Thursday, February 28, 2013

Portable Pride and Prejudice

Part I- Tiny Magnet Books


Corinne and I found a bag of 6 of these adorable tiny chalkboards. We were going to let our children use them but immediately started to covet them for our own projects. It seems to me like there are nearly endless adorable possibilities with these little boards. You could decorate the front and frame and make it a cute, personalized chalkboard. You could transform it into a felt board, or in our case you can use two boards to make a foldable magnetic play book. As Corinne pointed out, the boards are nearly the exact same size as her Kindle Fire. So if your children are getting used to hand-held devices of the electronic sort this is a nice low tech alternative hand held toy.
After practically ripping the chalkboards out of our children's hands in order to commandeer them for our own projects, we added insult to injury by making a magnetic book that will appeal much more to adults than to the children we are supposed to be thinking of. In our upcoming Part II we will make some magnets that the children will want to play with.

We are huge fans of Pride and Prejudice and recently completed a really cool Longbourn Manor parlor. We had to read a lot about Jane Austen and her life and times to make our little room and we are not quite ready to call it a day where Pride and Prejudice-related crafting is concerned. There are so many awesome websites devoted to all things Jane Austen and Regency that I will include some at the end of this post.

Now for the project:
  • I used two tiny chalk boards to make my magnet book. You could definitely improvise. What about two matching picture frames with the glass removed, two matching pieces of wood, or even two rectangles of heavy cardboard? 
  • Magnetic paint (two different types are pictured at the end of this post. You can see how the sizes vary. The Martha Stewart kind is carried at craft stores. I used the Rust-oleum brand and purchased it from Home Depot. 
  • Printable magnet paper (I found mine at Staples.)
  • A hinge or felt to connect the boards. Felt or paint to decorate.
  • Craft glue and scissors, of course.
  1. Paint the boards using the magnetic paint. You really have to stir it like crazy as all the metal pieces basically attach themselves to the bottom of the paint can like they are cemented there. Stir a lot and stir between coats. The paint is very smelly and you must use paint thinner to clean your brush so do this in a ventilated area away from kids and food. It dries in 1/2 hour or so and you can add more coats if you need to. When it will hold a lightweight magnet you have added enough coats. I had to do three coats. 
  2. I could not find the right hinges to connect my boards so I used felt. I made sort of a sandwich with the boards going in between the felt. The inside felt piece is a large rectangle that overlays both boards and has windows cut out where the magnetic part is. The outside has a window for where the cover will go but the back is solid felt.
  3. I used a gold paint pen to color the edges of the boards and glued some ribbon onto the front to hide some sloppy edges.
  4. I sewed a simple felt bag to hold the pieces and added Velcro on the back to hold it.
  5. We made the pieces. I was lucky to locate Molland's Circulating Library, which has a large collection of C.E. Brock illustrations from all the Jane Austen books. These appeared in the early 1900's and are really charming. They are also really faded and pale and Corinne had to try to make them brighter using her Photoshop wizardry. We cut and pasted the main characters and some important scenes (like Darcy handing Elizabeth the letter.) We also added some important text from the book in a fancy font. I also made a cover that can be stuck onto the front of the magnet boards. This way you can totally switch books. I printed everything out on to the magnet paper and cut out the pieces. Some were still pretty faded so I tried to use colored pencils and markers to brighten them up.

 Inspiring Jane Austen sites

Some supplies that we used:

Check back to see this same magnetic book idea, but with comic books!
And enter our Giveaway, for a chance to win some handmade items!  Ends March 3.

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