Friday, November 22, 2013

Fits of Inspiration -- Beer Sampler

I don’t always know where my ideas come from, but when I find one I like, it tends to linger. For a while now I had been wanting to do something with my beer sampling tray, and last week's post about it finally tipped me into doing something with it.

So here is my first post on crafting.

The first thing I did was, like, a million power squats and bench 350. And burp loudly. Er… Sorry, I just felt like I had to defend my masculinity. I don’t know why I said that – I don’t actually know what a power squat is or what I could bench... I can burp loudly, though. Occasionally.

The actual first thing I did was walk down to the Landmark’s Dick Blick art store (Brookline Ave, Fenway/Kenmore). I presented a very helpful attendant with my sad, pine tray. Seconds later, I was walking toward the craft paint, selecting a very fine matte black. And for only $3.

stage is set. also, james bond.

Returning home, I established my war zone. Excuse me, work station. I think we all learn young that most major art projects require a large tarp and/or need to be done outside. With neither of those a real possibility, I settled on cutting open a Trader Joe’s bag and laying it flat on the kitchen table. Before I painted the tray, though, I wanted to come up with a way to keep it off of the paper bag (i.e. keep it from sticking to the bag). Rifling through the recycling, I found a toilet paper roll that I cut in half lengthwise. The two half pipes I was left with made for an excellent way to minimize the amount of surface space my painted tray was going to rest on. (I also tried really hard not to think about poop germs.)

Get ready, because next comes the real artsy part.

like grave rubbing

My next step was customizing the tray to my tastes. Because this is going on the bar, and I associate bartending with F. Scott Fitzgerald, I wanted to give it a real art deco vibe. And, because I eat, sleep, and dream armchair (for now) travel, I wanted it to have some destination flair, too. Turns out, needing to satisfy both of these requirements is an easy problem for Trident Booksellers (Newbury Street, Back Bay) to solve. They had a book of old travel posters that I had serendipitously picked up months prior; now seemed the proper time to make use of it.

cut to size

If you want to customize the insets for the glasses like I did, here’s a tip that works well and is quick. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, lay the paper on top of the tray, and etch with the side of the pencil like you’re making a grave rubbing. The result is a perfectly sized circle that, when cut out, will fit inside the tray. Using this as a template, I cut out four travel posters from the book, sized to the insets in the tray.

after one coat

Painting is a cinch, so that doesn't necessitate much instruction, except to say that more than one coat may be necessary.

Assembly was pretty easy, too. I just brushed some Mod Podge (also available at Dick Blick) onto the paper inserts and affixed them. Feel free to slosh some more on afterwards, just be sure to spread it out evenly with a brush. Oh, and watch out for bubbles.

use sharpies for additional design

Lastly, since I chose a matte paint, the surface (once it was dry) was especially easy to write on with a Sharpie (this worked out by chance, by the way, not by design). I chose gold, and used a ruler to add the decorative lines on the surface.

All in all, it was a pretty straightforward project that turned an unattractive piece of pine into a nice bar accoutrement. Also, it took less time than it takes to watch From Russia with Love. Just so you know.

final product

Til next time!

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