Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Batman Furniture

Two days before his birthday, I sent Lyndon this email: ‘Start preparing tearful speeches about how you couldn't possibly deserve a friend as incredible as me, because I just finished your birthday present and it is exceptionally cool.’

In hindsight, I might have oversold it a little.

After two hours in the secondhand bookshop flipping though Batman comics to find the ones with the best VENGEANCE IS MINE catchphrases, I was ready to start. I bought four comics for both pieces of furniture and it was plenty, even after I accidentally stepped on a couple of pages. I did a cursory sand of both the table and chair before I started gluing, but Mod Podge is strong enough to decoupage the surface of the moon, so it’s probably not essential.

With uncharacteristic generosity, I’d volunteered to play taxi for Zoe and Jess, so I had until 2 a.m. to play with the layout. I didn’t want to lay them out overlapping like Bombus does, because then you wouldn’t be able to read the soulful declarations of ‘AND THAT ELEGANT COMBINATION SPELLS YOUR DOOM!’, so I had a lot of piecing together to do. I worked from the centre out, starting with my favourite strips and filling in the gaps later, always trying to make sure I had a variation of colour, to the maximum extent possible in a comic where the hero never changes his clothes.

For the chair, I’d worked a ten-hour day and wanted to go watch Gilmore Girls, so I slapped strips on with even less planning than Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, and it turned out just as well as the table. I’m still not sure whether to be pleased or distressed. 

 This time I wrapped the strips around the edge and underneath so it looked good from the side as well. My experience with corners is that you’re probably going to end up with a wrinkle, so succumb to the inevitable and just keep it small.

I’d thought it might be too lumpy to sit on, but I didn’t overlap the strips excessively, and after a few coats of varnish it was almost smooth. I started both off with Arbee Crystal Clear Handcraft Spray Varnish, then five coats of polyurethane, which is not as excessive as it seems given that beer-and-chocolate encrusting is not so much a possibility as an inevitability. Since Nan might be reading this, I’m obliged to tell you that you should sand lightly between coats of varnish.

I’m pretty happy with them – they’re not bad for someone who was pronouncing decoupage “de-coop-adge” just a couple of weeks earlier.

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