As referenced in Christmas Preview, we're putting up write-ups on individual gifts as soon as we've heard that the gifts have been received. This collection is Scrabble-themed. One member of A's family is a big sports fan from Kansas City and an avid board gamer. My parents raised the kids on Scrabble and are avid readers. So, for one side, Scrabble board sports-themed free-form crossword, and for mine, bookmarks.
- Scrabble tiles and board
- Shadow box
- Metal bookmark... things (We bought these, there are lots of options in the world)
- Beading wire or thread
- Adhesive, cutting tools, pin vise, beading tools, etc...
There aren't progress shots of these, really. Follow the same steps as described in the Scrabble ornament post and attach them to the purchased metal bookmarks. Names, nicknames, book-related insults... You have options.
If you want to make your own bookmark squiggles, track down a heavy-gauge solid copper wire and lay out some twists and mash it flat with a metal-working hammer. Flattening the wire keeps the kinks from getting undone. That is not how we made these, but you could easily step up the "home-made"-ness with that technique. (Fun fact: I've built pins for special effects using the same technique. Flattening the wire makes it keep its shape and hardens it.)
When it comes to stringing beads for craft purposes, I prefer to use very fine beading wire instead of thread. It has a breaking point much higher than thread and has a more permanent closure. In this case, my go-to is Beadalon bead stringing wire, specifically the 49-strand nylon coated stainless steel. It breaks somewhere above 20 pounds. If you expect your project to take more stress, get a more robust product. Also, change your reading habits such that your bookmarks aren't getting so thoroughly abused. If you use the stringing wire, be aware you need specialized crimping hardware and make sure your crimp tubes or beads are the right size for your wire. (Use my .015" wire and you need a #2 tube. Check the package)
One last important point: Use care when selecting the material for your photoshoots. I wanted a picture of the mark in situ and grabbed my collection of science fiction stories from the library (which superfans will recognize as my pro pick for flattening felt Christmas ornaments). You may notice an... undesirable connection in how this was applied:
This is one of the "use every part of the buffalo" projects I mentioned in the Scrabble ornament conversation. To date, we've used 39 of 100 letters, one trough, and the board itself. (That's for 2 bookmarks, four ornaments, and this shadow box) I'll likely appropriate the tile bag for dice or marbles, the box may get used for a home-made board game, and we're planning a line of jewelry for the tiles. In the budget-conscious world of home crafting, waste nothing.
For the project itself, find a collection of words you find relevant to the subject; in our case, his favorite sports teams. Play with the letters until you find a pleasing configuration of words, Scrabble-style. (As an aside, they make a "Words With Friends" board game now. The snake eats its own tail.)
We played a bit with the placement on the board itself. This is technically a series of legal plays in Scrabble, starting from the first word on the starred center mark. If'n you want to feature that star in your shadow box, shift your words around until you get the picture you want. (Though this is considered poor form in a game of Scrabble.)
Measure the interior of your shadow box. This determines the size of board you will need. Ours managed to basically fall along the division lines, making squaring up the cuts a snap. Use a heavier bladed razor for these cuts. A proper box cutter or a heavy-duty razor is required, unless you like making a million passes and shredding the edges of your project with a smaller knife.
Once done, you can set that aside to dry and work on the box itself. Most boxes have a back almost the same thickness as your Scrabble board, which is to your advantage. Pull out the back and swap in your board. If you still want to hang it on a wall, you can try what we did: We carefully removed the hanging tab from the old cardboard back and riveted it to the cardstock sample image that came with our shadow box with one of A's scrapbook rivets. Then we spray-adhered the cardstock to the Scrabble board back so it couldn't pull off under stress. You may also have success gluing a picture frame hanger to the back (only a good idea if the shadow box uses plastic, not heavy glass) or installing the wire and eyes like you would to a mirror or framed artwork.
Once that's all done, slip the board into the back of the frame and hang it up.