Set the Scene
My second March project on the Design Team for Faith Pocock Craft Studio is a delightful Book Nook. Before I was handed this project I had never heard of such a thing and having heard the term "Book nook", I still had no idea what that meant. Google to the rescue and I was absorbed into a fascinating and exciting world - or worlds really. You see Book Nooks are a miniature scene, usually inspired by a story book, that is designed to live on the bookshelf in among your books.
If you're still not exactly sure what this is or what it might look like, then continue on to see the very cool book nook I had the pleasure of working on. This one is a Harry Potter themed one, but I made a change along the way to make it more "me". You'll see how in a bit. Read on....
Knockturn Alley Book Nook
For the main components of this kit I was able to complete a dry run of how it fitted together, but it was not possible to include the decorative and detail elements in that. I discovered that it was easiest to fit the pieces together by starting on the left wall, then back, then right wall. This was the case for both the outer shell and the interior
shop front sections.
When I began on the paintwork for this kit I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I needed a week's break away from work and I took this kit home to work on. I individually painted every brick (on the interior walls) as it suited me to not have to think but just mindlessly apply the colour - three colours per tiny little brick. Call me crazy, but I loved the process and LOVE the result. It was worth it.
I chose a rich chocolate brown, earthy brick red, and a dusky pink for my three colours. Using a fine paintbrush, each brick was painted randomly with the three colours. I made sure to vary this also, by doing some bricks in only 2 colours. I did spend several days doing this, and not everyone has the time or desire to do it like I did. While the results are satisfying, there is a more timely option - which is what I used for the outer shell bricks (which are hidden by books on the bookshelf anyway).
For the outer bricks I applied a mid-brown paint with a roller over the whole thing. Then, having dipped the roller in a second colour, chocolate brown, I rolled over top lightly and in patches. Then I went in with black on a wet cloth and dabbed it to complete the mottled effect. All inner and outer pieces were painted black on the other side.
Once I had completed painting all of the bricks on the pieces that form the street scene, I tackled each panel separately. Collecting all of the pieces for a particular panel, I would fit them together to see how they work and decide on the colours I wanted to use.
I chose to keep the colour scheme uniform across the building fronts rather than make them look like individual buildings. I didn't want it to be too busy and the tri-colour bricks already provide plenty of visual texture and interest.
To complement the three-toned bricks I chose two shades of metallic gold, a bright red, and black. The pictures below show the steps in completing a single panel.
On all of the windows and doors I added pieces of acetate to the back, gluing it in place on the back with a fine bead of Helmar clear Craft Glue. Deciding I wanted it all to look a little more "dark alley" I applied black paint to the acetate with a brush and using a damp cloth to smear, wipe and arrange the paint in the way that I wanted.
One of the panels has a large window full of skulls and faces from the Harry Potter movies. They are not really my cup of tea and since I want to keep this kit on display on a bookshelf, I wanted to enjoy every aspect of the scene. It took me a while to decide how I wanted to proceed with the window, and finally I sat down with an old children's picture dictionary that I found in a giveaway bin. I roughly cut out several animal pictures and checked that the sizes would work. I didn't use all the ones I intially cut out. But I managed to arrange enough that the ugly faces were covered over and my Harry Potter pet shop was born. In the pictures below there is still a portion of a skull visible. I did go back later and slip in another cat face to obscure that area.
The street was one of the last things I painted, and I started off the wrong way. I should have rolled the whole thing in a base colour and then gone in with a brush to add details. However, I'd already painted several cobblestones before I realised, so I just kept going. It therefore took me longer than necessary. But again, I love it. I added some additional colours into the street. White, grey. green, and mid-brown were used in addition to the brick red, black, dusky pink, and chocolate brown used on the brickwork. Once it was all painted I dipped a damp cloth into the mid-brown paint and kind of muddied up the whole thing.
Construction of this kit was a little problematic for me as I had trouble holding pieces together long enough for the glue to set, so was constantly fighting against one piece or another wanting to fall out. I finally struck on the idea of using masking tape. I held pieces together for a couple of minutes and then added some tape to help it set in place while I worked on the next bit. I was running out of time, so I had to employ some trickiness somewhere. I also found in two particular areas the angle of the join resulted in gaps where light shines through. I fixed this by adding a seam of glue on the back. This also serves to strengthen the join, and since it's hidden, it doesn't matter that it looks messy as.
Part of the construction included inserting lights (not included with the kit) between the inner walls and the outer shell. I used a string of fairy lights and they weren't going where I wanted them. Masking tape to the rescue. The tape is going to fall off sometime, I know it, and the lights will shift. If you want a more permanent positioning then glue or a good strong tape would be a better choice. I used what I had to hand at the time.
I get a bit of a kick by knowing the mess that is hidden, but which serves a great purpose. For the most part I managed to not have the wires visible through the windows. Some shifting did occur during the gluing together of everything, so I didn't manage to get it flawless ... but close enough to still be cool.
And here we have the final Book Nook, sitting proudly amongst the art and craft books at NEST Arts Collective. There it will live, for at least the next few months. I wonder how many people will notice it.
I loved working on this project and I hope you enjoyed reading about it. Click the link to buy your own cool book nook kit.
Until next month,