Easy, Up-cycled Retirement Party Centerpieces for Mom

In my family, every celebration warrants two things; homemade dessert and homemade decorations. A special event needs special treats and unique decor. It just does.

Mom’s Surprise Retirement Party was no exception.

I wanted to incorporate her favorite color (red) and make it sophisticated and simple.

I also knew I had to find a way to re-use the pretty gold wine bottles I decorated for New Year’s Eve (tutorial for that coming near the end of this year.) They are so pretty, I can’t stop looking at them.

This is what I came up with for the shindig:


Basically, it's just spray painted wine bottles with ribbon, a paper fan, and two tissue paper flowers (also known as tissue paper pom-poms when made into a spherical shape instead of the half sphere seen here.)

For the first time ever I purchased pre-folded paper flowers instead of making them myself (this is my favorite tutorial), but I knew the week I made these was going to be hectic and I needed to save time where I could. No regrets. 

Here’s a full list of of tools and supplies I used to create this pretty trio:

Note: Double sided tape is best if your celebration is outdoors and you have the weather to contend with.

These are the small clear rubber bands listed in the supplies pic. You can pick them up in the hair accessories isles of places like Sally Beauty or Walgreen's. Amazon has them too, but they’re not as cheap there.


Let’s start with The Short and Sweet for those that have a lot of crafting experience. If you would like really detailed directions and tips, read on to the All the Details section.

The Short and Sweet

  1. Take a couple pieces of cardstock and fold them accordion style. Tape them together to make a fan.

  2. Cut a circle, add some lettering, and stick them in the center of the fan using 3D adhesive squares for dimension.

  3. Mount to a paper straw that matches the wine bottles and place it inside the opening.

  4. Make two tissue paper flowers and tape them to the top of the wine bottles.


All the Details

Fold the Fan

1. If you are looking for a really fast and easy way to trim large pieces of paper, I highly recommend a 12x12 guillotine style paper trimmer. I have been eyeing this one for a year but held off because my craft tools are already spilling out of my shelving and off of my craft table. But I finally decided it would save me enough time that I didn’t care. Those grid lines are uh-may-zihng! Best decision ever. (Well maybe not ever. But close.) I love it. You should totally snag yourself one, too. I got mine on Amazon.


2. Take your two sheets of cardstock and, using a paper trimmer, trim the sides a bit.


3. You want the pieces to be 11” wide by 10.5” high.


4. One sheet at a time, fold them in half the long way.


5. Making sure to crease the fold really well every time you fold. It will help the fan hold its shape.


6. Now fold one edge into the middle crease line.


7. Do the same with the other side.


8. So it should look like this:


9. Now take one edge and fold it back so that it aligns with the side fold you just made.


10. Do the same for the other side.


11. Fold the paper along that center fold again.


12. And now we fold the side that has the edges back up to the center fold.


13. So it looks like this:


14. Flip it over and do the same for the other side.


15. So you have a paper folded to around an inch. Without having to measure and mark. Score!


16. It looks like this from the side when you open it up a bit.


17 . Fold it back up and then bring the two short edges together, creating a center fold.


18. You’ve made one half of the fan!


19. Fold the other piece of black cardstock the same way.


20. Then flip the over so the two edges that aren’t folded are pointing up. (This will be the back side.)


21. Line the two sides of the center edge up…


22. And tape them together.


23. Do the same for the other piece of paper.


24. Then just tape the two halves of the fan together in the same way.


25. Flip it over to the front and add a little tape or a 3D adhesive circle to keep it rigid.


Make the Center of the Fan

26. Take your circle cutter and figure out how large you want your circle to be. Keep in mind what you are writing (or sticking) on the center of it.)


27. Cut two circles. One for the front, one for the back. (We knew people would be walking on both sides of our table so I wanted it to look finished from both sides of the fan. If your table will be against a wall only one circle for the front will do ya just fine.)


28. Time to start adding the letter stickers. I like to start in the center...


29. And work my way out.


30. For the second row I knew the letters were of various widths, so I started with the first and last letters…using the edge of the sticker sheet as a ruler to keep them level...


31. And worked my way in.


32. I had to adjust one or two but it worked out all right. Much better than trying to write fancy lettering by hand. I’m no good at that.


33. I finished it off by taking the periods from the sticker sheet…


34. And using them as dots to fill in around the letters.


35. Now flip it over to the backside and add some 3D adhesive squares.


36. And attach to the center of the fan, making sure that the center of the circle lines up with a fold you can hide the paper straw behind.


Attach the Straw

37. Flip the fan over and tape the straw to the backside of that fold.


38. For stability, I like to get it tucked up closer to the center of the fan.


39. There. Looking good.


Add the Ribbon and Attach the Fan

40. Use a piece of tape to attach the ends of a few pieces of curling ribbon.


41. Slide those clear rubber bands on the paper straw. You can go as high up (close to the bottom of the fan) as you like. Just depends on how sturdy you want it to be.


42. Now pull one rubber band to the left and one to the right, and set the paper straw into the neck of the wine bottle. Place the rubber bands around the grooves at the top of the bottle to keep it in place.


43. Use the {closed} scissors to curl the ribbon up.


44. And arrange it so the rubber bands are covered up.


Make the Paper Flowers

45. Take the tissue paper flower and make sure the string is right in the center of it, with the knot on the underside.


46. One piece at a time, start separating the layers of the flower and pulling them upward.


47. So pretty.


48. Add some tape to the top of the wine bottle.


49. Feed the strings inside the bottle opening as you set the flower on to of it.


50. Use a finger to push it down gently in the center so it doesn’t go anywhere.


Finish It Off

51. Do the same for the other flower, grab a festive table cover, and set the the three pieces together for a pretty centerpiece!


Not bad for a nap time's work!

Not expensive, either.

Here’s about what you can expect to spend:


I didn’t include the cost of the wine bottles and spray paint because I had those leftover from another project, but that would only add around 3-5 bux to the cost of the project. Not including the wine, of course.

Do you have beautiful projects for recycled wine bottles? Leave me a comment if you do...I’ve got a steady stream of wine bottles floating through my kitchen that need some dressing up.


Happy crafting, my friends! And whatever you make, make it yours!


Looking for more cheap party projects? Have a look at these posts: