While cycling though SW France a few weeks ago I bought a cherry pastry from a boulangerie and was handed it in a brown paper bag with vintage advertisements printed all over it. One of them was even a bike advert, which seemed appropriate. On leaving the shop I whipped the pastry out quickly, before the bag got stained with cherry juice, and folded it up carefully so as not to crease any of the adverts. I popped it into the back of a guidebook for safekeeping, thinking I’d make some greetings cards from it when I got home. Then I forgot all about it until I took the guidebook out the other day to look something up.
Instead of cards, I’ve used the adverts to embellish a storage box made from a 2-bottle wine carton. I needed a box pretty enough to sit on a shelf and tidy up various notepads, envelopes, airmail stickers and similar small items of stationery that were gathering dust and looking messy.
The wine carton had wings on the front edge of the lid that tucked into the sides to keep the box closed. That method of closure was going to be too fiddly for a box that will need to be opened regularly, so I started by cutting off the wings.
The next issue was the wine producer’s name printed on the lid. None of the vintage adverts was big enough to cover it unless I positioned the largest one straight, with its edges parallel to the edges of the lid, and I was after a more random look. Apart from anything else, there was a small area missing from the bottom edge of one of the adverts that was going to have to be hidden by overlapping another one. The only option was to paint the lid. I mixed acrylic paints to give me a cream colour that worked with both the décor of the room in question and the manilla colour of the carton and the boulangerie bag. I applied two coats using a small radiator roller.
That done, I cut out the adverts and stuck them on the lid with PVA glue, then gave all the outer surfaces of the box 3 coats of watered-down PVA to seal them.
Without the wings on the box lid there was nothing to hold it closed, a situation I remedied by sticking a thin neodymium magnet under the opening flap and a steel washer at the corresponding position on the end of the box.
I added a loop of leather on the outside of the flap to give me something to get hold of when tugging it open. Magnet, washer and leather were all stuck on with 2-part epoxy adhesive.
Result: a useful storage box that is attractive enough to leave on show and hasn’t cost a penny to make. I only wish I’d bought more pastries and had a few more of the vintage adverts to use for cardmaking. Must look out for other shops using the same bags the next time I’m in France.
Being in a decoupaging sort of a mood, I also covered a small coffee tin in a scrap of William Morris wallpaper.
It has become a useful pot for holding pencils, pens, pairs of scissors, etc.
I am well on the way to getting my stationery supplies tidied up.