Hand-painted Cheshire Cat in Tree
DIY, Store Windows

The Making of Blue Hens in Wonderland

Blue Hens in Wonderland was our theme for Back-To-School 2020. It came about as an extension of how weird and surreal 2020 has been. We figured everyone could use a little escape, so we decided to take a deep dive down the rabbit hole and experience what it would look like if Blue Hens went to Wonderland. The result was a blast to create and in this post, we’ll take you behind the scenes to show you how it all came together.

BRAINSTORMING & PLANNING

The first step in bringing any idea to life is a Pinterest board….lol. (Of course!) This is where we collect inspiring images, color palettes, DIY ideas and anything else that might help us round out the story we are trying to tell in the windows. You can check out our Pinterest board for Blue Hens in Wonderland by clicking the photo below.

Link to Alice in Wonderland themed Pinterest Board

Next comes the planning phase, where we figure out what will go in each window. For Blue Hens in Wonderland, we decided to recreate three scenes from the Alice In Wonderland story: Mad Hatter’s (Tailgate) Tea Party, Working (From Home) In Wonderland inspired by Tugley Wood and The Queen’s Court. For each window, we figure out what products will make the most sense in telling the story and then start thinking about what kinds of props will help round out the scene. Whenever possible, we use what we sell to create the windows.

As you will see below, we had a lot of fun making bright colorful props for these windows using simple supplies from our craft department.

Mad Hatter’s (Tailgate) Tea Party

To pull off a garden party feel in the window, we knew we needed flowers. With the help of our staff, we spent several weeks cutting and assembling the trailing vines of flowers that you see in the window. The vines were made by simply stringing paper and card stock flowers on bakers twine. Friction holds the flowers in place.

Supplies to make flower vine decorations including paper, twine, scissors and needle.
Supplies for flower vines: assorted colors of paper and card stock, scissors, twine, needle and tape measure.
Step by step visual of making paper flowers for flower vines.
Cutting out stacks of flowers. We have two sizes of flower to create a graduated effect as the vines trail down.
Detail of colorful flower vines that have been assembled.
We used a large needle to string the flowers by poking it through the center of each flower. No hole punching necessary. Friction holds the flowers in place.
Photo of colorful flower vines hanging in store.
Finished flower vines of various lengths. We switched up the colors a little for an ombre look on some vines.

We wanted to hang the vines to make it look like the tea party was set up under a giant tree, so we used recycled packing paper to create the trunk of the tree. This was just tacked to the wall.

Recycled paper tree made from brown packing paper.
Paper tree made from recycled packing paper.

Another fun detail that we had to include was a Cheshire Cat perched in the tree. He was painted by one of our staff members with acrylic paint, brushes and foam core from our craft department.

Hand-painted Cheshire Cat hanging out in the tree.

The Queen’s Court

For this window, we wanted to convey the feeling of playing lawn games in the Queen’s garden. Heart shaped topiaries with red and white roses call to mind the scene from the book. To create the topiaries, we raided our gift wrap and craft departments for supplies. First we made tons of little leaf bundles using green tissue paper and then applied them to heart shaped foam core boards.

Supplies to make tissue paper topiaries including tissue paper, scissors and stapler.
Supplies for topiaries: tissue paper, scissors, stapler, foam core and hot glue.
Big basket of completed green tissue paper leaves.
Big ol’ basket of leaf bundles.
Assembling heart shaped topiaries by gluing green leaves onto foam core board.
Hot gluing the leaf bundles to the foam core heart.
Finished heart shaped topiary with all leaves attached.
Finished heart…awaiting roses.
Red tissue paper roses and supplies to make them including red tissue paper, tape, glue stick and a pencil.
Tissue paper roses made by wrapping sheets of tissue around a pencil. Ends are held together with tape.

Working (From Home) In Wonderland

Because each window needs to showcase a category of products and this window was essentially a school supplies window, we plopped a desk and bookshelf into a magical flowery garden. It didn’t make much sense, but seriously, who cares? We’re all mad here anyway, right???

We used a mix of new and recycled flowers in this window. The big pom-pom style flowers were made for a window a few years ago using recycled plastic table covers. The technique was the same as for making tissue paper pom poms.

Supplies for making plastic pom-pom flowers including recycled plastic table cloths and rubber bands.
Recycled plastic table covers and rubber bands to make pom flowers.
Colorful pom-pom flowers made form recycled plastic tablecloths.
Pom flowers made from recycled plastic table covers.

The large paper flowers were made out of simple materials we sell in the store: colored paper, paper plates and hot glue. Different sized petals were drawn free-hand and then cut out and hot glued to small paper plates.

Supplies needed to make large, colorful paper flowers including colored paper, scissors, paper plates and glue gun.
Large petals were glued to the back of the plate, while smaller petals were layered in on top.

Aren’t they so pretty?

Large, colorful flowers in store window.
Green streamers from our party shop made fun stems once the flowers were attached to the walls.

Finishing touches included some garden-y moss, a vintage Alice in Wonderland book and a hand-painted wayfinding sign that highlighted some of our friends on Main Street.

Store window details including colorful hand-painted directional sign, moss covered table and University of Delaware merchandise.

We hope you enjoyed these windows as much as we did and were inspired by the projects! We love challenging ourselves to see what we can create with the things we sell. You can see more photos of our windows on Pinterest and on most Wednesdays on Facebook. Stay tuned for our Halloween windows coming soon!

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