05 December 2011

Joy to the World

Yesterday, George headed up the mountain while I opted to stay home and get crafty. I got inspiration from, first, an HGTV show where the host painted the words "Joy to the World" on a big wall map and, second, from a display that I saw at TJ Maxx made out of recycled magazine. For less than $20, I brought a little joy into our house, and I'm pretty happy with the final product.

I started with 12" paper mache letters, paper Mod Podge in gloss finish (used about a half container), an atlas from 1987 that I picked up for $1.00 at an estate sale, and a clean old paintbrush.

I cut out a bunch of maps from the atlas that had places of interest and interesting, colorful borders. (Although I didn't, I would recommend putting down some clear plastic or paper before starting because the Mod Podge is really difficult to clean up, though technically cleanable with soap and water.) Using the brush, I applied a thin coat of Mod Podge to the whole back of each piece before placing it on the letters. I ended up cutting almost all of the maps into much smaller pieces. It looked best to start with the corners of the letters and  then fill in the flatter parts later so that the maps in the flat part would cover some of the corner patches. (I didn't take any mid-project pictures because my fingers were covered in Mod Podge.)

Once all of the letters were covered, they dried in front of the dehumidifier for about 2 to 3 hours. Then, I applied three coats of Mod Podge over the top for a glossy finish, letting the letters dry for approximately 20-30 minutes between each coat.

This is the final product:

And here is our Joy to the World as part of our holiday display:

I'm really pleased about how the different colors around the borders come out with the purple and turquoise bulbs.  I'm also thinking about how many ways this project can be adapted.


Janie said...

I love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great idea and one I just might borrow!!!!

denayeb said...

Oh Martha!