Paper Compote

Martha Stewart Weddings, Volume 6 1998

Dragees have a long history at weddings, and a paper compote at the center of each table lets your guests be part of the tradition. Construct the compote from a single piece of paper folded accordion-style, and fill with sugar-coated almonds.

Materials
Scissors
Strong paper stock (90- to 140-pound weight)
Ruler
Pencil
Bone folder
Ribbon
Dragees to fill your compote

Technique
1. Cut the paper into a rectangle of any size: The wider the paper, the taller the compote; the longer the paper, the wider the compote (ours measured 11 1/2 inches by 30 inches). Decide how wide you want the folds; for larger compotes, 1/2-inch folds (like ours) work well; for smaller ones, use 1/8-inch folds. Situate the rectangle vertically. With a ruler and pencil, measure and draw hash marks up both the left and right sides to the top. Now draw two vertical lines, forming a band; this band will determine where the compote's base meets the dish. The closer you place the band to the right side of the paper, the lower the dish (ours was 4 3/8 inch from the right). As for the width of the band (ours was 3/8 inch), the wider the band, the steeper the dish; the narrower the band, the flatter the dish. Place the ruler between each set of corresponding hash marks; score with a bone folder. Repeat, until entire paper has been scored. Fold the paper accordion-style until it resembles a fan; lay it flat again.

2. Using the ruler and bone folder, make diagonal scores within the little rectangles created by the vertical lines of the band and the horizontal folds: Starting at the bottom, score from right to left, moving diagonally upward, then score from left to right. Make a zigzag all the way to the top.

3. Keeping the left side of the paper stationary and working with the right side, bend the paper along the scored zigzags starting at the left line of the band; work the paper so that "mountains" of folds turn into "valleys," and valleys turn into mountains. Continue bending all the way to the top; the right side of the paper will bend down as you go. Join the top and bottom of the paper together, aligning the two mountains; glue. Orient paper so the dish faces up, and cinch ribbon around the compote. Tie a bow, and fill with dragees.

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