All wrapped up

Posted on Sep 2, 2015 in Alumni News and News

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What happens when you combine 18 cases of red, white, blue, and yellow gift bows, a couple of glue guns and a fabulous group of volunteers? You get a giant display of Jayhawk spirit. Quite literally!

In early August, the decorations committee for the Jayhawk Roundup, led by decorations chair Chris Jeter, gathered at Murfin Stables to work on an oversized “bow mural.” The project will grace the corner of the arena and provide a photo background for the annual event, held on October 2, 2015, in Wichita. This year’s theme is “Happy Birthday KU,” celebrating the 150th birthday of the University of Kansas.

Members of the committee helping that day were Chris and Lori Jeter, Jim Burgess, Jerry and Lucy Burtnett, Bob and Kay Blinn, Camille Nyberg, Margaret Lafferty, Danielle Hoover, and Susan Younger.

img_bow-mural2The mural was fairly easy to create, so we wanted to share it with you so you can make your own. This technique would be perfect for a high school spirit wall, a grade school art project, or for anywhere you want to make a really big visual impact.

Step 1:

To start off, you will need to create your image on a grid, and if you are familiar with cross stitch embroidery, the idea is basically the same. For the Jayhawk head, the graphic was placed underneath a grid and then filled in with colored dots to bring up the pattern. The more detailed the image you wish to create, the larger the mural should be. (Each dot coordinates with the color of the bow, and gray is used here to represent white). Our mural ended up measuring approximately 6 1/2 feet tall by 11 feet wide. With a grid like this, it’s easy to determine the bow position, and the number of bows needed. The black lines running every six columns represents each mural panel, as explained in Step 2.

JR BOW grid

Step 2:

img_reinforced-paperFor our base paper, we used a brown kraft paper, and the color really helped our white bows pop. Our kraft roll is 24″ wide, so we divided the grid into the appropriate number of columns. (See black lines on the grid, indicating each column). Measure six 3-1/2 inch squares starting from the left edge, and leave the remaining 3″ to the right, so you can glue the panels together to make the complete mural. If your paper is thin, reinforce the back with packing tape. The kraft paper is surprisingly strong, but reinforcing helps strengthen the paper.

We left room for a sleeve at both the top and the bottom, and will thread a PVC pole through the sleeves to stiffen the mural and make it easier to hang. (We also left 12 inches at the top and bottom as blank space above and below the bows).

Draw out the entire grid on your paper, and then label it so you can follow the grid, such as “row 1, column 1,” “row 1, column 2,” and so on. To cut down on confusion and make the process easy for a group, use paint markers to indicate the color in each square.

Package bows work really well for this project. They’re fun and the texture adds to the effect, and in this case, the bows fit our birthday theme. We used 4″ confetti bows from Papermart, which have a variety of strong colors and great case prices.

Step 3:

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Use a glue gun with a hot glue setting. It’s important to use hot glue, because it helps grip the fibers of the paper better. (Avoid using cold glue guns). Draw an “X” of glue in the square, and affix your bow. You don’t need to remove the paper covering the sticky pad on the back of the bow. In fact, that sticker is too weak to use, so just glue right over it. You want to make sure that you draw a large enough “X” so that the glue grips parts of the bow, and not just in the center over the sticker. Lightly smash the bow down as you glue it to make sure it grips the hot glue well. (Don’t worry, the bow will pop right back up).

Step 4:

Once all your panels are finished, lay them flat together to make sure your design looks right. The left side of each panel should line up with the blank space on the right side of your panel. Glue the panels together with tacky glue. When the glue is dry, reinforce the panels on the back with packing tape. If you are going to store the mural for a bit, don’t glue the panels together until you are ready to hang it, and keep the panels flat while storing them. This will help prevent warping, and cover them with plastic tarps to keep the moisture out.

And that’s all there is to it!  If you would like to make your own mural of the Jayhawk, feel free to borrow our grid diagram. We’d love to see examples of your own creations, so be sure to post them on the Association’s Facebook page.img_bow-mural1

—Susan Younger, creative director

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