I got crafty again last year and made Stef another Christmas present, another Famous Five themed one. It wasn’t actually what I had originally intended to do, but I hadn’t been able to find an important component of my original plan so this was a decent alternative I thought. I won’t say what my first idea was, as I may do it in the future should I ever be able to find what I need!
YOU WILL NEED
Canvas(es). I went to Dunelm Mill and got three of these, the seven-by-five-inch ones I think, but there’s plenty of choice if you want to do one large canvas or two medium etc.
A book. Now, I know I’m mostly against tearing up books but this was a modern paperback and… yeah, that’s my only defence. I specifically used the full colour edition (Hodder, printed in the 2000s. They’re identifiable by the label on the front mentioning they’re in colour, though the other Hodders published about that time with the same Eileen Soper covers do have labels in the same place mentioning either the centenary or that they’re simple illustrated editions.)
Glue, tub, paintbrush. As usual I used cheap for-school PVA glue. So many of the crafting guides I’ve read advocate things like mod podge, which I’ve never used, but I know it’s much dearer. I’ve always had perfectly good results with cheap glue, so unless you’re making something that’s going to be handed daily (notebook covers, jewellery etc) it’s probably not necessary to splash out. Any old tub will do but I used a plastic (I-can’t-believe it’s-not) butter (lighter) tub. The paintbrush was the first chunky-ish one I found lying about in the house.
And that’s about it, simple!
Select your pictures and text. I played about for a while, ripping illustrated pages out and laying them on the canvases, and I even cut out a few sheets of paper the right size to do some text/picture layouts.
Five on a Hike Together has such an iconic phrase in it that I just HAD to use it, though you could write a longer passage across a whole canvas or only use pictures.
I decided if I had one with text, I would have one that was a full-page picture, and of course as it was for Stef it would have to feature Julian. The third one was therefore to be a small picture and a little text relating to it underneath.
The middle canvas was the first one I did, and I used one of my cut-to-size bits of paper to map out the text. I used that guide to draw faint pencil lines on the canvas, and then pencilled on the letter outlines. Once I was happy with them I did my (thicker) black Sharpie outline and coloured in the letters in Stef’s favourite colour with another Sharpie. I left it a few minutes to dry just to be safe and then used a rubber to remove any traces of pencil marks.
Next I did the illustration-only canvas, carefully tearing the picture from the surrounding page so the edge was nicely rough and ragged. I covered the front of the canvas with glue, stuck the image down, smoothing it out as I went, and then did a layer of glue over the top to seal it and make it smooth and shiny.
And finally, the third canvas. I mapped out my text again and pencilled it on before using the ultra-fine Sharpie to go over it. I rubbed out my pencil lines (though bizzarely I found the Sharpie went a bit paler as I did that, I thought it was ‘fine’ not ‘semi-permanent’! It wasn’t a big deal though, as I just went over it again) and then I repeated the same process for pasting the illustration and covered the whole lot with glue.
I left it all to dry overnight, and that was it, done. All in all it took less than two hours, and most of that was me faffing with the layouts. I thought they looked good in the end, quite simple but effective!
Some credit has to go to Poppy one of our contributors, as a while back she used the colour editions to do a decoupaged canvas which somewhat inspired me, and it was the first time I became aware of the colour editions too.