Friday, February 5, 2010

Faux Hanging Tapers Tutorial

Faux Hanging Tapers
copyright *2010 by Libby Bryant

Forewords: Thanks to a sweet and very talented lady, Kathy, or better known as motherbee,, these faux hanging tapers came into existence. Unaware, you gave me a creative challenge to make a no wax, no sew, no dough creation. For those who don't work with wax, or don't sew, or don't like using dough, you can make your own. And we can all have those adorable prim (faux) hanging tapers we love! I would also like to thank another sweetie, Mary Brien of, for her tip on painting these. I can't thank you enough Mary as your tip will save us all double work, LOL!
My personal thanks to both of you sweet wonderful talented ladies!

What you'll need:

6 yd pk of cheesecloth
Mod Podge crafters glue
Your favorite spice mix
100% cotton butchers twine (or something for wick)
Paint brush
Crafting paint (optional)

To start with I'm using the easiest and quickest technique for making the hanging tapers (as shown in pic at top) but I'm also including other variations to them. Please read through entire tutorial before starting so you'll know which technique you want to start. For these long skinny tapers open your cheesecloth and unroll a couple turns (but don't unfold the cheesecloth) as shown in pic....

Determine the length you want your tapers and cut cheesecloth. (Length being from open end of cheesecloth back toward the roll.) Unroll cheesecloth some more and cut another piece the same size. Separate the two pieces and lay one on your work area. Using the cotton butchers twine or candle wick of your choice, measure length needed for your hanging tapers as shown in pic below. If you'll look closely you'll notice I've looped the twine on the left side of pic for my hanging wick. I like the long wicks but you can make yours any desired length.

Once you've decided on the desired wick length, cut the twine. Take one end of the twine and lay down the edge of the cheesecloth, then apply some Mod Podge down that edge on your twine and cheesecloth as shown in pic. This helps to start your roll and keep twine/cheesecloth in place.

Using fingertips start rolling the cheesecloth around the twine keeping the roll nice and even as you work the roll. Work the ends and center area together to form a nice roll as shown in pic...

Continue rolling till you reach the end and your roll should now look similar to mine in pic....

Using your paint brush and Mod Podge, gently paint the edge of the cheesecloth from one end of the roll to the other. Paint a little extra on top wick end and pinch together with fingertips to form a tapered end as shown in pic.

Carefully lift and lay this roll (as it's still wet) on the side or above the immediate area you've been working on. Lay the second piece of cheesecloth in that same area and taking the other end of the twine, lay across cheesecloth edge. Now you're ready to start the same process for this roll, starting with applying Mod Podge to the twine and cheesecloth. Refer to pic below...

After rolling this second one remember to taper the top end. Your faux tapers should now look similar to mine....

You'll need to lay these aside to dry a little while. Check and turn them several times while drying so they don't stick to the newspaper. Next you'll want to add a little water to some Mod Podge (but keep it thick) and get your favorite spice mix ready. Once dry, paint one of the tapers with the Mod Podge/water mix. Hold taper over a pan of your spice mix and sprinkle spices all over the taper. Paint with Mod Podge/water mix and sprinkle spices over the other taper then lay aside to dry. This is the first grungy coat and will look a little bare. Refer to the top tapers in pic below. Turn tapers as they dry so they won't stick to newspaper.

Once dry you will need to paint and sprinkle spices over both tapers and lay aside to dry again. The second coat should be all you need but you may repeat the grunging process several times. After the second coat your tapers should look like bottom tapers in the pic above. Once dry they are ready to hang as they are or you can seal them by applying another coat of Mod Podge/water mix then allow to dry. You can also paint them in color of your choice. Since we all love the look of those blackened beeswax Colonial hanging tapers, I painted mine with black paint then lightly dusted with spices before completely dry.

Painting the tapers: This is where Mary's tip comes in handy and saves us applying several layers of coating! (Don't we love shortcuts, LOL!) Instead of applying sealer/dry, and paint/dry, and sealer again/dry, add your paint to some Mod Podge and give it ONE coat. Wow! A colored sealer! This makes a better sealer and over all look to any project. (Smart thinking, thank you Mary and many blessings to ya!) Remember that some instant coffee can be added to your paint/MP mix for a grungy paint look (as you can see in the yellow tapers below). If you want your tapers to have the dusted grungy look as I did mine, give them a light dusting before the paint is completely dry. You may want to leave them without the dusting as shown in pic below. I'm showing a pair of plain sealed spice grunged tapers and two other painted pairs that have not been dusted.

Various rolling techniques: If you want your tapers to have a kind of swirl look, (as shown in pic above with the brown and yellow tapers) use the 3 yd pk of cheesecloth and unroll edge as shown in pic below. Determine the length of your taper wick desired and cut from twine. Ex: for a 10" taper measure that length from end of twine and mark with black marker. Allow extra for hanging wick then add another 10" for total length of twine needed. For these tapers you will be rolling from the top (wick end) down to the bottom of the taper. So lay the twine on a slant across the cheesecloth as shown, lining up the mark on twine with the corner shown on right side in pic.

Carefully start rolling the cheesecloth till you're at the end of the twine. Cut cheesecloth and roll the excess to finish roll as shown in pic below.

Feel the thickness of the bottom end of the taper and cut bottom evenly across.

Repeat the same process for the other end of twine to complete the hanging tapers. Next you will apply a coat of Mod Podge over both taper rolls and allow to dry, turning to prevent sticking to newspaper. You will notice these are hardened once dried. When dry you will use the same steps above for grunging as other tapers. If desired you can paint these as well.

If you like the look of the thinner red tapers in pic above use the same process for cutting the twine, but cut the cheesecloth into 1" wide long strips. Starting the roll at the mark on twine, roll the cheesecloth strips down to end of twine or taper bottom. You can use several layers of these strips till you achive the desired look. Trim the bottoms for an even edge as show for other tapers above. Once both tapers are rolled, paint them completely with Mod Podge and allow to dry. Turn to keep from sticking to newspaper. Once again you will use the same steps for grunging these as the other tapers. Paint your tapers after applying the grungy layers if desired.

So there you have it, my process for creating different looks is in the roll. What ever technique you use when rolling keep the roll neat and tight as possible. On the two techniques above you can smooth out any areas on the tapers after coating with Mod Podge and before drying. The grunging process given in the first technique must be applied to any rolling method you use. This grunging process is what builds up and makes the tapers. It makes them strong and hard by bonding in the cheesecloth weave. Any questions feel free to contact me through my blog or on the APJ (A Primitive Journey) forum. Make as many as you like for yourself, family, friends, or to sell. Just don't claim my tutorial or my techniques used. Do not share my tutorial but tell any one interested where to get my free tutorial instead. As always, have fun crafting!

Hugs to all, Libby

Note: You can download this pdf tutorial from my share box on the right side.


  1. Oh my gosh...I would have NEVER guessed they were made from cheesecloth!! That is genius!

  2. Carmen I actually started out thinking of felt but knew that wouldn't work, I needed something with an open weave so the cheesecloth came to mind. The combination of the 3....cheesecloth, Mod Podge, and spices made the perfect bond needed for forming/shaping the tapers. They're very light weight yet look so real hanging. Next I'll be posting how to make the real ones (wax).

    Hugs, Libby

  3. I'm with are a genius Libby! I tried and tried a few weeks ago making faux tapers with everything I could think of and nothing worked. NEVER even thought in my wild prim imagination of cheesecloth!!! Thank you a million for sharing all your clever idea's! I soooo appreciate it.
    Off to make some tapers now with a big SMILE!

  4. Thanks! I can hardly wait to try my hand at making some fake tapers.

  5. Thanks so much for your tutorial.
    What a creative idea...I'm def. gonna try these.
    Thanks again!!
    The Prim Patch

  6. Thanks girls, glad you liked the tut! I love the Colonial looking hanging tapers!

    Hugs, Libby

  7. love them and your to darn sweet now if i could learn to finish my blog i might really have one lol and thanks so much for thinking of me kathy

  8. I love your blog mother and the pics are precious, looks like it was a lot of fun! Can't wait till you feel better and post some more! I'm a newbie at blogging too but got a great start at "The Cutest Blog On The Block." Check them out they have lots of info and help. Thanks goes to you mother....I probably would have never created that tut if it wasn't for you!

    Hugs, Libby

  9. Lib, You rock, to show us untalented girls how they are made but I love you made mine because I know they came from loving hands and a good friend!!!!!!!!!

    Hugs and lot of love,

  10. Libby, thank you! I am new to Primitive decorating and your tutorials will be so helpful as I attempt to add some of these great crafts to my decor.

  11. Great tut, am going to give it a go.
    Could you tell me please, how to go about saving this blog to my favorites list? Everytime I right click to save it, a window comes up telling me that pictures are copyrighted. I'm not trying to copy pix, I'm trying to get your blog onto my favorites list. Thanks :)

  12. Sorry about that Gail but I sent you an e-mail. Please check your spam/junk folder for it.
    Hugs Libs