27 October 2010

vintage halloween ladies, aka boo blocks

This project is really all about the vintage ladies. These ladies, printed on vintage Halloween greeting cards, I believe, have stolen my heart. They appear strong, fearless and flirty, which is pretty amazing considering they were painted in 1911 by a man. (At least that's what the marking on one of them claims.)

However, I'm calling them "boo blocks," partly because "vintage Halloween lady blocks" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily and partly because the opposite sides of the blocks spell "boo"...

There's a bit of a story that goes with these blocks. Many, many years ago (more than I like to admit), I received this block as a gift from a friend:

It has always been my favorite Halloween decoration, and I was sad that it seemed to get lost in the sea of orange stuffed things my kids preferred. I really wanted to do something to make it stand out, but didn't know what.

Then I saw these vintage Halloween coasters, and one of the images used was the same green witch. I had a brilliant idea--one of those "lightbulb" moments--and immediately asked Hubs if he had enough scrap wood to make some additional blocks. He did, and got to work right away with his power tools. And believe me, I got some brownie points for giving him an excuse to play with his power tools. I got to work seeking out some more vintage Halloween images.

I soon found this page of vintage Halloween beauties, most of which seemed to come from the exact same collection as my original. I was over the moon. I couldn't have found any images more perfect.

I began downloading and resizing images to match my original block. Then this popped up in my reader--and I thought Yes! I'll make "boo" letters for the opposite sides, so the blocks can be reversible!

The project itself was easy as pie, especially with someone else doing the wood cutting for me. All I needed was some paint, Mod Podge, and a printer.

I printed out all my perfectly-sized images.

I gathered my wood blocks, sanded them, and wiped them free of dust.

I needed black paint because the original block had an aged look:

I figured a simple black wash (black paint thinned with water) would do the trick. 
Thankfully, I was right and got the look I wanted on the first try.
 I just coated the edges, because that's all that would show after attaching the images.

Once they dried, I attached my images with the Mod Podge.

Just apply a thin layer of Mod Podge with a brush, line up the image, press it down and smooth it with your fingers from the center to the edges, to release any air bubbles. I didn't even have to wait for one side to dry before I started adhering the images to the opposite sides. It was such a quick project. Talk about immediate gratification.

 I just love them! Now they're a real focal point of my Halloween decor. 
An honest-to-goodness collection. 
I couldn't be more thrilled.

*Oh, and I totally ripped off the Halloween patterns for the "boo" side from an online scrapbooking store. They're just images of patterned paper that I copied and resized with my image editor. Probably somewhat illegal, at least bad form, but a girl without a scanner is sometimes forced to do bad things.