Natural World

Mirror, Mirror, on The Wall


I know a lot of you are still anxious about last week’s preview post, though a lot of people seemed to think that the riddle was fairly easy. Don’t remember it? I can do a repeat for you here:

When you see me, I see you.

What you see is all turned about for me.

I can do whatever you do,

Yet I will never be.

What am I?

     Did you guess? Come on, I promise to tell you if you just take a second to guess! Well, I actually already revealed that in this post, but I felt we could use a bit of tension in this part of the plot. You know, the plot of the magical story wherein I fantastically save you from your design woes? Well, we have come to that part of the program. I now present to you: cardboard frames!

I have this boring round mirror  stuck on my wall, and I decided enough was enough! Every day I had my vision marred by the one spot on my walls that reveal the white wall underneath. It was even distracting me from admiring my handiwork with the hairpins! So I devised my fiendish scheme to get a custom frame in exactly the right color and shape while also depriving the woodworking business a sale. Sorry Mr. Carpenter, but it had to be done. Don’t feel too bad, because I couldn’t afford your excellent work anyways!

NPO 018 I wish I had this replica, available at Mt. Vernon`s site, but in the meanttime a cool doppelganger cardboard cutout might satisfy me, though I think some of the scrolling could be tricky to copy.

So here’s a step by step tutorial for you!

1. You should measure out your mirror! We need to know exactly what size your mirror is before we can find out how big your frame needs to be. Silly <3  You actually have a few options as to how to accomplish this, but… I have a favorite! Take a big brown bag, like the kind you get from a grumpy Whole Foods clerk who looks at you like you killed their favorite dog because you forgot your shopping tote bag today, and you rip or cut it open enough so that you have a big expanse of brown paper. Then you tape it over the wall so that the paper covers your mirror, and trace the outline of the real deal onto the paper with a big sharpie, as pen and pencil show up rather faintly.

2. Take your circle and cut it out! No, I don`t actually mean cease and desist, I really meant take your scissors and stab through the thing. Geesh, look at the context! (Like I`m one to talk about that… yeah, right!) You can now use your lovely stencil to mark out the same circle on your hunk of cardboard. And then you can cut that out.

3. Make like Saturn and put a few rings around this one. We want this to stack, so the bottom layer must be the biggest, the layer up is second biggest, the layer above that is the ring you first measured out that fits your mirror perfectly. Remember, we don`t want to cover your actual mirror so all it reflects is the frame blocking your beautiful visage! If you want more layers than three, feel free to knock yourself out, but I personally would feel weird going above five layers. It would be overkill for me, but feel free to do as you wish.

4. Unless you like the look of the cardboard as is, we are going to paint it. If you like it, I say go for it. It makes for a very modern and avante garde statement on your part, and that is even cooler if you don`t normally step into the uncomfortable. If you do want to paint, however, do not fear! No one will stop to judge you either when they see the amazing result!

So, to paint it, we are going to want a well ventilated area, a drop cloth or concrete floor that could stand to have some paint on it, and a bottle of spray paint in your favorite color. I was personally thinking a nice medium purple would be perfect and add some vibrancy to the room, but grey would make this much more sophisticated. Lay out any newspapers or rags, or the ideal drop cloths, to cover your fab flooring, (or the stuff you are stuck with until the budget allows for those tiles you`ve been eying!) and spray away. I`m not exactly an expert in spray paint-ology, so you should definitely follow all the safety precautions and directions on the bottle. They are experts in spray paint because, you know, they make that stuff. I recommend Rustoleum, because when on bottle we bought was defected they sent us a whole box of the stuff to make up for it. Talk about supporting your product! That, and that`s the only time I`ve gotten a bottle of their paint that was anything less than perfection. So, spray your frames, and do it properly. Next step?

5. Seal your frames! They are made of cardboard, so while they may be physically strong in many layers dry, a lot of that strenth goes away wet. have you seen a cardboard boat regatta? While I`ve participated in a few, my favorite by far is this one at Greers Ferry Lake`s yearly festival. regatta The point is, cardboard doesn`t do well with moisture for long, and needs some insurance. I suggest a marine grade sealer that preferably comes in spray form, so you can spray it into the hard to access sides that would squish down your layers if you tried to stick your hand in to apply a more viscous version of the stuff. If you can`t find marine grade stuff that isn`t just caulk, then a normal sealant will work as long as your house isn`t more humid than a rainforest greenhouse in Tennessee in August. Man, that place is humid enough in Spring! It`s a lovely state, but I am at home in more temperant climes, so I`m glad that I currently only see it as a (temporary) tourist.

There are a few fun tweaks you could make to this basic design. For one, I think an oval shape would be smashing, as long as it works with the mirror itself. Say, if it were rectangular, and you`d cover only the corners with your frame. Or you could actually make this a square or rectangular frame, which I only shied away from as I make rather messy cuts at corners and would end with a slightly juvenile (apparently that was the name of some Greek/Roman guy. I guess no one really liked his ideas!) finished product. But hey, if you are more patient than may, you`ll probably come out with perfect frames!

I think besides cool shapes, you could do some ‘carving’ on your frames! With only one bottom layer, you could stack swirls and flourishes on the face of your frame, using the same bottom-is-largest layer to top-is-smallest layer system!  You could go overboard like The Selby`s featured in lemmemakeit`s blog, or you could go more low key like ferritferrit`s doodle frames. Speaking of, doodling and painting graphic patterns on your frames would be pretty awesome! Art and a useful object wrapped all up in one cozy little mirror and frame combo is what I think of as a perfect room treat. What, you never give your rooms treats? Poor ittle roomikins, so unloved- good thing you are about to remedy that when you whip this all up!

I don`t think your frame would agree with any paper based types of art, or most media like paints. The acid in the cardboard could kill your masterpiece! That would be really sad. Unless you separated the two enemies with some plexiglass or the real deal! I`m pretty sure that would protect it, but if it is a particularly valuable piece of work it is still usually best to get that professionally framed.

How do you feel about this cheap idea? A fan of cardboard creations, or do you prefer the real deal? Maybe you prefer the real thing but can`t get it? And did you learn a cool bit of trivia like my insider`s info on Juvenile, the old world actual factual person, in Western Civilizations class, or somewhere else, that you wanted to share? And, even more surprising, has anyone else actually learned something new in a class, college or otherwise, or am I the only person that collects information like Granny collects rations against the always imminent end of the world? (She`s sure the Mayan 2012 thing happened, and we just aren`t aware of it. Maybe we only think we are actually alive!)

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