Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Perks of Being Drywall

It turns out, the perks are few. This post details one of the messiest and crumbliest projects these old eyes have ever seen.

The material: Drywall.
The source: An around-the-corner-construction-site-recycling-bin.
The story: I have been making coasters in the style seen in the backsplash project for years and years, always with procured bathroom tiles. These coasters are great, and I have sold something like 900 jillion of them between the Hodgepodgery, Mantis Collective craft fairs, blah blah blah. Hilariously, we began noticing water rings on the trunk in our living room because we weren't actually in possession of any. YET. And while I knew ready-made bathroom tiles would work, I didn't have any on hand. But I did have an elusive and growing stack of scrap drywall, so I tried to be the Mother of Invention or the Necessity of A Mother or the Invention of Necessity or something.

The How To Do It:
1. Measure out a standard coaster size directly onto the drywall.
2. Using a straight edge and a utility knife, score the drywall as deeply and safely as you can. The drywall should snap easily along the cut. I made six coasters and three cuts on my hand.
3. Those edges will be BEAT, homegirl. Sand and scrape the edges. I had to peel the base cardboard off as well. The inexactness of it all meant that each square was unique and imperfect. Some people will like that, and some people won't. OH WELL.
4. Prime those suckers. Drywall won't stand up to moisture as it is, so I used the same primer as I did for the table map project to prepare them. This was difficult, actually. The drywall was pretty crumbly, and I am pretty impatient, so I ended up doing a lot of breathing exercises.

5. While they're drying, make some Aesthetic Decisions. I knew that I wanted these coasters to be straightforward and unironic, unlike most of my crafts. But at the same time, I wanted them to be innovative, distinct, and bitchin. I ended up using some scrap wallpaper pieces that the cerealously lovely Aly Lehman had given me. I picked my colors based mostly on the old-time-stripey gold sofa that Betsy Claar had given me.
6. Drench the (dry)wallpaper in modpodge, smear onto the drywall tiles, and let dry(wall).
7 Spray with clear acrylic finish.
8. Reinforce the backs with cork or whathaveyou. (I recommend the sheet cork as opposed to actual corkS. But you are very smart and will make a good choice either way.)
9. Display on your windowsill next to the old-time-stripey gold sofa that Betsy Claar gave you.

The cost: $0 (scrap drywall) + $0 (scrap wallpaper) +$0 (scrap cork) + $.50 (the combined cost of the Modpodge and Acrylic Finish I used) = $.50

And now welcome to a segment we call This Person Has Surpassed Me, in which I catch wind of someone doing excellent work and would like to tell you about them. Today's guest is Benjamin Thorpe, one of my most good friends and an intimidation to each facet of my creativity. His work is studied and quiet. I am compelled by this in particular. You can see Ben's work this July at the Midtown Scholar's Yellow Wall Gallery (they are letting him show his work even though he doesn't even live in this town).

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