How to Make a Foil-Wrapped, Textured Vase
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Completed Vase with Faux Flowers
In this how-to article, I show you how to create a simple but stunning vase out of a boring one, bring it to life with a little string and a roll of aluminum tape, which is available at your hardware or home decorating store.
Note: the tape must be aluminum tape, not silver-colored duct tape, in order to get the details of the string or other texture to pop out.
These instructions are for making the vase shown in the pictures, but could be used for decorating any vase using any number of different materials.
Close-up of the Sides of the Vase
Gather the Materials
First, choose the vase or other container that you are going to decorate. I chose a plain square glass vase that just wasn’t very interesting to me. Straight, square sides will be the easiest for this project, though probably any shape will work, limited only by your creativity and dexterity in applying the tape and the textured material.
Next, choose the material(s) that will provide the texture to the vase. I chose plain cotton all-purpose string with slubs (bumps) in the string. You could instead use dried wheat or other grasses or plants that have some (but not too much) dimension to them, strings of small chain or seed beads, lace, really anything that adds subtle texture to your piece without being too bulky. You want to keep the texture subtle to allow the aluminum tape to bring out the details of those textures. Since the piece will be covered with aluminum tape, the color of the under-texture material does not matter—use up items from the clearance bin in obnoxious colors or from your own collection of materials that never seem to get used.
Finally, locate aluminum tape at your local hardware store or home makeover/builder’s supply store. Aluminum tape is usually available near where metal ductwork is sold. If you have a choice, choose medium-weight aluminum tape so that it shows the subtle texture that you will be placing under it but doesn’t tear while you are working with it or wear out over time.
Optionally, you may also need a small amount of standard clear desk/cellophane tape or spray adhesive (for the back of fancy texture materials such as lace or dried flowers) to get the textured materials held in place temporarily while you apply the aluminum tape.
Apply the Texture to the Vase
Now, you need to apply the texture material, rough-made string in my case, to the vase. To do this, I cut pieces of string far longer than necessary to cover the straight sides of the vase top to bottom and simply used a small amount of regular clear desk/cellophane tape to hold the top of each piece of string to the top inside of the vase. I left the bottom of the string free to shift and create minor interest as I moved around the vase applying aluminum tape.
If you are using something other than string to provide texture, such as dried plants or lace, you may wish to use spray adhesive on the back of the item and adhere it directly to the vase temporarily until the aluminum tape is applied and the texture secured.
Important: Don’t use the spray adhesive directly on the vase since it will interfere with the adhesion of the aluminum tape to the vase and the ability to bring out the detail of the texture. Only apply spray adhesive, if you choose to use it, to the back of the texture item(s) and then apply those carefully to the vase.
This is the Goal: A Foil Tape-Wrapped Glass Vase or Other Object
Cover the Vase with Aluminum Tape
Important: As you follow these directions for covering the vase with the aluminum tape, cover any and all decorative texture you want to show through the finished vase.
Assuming your vase has straight vertical sides:
1. Measure the height of your vase and add several inches. Vase height + 4 inches = length to cut.
2. Cut the aluminum tape (leaving the backing paper on it, for now) to the length in step 1.
3. Take about 2 to 3 inches of tape backing off of the aluminum tape. Use this to anchor the silver tape in the inside top of the vase as described in the next step.
4. Starting at a corner (if your vase has corners, like the one in this example), anchor the uncovered side of the tape on the inside top of the vase. Press the tape firmly to the middle inside of the vase corner first, then flatten out the sides.
5. Remove the tape backing off of the remainder of the aluminum tape, either all at once or little by little as you press the tape to the vase from the top down to the bottom.
6. At the bottom, slice the tape at the corner vertically and fold each part of the tape carefully onto the bottom of the container.
7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 with the other corners of the vase (4 in my case).
8. If there is a blank spot in the middle where the tape doesn’t meet on each side, place another strip of tape down the middle of the vase to cover it, connecting the tape placed around the corners.
9. Finally, place tape over the bottom of the vase, hiding the ends of the prior strips of tape, which can be removed if desired as long as the vase bottom can be completely covered and the sides are not disturbed.
10. At the top of the vase, trim neatly around the inside of the vase to even out the edges of the rows of tape. Another piece of tape may, optionally, be used to cover the inside ends instead.
If your vase does NOT have straight vertical sides, for example if it bulges out in the middle, first (step 0) cut shorter strips of tape and apply those to the middle, protruding portion(s) of the vase.
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Press the Tape Against the Vase to Bring Out the Texture
First, use your fingers to press carefully but firmly against the vase to bring out the general texture. Later, if you have a non-heated (mechanical) embossing tool, use the large end and work very carefully to highlight the texture, pressing very lightly at first and then, if appropriate, harder to further bring out the texture.
Important! Be sure not to tear through the aluminum tape using the embossing tool! If in doubt, use your fingers only to bring out the texture, perhaps with a cotton ball or stiff sponge such as a makeup application sponge. It's better to have a weaker-appearing texture than a ruined project, although if you do make a visible hole in the tape you can either remove everything and start over or simply apply another strip of tape over top of the side that was ruined. Note that applying more tape will further dull the pattern, however.
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