Glued to the Box

Friday, 23rd December 2005

Awakefield diaries

I'M FEELING INSPIRED to make something: I picked up a copy of Mary Maguire's Scrapbooking, treasured memories while we were out Christmas shopping this week. I find myself wanting to include a craft element in my drawings and in the design of my books, even if this means no more than working in quill pen rather than fibre tip. I feel the need to stir my work up a bit.

Here's somewhere I can start: I need a new, small box file, because I've now got so many publications that friends have sent me, so I'm going to try making one for my collection of John Welding's Goathland and Awakefield comic strip diaries. He's just resumed the series after completing a number of book illustration commissions, so I'd better leave some space for forthcoming editions.

Adapting a design in Scrapbooking, I'm making an open shallow box for them, which will become the basis for a box file. I start by cutting a sheet of mounting card a little bigger than John's booklets (left).

Cutting Card

I'm not accurate when it comes to measuring and marking out, but by using the guillotine that I bought for trimming my home-printed booklets I can avoid the need for a ruler by simply setting the guide directly from the piece of card I'm matching a piece to.

I felt that these subjects were too detailed to draw with a quill pen so I used a dip pen and calligraphy ink, as a change from my usual fountain pen.

1. Cut the base of the box from thick card.
2. Cut sides to length of base. 3. Cut ends to width of base but
minus two thicknesses of card.

covering the box
4. Use small strips of Magic tape to tack together the card to make the box.

cover paper
5. Cover the box with thick paper.

pva adhesivePVA Adhesive

I'm using scrap materials that I happen to have around the studio, rather than the craft supplies suggested in Mary Maguire's book.

The glue is PVA adhesive which I bought for woodworking but which can be used to bond wood, brick, ceramic tiles, carpet, polystyrene, fabric and leather and also as a primer or sealer on plaster and cement.

crinklesThe problem I have with it is the way the paper cockles up. I realise that this is made worse because I stick the paper to the base of the box first, then cut the overlapping paper into flaps and only then do I apply the adhesive.

This is like trying to paper a wall by adding paste to the wallpaper a bit at a time, sticking it to the wall as you go: you need to paste the whole strip, allow it to expand and settle as it takes in moisture and then apply it to the wall.

Sticky Situations

With that in mind, I try again:

  1. cut the tabs and flats (see diagram 5, above right)

  2. apply the adhesive to the whole sheet of paper and let it settle for a few minutes

  3. apply the pasted paper to the card box, smoothing out any bumps by rubbing it over with a cloth

But I'm still not happy with the results. The thick paper bows out between the sides and bottom of the box. Perhaps I need to score the folds first. Next Page

Richard Bell,