DIY: Lacy Punched Paper Votives

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By Gabrielle. Photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

I was brainstorming DIYs for this month with Amy Christie, and she brought up craft paper punches. And I basically responded, “Paper punches? I think I have like five. I used them to punch the edge of some stationery once, and now they’re just collecting dust.” And Amy told me she was about to blow my mind, because she’s been playing with hers and figured out how to really maximize their possibilities. To which I replied, “Bring on the DIY!”

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So think of this as a double DIY. Yes, you’ll learn how to make pretty votives, but even more awesome: you’ll learn a whole bunch of new tricks that you can do with your paper punches.

And dang I love stuff like that! I love making the most of tools I already have, and re-thinking how I might use them.

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If you are the proud owner of paper punches, then this tutorial is especially for you.

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Here’s what Amy says:

I’m one of those people who packs up holiday decor the day after Christmas. It sounds a bit “bah humbug” but by that time, with little ones in the house, I’ve had my fill of protecting the tree, resetting decor that has been re-purposed during play and gathering up the nativity scene characters day after day. The tiny baby Jesus is the hardest to find! Haha! I’m ready for my house to go back to non-holiday normal.

Also, my birthday falls between Christmas and the new year and I like to separate the two celebrations as much as I can. So the holiday decor has to go. January, however, provides a strange middle ground as far as seasonal decorating goes.

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In my neck of the woods (Minnesota), January is usually fiercely cold and the outdoor color palette ranges from the fresh white of new snow to deep dark black of the muck in our tires. Oh, and it’s dark. For it’s shortcomings, I don’t outright dislike this time of year, but it’s not my favorite. To counter the dark and cold and monochromatic colors, I often use candles in January to add light, warmth and color to my home. So I wanted to make some pretty votive holders this month.

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I also love punched paper. The lacy, patterned paper is so elegant looking it makes me go all heart-eyed. The lacier the better. In fact I’ve purchased a number of sheets of paper lace over the years, with the idea to use them for something or other in the future, but in the end, I can’t part with them, so in the folder they sit. Still beautiful, still lovely.

Then, a while back, I discovered I could make my own gorgeous, lacy paper using paper punches, which quickly led to a sizable collection of paper punches.

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With these paper punches and a hand-picked paper color palette, the dark, cold and almost colorless January will be alleviated. Grab some paper and warm up your muscles. Let’s get to work.

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paper punches*
– paper
– votives & cylinder glass candle holders
– tissue paper
– cutting blade or scissors
– tape or hot glue**

*There are so many paper punches to chose from! From a deep embroidered edge to a screw punch just to make circles.

**Tape or small dots of hot glue work for holding the papers in place. I used tape because it was easier and since the backside of the votives wouldn’t be visible. However, if your paper wraps will be seen from all sides, dots of hot glue might be a better choice.

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Now, you might be thinking, “A DIY about punching paper with a paper punch? Seems rather simplistic.” However, the idea here is to stretch the usage of the paper punches beyond simply reforming the edge of paper. Creating punched paper rectangles provides lots of variety. These banded wraps can be manipulated, adjusted and layered to make gorgeous wrapped candle holders.

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For a votive like this, cut a band of paper to the height of the votive and then punch the top edge of the rectangle. Wrap around the votive and tape in place.

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Make a belt for the votive by punching both sides of a strip of paper narrower than the votive.

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To making a paper edge that is very lacy, sometimes it needs to be punched from both sides. Simply layer or stack the solid piece on top of the punched piece and tape in place.

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To create even more texture, wrap the punch paper band around the votive more than once. The lacy layers will make even more loveliness.

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Punched paper designs can be altered to create something new. For this one, I wrapped the bottom of the votive with a punch band then punched out two more strips. I cut off the bottom circle of the punched design and then layered them, offset a bit, to create a scalloped pattern. I love this one!

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My favorite are the really lacy pieces, trying to get as much lacy goodness on the strip. These pieces can then be layered, laid edge to edge or altered to create the designs. Some punches afford deep punched designs. While these punches are made to create circular cut-outs, they can be used straight (or perpendicular to the paper’s edge) to create thick bands with thick pattern. The design can be spaced out and then layered like the design above.

Tissue paper can be added to diffuse the light in the cylinder and create a more elegant look.

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Or the punch can be used on both sides of the paper band. To get this look, first wrap a tall glass cylinder with a layer of white tissue paper. Then stack the paper bands, edge to edge, taping them in place. When they are all together, it really resembles a piece of lace!

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Using a screw punch is one of the more simple designs but it’s so pretty. Use the punch to add lots and lots of holes to a paper band sized to the votive or cylinder. Then tape in place.

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Thank you so much, Amy! I can’t decide which technique is my favorite. I really love how you made the “belts”. So simple, but they get my imagination going on other possibilities. Wouldn’t these be gorgeous for a party or a wedding?

Here’s to cozy candlelight on cold winter days! And here’s to dusting off our paper punches! If you know any other techniques we should try, be sure to let us know.

P.S. — Craving candlelight? Here are a few more DIYs: colorblock cement candleholders, plaster flower votives (these are stunning!), and easy gold-leaf votives.

Credits: Images, styling & text by Amy Christie.

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