Elven Realms: Easy Elvish Touches for Elves with Tight Budgets
If you are on a tight budget but still want to create your own middle-earth space try these two projects from dreamdancer
So you want to add a little middle-earth decor to your living space? Here are two techniques I’ve used myself. They’re cheap and easy, and very effective!
The ivy mirror is an elvish decoration that can be put above a dresser or desk, or just anywhere you’d like to hang it. For this you’ll need:
- A mirror (of course)- a small one from the dollar store works just fine. It helps if it’s ready to hang when you buy it.
- Fake ivy garlands- I also bought mine from a dollar store for about $3. If you want better quality, they can be found at craft stores.
- A hot glue gun
To begin, measure how much ivy you need for each side of the mirror. Make sure the length of ivy is correct BEFORE you break out the glue! If the ivy is long and bendable, just bend it at the corners of the mirror so that it fits the shape. If the mirror is a circle bend the ivy to the same shape. If the ivy won’t bending you’ll have to cut it to the correct lengths.
When you are satisfied with the arrangement of the ivy around the mirror, start gluing it down bit by bit. I suggest putting spots of glue a few inches apart instead of one long line. Remember to hold the ivy down for at least 30 seconds before moving forward. (Try not to stick your finger in the glue- it hurts, trust me!).
When you’ve made it the whole way around the mirror, go back and add small spots of hot glue where it is needed. It is best to try and put the glue where the leaves will hide it.
If you have any ivy left over, you can have one or two strands hanging from the mirror to give it more of a wild look. You can also add a few fake flowers if you wish.
Ceiling drapes and beads
It’s a commonly known fact that draping fabric across your ceiling will add an elvish effect. It is little known, however, that this method of decoration can be easier than it seems.
I purchased my fabric at Wal-Mart for close to a dollar or two a yard, and I’ve purchased only a few yards at a time. If you can’t get to a Wal-Mart, it’s still easier on the purse to purchase only a little fabric at the time, depending on how many colors or how much you need.
I have several different colors in my room (colors you wouldn’t expect to go together) that blend quite well. Using thumb-tacks that are close to the color of the fabric is an easy way to attach them. Allowing the fabric to fall and curve in several places will add a dreamy effect.
Beads did not show up in the LotR films, but I added some and was surprised at the elvish effect they have. I used silver bead strings that were meant for Christmas trees. They are usually very cheap in January, after the holiday has passed and stores are ready to get rid of them. Silver string (also made for Christmas decorations) can be tied between two beads and attached to a thumb tack for hanging. The beads should be draped much like the fabric, mimicking the depth and curve of them. If they cross from corner to corner, they give an amazing effect along with the fabric!
More tips on mirrors from aredhel_mair
Mirrors for the Elvish Touch
Have a wall somewhere in your house that you just don’t know what to do with? Mirror panels can break up the starkness and can give your room an elvish touch. If you place anywhere from 3-6 long mirrors side by side and leaving gaps of about 6-8 inches in between them, it creates an intersting detail in the room.
It looks best if the mirrors aren’t the full length of the wall, but maybe a foot or more from the top or bottom. They shouldn’t be any more than two 1/2 feet from the top or bottom.
The width of the mirror looks the best if it’s about a one 1/2 ft. wide.
Before putting the mirrors up, a neat effect is to have a border going across the middle your wall, perhaps an ivy border. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the article Elven Wall Ivy. This way the mirrors break up the pattern. You can either have it all the way around you room, or just on the one wall. Hang the mirrors so that the tops and bottoms are even, and on strong hangings, please! (Hint: Do not frame the mirrors in any way because it takes away from the open feeling created by them.)
Elvish Bed Canopy
This is a very pretty canopy that helps give the area you put it in feel a bit more like Rivendell. You do not need to put it over your bed, for you can put it over a window, desk or doorway. (for those putting it over their bed, take note that all sizes are for twin beds.)
To make it, you will need;
- a 12-inch adjustable wood embroidery hoop
- acrylic paint
- 4 yards of ribbon
- 5 yards of 45-inch-wide tulle or netting
- ceiling hook
1) Separate embroidery hoop. Paint both pieces with acrylic paint. Let dry. Cut 4 pieces of ribbon, 24 inches each. Tie one end of each ribbon to the larger hoop. Gather the other ends at the top and tie them in a knot.
2) Center the smaller hoop underneath the middle of the tulle. Press the larger hoop on top, sandwiching the fabric and ribbon. Tighten the hoop.
3) Screw the hook into the ceiling, centered above where you want it. Hang the canopy on the hook. Ta da!
4) If you want, You can sew fake flowers and/or leaves onto the canopy. I also saw some in a store that had stars, pompoms, and beads sewn onto them.
Adding that carved look to wooden cabinets and such …
Do you want to add knotwork and/or leaf and vine patterns to your wood cabinetry, doors and such? Well, here is a simple and easy way to do so:
There is something called a wood applique. Simply put, these are pieces of carved wood that you can stain and glue to your wooden furniture.
Most local and national home improvement places have them and there are places on the net to get the fancier and more spendy ones. Here are a few links:
Once you get your appliques, clean and dry the object you are going to attach it to. Apply wood glue to the applique and, following the directions on the glue container, attach it to your cabinet. Stain or paint as desired and HOORAY! you have a piece that looks like it was hand carved in Middle Earth.
Check out your local Home Depot and other similiar places as well.
I haven’t seen articles on making your room look like Mirkwood, so I thought I’d share what I did with my room!
First, the walls …
It’s not that hard to paint walls, but it’s a lot different than doing a picture. See if your parents will let you paint your own room, or if they want you to get a relative or something to do it. I just moved into my house and we were painting the downstairs anyway, so my mum let me have my room done too. Paint quality varies, as does the price, so get a cheaper paint.
What my mum always does before a room gets painted is she buys a pint of the colors she’s considering. Then she paints a square blotch on each wall of the room. This way you can see how the colors will look without painting your entire wall and not liking it. You also get to see how the lighting looks on each color, because paint looks different at different times of day.
As for colors, greens and light greys or whites work best. If you already have these wall colors (they’re pretty common), then you can just get some fake ivy at your local craft store. You could get a garland or a wreath and take the wreath apart so you have a long string of ivy. Just tack or nail it up (use small nails so they’re not visible) roughly six inches to a foot below the ceiling and it’ll look great. It looks much better to have it meander randomly across the wall than to have it in a straight line.
Curtains and valances add a lot to the room. I chose red-purple curtains with flower embroidery and matching valances. You can get curtains pretty cheap at Target, as well as curtain rods. Be warned, though: they sell each curtain separately, but one’s enough to cover the window. I have three-foot wide windows in my house and the curtain overlaps about 3 or 4 inches on either side. If you don’t want curtains, just get a valance. Valances add great beauty to a room. If you’re getting both, get a spring rod for the curtain. It’s easier to install and they’re much cheaper. Beware of screw-on curtain rods; they are MUCH harder to install than they look.
For furniture, dark wood or reddish wood is best. Wrought iron looks nice too, but don’t go overboard or your room will look like the Mirkwood prison cells.
If your furniture doesn’t look like it would ever possibly be anywhere near Mirkwood, it’s easy to fix. Most people have siblings they can swap furniture with. I traded bookcases with my sister, for instance, because I had a white ballerina one from ten years ago with pink knobs and she had a nice dark wooden one. Another thing you can do is check out your attic, cellar, guestroom, or wherever your family keeps other furniture. You will most likely have a relative who will be willing to trade furniture. It’s easy and inexpensive. I brought up a bedside table and a chest of drawers from the guest room and put my old ballerina ones down there. I had a ton of furniture without it costing anything by my time.
Just a note: Bookcases look classy even if they don’t have all LotR-style/related books in them.
If you’re an only child or are living on your own or something and you can’t do a furniture swap, look for things at stores like Target or online. I got a great wrought iron bed for less than $250.
Don’t make your room all green, or it will look unpleasant. Add some purple or red with throw pillows or sheets and curtains. Don’t add too many different colors or your room will just look weird.
For your bed, you have a couple of options …
Canopy beds are best, but beds with interesting head/footboards are okay too.
A simple and inexpensive way to get a canopy is to buy one of the ring canopies, usually called ‘mosquito nets’ at most home stores. They have them at Target, at Pier 1, at Bed Bath & Beyond, and of course online. They’re typically about $15-$30 depending on the size of the net.
There are also a huge number of wrought iron and wooden canopy beds out there. I got one of wrought iron that has a lovely little design on the boards.
The easiest way to find inexpensive beds is to go to Froogle, which can be accessed through Google.
Try to match your bed and the rest of your furniture. If your bed is the only bit of furniture that’s iron, it will look out of place. What I did was to get some iron wall-mounted candle holders. They were $12 each at Pier 1, and they look great. I put them on either side of my bed.
If you already have a suitable wooden or iron bed, great!
For your sheets, go for grey. Grey goes with everything and it looks especially elven if you get the right texture. I have beech tree fiber sheets, and they look and feel great. I got them at Bed Bath & Beyond for about $10.
For a canopy covering, get fabric that has a Celtic or fantasy design, or get a solid colored fabric that matches something from the rest of your room.
Now, hide all electronics. This includes digital clocks. Get a clock that you can hang on the wall. Mine is colored iron with roman numerals on it. It has a fake ivy trim.
If you have lots of wall space, get posters or make maps. Old maps look impressive up on the wall, even if it’s just some old map of, say, Europe. You can find instructions for making your own map elsewhere in the Last Homely House.
Finally, have fun with your room! Add touches that make it fit you. I, for instance, put a stuffed squirrel up on my bookcase. He matches my room and makes it look extra woodsy. ^.^ Good luck!