Sunday, 8 December 2013

Faux Fire Place for Christmas.

My creation this week has nothing to do with card making or scrap booking. This is a prop for the Christmas play this year and you are seeing it before the cast and the rest of the school.

Made from five cardboard boxes. and a whole lot of paint and glue.

The two uprights are the boxes that the fadeless display board backing paper comes in. If you work in a school  you will know  exactly what I am writing  about
 I mention this as so many Stampin' up! demonstrators work or have worked in schools.

The base is made from two similar shaped boxes  just a bit wider and stuck together end to end, a sheet of card was then glued over the top to conceal the join and to give a little more stability.

The two side boxes were glued into position with PVA glue and I placed weighty objects on the top of each box while the glue was drying 

 I then painted the inside of the inside faces a of the boxes black and the outsides a creamy yellow (using school acrylic paint.)
Once the  cream paint was dry,  I added  the brick work. This is easier and quicker than you may think. You just make a large brick stamp.

How to make the stamp Using a piece of fun foam  (available from any craft shop)  

Cut a rectangle approximately   3 1/2 " x  5"     Using   double sided  tape stick the foam  in the centre of a piece of grey strawboard  which is three time the length of the foam,.... but the same width

At  each end the foam on the card....score a line .... turn the card over so the fun foam is face down on your surface and is place length ways across your surface.
Fold  both ends of the card back onto it's self .  these flaps  will be the handle.

Now in the centre of the two flaps score another line down the centre of both flaps ( the same as you did at each end of the foam.) 

Fold  the card outwards on the new score lines  of the card.

Apply glue  to the whole length of these  flaps and stick  together,  The shorter flap at the end should  stick up in the air,  so when you look at the whole thing side on it looks like a  letter  T. 

This sounds more complicated than it is and it should only take about 1 minute to make once you know what you are doing .... two if you don't.

When dry,  smear a thick layer of  brick coloured paint over a tray and use the stamp you have made  to pick up the paint and to apply the paint to the fire place  press firmly over the back of your stamp and lift off.

You don't have to use the whole stamp,  I used either one end or the other most of the time and you don't want a perfect solid impression every time.

Don't worry if you make a  a bit of a mess  or you get some paint missing from your bricks you can fill in the  big misses with a brush afterwards.

If you place your brick in  the wrong position either wipe it off  while it's still wet with some water and a cloth  ( because you used acrylic paint)  or wait for it to dry and  tidy it up later  with  your  base colour.

DO NOT fill in all the misses in the brickwork,  some  small misses help to give depth.

 I found this a great way of getting my bricks fairly evenly placed and of equal size.
 I think it took me less than twenty minutes to make the stamp and paint the bricks on and do the filling in. If I had done it by hand with a brush  it would have taken much longer and not looked as good.

The hearth of the fire I painted black and allowed to dry before spraying it diluted white acrylic paint . I used a bodyshop,  bodyspray  bottle to spray the paint on. These bottles are great as they deliver a very fine mist

On a large sheet of Grey strawboard  I painted the  outer edges of the board black and left the centre of the board blank until the black had dried as I didn't want the black paint mixing with the  bright colours of the fire and dulling them or worse  .... everything turning into a muddy mess.
It's important to use acrylics and not  school poster paints, as once the acrylic paint has dried it stays put. It is not re activated when it gets wet or by painting over it. I painted over lots of the black area s to create this fire. 
Once  the  painted fire was dry, I applied  streak and dots  of PVA glue and sprinkled glitter in various colours over the glue to add a little sparkle.

 When all was dry I added  a 1" wide line of PVA glue  to the  long sides  of the strawboard and then adhered the strawboard to the  back of the upright boxes, using a wall stapler and stapling the back panel to the back of the uprights this helps to keep the back panel in place while the glue is drying.

 NB it's a good idea to measure the distance between the  the upright boxes before you glue them to the base box to make sure you will be able to adhere the back of the fire place to the back sides of your upright boxes.

The mantle piece  was a  cardboard box which I had removed the tape from the bottom and folded flat. Lucky for me this box  that looked as though it was going to be too short turned out to be exactly the right length once folded flat. I made use of the flaps that were already on the box to attach it to the back of the fire place, Before doing this  I cut off the flaps at the other end of the box scored a line across the width of the box the same depth as the uprights as this mantle has to fit over the uprights.

About  six inched out from this score/ fold  line,  I trimmed off the excess box. I now had a long narrow U shape  piece of card which can now be glued to upright side boxes. Apply lots of PVA to the top of the upright boxes and position the U shaped card upside down over the uprights making sure both ends are even and that your uprights are still upright and not listing. Add weight to the top of the mantle piece to help the keep contact between the glue and the card.
Paint the mantel piece and decorate as desired.
The grate was created by cutting strips of strawboard approximately 1 " wide and gluing and stapling together. I then screwed up balls of coloured paper and foil and placed them in the grate.
 Here I have used green tinsel and the  Bow die from Stampin  up to create my double bows. the stockings were cut free hand and  stamped and heat embossed using the  serene snowflakes stamp set. the label on the stockings is from an old stampin' up set called gifted.

I don't have a fire place at home.... maybe I'll be bringing this one home for the season. I'll have to be quick because  a couple of other people have their eye on this piece too.

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