When it comes to centerpieces for party food tables, I like to go big and bold, but I am also not a fan of spending a lot of money on something that I may only use for one event. (Y’all know I am the queen of recycling and repurposing when I can.) I didn’t have any extra pineapple or flamingo decor lying around, so I had to get creative for Lily’s recent luau. (See complete post here.) This simple tissue paper party letter centerpiece was the perfect answer.
I was inspired by several floral and tissue paper freestanding letters on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try myself. I couldn’t find exact instructions, so I made up my process as I went. Having done that, I don’t think I would change too much about the process so I feel comfortable sharing it with you as these are extremely versatile and would make perfect additions to birthday parties, showers, graduations, team parties, etc. And you don’t have to stick to single letters. You could do numbers, phrases, hashtags or whole sentences depending on the size of the characters and space you have available.
Materials needed for tissue paper party letter centerpiece:
- Large pieces of sturdy cardboard
- Box cutter or X-Acto
- T-square or yardstick
- Plastic Cups
- Tape – masking, packing or duct
- Colored paper
- Colored tissue paper
Steps to create tissue paper party letter centerpiece:
Draw your letter twice on the cardboard and cut out
I lucked out on the cardboard supply. We are serious college football fans and when our television gave up on us right before the national championship – we went out and bought another one just in time (#priorities). The size and weight of the television box were perfect, but you should be able to use any decently sturdy cardboard. And don’t worry if you have to piece it as it will all be covered in the end.
Because I was cutting the letter “L”, I simply used a T-square to keep my measurements and angles correct. If you were doing another letter, you could print out an outline and go from there.
Cut long strips to make sides of the letter
Since our letters are three dimensional, we need to have something on the sides, tops and bottoms to hide the internal structure. I was able to just use the flaps of the box as they were long enough together. If you don’t have long flaps, just cut long strips as wide as your plastic cups. (This will make sense in the next step.)
Insert your spacers
Now we need something to keep the front and the back of the letter equidistant from each other to create the third dimension. In other words – grab some plastic cups, space them evenly, tape them down to the back piece and then adhere the front of the letter to them. The cups are lightweight, but give enough stability to keep your letter together in all of it’s free-standing three dimensional glory.
Add the sides
Here’s where those long strips come in. If you cut them to the correct width, you should be able to tape the thin strips to cover the sides. You can see that I used an excessive amount of tape to keep this together. None of this will show so it’s OK to go to town with the adhesive.
You can skip this step – really it’s ok
I spray-painted my letter because I thought that lovely picture of the television would show, but the paint did not cover well. I later realized that was not necessary as the front and sides will be covered in tissue and it’s easier just to cover the back with a solid color piece of paper. But if it makes you feel better and you love spray paint as much as I do – you can go right ahead.
Cover in tissue paper squares (lot and lots of squares)
Once your letter is assembled and standing on its own, it’s time to cover up the less than attractive mechanics. Start by cutting piles of tissue paper squares. In order to save time and keep the squares somewhat consistent, fold the tissue paper into strips, cut those and then cut into squares. Don’t worry; they do not have to be perfect.
Now just use the old school method we all learned in Elementary school where you get a piece of tissue on your pencil eraser, dip in glue (squeezing glue out onto a paper plate is the only way to go with this) and then adhere to the letter. You can do a pattern or go completely random. I decided to do a pattern on mine but did not think it through before starting, and it got a little tricky where the letter bent.
Big and Bold (and Bright)
This inexpensive centerpiece both anchored and accented a table full of bright and festive party food. Remember you can modify this project in many ways, and for less than $5 and a couple of hours – it’s a great go-to to keep in mind. Pin this post below so you will have it when the occasion arises in the future. As always, would love to see pictures if you make your own version.