Thursday, 21 November 2013

DIY Hogwarts Letter (Studio Tour gift pack)

Like loads of people my age I've been a fan of the Harry Potter books (and films) ever since I was young and I've grown up in awe of the 'wizarding world' created by JK Rowling. My boyfriend is an even more avid fan than I am so, as a present for his birthday, I bought tickets for us to visit the Studio Tour down near Watford.

Unfortunately the gift 'presentation pack' left me a little underwhelmed - surely the most obvious (and exciting) gift would be a letter from Hogwarts? Or, at the very least, it'd be nice to have something that wouldn't look out of place on a wizard's mantelpiece!

So before I handed the tickets over, I set to work on a slightly more exciting gift package.

My version of a letter from Hogwarts; an invitation to the Wizarding World

Here's my version of a Hogwarts letter, complete with booking details on an added square of parchment. Because Matt's not eleven (and not a wizard) I created it as an invitation from Albus Dumbledore to visit the Wizarding World and tour the 'grounds and facilities' of the school (as well as other destinations).

My first thought was that it should be on thick cartridge paper, and my second thought was that it shouldn't be standard A4-sized - because why would wizards use A4 paper? :) So I created my design with very thick margins and trimmed the paper once it was printed, to make a long, thin letter. I was then able to fold it into thirds, around the tickets (still inside their paper gift wallet), and then work out an envelope/wallet to keep it all together.

I was originally going to just tie the letter with string, but it felt a little too loose - and the last thing I wanted was to lose the tickets! So I fashioned a wallet from some dark red leather-effect card that I'd used for another project.

I think the final packet came together quite effectively and I'm actually quite pleased with how it turned out! The distress ink worked well on the leatherette card too, picking out all the raised features and making it look a bit aged.

The most taxing part, though, was the wax seal. I had - rather ambitiously - decided I wanted to seal it with the Hogwarts crest. Which is fine if you have a wax stamp with the crest on it! But I had to improvise...

I made this by taping a black-and-white version of the crest onto a block of wood and drilling in at key points. Through a combination of drill bits and files, I managed to make a shape that vaguely resembled the crest.

I said before that it was ambitious, but I think even that might be an understatement! It did take me a while, and it was very fiddly! Once I'd finished it, and before using the wax, I sealed the block with some clear spray paint - very important if you don't want the wax getting stuck in the wood...

Using a small stick of sealing wax turned out to be harder than I expected, because by the time I'd dripped enough wax for the seal, the first drips had started drying (hence some of the areas only have light indentations). It took a couple of attempts before I was happy with the result (by which time I'd almost run out of wax!).

If I did it again, I would either go for a simpler shape, or find some sort of CAD carving equipment (I'm sure something must exist!) - Or I suppose I could fork out for an official wax seal stamp from Warner Bros... :) But I think I quite like the hand-made feel to it, and it was fun to give it a go!

But, anyway, let me know what you think - And let me know if you've been to the Studio Tour & what you thought (Matt and I loved it)! :)

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