Thursday, January 23, 2014

Doing a Tulle-draped Ceiling at the Farmington City Community Arts Center

Hanging the center wreath
I have now done this twice, and thought I'd share how to do this so you can do it yourself.

1.  You will need a very tall ladder, 20 feet? One that you can climb up both sides.  A Little Giant works well. They have a ladder at the arts center, but I am not sure how tall it is, or if renters are allowed to use it.
2.  Make a center ring.  We first used a 5 foot grapevine wreath.  The second time, my friend bought flexible yet strong plumbers tubing, and made a hoop by forming the tubing into a circle twice, and duct taping (use white) it all together. It is difficult getting the ring to be level (it wasn't completely level either time-I wonder if a smaller ring would be better and if it isn't level, it will be less noticeable.)
3. There are four large eye hooks on the ceiling above the main floor of the main hall. To attach the hoop to the eye hooks, I cut 4-inch-wide ribbon 9 feet long; they MUST be that long, or they won't reach all the eye hooks. I tied one end of each ribbon to an S-hook, and then duct taped it onto the S-hook. You can either tie the ribbon to the hoop or make it 18 feet long and thread it through and tie the two ends onto the S-hook.  Your final ribbon length will be more equal if you do this, as opposed to tying it onto the hoop.
4. I made a tool for attaching the S-hooks by using an extendable light bulb changer, taking off the light bulb holder, and duct taping one handle of a clamp like those pictured to the end of the stick, so I could still open and close the clamp.

5. Make the 'spokes.' Decide how many 'spokes' of tulle you want.  Either tie one end of the tulle to the center hoop, or fold the tulle in half lengthwise, and thread it through the hoop to make a double layer of the tulle (as in the second wedding).
First Wedding, 6 spokes
As shown in the picture, there are 3 wall sconce lights on each side of the room, on the side close to the stage, and then there are big windows, and then 2 sconces on the other side.  So a total of 10 sconces.  We attached the tulle drapes to the wall sconces. Be sure to go measure the distance from the center of the room to the sconces to determine how long your spokes need to be.  But we used 9 to 11 yards of tulle for each spoke. That was PLENTY. Remember that tulle stretches a bit, and you want to have enough fabric for a bit of a drape. The distance to each sconce is different--just make sure the length is at least long enough to reach the sconce, have a drape, and wrap around the sconce.  If you are doing sparkly lights, attach them to the center hoop with the plug side reaching toward the wall; make sure they are also long enough.
6. Put it up.  This takes much longer than you think. Decorate the night before the wedding if you can.  Or at least put the ceiling up the night before. Place one of the S-hooks attached to the ceiling ribbon attached to the hoop into the clamp on the end of the light bulb changer. Place the ladder in the center of the room. Have one person haul the center hoop up one side of the ladder, leaving everything else hanging (see the top picture).  The other person will go up the other side with the light bulb changer and first S-hook inserted into the light bulb changer. Go high enough that the person with the extended light bulb changer can reach all the way up to the eye hook on the ceiling.  Insert the S-hook into the eye hook and pull down to release the S-hook from the clamp.  Attach the next S-hook and insert it into the next eye hook until the hoop is hanging from all four eye hooks.  Hooray!!  Don't yet worry if the hoop is not very level.
7. Attach the spokes. Move your ladder to whichever sconce you want to do first. Now take each piece of tulle and straighten it out and pull it to the sconce. Drape it about how much you want it draped (this can be adjusted) and basically tie it around the sconce.  If there are extra sparkly lights, wrap them around the sconce.  You will have tulle hanging down the wall, which you can leave or trim.  Attach an extension cord to the end of the sparkly lights (about 6-8 feet long should do it) and plug it into the outlets that are above the sconces. Wrap extra extension cord around the sconce. A brown cord will blend in with the wall nicely. White is okay, too. There are two outlets between the three front sconces (you can plug two extension cords into each one) and one outlet between the back two sconces.  Attach each spoke in the same manner.
8. Level the hoop by climbing up the ladder and, either wrapping more ribbon around the S-hook to pull up a side (if you can get up that high), or by using a twisty tie or some other tie to shorten the ceiling ribbon near the hoop.  We never did get the hoop level for either wedding, and it was OKAY! 
Second Wedding, 18 spokes

Variations:
With the second wedding we decided to make the ends of the tulle go wide at the walls. We attached all the tulle together with ribbons to tie to each sconce and to each other so the tulle would fill the space between two sconces.  This sounded wonderful, but did NOT work. Because of the nature of the tulle (I think) there was too much stretch both between the center hoop and the wall, and from sconce to sconce. It ended up looking okay, but the walls near the sconces were a mess and it was very difficult to obtain the right drape. The tulle length needs to be VERY adjustable where it hits the wall in order to have the right amount of drape (you don't want people bumping into the tulle because the drape is too low). This is what I suggest you could try if you want the tulle to be wide at the wall (as opposed to just tied around the sconces): Get a piece of sturdy but light pvc pipe, long enough to go between two sconces.  Place one pipe between every two sconces, 6 pieces total, not sure on the length.  Again, go measure. There is a piece on the sconce that juts out from the wall that you could easily set the pvc pipe on. Spread and drape the tulle over the pvc pipe so it hangs over the pipe and down the wall, adjusting the tulle to the appropriate drape.  I don't know how to keep the tulle in place, however.  White duct tape? Some sort of round clip that will clip the tulle to the pvc pipe? Please tell me if you figure something out. You could maybe do at least 18 spokes if you do it this way, practically covering the whole ceiling.

P.S.  There are also 16 eye hooks over the stage. The front 8 are higher than the back 8.  You can hang stuff from these hooks using the clamp and S-hook method as well.  We hung flower balls from some of them at the first wedding.



3 comments:

  1. was wondering if you can give me some ideas. I want to do a mesh or other fabric draped ceiling idea for my daughter's sweet 16. any suggestions how to give the ceilling decoration a "swinged" "W" look the reception area is about 10' wide by 30'long. thanks for any ideas you can give.

    ReplyDelete
  2. was wondering if you can give me some ideas. I want to do a mesh or other fabric draped ceiling idea for my daughter's sweet 16. any suggestions how to give the ceilling decoration a "swinged" "W" look the reception area is about 10' wide by 30'long. thanks for any ideas you can give.

    ReplyDelete
  3. was wondering if you can give me some ideas. I want to do a mesh or other fabric draped ceiling idea for my daughter's sweet 16. any suggestions how to give the ceilling decoration a "swinged" "W" look the reception area is about 10' wide by 30'long. thanks for any ideas you can give.

    ReplyDelete