Put a Cork In It

Darrin and I just finished watching Season 2 of the hilarious Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sketch show, Portlandia.  If you haven’t been watching it, you’re missing out.  They provided this notorious commentary on the DIY/Craft movement in season 1.

Love it!  When my favorite DIY/Crafty gal over at Young House Love announced the latest Pinterest Challenge, I decided to take on a project I pinned a long time back, but I’d been seeing a lot of lately – wine cork projects.  With DIY cork projects popping up all over the place, it seems that they’re about to jump the shark, just as Fred & Carrie so effortlessly proved that birds did (or at least that there was some crafty-bird overkill).  So, I figured I should get this project done before it was too late.  And instead of “Put a bird on it,” my mantra for this project was “Put a cork in it.”

A long time ago, I originally pinned this photo.  The pin is so old, that when I tried to trace the origins of the photo, I hit a dead-end (if anyone can find it, please let me know).

Two things I love - letters and wine.

Since then, however, my interest in cork projects ventured beyond the simple monogram and into other creations.  I started to wonder how I might incorporate cork decorations in our wedding.  This is an especially fitting decoration given that our reception is in a backyard surrounded by a vineyard.  I stumbled upon these other photos (click photo to be taken to its original source).

A heart of cork from Lovely Morning.

An intricate design from Anthropologie found at House and Home.

Cork planters in honor of Earth Day at Anthropolgie.

All of these designs inspired me to put a twist on the regular monogramed letter.  So, first I gathered the corks (I scored about 250 from Freecycle a while back) and then laid out a pattern until I was happy with the spacing.  Then, I photographed the letters to help me remember the layout.

Pre-arranging the corks into the desired shape also helped me to know how many I needed for each letter. An 'M' for Mellissa and a 'D' for Darrin.

I started with the ‘M’ for Mellissa (I figured I’d rather do the testing on my letter, so that everything would come out perfect on Darrin’s).  I mixed a few different shades of blue and began painting the corks, one at a time.  However, I really liked the faded look as seen in the heart photograph above.  So, after I painted the top of the cork, I stamped it on a piece of newpaper to give it a distressed look.  After painting a handful or so corks one color, I mixed a little white paint into the color to lighten it up.  Then, I painted that color on a few corks.  After that, I would add a little more white paint to lighten that shade, and so on and so on.

A view of my workspace shows my color mixing as well as my stamping surface (newspaper) for a weathered look.

Once the corks were dry, I rearranged them into the ‘M’ design until I liked how the colors flowed (a little darker at the bottom, lighter at the top).  I then used a glue gun to glue each cork to the next.  I found that it was helpful to put glue on each cork before pressing together.

Rearranging the corks to prepare for gluing. I apologize for the bikini shot. I used a Target ad for my workspace and didn't realize the shot until after the fact.

The final product!

What do you think?  These are the colors for our wedding – blue and green.  So, we will be able to use the letters as decor at the wedding and to hang up in our home.  Not too shabby!

What about you?  Do you have any projects you’ve taken on recently that can pull double duty (decor for a party and your home, or have function and decoration purposes)?  Do tell!

Don’t forget to check out what the pros made during this round of the challenge.  Visit Young House Love to see Sherry’s homemade bean bag chair.  Go to Bower Power to check out Katie’s watercoloring.  Cassie over at Hi Sugarplum! made faux antlers.  Finally, Erin at The Great Indoors stole my heart with a homemade mason jar chandelier.