Step 1: Design the program. (We did this on the computer, but it would also look great handwritten and copied). Our programs measured 6 inches wide by 7.5 inches tall. For easy assembly, we very lightly printed out cut lines (for the program itself) and sewing lines (for the stitching). When you're done with the typesetting, print out your programs on cardstock and cut them out - straight sides only - leaving the corners to be cut later.
Step 2: Choose your paper. These fans could be printed on both sides - in which case you would print on cardstock. We decided to keep the text simple (the ceremony was short) and use art paper for the backs. Erin wanted every fan to feel different, so we bought three different scrapbook paper packs from Michaels and she pulled out her favorite sheets. We could fit two fans to one sheet of paper.
Step 3: Cut art paper into 6 x 7.5 inch rectangles and set aside. For best results, use paper that is heavier than computer paper. Thick card stock is not necessary, but a heavier weight paper will stand up better as a fan. You'll cut the fan corners later.
Step 5: Gently sand the edges. Again, this just makes the fans feel/look a bit more custom. David took a piece of scrap wood, wrapped it in sandpaper and rubbed the edges. This step took seconds per handle.
Step 6: Sew the front and back of the fans together. The photo above is horrible, but I wanted to show you our "cheat" lines. The dark line was the outline, so we cut those along the straight edge first and left the corners uncut. Now, look closely and you'll see that very very faint line? That was the guide for our sewing. It had about an inch of blank space at the bottom (where you'll eventually insert the handle) and so we started to sew at the bottom right, sewed around the whole program and then stopped when we reached the blank space on the bottom left. (If you look below "Andy" and a bit to the left, you can kind of see how the line ends.)
Step 7: Relax. Our lines weren't perfectly straight. Sometimes we missed the corner altogether and there was a very faint line to be seen. No one noticed this but us, and the detail of the stitching was just gorgeous!
Step 8: Assemble and finish. We put 2" of double-sided tape at the top of the flat side of our wood handles, inserted the handle into the fan flat side facing the text side and pressed firmly into place. Trust me, they won't move. Finally, take a scissors and round your corners so that everything lines up.
Erin chose gold thread and I was totally skeptical (worried it would be slippery, unravel, etc.). It worked beautifully and was the perfect choice!
This project is not a timesaver in anyway, but once you're in the groove of it, progress moves along quickly.
When all was said and done, these fans cost less than $1 each - totally worth the time investment required.
The handles could be painted or stained.
If you use a "cheat" line for your sewing, choose the lightest shade possible in the same color family as your thread. We used gold thread so our line was a light light brown.
Other ideas to try would be text on both side with simple, gorgeous cardstock and a crazy color of thread - purple or peacock with cream cardstock for instance. The possiblities are endless!
Finally, the fan/program combo could be used for many other events: murder mystery parties, garden parties, any outdoor fundraiser...
Please let me know if you make your own! xo