Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creating a Display Board - Part 2 of Creating a Steampunk Group Promo Table

Welcome to Part Two of creating a promotional table for the local steampunk group, for Imaginarius Fantasticus, a local fantasy-oriented Christmas fair.

Once the brochure stand was 'punked out (previous post), it was time to move onto making a visual display.  A local merchant who was giving me moral support and ideas, suggested I use one of those old-school trifold science-fair cardboard displays.  This sounded like a great idea!  I could cover it with fabric, and attach photos and stuff to it, fabulous!  I think I maybe did a science fair display once, in elementary school, but I don't think I ever used one of these displays.  (It would have been taller than I was!)  Of course, it turned out to be a slightly more complicated affair than I had planned. 

I bought the board, brought it home, measured it, then headed out to look for a) fabric to cover the board, and b) modge-podge to attach the fabric.  I decided to get a pretty fabric for the front, and, realizing it would be potentially visible from behind (since it is a trifold) a plain fabric for the back to hide the messy glued-down back.  So my goals were pretty and cheap (since I was paying for all this entirely out of my own pocket)!

Well, I got the pretty (curse you quilting cotton).  And at least the backing fabric was cheap, as I grabbed it from the bargain table.  With measurements in hand, I carefully ordered enough fabric to cover the board, with a few inches to spare for safety.
Well, my measurements were technically correct.  The fabric would cover the board.  Sideways.  This is where I learned that you have to rethink things if it's a patterned fabric with a distinct up and down (did I mention I'm new to a lot of this?).  When I laid it out the correct direction, it looked like this ...
Whoops.  More than long enough, but not wide enough.  Quick last minute measurements demonstrated that I would have to cut the pieces for each section of the trifold, and I did NOT have enough to cover the whole front, without tons of patching.  I could cover the centre portion entirely, and part of the sides.  So I decided to go with equal partial coverage for both sides, and patch in a different fabric at the top, for "subheadings".  Sometimes you just have to work with your stupid mistakes.

After much modge-podging on the edges and folding edges over, and trying to make the edges at the inner folds as straight and smooth as possible, it looked like this.
I realized my board was now rather fragile, as the fabric edges and glue in the folds meant that, at this early stage, it already was incapable of folding shut completely.  I foresee a storage nightmare looming in my future. 
I added the cheap backing fabric, cutting it in one piece just slightly larger than the cardboard, and modgepodging it first at the side edges, then, after folding and standing up the board, figured out where to attach it along the top of the side panels and at the sides of the middle panel, leaving the surplus fabric on either side of the folds, so it could stand freely bent, without problems (see ... covered.  And no, I did NOT iron the fabric before I applied it).
Now to deal with those gaping holes on the front.  Fortunately, my friend who was working on the table cloth (which will be posted in a separate post) had leftover pieces of the lovely dark brown taffeta she bought to make a boxpleat.  She gave me those, and I modge-podged away.  It was looking pretty good so far.
Next step was to add some trim to define the panels.  I selected a brown narrow grosgrain to separate the panels (set to the inner sides of the folds, so it wouldn't get warped on the bend), and a sequined trim (another remnant from the tablecloth construction), to enhance the border between the brown taffeta-like top pieces and the patterned blue and brown.  Modgepodge worked fine to attach the grosgrain.  Unfortunately, not so much for the sequined trim - it wouldn't remotely stick.  It just made a mess, and the glue damaged the taffeta, giving me this dark hard mess:
I panicked, and freaked.  This was hideous.  I made myself a cup of tea, let the glue dry fully, decided the sequin trim would mostly cover the dark blotch, and decided it was time to resort to the hot-glue gun.  Which I had been avoiding because, well, I always seem to end up with strands of hot-glue everywhere.  And finger burns.  Good news, the hot-glue gun worked a treat, and the sequin trim pretty much hid the dark mess.
Next, I covered the header piece, that stabilized the stand, with more of the brown taffeta.
This was looking good.  Kind of a valance thing going on there.  Nice.  And then I thought ... hey ... tassel fringe!
And voila, that was the perfect design touch for the board.  Now for the actual display!

I made a heading of our group name, using Word, a copperplate font, my colour printer, legal-size paper, scissors, and the joys of laminating.
I decided to create three different display sections: "What IS Steampunk?", to give a visual answer to that inevitable question, "Local Event Photos" to show what we do, and "Yes Virginia, You CAN Steampunk Christmas", to fit the theme of the craft fair we were going to be at.  Images for the display were printed on my colour printer, and I laminated some for durability (tho gave up doing that because of eventual cost).  My original plan had been to glue the images to the board, but I decided they should be removeable, to make the display more useful in the longterm, so I attached all images and headings to the board with small gold-tone safety pins.  Which is not as easy as it sounds, and I had sore fingers by the time I was done!

Steampunking Christmas involved me googling "Steampunk Christmas and sorting through the images I found til I got this:
For event photos, I pulled some shots from local steampunk events, including events we've hosted, events before this group started, and photos from Steamcon.
For a visual definition of steampunk, I hunted online for images that conveyed steampunk to me, searching for a variety of images of costumes, technology, gadgets, etcetera.
I also added a few small objects for extra dimension, including a vintage glass button, and a pendant I made myself out of bits and pieces.
To reinforce the Vancouver theme, I also added an art piece that was a collaboration between myself and another steampunk local, David (the Gastown clock and gear image below) and a photoshop delight I asked my friend, S. Sebastian Smith, to create for me (the vintage aerial shot of Vancouver, with airships!).
 So, when you added it all together, this was the final visual display I made.
And here it is set up on our table, from two different angles.
And the great thing is, now we have a display for Vancouverites for Steampunk, which we can use over and over again.  I just have to figure out how to store the darn thing, since it doesn't fold up with the fabric on it, and it's huge when laid flat.  Perhaps I should sweep under my bed and store it under there in a massive garbage bag.


  1. That is so cool, I'm loving the tassled fringing!

    new follower



  2. You constantly inspire me! Our group where I live is really starting to take off a bit and we are having some events. I may follow suit and make a display board inspired by yours.

  3. An excellent walkthrough with a magnificent result. Sounds like you need to alter the bends in the backing so it can fold up into a storable flat-pack. Ikeapunk.