I have never considered myself a crafty person. I have a pencil cup on my desk that I made when I was a teenager at a church activity. It was a miserable failure until I finally just painted it yellow, glued on some yellow foam dragonflies, and put a large yellow pipe cleaner on the top and bottom. Not impressive.
And it’s one of the few crafts I’ve ever made that I still actually have.
But thanks to Pinterest and a few different blogs, I have been feeling empowered about crafts lately.
And Christmas time came around, and I wanted to make something for my sister, Emily, since she recently bought a house and I know she didn’t have many decorations up.
An idea slowly developed. Maybe a customized family portrait? I saw something on Etsy where there was a family portrait from stick figures that was cute. But I couldn’t really do that since their family is still changing–my sister is expecting a boy at the end of this month and there will probably be more kids on the way. So it would have to be a family portrait that could be changeable.
I also had another idea floating in my head. My sister loves music (she’s a piano/music teacher) and my brother-in-law loves books. So I asked what his favorite books were and I gathered a list of the songs my sister had played for her senior recital (thank you random concert report from my introduction to music class).
So I put the two idea together: a family magnet board using sheet music and pages from books as a background. This was loosely my idea:
That’s a rough mock up. It turned out better than that.
How many times have you seen that before? It was so personal to them.
I got the sheet music from free sources online and I got the books pages from Amazon–I previewed the book and did a screen capture on the specific pages I wanted (which technically probably violated copyright, but since he owns all the books anyway, I’m not going to fret). I printed them out on heavy paper (from a sketchbook, because it was the cheapest way to get heavy paper).
Then I antiqued the pages.
Now, everything I found online said to antique pages by using coffee. I don’t drink coffee. I drink hot chocolate, though, and it surprising worked.
How to antique pages:
So I printed off what I wanted, and then I crumpled up the paper and put it on a baking sheet.
Then I made some hot chocolate, but I didn’t warm it up so the powder didn’t dissolve fully.
I used a spoon and a foam brush to apply the hot chocolate to the paper. If you want it darker, use more powder/less water, lighter, use less powder/more water.
Then I put the paper in my oven on about 200 degrees for about ten minutes, or until the paper was dry.
Make sure you are watching this so you don’t end up starting a fire. I didn’t have any problems.
And there you have antiqued paper.
Assembling the magnet board:
After I antiqued the pages, I tore them up and started arranging them on a piece of metal. We bought the metal at a hardware store and cut it with tin snips to fit in a frame I already had.
Then I used Mod Podge to put the collage of pages/sheet music on the metal. I won’t share my method because it probably wasn’t the best and people out there have done it better than I did. I didn’t get it very smooth because of antiqued/torn pages, but that’s okay. And I probably should have put another layer on top of it when I was done, but I was done with the project at that point so I didn’t.
The collage didn’t completely cover the magnet board, there were a few gaps, but it’s okay. That what you can keep telling yourself when do crafts: it’s okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
So I just put the decoupaged metal in the frame:
It’s a lot of fun because my sister and her husband had to go through every little piece and identify the music or the book. I think the hardest one on there is Beethoven’s original sheet music of a sonata. That’s the gray one towards the lower left.
Onto the family part of it.
I just made on my computer their names and then I made stick figures to represent each member of the family. The boys are made to look like Jedi (accidentally, but pretend it’s on purpose). The girls look like girls.
I laminated the stick figures with clear contact paper (it’s a cheap and easy way to laminate things). And then I bought a magnetic strip with adhesive on the back and just attached it to the back of everything.
Now it’s a custom family portrait that can grow as their family grows. And it’s fun to play with and arrange. My favorite arrangement I made was with all of them holding hands (not pictured), but anything works.