Were you touched by all the cards you received at your wedding? I certainly was <3 Though I am a believer in throwing greeting cards away after they have been on display and appreciated for a while, I could not bring myself to do this with all the cards my husband and I received for our wedding. These were heartfelt congratulations and words of wisdom from our closest friends and family about one of the most pivotal moments in our life together. I knew I wanted to keep these cards. I didn't want them to collect dust in a box...I wanted to display them! I thought this would be so simple...punch a hole in each card, string them all on a ring, and hang it on a *cute* banana stand. Well, step one and two were, in fact, super easy.
I used a three hole punch to align each card so I could punch the hole in the same spot (I had to temporarily move the middle hole punch out of the way) and string them on a 3" ring from Michaels, largest to smallest.
But I realized I had a problem. Some of the larger cards were too tall to fit on any standard banana stand that I could find.
I even searched candle holders, small flag stands, etc. but I wasn't coming up with something to satisfy the look I was going for. In hindsight, I'm really glad I was unable to find something I liked. Even though it has taken me over two years to get this done (I know, I knooowww), I LOVE the finished product!
It doesn't look like an after thought, as I fear the banana stand may have, and it is a piece I am proud to display in our living room.
Here's the materials you need to create your own:
- 6 pieces of 36-inch 1/2" x 1/2 " wood dowels
- Wood Glue
- Wood Putty
- Putty Knife
- Measuring Tape
- Nail Gun
- Miter Saw
- Painter's Tape
- Paint of Choice
- Brass Corners (optional)
I measured the minimum height I needed my stand to be (height of cards + ring) which was 13 inches. I decided I would build a 15-inch stand to have some breathing room. I then utilized my mad PowerPoint skills to create a design.
I went through a few iterations to before I settled on a final design. I wanted to make sure this little stand would be strong enough to hold the weight of the cards (greeting cards are heavier than you think when there's over 100 of them!!!). In PowerPoint, I calculated how much wood I needed to purchase from schematics of the bases and side pieces.
(Told ya, mad PowerPoint skillz)
At Home Depot, I purchased 180 inches of 1/2" wood in 36 inch sections (5 pieces). The 1/4" didn't seem like it was going to be strong enough for me. (If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I made a mid-trip Home Depot run to buy an additional piece. This was because I had purchased the wood about a week prior, and then decided to change my design, so I was about 23 inches short. If you are building this exact design, buy 6 pieces or 216 inches!)
I decided to pre-paint these with my new paint sprayer. Yes, that was major overkill, but I happened to be doing a base coat for multiple other projects at the time so I just threw these in the mix. Had this not been happening, I wouldn't have done it. In fact, I built the stand before I gave the rest of the associated materials their second coat, so I worked with half painted wood. I didn't want to paint and wait for it to dry, so I went ahead and worked with half-painted wood. No biggie.
Using a miter saw, I cut eight 7-inch base segments with 45 degree edges to make the top and bottom square bases.
When I cut these, I made sure they were all exactly the same length and shaved a few down to achieve this. I was more concerned with creating a base that was the same measurement on all sides as opposed to creating a square that was 7-inches on the nose. Although, I did measure, and I hit the 7 inches dead on anyway ;-)
I used liquid nails to hold the pieces together before I could secure them with the nail gun (technically I started using landscaping adhesive, it's what was in the caulk gun and I was being lazy. I eventually switched to wood glue when I got to more detailed sections which was much more appropriate). While the bases dried enough for me to continue work, I cut the X pieces for the top which is what the cards would hanging from. I marked the center of the wood dowel so I would be able to make sure my 45 degree angles were actually meeting in the middle.
Then I set the miter saw to 45 degrees and lined the dowel to cut to the center on both sides. I purposefully cut these long and shaved of a little at a time to get the best fit since crafting an X is a little more complicated than squares ;-)
With the first cross piece in place, I needed to create the second leg of the X. This one would consist of two pieces, with the same 45 degree cuts to fit in the corner, and a straight cut on the opposite side that would fit against the first leg of the X. I followed the same process to fit these pieces in the corner, and then cut the straight edge slightly long and shaved a little off until I had a snug fit and glued them in.
Then I cut the four vertical pieces at 14 inches (15 inches - 1/2 inch from the top base and bottom base thickness), again ensuring they were the same exact length as opposed to an exact measurement.
By this time, the bases were dry enough to hold themselves together, so I stood them on their side and glued the vertical supports on.
I took a break and waited for everything to dry for about two hours. My next step was to use the nail gun to nail everything together, but I didn't want it slipping around while I did that. Once it was dry enough, I came back and nailed the base pieces together, the vertical supports to the bases, and the legs of the X cross piece to the base. This way everything that would be under stress was secure. If you are doing this, make sure you are aware of how you place the nails at the corners. I had nails crossing (some going horizontally, and some passing that horizontal nail vertically), so I tried to make sure there was enough space between them. Even with the precautions, I did have a few nails that hit a nail on the way in and shot out the other side at a 90 degree angle. Mind your fingers when doing this type of stuff! I either gently hammered the nail back out, or in the cases where it was bent too badly, I cut it off with wire cutters and used wood putty to seal it in.
I then proceeded to work on the X pieces for the side of the stand. These were very important, not only for aesthetics, but for structural integrity. At this point, the stand was prone to twisting without additional support. The cross pieces on the side were slightly more complicated than the one on the top because I was now dealing with rectangles instead of a perfect square. I could have gotten all fancy and figured out the angles I needed to cut, but let's face it, I wasn't breaking out the protractor for this. Instead, I cut the dowel about one inch longer than it needed to be and placed it underneath the side of the stand where it would be inserted. I then traced the corners that I needed to cut. When I got them on the miter saw I just carefully lined the saw blade to these lines (it's a good idea to unplug the saw during this process to protect your digits) and cut away. I also cut these with a small buffer since the line I traced didn't get all the way into the corner due to the thickness of the pencil.
I glued in the first leg on both sides (this time with wood glue) and proceeded to work on the second leg of each X.
With a square, it is easy to get these two pieces to line up, however when you are working on a rectangle and no longer have perfect 45 degree angles to work with, it becomes a little more difficult. To make sure I was crafting these to actually come together into a straight line, I put a piece of painters tape on the board I was working on to use as a guide. This way, I would know I was lining each piece to the center of the X. I then used the same method and traced my cuts, shaved away until they fit, and glued them in.
I used the nail gun to secure these pieces to the base as well. At this point, I had all the hard work done and could see the general look of my final product :)
I puttied the nail holes and joints and sanded them down.
I gave the stand a primer coat and two coats of random white-ish paint we had on hand...I wanted to keep the focus on the cards, not a holder that was some crazy color.
I could have called it done here, but I was feeling that it needed one more little something to finish it off. I strongly debated a dip painting technique (photo below). It is SO popular right now and I really love the look.
I ultimately decided that I wanted a more subtle detail. If i had made this stand for anything else (hanging plant, candle - the possibilities are endless) I think I would have definitely gone the dip painting route. Instead, I decided that brass corners were the perfect detail for me.
I bought two four packs from Home Depot. Instead of using the screws, I used super glue to secure the corners to the stand.
Brass corners were the perfect detail to finish the stand and it is a fabulous way to display those beautiful wedding cards.
I also love that it is easy to flip through the cards so you can appreciate all of them, not just the front one. Like this adorable card that one of our dear guests handmade. They cut some pieces from the invitation (names, date, bicycle) and used them on the wedding card. I seriously love this card because it is so personal and it reminds us of the invitations we designed and printed ourselves ;-)
And can we talk about the card that lucked into the front spot? (Remember, I organized them by size so I didn't pick the front card, it was by chance!) This guest brought a blank card to the wedding and hand drew the bicycles from our table centerpiece and personalized it. I really love this because I made these bikes by hand from wire. Don't these people rock??
I wish it didn't take me so long to get around to this, but maybe if it hadn't, I wouldn't be so happy with the finished product. Regardless, I love how this turned out and am proud to say that it's a unique little piece.
Did you keep your wedding cards or other sentimental wedding items? What did you do with them?