With a wedding guest-list of about 200 guests, I knew I had to take it upon myself to DIY wedding favors that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. In all, I spent under $160.00 for 144 party favors and had more than enough for couples and singles to take at least 1. That's just a little over a dollar per favor, and I DARE you to find something this nice at that price!
There was no budget for live flowers (thus the paper flower decorations) so this was also my way of incorporating something plant-ish and alive into the rest of my decor. Marrying the 4 elements (earth, water, fire, air) into 1 adorable and growable take-away was our way of saying "We want to share some of our luck with you."
People loved them, and some of our friends still have their bamboos growing and being displayed in their home. (In a spot without direct sunlight of course!
Here's the shopping list. The totals of $160.47 include shipping and handling.
- 144 count Votive Holders $67.98 from eBay
- 200 count 4" Lucky Bamboo Stalks $73.90 from eBay
- 200 count Metallic Gold Twist Ties from $4.69 CandleLynnSupplies on Etsy
- 5 Packs of River Rocks $5.00 from The Dollar Tree
- Bag of Gravel Rocks (free from my mom's garage hehe)
- Lucky Bamboo Food $7.41 from Amazon
- Gold Metallic Acrylic Craft Paint about $1.49 at any craft store
Step 1: Receiving & Caring for the Bamboo
You will need:
- To order and receive your live bamboo
- a few deep casserole dishes
When the bamboos arrived they will be tightly packed in bunches and wrapped with some elastic bands. We need to give the plants and their roots some room to breathe and grow. Carefully remove the elastic bands and pull apart the individual bamboo stalks without breaking their roots. All our stalks were a uniform 4" with some leaves of about 3 inches. (Yours might be taller if you get a different size.)
If you notice some gelatinous substance around the roots that seemed impossible to get rid of, don't panic. Apparently this stuff is used to keep the roots hydrated during transport. They're like those tiny gelatin balls people put in vases for decoration or potpourri. Wash off as much as you can of it - it should not be something obviously visible in the favor.
Let them sit and relax like this until you are ready to assemble all of your votives. It will become difficult to keep up with the water levels on an individual basis rather than if they are in the large dishes. I suggest to assemble the pieces a week or a few days before they are ready to be displayed at the event.
After some research we developed and followed this care regimen:
- Very little light or indirect light
- Keep roots always submerged and covered in water
- Freshen the water every few weeks with distilled water
- A few drops of Bamboo Food every couple of weeks to keep them green and prevent yellowing or discoloration
Step 2: Painting the Votive Holders
You will need:
- votive holders
- craft paint
- disposable plate
Take the disposable plate and pour out a thin pool of paint in it. Taking each glass and individually dip (not swirl!) the rim evenly into the paint pool. Place them back into their storage box only after the paint has dried. From here it's a matter of finding the sweet spot to form your technique. I found that if the paint pool had too much paint after I dipped the glass it caused small uneven drips down the glass. If this happens, don't worry. You can wash it off before it dries.
Step 3: Prepare Rocks & Stalks
You will need:
- twist ties
Wash the rocks - especially the gravel rocks - they are full of dust!
Decorate each stalk with a twist tie. For some variety, twist tie two stalks together
Step 4: Final Assembly
You will need:
- votive glasses & their shipping containers
- Place the decorated stalks inside the center of the votive glass.
- Add your rocks! Holding each stalk vertically, add your rocks around the stalk. This will keep the stalk standing straight up. The weight of the rocks will push the roots down ensuring that they stay covered by water later. For some variety, add gravel rocks only, river rocks only, or a combo of the two
- Place each finished favor into the votive shipping container box -it's perfect for keeping them nice and organized for storage and transport
- Add water
- Admire your work!
The bamboo favors were a big hit with my guests, and almost two years later whenever I visit friends' houses I see our bamboos on a windowsill or shelf. It warms my heart that people still get to enjoy my favors so long after the wedding day, and how they've incorporated it into their own decor.
If you enjoyed this tutorial visit my website www.sexyDEATHparty.com for more crafty and costume stuff! Thanks for reading!!