20.10.12

finally, five years later... mask stands!

here's a little project that sat around waiting for me to do it for a long time, although it was not difficult at all!

five (yes, five!) years ago we went to zambia for a month, and among the things we brought back were two wooden masks. but we needed a way to display them! i foolishly thought it would be easy to but some sort of hat stand and adapt it, but i was woefully wrong. le sigh. so i had a little think about how one could make such a thing.

i imagined a version of some of the display racks i'd seen in shops for hats (although i couldn't for the life of me find such things in the right configuration and price for me to purchase): a base, an upright, and a knobby bit on top:

fairly simple, right? the wooden bases were cedar deck-components bought at our local hardware emporium - they're meant to cap 4x4 posts, and there's a good variety of them available most places you would go to buy stuff to build a deck. the upright section is simply a length of 3/4" dowel. the top, because i couldn't find wooden ones, is ugly white styrofoam.

i got a 3/4" spade bit and used my trusty old hand drill to drill down through the centre of the wooden bases - almost but not quite all the way through, leaving just under 1/4" thick at the bottom. then, i inserted the dowel with a load of glue, and anchored with a wood screw which i drove up from the bottom. solid. i also screwed a couple of mending plates on the bottom of the base, for added weight and stability.

the styrofoam balls... drilling in styrofoam is a messy unpleasant job. but it got done. those got glued on the top.

now of course, they looked pretty ugly. here's where the papier mache comes in. i made a simple paste of 1/2 cup flour, 2 cups water, cooked for about 5 minutes and then left to cool. i had a bunch of natural brown tissue paper in my collection of tissue and wrapping paper saved from every gift that has ever entered the house, so i used that, and covered the stands in their entirety, from the top down. the styrofoam balls got extra layers, as did the join between styrofoam and wood - my drill holes were messy, the balls were wobbly, all the stability they have now is due to papier mache. layers of it. these don't need to be exceptionally sturdy; the masks are made out of a fairly lightweight wood so they weigh less than you'd guess to look at them (makes sense, considering they were originally made to be worn by people). and, they're going to be sitting out of harm's way, on top of the piano.

i was originally intending to use a dark stain over all, but the natural light brown was sufficiently innocuous that i just left it.

ta dah! i'm feeling a bit pleased with myself now. although the top of the piano is probably getting too crowded for its own good. i should probably rearrange the living room bookshelves to make room for the basket o' sheet music up there, at least.

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