Friday, October 3, 2014

Creating a Seasonal Mailart Display

 by Ann D'Angelo

Although my house is already brimming with mailart, I am always looking for new ways - and new reasons - to display more.  I don't need a particularly good reason, by the way. The mailman came?  Let's display mailart! My husband made grilled cheese? Does it have a side of mailart? The earth is still circling the sun? GALILEO MAILART! 

As one might imagine, Halloween nearly provides more reasons than my mortal human form can withstand. For anyone who shares my affliction, here's a fun project that helps considerably.

To make one of these - or something like it - follow these steps.

1.  Start with a wooden base.

My base came from Goodwill, and it looked more or less like this:

Wooden alphabet blocks would also do nicely, as would an old-fashioned cheese box.

2.  Paint it up.

I decided to go with a traditional Halloween color scheme using Mars Black and some "Tangerine" craft paint, but any paint will do.

For added appeal, I tinted the tangerine and grabbed a stencil.

3.  Embellish the front of the base.

For the front of my base, I wanted something dimensional that also looked sophisticated. On the tangerine blocks, I stamped Halloween images using Staz-On ink, then embossed them four times over with clear embossing powder and a heat gun.

For the black blocks, I robbed some doll heads of their eyes (I know - it sounds gruesome, but it looks cool!).

4.  Insert the display elements.

The most obvious way to display mailart is to use 18- or 20-gauge wire, drilling tiny holes in the base and then using epoxy or epoxy clay to hold the wire in place on the bottom while rolling the top into a spiral shape.  For this project, I decided to go a different way:  I drilled larger holes and inserted Tinker Toys, which is to say, two-inch sections of dowel rod with a slit in the middle.

For maximum visual impact, I painted the dowel rods with stripes.

5.  Add height.

This last step is an optional one, but I typically like to put a display like this up in the air.  In this case, I used plain wooden spools, nailing them into the bottom of my base before embellishing them with components from snaps.  Thimbles would work well in place of the spools, as would dice, drawer knobs, and a variety of other found objects.

Once the piece is finished, display some fabulous mailart, like these ATCs by Sarah Trumpp, Cindy Jo Blair, and Sal Scheibe!


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