DIY Logo Garland

While working on decorative and interactive projects for Sandy’s retirement party was super enjoyable, I figured they were not exactly what Tim had in mind when he asked me to do the decorations. I’ve never really been a crepe-paper-and-balloons kind of gal, but I racked my brains for something that said “party” more than what I had already planned. Because Sandy has studied, worked, and volunteered at such a variety of places, I thought it’d be cool to incorporate them into the decorations. I asked Tim to send me a list and I put together a garland from the logos to hang up.

It was pretty easy to do, though it took a bit of time. First I had to track down the logos through some Google Image searching. I looked for large-sized versions where possible, and it was a bonus if I could get ahold of the medical version of the logo (she’s worked/studied at a lot of schools of nursing). Sangamon State University turned out to be a bit of a challenge, since it was aquired by the University of Illinois in 1995, but I was able to determine what the logo used to look like from this picture and this campus newspaper (and for the record? my vote is for that midi-coat!) and recreate it in Adobe Illustrator. I had to redraw other logos as well, so they would print nicely, because I was only able to find smaller versions of a few of them. (One of the logos I redrew was for the Shalom Health Care Center, which Tim designed for his mom once upon a time.) Once I was armed with large enough versions of all of the logos, I laid out a page with 3″ circles with the logos inside and printed two copies of each logo.

I located some blue and orange construction paper in my craft stash and traced the top of one of our Comfest mugs to make circles to cut out that were slightly bigger than the logo circles. A few hours of cutting later, plus some hole-punching to thread twine through, I had a stack of circles to glue together. Not wanting to wrinkle any of the circles too badly, I opted for glue stick as the adhesive of choice for assembly. Luckily I am still deep in the middle of the third book of the Song of Fire and Ice series (which starts with Game of Thrones, for those of you who have HBO) and that hardcover is a beast, so I pressed the newly-assembled garland circles between the pages to get them nice and flat. Some of this cutting and all of the gluing happened while Tim drove us to Indiana on Friday night before the party, by the way. In fact, I ran out of my glue stick (I know! I don’t ever remember actually finishing one of those before!) and we had to stop at Meijer for tapers anyway, so I bought more on the way.

Sandy was not there yet when we got to the lake house, so Tim and Steve practiced songs while I strung the garland. I found this twine to be a good choice for the project, because it had enough of a “grip” that the circles didn’t slide around too much and I could keep them pretty evenly spaced. I’ve learned my lesson from previous projects and left a long tail on each end of the garland, so I’d have plenty of options when tying the decoration up.

I think they turned out pretty well and were a nice representation of Sandy’s whole career. I made two garlands total, and both started out on the deck until it started raining and the one pictured got moved inside. I cannot believe I didn’t get a picture of this (because I totally thought I did, but now I can’t find it), but in order to make these reusable, I printed some University of Illinois logos to use for the backs of each circle, since the whole family are Illini fans. I figured Sandy could put them up on game days, and she already has plans to use them at a tailgate later in the fall.

This was another easy project to put together, especially if you’re going to be starting with larger graphics that are good for printing. It was a neat and unique way to celebrate all that Sandy has done, while still reading “party decoration.” This would also be cute with pictures or seasonal things for different kinds of parties. You could make something like this just to hang in a kid’s room, too. I made something similar for my sister’s baby shower, using patterned paper cut into circles, and sandwiching the connecting ribbon between the two pieces, instead of through holes at the top. The project itself isn’t hard, but it can be a little bit time consuming for the cutting and gluing, but nothing a couple episodes of TV on the DVR can’t take care of. Which is kind of how I like my projects, so it was a good fit! (We’ll talk another day how I think the DVR is really the MVP of our home renovation. You know, other than us.)


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