katharine likes to make things: foam core displays

I don’t enjoy shoe shopping. My feet are picky and do not like being crammed and squished into pointy boxes.  When I’m feeling down and need a little retail therapy, I opt for accessories to adorn the other end of me. My weakness is sunglasses. I’ve had some sort of sunglasses collection for the last 18 years. As soon as I was able to trade my soda bottle glasses for contact lenses, I picked up the shady hobby.

Unfortunately, my shades get crammed away in a drawer or pile up on a table near the front door. Sometimes they get broken or scraped up or misplaced. I’ve lost several treasured pairs over the years.

A few years ago I decided to create a hanging display for my collection. By using some leftover illustration board and craft paper, I made a utilitarian display piece. It held up well except for some discoloration from the glue onto the craft paper. But my collection grew. So, time to make a new display.

Hold on. Before I get into that, I have to show what set off this whole project. I had a similar problem with headbands (getting tucked away in drawers, crammed into baskets, breakage, loss, etc.). To the craft stash! I found a piece of foam core that was the perfect height and width for headbands. For this project, I originally wanted to use hair elastics as the loops to hold the headbands. I couldn’t find them (eventually found them later for the iPad case, etc.), so I opted for ribbon and thumbtacks.


silver thumbtacks
foam core
velvet/velour fabric

This is a no-sew project. And it can get messy if you decide to try it for yourself.

I covered my foam core with this velvet fabric I picked up from a remainders bin. Then glued the fabric to the foam core. I cut the ribbon to the largest band size, formed a loop with the ribbon, placed the loop on the foam core and pushed the thumbtack through the ribbon and into the foam.

Once I figured out the placement, I removed the tacks and applied glue to the tips and backs. Then managed to fit the tacks back into the holes (which disappeared in the velvet). Waiting for the glue to dry was the hardest part. Several hours later, I threaded my headbands through the loops and, voila, instant display!

Making my sunglasses display was a bit trickier. I didn’t have a convenient piece of foam core, so I had to measure and cut down a full piece. This never ends well. However, since the foam core was going to be covered, I didn’t have to stress over perfection and straight edges.

My collection is much smaller these days. I had a great pair of white plastic glasses that some snooty teenage girl called “so yesterday” that broke earlier this year. They were so yesterday and I loved them dearly. Now all the white frames I’m seeing all have rhinestones and all sorts of sparkly doodads that thrill me not.

Anyway. The process for this display was the same as the headband one. Stretch the velvet. Glue it down. Place all the loops. The loops here were adjusted to fit the different sizes of frames instead of being measured to fit the largest. I didn’t want any frames dangling down from the display.

I found that this display needed a bit of extra support. Fortunately I had a large piece of used illustration board and glued it onto the back of the covered foam core. I’ve been using multi-purpose Weldbond glue. I may come to regret this in the future.

The display has a ribbon loop for the display to hang on the wall. However, we’re lacking in wall space at the moment and I don’t trust thumbtacks glued into foam core to support the weight of these sunglasses. It just reeks of potential tragedy.

For now, my display is propped atop an armoire that houses part of my craft stash. I’m only wearing one pair of sunglasses these days. These shades aren’t getting much action but at least they aren’t stashed away in some drawer or stuck at the bottom of a purse.

(Velvet + low light apartment = crappy quality photos, I know. I can only do so much.)


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