THE CREATIVE TOOLBOX
BY DENISE OLSON
A Monthly - Weekend With Shades - Column
I've attended several outdoor events recently where keeping cool was a priority. It dawned on me that an updated version of the funeral home fan found in many country churches could be a great way to keep the air moving and make a statement at the same time. So, off I went to my local craft store to look for inspiration. Less than $20 later I had everything I needed to create my own fans. Here's my supply list:
* a package of 5.5" by 7.5" card stock in assorted colors
* a bag of jumbo craft sticks
* craft glue - squeeze bottle and stick
* a large, round corner punch
Construction is quite simple:
- Create your design(s). This is the most time-consuming part of the process - and the most fun. Since the card stock I was using for my experiments was the cheap stuff, I kept my design simple. If you're considering a more photographic design, spend the money on quality, coated card stock that can deliver a quality print.
- Print two cards which will be the front and back of your fan.
- Use the corner punch to round the corners of your cards.
- Glue your cards together with the craft stick sandwiched between at the bottom of the fan. Leave about 1/3 of the stick exposed to serve as the fan's handle. The other 2/3 helps to keep the fan stable.
The toughest part of the whole process was the glue. I first tried basic white glue squeezed from a bottle. My thought was that a thick coat of glue would add stability to the fan. That might work for a better quality card stock, but in this case it buckled the paper as you can see in the example above. My second version used a glue stick with a much cleaner result. The glue stick was also quicker and easier to get the glue right up to the edges. For both versions, I used a heavy book to keep them pressed flat while the glue dried.
Now that you've seen how easy these are to make, think of their potential . . . Our next family cookout will have fans focused on family history. I may create several different designs focusing on different ancestors to keep the dinner conversations lively. My neighbor cousins are already planning our own design promoting the creekside family. I'm working on a design for our annual Thanksgiving regatta.
Custom fans would make great favors for family reunions, weddings and other family events. Imagine showing up at your next genealogical/historical society meeting or conference with a fan promoting your blog. (Actually, last month's conference and tours of our local historic cemeteries was the inspiration for my fans.) The possibilities are endless.
In addition to adding some fun to a family event, it's quite possible you'll be creating future family heirlooms.