Make a Comic Book Trunk – Guest Post

Get a fast start on your next paper mache project or hand-made gift with Jonni’s easy downloadable patterns for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts. The patterns help you create a beautiful work of art, even if you’ve never sculpted anything before.

Today’s guest post is by Matt Solomon, who shows us how he made a unique comic book trunk for his son. I wanted to make sure everyone sees this, because just imagine all the other things you could make with these ideas …

comic book trunk

Text and Images ©Matt Solomon

Hi,

I am a Matt from the UK, a newcomer to the site and inspired by what I see. I thought I’d share something with everyone here, including a technique they may find useful.

I recently built a Comic Book Trunk for my 14 year old son. I wanted a way for him to store/organise all his comics that he has started to collect. The box was built mostly from 6mm MDF, except the base which was 12mm.

I wanted the whole box to be covered in miniature comic covers with some 3D logos. I didn’t want to use any spray lacquer-as it’s expensive, messy and I wanted to build it all inside the house.

The box was first painted with a generous coat of un-diluted PVA. The PVA I use is Evo-Stik Super Evo-Bond from the builder merchants-it costs about £16-£20 for 5 litres. This first coat is just to soak in and seal the MDF-as it has a tendency to swell up when wet. When it’s dry the comic covers can be applied. I printed off hundreds of little covers on my inkjet printer-and allowed at least an hour to ensure the pages were fully dry before cutting them out.

To stick them on, firstly I applied a light coat of PVA to the MDF-working a small area at a time (as it dries quickly). Then I gently applied the comic cover to the MDF, smoothing it down well with my fingers. Repeated several hundred times! Once all stickers were applied, I then gently brushed a coat of the PVA over everything. I say gently as if you “scrub” with the brush-it can make the printer ink start to run/blend. The first coat was done very carefully – and as thin a coat as possible. Once the first coat is dry, the printer ink is sealed in so further coats were put on a lot thicker. This was to give the “varnished” effect and hopefully offers protection. PVA is often watered down-so this could be an option to others-but if it’s over printer ink images-DO NOT WATER IT DOWN! This is because the water will can cause the ink to run/spread. Using neat PVA, this isn’t as likely as it’s thicker and dries quickly.

The superhero logos were far more time consuming. I did Batman, Superman and The Punisher. I wanted to create a 3D logo made of smaller versions of the same logo. These smaller versions would be colour-tinted differently so that they gave the correct colour scheme for the overall piece.

The smaller logos were all done and tinted in Adobe Photoshop. The actual 3D logo was constructed from corrugated plastic board and 4 layers of that insulation foil for underneath floors. I had the foil laying around from out DIY and only used it as its fairly thick, yet easy to cut out with scissors. Using multi-layered cardboard would work-but I only had a few sheets of the plastic board available.

Firstly I covered the logo with the small versions-paying attention the edges and intricate details first. Once all the edges/holes are covered, then I went round and did the flat areas. I tried to keep the logos whole where possible-and only cut if I had to. Once all covered-time for a thin coat of the un-diluted PVA. When it was dry, a further 3 very thick coats where applied to give a deep gloss finish.

These were then stuck to the trunk using a 2-part resin glue-extremely strong stuff!

So here’s the finished result-hope you like the images and hopefully the “PVA Varnish” idea may be useful to others. (Click for full-sized image).

Comic Book Trunk
Comic Book Trunk – image © Matt Solomon

Thanks, Matt! And I’ll bet your son is really proud of this one-of-a-kind gift. By the way, Matt’s article reminded me of the Practical Paper Mache project so many of us worked on a few years ago. That was fun, wasn’t it? Maybe we should do another one – but with a different theme. Maybe all chickens, or all made with something we find in the junk drawer, or some other crazy thing. If you have any ideas, add them to the comments on this post.

7 thoughts on “Make a Comic Book Trunk – Guest Post”

  1. Cheers all, if you think this is mad-wait until you see the next project! Watch this space, but may be a while-as I think I may have got a bit to adventurous in my plans!!

  2. Matt, this is a wonderful project. I’ll bet your son is delighted to have such an awesome chest to store his comics in. What a thoughtful dad you are! I am impressed.
    Thank you for sharing

    • I agree. I was thinking about using the PVA glue, some printed photos, and some scrap boards to make a photo wall. Not quite as creative, but I think it could turn out nice.

        • A good idea there. I forgot to mention this before, but if using an inkjet to print the photos-you can just use plain regular paper and “normal” settings on the printer. This saves ink which is cheaper and hopefully means less chance of running when the PVA is applied. Also the PVA varnish really livens up the colours. The inkjet printed blacks, which initially come out dark grey from the printer, are made to appear true black by the PVA.

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