It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Craftiness, again

Having made five identical bags, I needed some way to tell one from another. This is the problem with uniformity: tidy as it undeniably is, it’s also somewhat lacking in individuality. This, however, is a small hurdle for a creative person!

I have long admired the bright and funky initials sold in our local toy store. I do not, however, admire their price. Seven or eight dollars per letter? Please! I could make them for basically nothing! Ha. Famous last words. Five, six, ten years later, I’ve still never made a single one…

Until now!

So here’s how: cut your initial from cardboard. This was just the side of a box.

I decided I needed them a little thicker, so taped two layers together. It doesn’t have to look pretty yet: they’re going to be covered up!

I wrangled for a minute or two with the centre of the ‘D’. Getting the scissor point into the middle was awkward, and cutting it out next to impossible… and then I realized that I could just cut it in two pieces, like a stencil, and tape it back together. (Duh.)

The base coat is papier mache. Smallish strips of newspaper, like this:

Glued in place with a flour-water paste. I have no recipe for the paste. I just put a handful of flour into the bottom of a bowl, then, holding it under the tap, run a slow stream of water into the flour as I stir, stir, stir with one hand. When it looks and feels like cream, stop. (Cream like you put in your coffee, not like you put on your shortcake.)

Smear the paste on the cardboard letter and plaster the paper to it. Smear more paste on top of the paper. Put the paper in different directions for strength. Make sure to wrap it around the edges.

Let it dry overnight.

Next, I painted the letters with some glossy white latex kitchen paint I had in the basement.

Here’s where I got involved in my creating and forgot to take pictures… Oops. So the next step (which was the fun one), I took small pictures from a seed catalogue, trimmed them, and sorted them by colour. Emily, who loves yellow, got yellow. Obviously. The other colours are either the child’s stated favourite(s), or the colour their parents tend to dress them in most. (Really. People do that more than you’d realize!)

Then I used Mod Podge to glue the pictures to the initials. Each letter has at least five coats, all told. Quite possibly more.

The side view:

I got my husband to drill a hole in the upper left corner of each. Then it was just a matter of threading a ribbon through, and tying each to a bag. Ta-dah!

Love it!

September 2, 2010 Posted by | crafts, daycare | , , , , , , | 6 Comments