Continuing with the 50’s Anniversary theme, for which I had the pleasure of designing set decorations, I’d like to show you a few of the smaller decorations I had designed and created. Again this was a load of fun for me in trying to create a fifties feel on a small budget but it can be done!
I wanted a clock with lots of chrome. Very Shiny! The actual clock-face was designed with CorelDraw and based on the logo I designed.In the left photo you can see there were two clocks. The bottom was my first choice and it didn’t seem shiny enough even after spray painting chrome finish on it ( which I wasn’t sure would hold up anyway). The cost of one of the clocks was only 12 dollars at Zellers ( I think). The other wasn’t much more. The display on the right is now in storage in my studio.
Quest for things Fifty
The internet was a great help. Perusing thousands of photos and articles allowed for a taste of 1957 and it set my imagination on fire. My wifes Dad was in the airforce and so that info would also be a great help. What was launched in 1957 ? Answer: The Sputnik. The space race was on between Russia and the U.S.A.. This fact lead to America putting the first man on the moon- Neil Armstrong (r.i.p.)
So here was a great opportunity. Take a look at Russia’s Sputnik below.
How to Build a Satellite
There were only several of these decorations made so as not to overtake the theme. Essentially the sputnik is a ball with 4 long antennae. The ‘ball’ was made with a styrofoam ball seen above and bamboo skewers which both were purchased from a dollar store. First paint them with acrylic white paint such as Decoart or Americana. You will get better reflectivity with the metallic paint if you undercoat with white first. Also the latex (acrylic) paint will protect styro-foam from harsh chemicals such as acetone that will virtually eat the foam…not good. You can brush on gold acrylic paint on the skewers. Then brush on a silver paint (acrylic) on the ball. Next (outside- do not breathe in fumes) spray a chrome finish on the ball. Put a dab of white glue on the sharp end of the skewers and then when all the paint is dry shove the sharp (glued) end into the styro-foam ball at equa-distances. There you have a Sputnik. The other material is simply silver pipe cleaner, christmas beads and small ‘disco’ balls bought from a dollar store.
The print-outs of Sputnik which I made on the computer have since faded some from the bright sun I get in my room. It’s amazing what you can do though with a just a 40 dollar printer! The decorations proved fabulous and you can see i made some mini-sputniks to be a little thematic that were used around a small window/counter.
Here’s some more photos for you! More next time!
Here are some more of the resource photos that came in handy.
It was my wife’s parent’s 50th Anniversary and I was happy to do the art and decorating based on a fifties theme. As discussed in the first part of this post “One of the Funnest Things…” I thought it best to use colour and branding to give the whole event a “feel” as though we were in 1957.
After deciding on the basic colours and designing a logo of sorts, it was now time to build something that would actually iconify (is that a word? ha) the event. So the idea came to me to build a transportable mini-set or display that would be an actual dimensional piece and add to the ‘realness’ and the fun. The above is what I came up with in CorelDraw. Below is the actual piece in the hall made from masonite and a pine frame then painted.
The diner display sign used small Christmas lights with a flashing bulb unit. Not quite neon but still it was effective.
The laminate counter top is really an illusion. I created this by using a rag rolling technique. First the masonite was
primed and then a light grey acrylic house-paint was rolled on with a fine sponge roller. Then I twisted a rag, dipped it in a darker colour paint. I did a brief test on some spare masonite (hard board) then I remember basically drawing in a deep breath and then just going for it. This is how it turned out. Most people thought it was real laminate. Also the top dark grey layer was part glaze and part paint. For the chrome moulding around the upper edge, well, it’s just woden decorative molding first primed white and then spray painted chrome.
The model cars were made by my youngest son and I. They seem to add to the 50’s ambience.
The sign was made of masonite as well and hand painted and lettered. I did print out the font to help as a guide. I still get a kick out of it. The last main element was the diner clock. ( sorry for switching from past to present tense, so much).
I bought the clock at Zellers for around 12 dollars, removed their paper clockface and replaced it with I designed on the computer.
Visit again and in the next post I hope to show you more pictures of the event plus some of the decorations I made,etc
Take care! K