Manga-inspired engagement party: Come for the incredible DIY decor and rainbow cake, stay for the tutorials!

December 2 2013 | Guest post by Michelle "Chubby Bunny" Nguyen  
Photos by: Eron Rauch
All photos by Eron Rauch.
All photos by Eron Rauch.

My fiancé Will and I celebrated our engagement with a shoujo manga (Japanese girls' comics)-themed party, complete with DIY manga decorations, a magical cake, and all of our wonderful friends.

The invitations

Will and I met in Japan, while we were living there teaching English for a few years. Our friends joked about how our relationship was like a corny shoujo manga story, which is where we got the idea for our theme! We are nerds through and through, and wanted to celebrate that along with our friends!

Will, Michelle, and friends.
Will, Michelle, and friends.

Like many brides-to-be, I spent a ridiculous amount of time scouring the internet for ideas on how to decorate our small venue on a non-existing budget, as well as incorporate our nerdy little theme. Luckily, there are already plenty of photos of vintage book crafts online. I adapted them to fit the size of the smaller manga books I was using. Here's a little recap of the decorations, as well as a few small tutorials…

Click here for the gold vase tutorial.
Click here for the paper table runner tutorial.
Closeup of artwork by ZambiCandy!
Closeup of artwork by ZambiCandy!
Click here for the rolled paper initials tutorial.
Click here for the rolled paper initials tutorial.

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Click here for the origami book tutorials.
Click here for the origami book tutorials.

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Click here for the bugled paper wreath tutorial.
Click here for the bugled paper wreath tutorial.
Click here for the hanging book origami tutorial.
Click here for the hanging book origami tutorial.
Click here for the teardrop folded book art tutorial.
Click here for the teardrop folded book art tutorial.

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Click here for the manga votive tutorial.
Click here for the manga votive tutorial.

manga vase

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Cake made by my wonderful friend Callie! Pennants made from glitter washi tape and string.
Cake made by my wonderful friend Callie! Pennants made from glitter washi tape and string.

DIY ITEMS HOW-TO:


PAPER TABLE RUNNER

  1. Hot glue two pages together in the middle
  2. Use decorative scallop paper punch to punch all the edges
  3. Hot glue ribbon to center seam
  4. Sew on sparkly beads and a tassel to end of runner

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PAPER VOTIVES

  1. Cut out varying widths of paper
  2. Use decorative paper punch on edge
  3. Glue together seam and toss in an ELECTRIC votive candle (real candle will burn the paper!)

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TEARDROP FOLDED BOOK ART

  1. Remove all paper from book, preserving outer cover. I used a softback manga book, and was still able to preserve the cover.
  2. Hot glue edge of paper along the long/vertical side. Do this, a LOT.
  3. Glue together a chunk of 4 – 7 pages and glue to inside spine of cover.
  4. Artistically glue in other pages to make designs of your choice. These look great laid out on a table flat, or hanging with fishing line threaded through one of the pages along the spine of the book!
  5. After displaying them in your venue, add a color punch to it by inserting flower stems into the pages and on top of them.

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ORIGAMI BOOKS
There are hundreds of ways to do this! I used some tutorials here:

Lots of YouTube, Ignore the terrible super Asian flute music
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HANGING BOOK ORIGAMI WITH FLOWERS

  1. I used three books per strand. Different ways of folding these books described in previous step. If you fold all the pages, the book will fold back on itself to create a 360 degree design!
  2. Using grossgrain ribbon (the ribbing in it adds texture for the glue to hold onto), slide the ribbon into the center of the origami book length wise along the back of the spine, then hot glue the pages together around it.
  3. I used one length of ribbon per strand, not multiple, so after I finished the first one, I measured about five inches above it, an continued with another folded book.
  4. Tie the strand onto something so they can hang down (I used a lamp). Hot glue flowers, twigs, and ornaments to the tops and bottoms of the origami books!

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ROLLED PAPER INITIALS

manga letters


BUGLED PAPER WREATH

  • I followed this super-cute tutorial.
  • I was able to find ornaments to use at the dollar store, too! Even though this is the biggest craft I ended up doing, it was seriously the easiest. Took me about three hours, or three episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and some cartoons.<

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It all took about two weeks of intensive crafting, but I managed it! If you have any questions or use any of the tutorials or methods I listed, let me know. I'd also love to see how your own projects turned out!

  1. Thanks so much for these tutorials, Ms. Chubby Bunny! 🙂 I'm going to make some of those hanging book designs for New Year's Eve. Your party looks fantastic — the theme was a stroke of genius!

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  2. You said you had a shoestring budget, but everything looks like a million bucks! I love all of the DIY elements here- super innovative and it sounds like they fit you to a tee. Congratulations!

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  3. Oh my gosh! So fantastic! And this is only the Engagement Party??? I can't wait to see what you do for the actual wedding!

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  4. Looks like this senpai wasn't too tsundere! Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Great wedding, those origami books got me drooling and hunting for my hot glue gun!

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  5. I did some of these crafts myself for the wedding but I was really glad you put in all the links and step-by-steps for your DIY. Thank you so much! It happens all the time: I drool over the DIY in the pictures but none of the how-to is mentioned in the article. Yay fo you!

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  6. I AM IN AWE!!!!!!

    Thank you so much for the pictures, tutorials! I definitely have to look into these for my nerdy wedding!

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