囍 Chapter 2: Wedding DIY, Double Happiness Sign

Friday, June 7, 2019

This is a story about why I still have this huge wedding prop in my living room, more than 2 years after our wedding...

What's in this post


When Pinterest makes you live beyond your means

Have you ever seen a picture on Pinterest and thought, "OMG, 😍😍😍, I want that!"

Yea, that's me. All the time. So when I saw this inspo pic below while researching "Modern Chinese Weddings", I fell IN LOVE with the drama of this larger than life double happiness sign and knew I had to have it.

As it turns out, the source of this photo comes from Wishing Tree, a wedding vendor based out of Malaysia. From the looks of the weddings on their blog, they are clearly responsible for planning 'Crazy Rich Asians' inspired weddings. This particular photo came from a wedding they call "A magestic evening in pink and gold at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur".

I mean... talk about extraaa! But, as some of you may know, "Extra" is my middle name, so this was right up my alley. Your girl here has Crazy Rich Asian tastes but unlike most couples featured in the Wishing Tree blog, I'm not marrying Nick Young (CRA reference, lol). At best, I'm just a baller on a budget. 

So, typically when you see unrealistic pictures of life on the internet, the conversation with yourself might sound something like this:

Crazy You: "OK, that's nice, maaaaybe you can make this happen."
Rational You: "Where the hell are you going to find a big ass double happiness sign ... in AMERICA?"
Crazy You: "Eh, you're right. IDK, I give up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ "

But, as you can see, my crazy side doesn't give up as easily. Crazy Shelly knows how to push the correct buttons.

Crazy Shelly: "What's the matter Shell? You chicken??"
Rational Shelly:

And bam, just like that, I was on a mission to make this happen. Seriously though, I knew from the moment I saw the inspo pic that this sign would make the perfect backdrop for our tea ceremony, there was no question about it. It was love at first sight.


Creating happiness, and my hoarding tendencies explained

I can't write a blog post about this double happiness sign without taking time to fully thank my Uncle Kent, an amazing maker and my go-to person for life's biggest questions like ... "How should I go about making an 8-Foot 囍 sign that's sturdy enough to stand up by itself, but also lightweight enough to easily transport to the wedding venue?" 🤔

The moment I decided to go the DIY route for this project, I call Uncle Kent and asked him what he thought. He was SUPER INTO IT.  Newly retired, he was excited for a new challenge. In the months leading up to the wedding, we spent a lot of time together figuring out the logistics. But unfortunately, as you may know from my previous blog post, Uncle Kent passed away unexpectedly two months before my wedding date.

Looking back at that moment in time, I'm really happy that we had a chance to bond over this pipe dream of mine. Working on this project, we called each other often to talk about our plans (we usually NEVER talk on the phone). There were days when he excitedly called me to tell me about his day - how he visited the wedding venue and measured the space. Then he went into detail about the various sources he picked out at Home Depot and the rationale for why he finally picked this insulation styrafoam as our medium. He also picked up swatches of paint so I could find the perfect red color.

A few days before he passed away, I went over to his house where he showed me the sketches he drew up and walked me through step by step how he envisioned this being created. We made plans to get started over the weekend.

If not for this project, we probably would not have spent as much time together. I'm so grateful that this double happiness project brought us together and that this is one of my last happy memories of him.


Even though he wasn't at the wedding, seeing the sign reminded me that he wasn't too far away and that he'd be watching over me forever. ❤️

So, can you see why this huge double happiness sign is still in my living room? First, it seems like "bad luck" to throw out happiness (I know, my irrational Chinese superstitious side is peeking out). But, more importantly, the sign has become such an important symbol to me that I can't bear to toss it in the dumpster.

If you came to this blog post looking for a "how to guide", I'm here to share that information with you. Just a warning, please make sure you don't have any personal qualms or superstitions about "throwing away happiness" before you create this monster.

Otherwise, you might also end up a hoarder like me and this is something that you'll have to hold onto forever. 😉


DIY: How to Make an 8-Foot Double Happiness Sign

Step One: Secure the material

When considering the material, we thought about a lot of different ways we could have gone about this, but this Foam Board Insulation turned out to be the most cost effective way to get a piece of board this big (4 ft. x 8 ft.).

Side note: Can we just take a moment to appreciate that this insulation with the panther printed on one side is likely in MILLIONS of homes? Why is there a panther on the isulation you ask? There's absolutely no reason and I'm living for these "just because" designs. 🙌

One thing to keep in mind is that this board won't just fit in an average size sedan, so... unless you have access to a truck or SUV, this project will be very very hard for you to secure the material, and to bring to your wedding venue. So, something to think about before you jump in!

Step Two: Draw out where you're going to cut


Here's some pics the process of planning, measuring & drawing of the 囍 character. Sorry if my scribbles of measurements don't really make sense, but I swear there's some method to this madness!

There were definitely some times when I thought we drew it out incorrectly, but in the end it turned out okay! We used a piece of wood as a ruler, and a sharpie in this process. I marked the parts we're supposed to cut out with a "X" which ended up being helpful IMO.

Step Three: Make the cut

As you can see in the picture, this project became quite the family affair. I think it was a nice distraction for all of us and it became a group effort to see this vision to life as my Uncle Kent imagined it.

We ended up using a hand saw to cut. We all took turns to see who could get the cleaner edge. I did pretty poorly. My dad (the one holding the saw) won because he has the patience of a saint and more of a perfectionist than I am, if you can imagine. :)

Step Four: Admire your art


Step Five: Paint

We used Kelly Moore's Red Valentine as the color of choice. This process took ~2 quarts of paint since we had to paint twice to cover up the dark Panther illustration (lol) on the other side of this foam board.


By the time the project was complete, my dad looked so happy with the result of our (mainly his TBH) handywork.

❤️Uncle Kent, I hope we made you proud. I think this turned out exactly as we discussed. ❤️
 

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