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Topic: Chuppah Help  (Read 11250 times)
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« on: November 21, 2011 08:40:02 AM »

Fellow Craftsters, I need your help!

So I'm not actually engaged yet, but my bf has been dropping hints--I mean great big whopping hints--that an engagement is in our near future (complete with custom made ring, I hear). Now most of my wedding's been planned since I was about twelve. Yes, TWELVE. I was THAT kid. The one that clipped pretty pictures of weddings and hoarded them away, and daydreamed while I waited for my Prince Charming.

What I didn't account for, however, was that my Prince Charming would be Jewish. I'm only Jewish-ish. My dad's a non-practicing Jew, and I was raised Catholic. So I would love to have an interfaith ceremony thing, and I mentioned that to my man--let's call him Mr. Honey Badger, shall we? Well that's when Mr. Honey Badger told me about the Chuppah. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but my first thoughts were of Tzeitel's wedding in Fiddler on the Roof. So my vote was gonna be "NO" to the chuppah.

Then I stumbled on this yumminess online:

Is it not the most gorgeous chuppah-thingie you ever did see? I'm not crazy about the chandelier, but everything else... The fabric, the shape of it as it drapes down... -sigh- It just SCREAMS romance.

As a DIY girlie, it would really pain me to pay full price for a chuppah. Especially since I'm planning on splurging on the venue, catering, dress, and open bar. So this is where I ask for any suggestions on how to make this beautiful chuppah a reality, and an inexpensive one at that. All the online tutorials I've found are for very basic chuppahs. I need ideas for the underlying structure, as well as fabric suggestions.

I'm counting on you, fellow DIY'ers!!!
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011 09:04:17 AM »

That chuppah is hanging(there are no poles holding the top look close at the photo). To make something similar and free standing you can use white PVC pipes and make a frame (think tent) then use white bedsheets(large cheap white fabric) to make the curtins and top. or if you have a ikea near by you can use cheap curtins that are oh so easy to hang on poles.
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011 09:06:26 AM »

i don't want to bum you out .. but that is a pretty atypical/unusual chuppah. it looks more like a canopy. if i could suggest, many chuppahs are made with four poles/sticks/bamboo --one pole at each corner of a square of fabric and then 4 friends/attendants each hold a pole.  that helps with alot of the support problems. I've also seen teh poles placed in large urns, flower pots/ cement to keep them upright. if you want to see some beautiful chuppahs and get some inspiration, else wachs is a fabric artist who has done many:

i also can recommend interfaithfamily.com as a great source of information and inspiration.

many chuppahs start as a grandmother's tablecloth or piece of mother's wedding gown --that you can then embroider names/dates or paint on symbols etc... there is really no"religious" requirements for what a chuppah has to look like

good luck! and mazel tov! Cheesy
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011 09:08:01 AM by elmom » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011 11:24:58 AM »

I've heard of some people making the chuppah from prayer shawls.  That was it is meaningful too.

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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011 12:43:18 PM »

Chuppah should have four corners or poles. Free standing poles are fine, but if you wish to have people (men) hold the poles, you can. These symbolize the four walls of a home, and the home you will make together.

Typically the covering is either a tallis (prayer shawl men wear in synagogue), or white canvas. They can also be covered in flowers or greenery to symbolize life, and the cycle of life.

many chuppahs start as a grandmother's tablecloth or piece of mother's wedding gown --that you can then embroider names/dates or paint on symbols etc... there is really no"religious" requirements for what a chuppah has to look like

Sorry, don't know where this came from but this is not true for Orthodox or Conservative.

Depending on your venue places do have them to rent, relatively in expensive.

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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011 02:08:46 PM »

I'm not Jewish and have no idea of the customs or acceptable.... well, anythings... of the Chuppah, but I have an idea for recreating this one (in a freestanding format):

You'll need four poles (see note below), a length of clear tubing equal to your desired circumference and smaller in diameter than the poles, 2 pieces of PVC that's thin enough to bend easily, one male/male connector for the tubing, 8 "T" connectors that fit snugly over your poles and allow the clear tubing to move freely, heavy-duty zip ties, and whatever fabric you want--organza, maybe, or some sort of netting?
*NOTE: Make the four poles from PVC, in whatever thickness you think best. (Alternatively, if you're nervous about or don't like the look of PVC, galvanized pipe can be found in the plumbing section and is pretty inexpensive too.)

What to do:
1. Cut your poles to the height you want the ring at the base of the top to be, allowing a bit extra to splay the legs for balance upon setup; set aside.
2. Cut tubing to your desired ring circumference, if it's not already.
3. Slip all 8 "T" connectors over the tubing. (You want the tubing to go through the cross-part of the T, if that makes sense.)
4. Connect the two ends of the tubing with the male/male connector.
6. Insert one end of one remaining PVC piece into on of the Ts on the circle. Have someone hold that end so it doesn't get away from you if possible and lay it across the center of the circle, then push on the other end to create an arch. when you like the height of the arch, mark the end you pushed on. (I don't know how to make this make sense; you want it to hook into one T, go across the circle in an arch, and hook into a T directly opposite.) Take the piece out of the T and cut it, then mark your second piece and cut it a little longer (to allow room for one piece to arch over the other in the center)--remember, it's better to cut it too long and then cut it down than to cut too short and not be able to undo it.
7. Insert the pieces you just cut into alternating T's on the circle, leaving the remaining T's free for your corner poles.
8. Use two zip ties to hold the two arch pieces together at the top of the arch, if necessary.
9. With the help of that handy-dandy stuff-holding friend, insert your corner poles into the remaining T's and stand the whole thing up, splaying the bases of the poles out a bit for balance.
10. Cover the whole thing with your chosen fabric, and tie the fabric about halfway down the poles (like you would tie curtains).

Now, I have no idea how much of this makes sense to you, but it's very clear in my head!  Cheesy If you do have any questions, just let me know. Good luck!

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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011 02:27:44 PM »

Congratz on your upcoming engagement!

One of the most beautiful Chuppahs I have ever seen was done here in NYC for a wedding at a hotel. The floral design used these fake trees in the ballroom, covered them with flowers and lovely hanging fairy lights ( the hanging glass votives) and a simple cloth strung between the trees. It was stunning.

You might be able to use 2 rose trellis or arches from a garden supply store and drape with fabric?? A simple muslin will look light and airy. you could string christmas lights under it for lighting ( specially if in evening....) Or if inside you could buy and inexspensive canopy like for a bed (http://www.dhgate.com/free-ship-4-post-bed-mosquito-net-four-corner/p-ff808081243d4f4e012446eb2e931dfd.html) and doctor it up to match your theme / colors.
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011 02:39:37 PM »

That is LOVELY!  And I think it's a wonderful idea to combine your 2 traditions.  I don't know about the details of what makes a Chuppah the real deal, but when it comes to actually making it, I can definitely give you some pointers.

I'd go to your local fabric store and find a pattern for some curtains that comes fairly close to the photo here.  You may want to make a mini-mock-up (from muslin) at 1/10th of the final size to make sure you understand how you want to alter the pattern and how the pattern works so you'll be ready to go.  You'll then also be prepared to calculate your yardage.

Then, I'd visit a fabric wholesaler or look online to find a good deal on some bulk fabric (the wider the better, try for 60" if possible).  Or try to wheel and deal if you live near near a "fashion district" - you can find some surprising deals there too.

When it comes time to actually sewing, I'd recommend enlisting a friend and using masking tape to number each piece as you cut it, so it goes together in the correct order and with the right sides together.  Consider ways to cut it to maximize the yardage and the selvage edge (which you won't have to finish).  If at all possible, see if you can borrow an industrial machine for the actual sewing part. Hint: some colleges have them as part of their theater department.  They make long seams so quick and are easy to learn with a little patience.

Once you have everything planned, measure twice, cut once, and mark your pieces.  Then get that friend (to help manage the huge pieces) and go sew it all up.  I'm sure you will do fine.  Since you will be working with large pieces of fabric, you can also use a very long stitch (which will be easy to seam rip if you make any mistakes).

You may also want to make some tabs and sew velcro on them at regular intervals, so that you can easily attach the finished "curtains" to the PVC structure as well.

All the best!
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011 03:57:48 PM »

Maybe its just me, but it looks like you could get away with buying a few garden arches/arbors and attaching them to a base (maybe wood) and have something at the feet to stabilize them. Then just drape it accordingly.

I will say this, as a working events professional, I've seen these things have some serious issues via mother nature and her wind or just plain construction issues. You may save money by making this, but think about how it is going to be set up the day of (most properties wont let you set it up the night before), who will be responsible for doing it (you should be busy being pampered!) and who is going to take it down at the end of the night, as that is expected from the venue. Additionally, the venue may even go so far as to charge you for bringing that, since you are not part of a licensed and insured decor supplier. At the end of the day, it may be easier to rent or buy it!

« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011 08:39:08 PM »

So many awesome suggestions! I'm just glad I have plenty of time to experiment. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be several failed attempts. As for Mother Nature... I'll have to come up with a contingency plan. Maybe if I anchor the whole thing down somehow...

Anyhoot. I'll be trying everybody's suggestions, maybe even combining them. I'll take pics of my progress and post them for further critique.
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