vintage goods

I wouldn’t be very surprised if my parents told me that I came out of the womb wielding a bone folder in one hand and a stack of paper in the other. I have always had a particular penchant for paper crafts, from my earliest book-making projects stapling crayon scrawled drawings into little books to my current pursuits combining historical book-bindings with recycled papers and ephemera.

Of the many bookbinding how-to books I have laid eyes on along the way, Esther K. Smith’s have to be among my favorites for their beautiful designs, lovely illustrations, and clear, friendly instructions. Her latest book, The Paper Bride, is filled cover to cover with paper projects for crafting a DIY wedding in your own style every step of the way, from the proposal through anniversaries happily ever after, and all the landmark events in between.

I am happy to announce that Esther will be joining us at Craft Night on Monday, May 3 from 4-8 p.m., for a workshop centered around making garland guest books at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn and in the Virtual Labs. I hope to see you there!

You can purchase The Paper Bride right here on Etsy!

A guest book or a decorative garland? It’s both! This book is also called a snake book. Anna Wolf, who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area and is active in the book-arts community there, is credited with its invention — or discovery (some of these forms just sort of happen).

Make these as long as you like — they’re perfect for something open-ended where people might forget to participate! We made ours reusing pages from some bridal magazines, but use whatever paper appeals to you; they just need to be thin enough to fold. Use colors that make sense with your wedding. Paper is a great way to try color ideas and a smaller investment than bridesmaid’s gowns (or even fancy flowers from the florist).

You could have two colors of paper for people to write on, one for the bride and one for the groom, and then alternate them in the long garland. Or, use many colors of paper, or cut from bridal magazines (as we did), which you could intersperse with plain paper. You can even make this project from the wrapping paper if the bride is a careful unwrapper (unlike me, I always rip open presents to see what’s inside.)

Let’s get started!

Thank you to Esther K. Smith and the good folks at Potter Craft for sharing this project with us. For more paper and wedding inspiration, check out The Paper Bride.


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