I am forever trying to make sure that the gifts I give to those I love are: 1. personal, 2. useful, and 3. cool as hell. For this reason, the practice of purchasing and distributing mass Christmas presents vexes me like none other. Instead, I spend months collecting (and hiding) bits and bobs from flea markets and thrift stores in the anticipation of sharing a singularly unique gift with someone I adore.
This year I was able to pull together a fun and unique kitchen accessory for my wonderful husband … a Dexter themed breadbox! Before you laugh at the absurdity of a breadbox as a yule-tide gift for my loving man, be advised that this is perfect for him in two ways: 1. He LOVES all things Dexter; 2. The kitchen is his playground, the rest of the family merely borrows it from time-to-time. As an aside, the kitchen is already decorated in a Dexter motiff (complete with crimson red walls and Dark Defender art).
The idea was born mid-September when I found a rather sad and totally plain particleboard breadbox while making the rounds at my fav. local thrift stores. Painting wouldn’t really do much for this particular piece as the surface was uneven and porous (not to mention the particleboard was dented on a back corner). I had wanted to try my hand at decoupage, so this seemed like a wonderful trial project.
Jeremiah provided the perfect medium and theme when he mentioned he had a substantial pile of Dexter collector/trading cards just taking up space in our closet. (OK … I said they were taking up space, but that isn’t really the important part is it?) I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen, but I was going to give my husband a Dexter breadbox for Christmas if it killed me! (Pun intended)
Decoupaging laminated cards turned out to be more challenging than I had first anticipated (surprise, surprise). I tried 3-4 different methods of applying the cards to the box with zero success. In fact, I set the project (and all those crazy cards) on my ‘shelved ideas’ shelf and moved on to other endeavors… then November rolled on the scene saying, “Hey slacker. What about Christmas?”
Again I set about the task of adhering paper to wood in some attractive manner. Admittedly, some cards were hurt in this process. The trick turned out to be peeling the cards apart … fronts from backs … each and every one. Yeah, that’s +/- 140 cards to anyone keeping track.
I applied Modge Podge to a rough 12″ x 4″ working area on the breadbox and the (now) rough back of a split card. I only used the cards’ front side since the backs’ content wasn’t varied. I placed each prepasted card onto the prepared work area and smoothed lightly into place with my finger and applied a liberal coat of Modge Podge with a foam brush to the card’s surface. I worked out any bubbles under the card at this time.
NOTE: Work out bubbles diligently during this step to avoid sadness in your finished product’s quality.
I employed both random (overlapping/scattered) and patterned placement of the cards to create visual interest. On the sides of the box I let the cards overlap instead of cutting them at the points of intersection. The smooth surface of the end product was created by limiting my overlaps, and thinning cards where necessary. I was mindful to not overlap more than two cards at any one point to keep the surface area as smooth as possible. On the beveled edge of the box top I wet the back of the card and rubbed off additional paper until the card was pliable. Increased pliability allowed the card to contour to the rounded shape without cracking or distorting the surface image. Once I had covered the surface of each side I would let the cards dry before returning to trim excess edges and apply a second coat of Modge Podge. In total, I coated the entire surface four (4) times before applying a gloss sealer coat.
As you can tell, I chose to paint the rolling door of the breadbox … the red ties the box into the colors of our kitchen and makes it pop!
In the end, my hubsy was happy with his rad, new splash of Dexter inspired color, and I was tickled to see another reclaimed treasure come to life … all in time for Christmas morn’!
Happy tinkering to all, and to all a good night.