I hope your new year is going well. Today I have a project that I made for my parents as a Christmas present. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking,“What kind of person over the age of five gives their parents a gift made from toilet paper tubes?”
Well, apparently shameless 53 year old women, with a penchant for hoarding the aforementioned TP tubes in night stand drawers and elsewhere, also find that these little tubes have many uses, up to and including gift-ability.
To be fair I also used some other scrap cardboard from cereal boxes and an old frame from the thrift store. So, it might have been a little over dramatic to say that their gift was made from TP tubes.
But let’s move on shall we?
This project started, as most of my projects do, with a vague idea of what I was working toward. In this case I did actually take the time to do a rough sketch of the design.
Next I gathered up all my pictures and printed them out on photo paper. I cut up the cardboard box and the tp tubes and played around with the pieces until I had a tree shape that I liked.
I wanted to add some dimension to the pieces so I used an acid free glue stick to glue the photos to a piece of cereal box and then added a few more square pieces for even more depth.
Because the edges of the pictures were unfinished I added some black piping all the way around and then finished the top where the ends of the piping met with a small black button.
Then came the painting. The frame was lightly sanded and painted black and a new back piece was cut from a large piece of cardboard.
I painted the cardboard with a light gray color for the back ground.
And then all of the cardboard pieces also got a coat of black paint. The trickiest part was keeping all the pieces in the proper order while painting them. I would paint a piece and then move it into position on a drying sheet, disassembling the original as I painted and rebuilt the design with the painted pieces.
Next came the scary step. It was time to glue the design down. To be completely honest I wasn’t sure what glue to use or how to go about gluing such thin pieces. Fortunately all of the pieces had curves or folds in them so they stood on their edges without any propping up.
I decided to use Elmer’s white glue which ended up working nicely. I put a thin layer on the bottom edge of the piece to be glued down.
As you can see it was a little messy particularly if the pieces needed to be adjusted.
Fortunately it was easy to clean up the excess glue with a soft paint brush. Gently sweeping up the excess glue and then wiping the brush to clean it before continuing to the next spot.
I added a little weight as needed to hold everything in place while the glue dried.
The final steps were to glue the glass in place and tack the cardboard to the frame.
Here is a closer look at the finished project.