Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fancy Fiddle Case

What to do with an old fiddle case? One which was okay on the inside, but starting to get beyond "scuffed up" on the outside?
Handle wrap coming off the metal handle, the main clasp kind of "sticky" (have to use the side clasps...)
...back fabric peeling up...

I thought about putting the case on Craigslist. There may be someone out there who wants something like this. So I tucked it out of the way until I had time to list it. 
Months later, it occurred to me that I could renovate the still-unlisted case and make it uniquely my own! 
It was all wood underneath the fake leather. The covering was fabric and bootblack maybe? I thought I would tear it off and paint the wood underneath. Whatever they used back in the old days to equate pretend leather, it came off almost in strips and left a lot of powder behind. 

  I didn't spend a tremendous amount of time sanding all the remaining glue off, so the surface was very rough. That didn't matter too much because I was going to decoupage the case. I painted the metal hinges and parts, rust and all. The rust does show through, but I was going for "shabby chic" style anyway.
Out came the scrapbook papers...
...and the bits and pieces of papers saved just for times like these... a paper bag from the music shop (printed with teal sheet music!), music score tissue-paper, doilies, stickers, clip art...
...I also printed some images of little girls with violins off of the internet, and hand-tinted them.
This little girl had three howling dogs with her, but I thought that was a bit too many...
...especially since the other little girl on the front of the case had a howling dog, too! 
The painting is by Charles Burton Barber, "The Broken String." The other painting had no title, but I suspect it is either by Charles Burton Barber or a Sir Arthur Elsley.
The Broken String

Isn't it a cute painting? You see the kitten is playing with the broken string. The poor little girl is trying to practice as best as she can on the remaining three.

Another print out from the web just fit on the side, it can be found here.

As the project came together, I discovered that it was no longer for me, but was claimed by a little fiddler of mine, so I wrote her initials on the labels. The dove is from a calendar, the labels made from various punches and dies. 
Sheet music from an ATC paper pad.
Stickers and doilies.
 The pink bit of paper "lace" came from packaging. Real lace and even a real chiffon ribbon rose glued on just fine, and are, after five coats of Mod-Podge, as stiff as a board. 
 I found a flourish printed on scrap-book paper and cut it out. A flourished-shaped die would be so handy to have!
This project took a couple of days just to "compose" the new covering, and then many more days to put on extra layers of Mod-Podge to make a clear finish. I hope it will last a long time. 
My best friends turned out to be the sheet-music tissue paper and the paper sack! They were great for moulding around hard-to-cover spaces, and yeilded themselves to be glued very nicely. I covered the handle with scalloped grosgrain ribbon from the dollar store. 
Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out.

The only mistake I felt that I made was curving the paper around to the inside. You see, I did the whole project with the case open, flat on the table. It did not occur to me that the case might not close with layers of paper and glue added to it! I did some sanding and trimming of paper, but still it was a tight fit. I should have sanded the box down at the closure edges ahead of time to make room, or closed the box, marked where the lid came down, and only put the paper up to that point, maybe finishing off with some kind of decorative tape. 

And so, the shabby-chic-victorian-scrap-fancy-fiddle case is done, and it's a keeper. When not in use, it it sure does look nice laying around the house!