I am making a crate for my bicycle. I spent many months (since I first bought my bicycle...last year?) trying to think of what sort of crate I wanted, if I wanted to order one, if I wanted to buy a vintage one, or if I wanted to design my own. As with many of my projects,* I thought about the bicycle crate without actually doing anything.
I was in T.J. Maxx a few days ago, and I saw a perfectly shaped wooden crate. It had no giant spaces between slats, it had no logo from some defunct liquor or ammunition company (as many crates sold online feature), it had no Coca Cola logo (as are found in every local antique store). It was totally plain, with a bit of metal around the edges to keep you from denting the wood. It was perfect, so I bought it.
I spent the next few days trying to figure out what my bike crate should say. It had to have something, so I thought I'd make it into a British flag, or maybe I'd reproduce a book cover. I finally settled on making it look like a Flourish and Blotts' delivery bike. If you're unfamiliar, Flourish and Blotts was where Harry Potter bought his schoolbooks every year.
I used a fancy sort of paper called Craft Attitude to print the sign I'd made up. Craft Attitude allows you to print anything you like, then peel off the backing of the paper, leaving you with a fancy clear film that you can decoupage onto any surface. If you're working with lettering (as I was), you have to flip the writing 180 degrees, but other than that, you just print your image normally. It's brilliant, and I love using it.
Mirroring the lettering was harder than it should have been because 1. I have no word processing program on my laptop (I use Google Docs because I am cheap), so I had to borrow Dad's new laptop to have access to Word and 2. Word has no option for flipping text 180 degrees, and 3. HP does not offer that option in any of its settings. So I spent several hours designing the sign, several more trying to flip the design, and even more time driving to work to use Publisher and then back home again. It was obnoxious.
Once I'd printed my picture, I cut around each word or object I was using and mapped out my crate so I could position things properly. Then the Mod Podge came out.
When the Craft Attitude was in place, I started with the Tung Oil, which I hear is like varnish but cheaper. Whatever, my tutorial insisted I use it, so I did, even though it can spontaneously ignite whenever it likes. I have to do several more coats of that and then drill holes to put the crate on my bike, but I'm pretty pleased at how well it's turning out. What do you think?
Ignore the oddly-shaped picture, I had to crop out the garage because it is a disaster zone at the moment. Actually always. Anyway. Yeah.
If you want to try out making your own bike crate, here's the tutorial I'm using. And, of course, ask me any questions you like about making this project down in the comments. I am so here for you.
* The headboard, for one. Also the great computer data transfer, the basement organization crusade, the new curtains...