Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Poky Little Puppy Letterbox

When Zoe came home from the tip shop with a dingy brown letterbox and I asked her if I could spruce it up a little, she regarded me long-sufferingly. “Sure, Rach,” she said, and went off to post WANTED: UNARTISTIC HOUSEMATES advertisements online. So, with the public dignity and reputation of our entire household on the line, I chose to decorate it with…the Poky Little Puppy. 
Here was my reasoning:
  1. I’ve always wanted of those Golden Book birdhouses.
  2. A letterbox is shaped kind of like a birdhouse.
 And, well, that pretty much sums it up.

I started by spray-painting it red, which was fairly unnecessary given that I then proceeded to cover it with paper. (Open Golden Book to the middle, lift staples, stab finger with sharp edge of staples, find Bandaids, tear off paper along the binding, find the flat edge of the staples and extract them with fingernails or small flathead screwdriver, remove pages.)

Any kindergartner will tell you that Mod Podging is easy. Once you’ve figured out the placement of the elements of your artistic masterpiece and cut the pages down to size, glop some glue on and start sticking. If you like it straight then line up the top edge and work your way down, smoothing out air bubbles as you go, or if you’re of the bags of character school of thought, just stick and hope it’s not upside down. When I’m gluing large sections, I tend to Mod Podge the object rather than the paper, since you can get the glue right to the edges without also getting it all over the table you eat off – but that’s just my preference. 

Once the glue had dried, or at least stopped oozing out the edges, I sprayed it with two coats of Arbee Crystal Clear Handcraft Spray Varnish to prevent the ink bleeding, then painted it with four coats of polyurethane. It’s survived miserable winter, my handyman skills and obnoxious friends leaving beer bottles inside it, so it’s safe to say that this stuff creates armour like a tank.

I was about to nail it to the post when Lawrence pointed out that the opening lines of the Poky Little Puppy probably wouldn’t help the mailman figure out which house he was delivering to, unless the letters were addressed to the local Lunatic Asylum. Two wooden numbers from Spotlight, more spraypaint and some superglue later, it was ready for the grand erection.

Don’t try to bang nails into a letterbox – the angle is all wrong, it won’t work and random men walking past will point out that you’re not hitting it hard enough, little lady, not seeming to realize that YOU’RE HOLDING A GIANT HAMMER. Use a drill instead. It’s easier, and you get automatic cool points because it’s a power tool.

It’s totally meant to be crooked, by the way. It’s a post-modernist comment on individualised methods of viewing the world.

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