Sunday, July 13, 2014

Paper Jellyfish Tutorial

...Because not all of us are Martha Stewart. And the world needs more jellyfish.

Summer is hot. Ick. (I know, master of the obvious...that's how I roll.) So if I am asked to create themed decorations for a summer event at the nursing home, I gravitate towards the idea of being "under the sea" where heat and humidity don't really apply. That, and I have a fixation with making dangly decorations that I can hang from ceiling tiles and light fixtures. Not only is it rather festive and atmospheric;  I'm tall, so it means easy up, easy down, and there's no fighting with adhesives like the walls would require.

Here is my method for making paper jellyfish.  Please pardon the really poor quality of this tutorial; I snapped shots as I was making these in real time, and didn't have the luxury of a beautiful crafting studio. But that is also a reflection on the nature of this craft; it's a whip-it-out, on-the-fly, make-it-work kinda craft, with little fuss. And I'm breaking it down into little steps because spending time in the nursing home kinda forces you to do that.

The project is pretty simple, and I was able to get help from residents needing a fair amount of guidance. This would also be a good project to make with the kiddies, as nothing needs to be exact, and I think the end result is pretty fun. Of course, that's coming from the guy who once sponge-painted his bedroom in an attempt to make it look like the Caribbean Ocean.

Note: If you're already sick of my ramblings or you only like picture books (or knitting charts), feel free to ignore the text; I think the photos tell you everything you need to know.

Tools and Supplies: 
colored tissue paper
paper plates (any size, or get fancy and use a couple different sizes)
curling ribbon
string or clear fishing line for hanging
clear tape

1. Flip the plate upside down. (What? Really? Can you show me that again?)

2. Crumple a sheet of tissue paper. This is a good job for the Help to do.

3. Place the crumpled paper on the upside-down plate, then center another sheet of paper over top.

4. Staple a few places around the rim of the plate to tack down the outer sheet, taking care not to tear the paper. If you do, maybe add another layer over top, or staple it to hide the tear. Don't worry about the extra paper hanging off the bottom; this will come in later.

5. Cut several lengths of curling ribbon to your desired length, perhaps 4-6 feet. I don't remember. It's best to err on the long side, as you can always trim it shorter later on. And don't worry if the ribbons are different lengths. It's all good.

6. Holding the ribbons together, find the center (more or less) and add a piece of clear tape. If this is too fiddly, feel free to tie the ribbons together at the midpoint before adding the tape. In fact, during mass jellyfish production, I think I did just that.

7. Stick that tape to the underside of the jellyfish body (the plate), being careful not to catch the tissue paper. Again, this may be a nice time to incorporate the Helpers for holding back the tissue paper or something like that.

8. Your jellyfish is practically done! Now you can push/pull the extra tissue paper to hang down around the curling ribbon however you like. I stapled two lengths of string at the four compass points on the rim, then knotted them over the top for hanging.

Boom! Hang it up! 
(I told you my workspace wasn't the greatest.)

And here you see some paper jellyfish in their natural habitat. I added some paper fishies to complete the look, but that's another tutorial, and one that's more complicated. I don't think tropical birds live under the sea, but maybe that falls under creative license. I don't know. Make it work.