Friday, June 24, 2011

Creating a Faux Fishtank

When Vinny and I were engaged, we had a long discussion about what to register for.  We ultimately decided on everything from flatware to linens, including a set of collectible objects. We chose a set of Swarovski crystal fish as our 'thing to collect' for a few reasons.  First, there were just a few of them, so we wouldn't be collecting them forever. Second, they were beautiful and colorful, so we didn't think they would fall into the tchotchke category.  And finally, they were expensive, which hopefully means they will be a valuable collection to pass down to Bella someday.

The collection has these great display stands that look like coral that you can arrange the crystal fish on. My goal has always been to get an octagonal fishtank to display it all in in, as if they were real fish.  I must have been getting delusional with all the packing over the past few days, because after day 2 of unpacking for 12-14 hours a day, I chose instead to devote a few hours to creating a faux fishtank for my Swarovski crystal fish.  (In my defense, the fish were in a box I was unpacking, so I clearly needed to create a home for them before I unpacked them!)

I chose an area of a built-in cabinet in the living room. It's wood toned, and I'm dying to paint it, but since I'm not comfortable painting the wood until we actually buy the place, covering part of the cabinet with paper was the next best thing.

I have a decent little collection of paper between having a 3 year old and from when I used to scrapbook by hand, so I took a dive through my paper collection and chose a few papers in blues, greens, and purple for the backdrop.  I started by measuring the space and figuring out about how many full sheets of construction paper it would take to almost cover the area to serve as a background.  In my case, that was 2 sheets high (turned on the short side of each page) by 3 sheets wide (on the long side of each page).

I started by taping the 6 pieces of construction paper together on the back side with scotch tape.

Then I cut various widths of curvy and straight strips from my patterned paper and arranged them on the front side of the paper until I was satisfied with the results.  I covered most of the connections between the construction paper for a more natural look.  Then I taped them all down using a scrapbook tape dispenser that puts down tiny little pieces of tape.

To mount it to the actual cabinet, I used painters tape, so I wouldn't accidentally scar the wood.

 Then I placed it in the back area and tried to center it the best I could.  I finished off the areas around the edge using colored pieces that were flat on one edge and wavy on the other.
I didn't like the wooden bottom, so I also covered the bottom with loose pieces of paper until that was covered.  Those aren't secured down...mainly because it was getting late and I was exhausted.  Then I added in the coral stands, the crystal fish, a few actual seashore finds from memorable trips like our honeymoon, and a small boatload of clear and colored plastic chips that I got at Michaels.  Here are a few shots of the finished product: 



I'm hoping to mount a little strip of halogen lights to the underside and remove the lamp. Halogen lights really make crystal objects shine and then they would be the only focus of the area. I'll take more shots after I put that in.

Do you collect anything?  How did you decide on what to collect?

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