Harry Potter Artefact Box©®™


After months of delays, finally my Harry Potter Artefact box arrived.  I’d been looking forward to it, and tore open the usual white Noble Collection box with zeal.  The box itself didn’t disappoint.  At 11” x 8 ¼” x  1 ¾”, the its made of sturdy cardboard covered in coated paper.  Normally, I’m very put off by things that show the actors, but the design of this box is fantastic (I really, really, really want the owl post and feather duty stamps).   The inside of the box is printed with the Marauder’s map imagery.  The graphics and color scheme are crisp and bold.  It’s very evocative of the world of Harry Potter.  The box is by far my favorite part of the whole collection.  


After pulling the little yellow ribbon that held the box closed, I realized I should have just stopped there.  The inside of the box is spartan.  I caught myself thinking “is that all there is?”  The Dumbledore’s Army list and wanted poster were tied up with brown ribbon, the rest of the items were stacked underneath.

The lenticular photo was the first thing to catch my eye.   It’s very nicely done, weighty with a nice marbled texture printed on the back.  Although there is a copyright on the front of the photo, the lenticular process obscures it.  It’s definitely ready to be framed, but with the marbled back, it would also look great on its own.

I then went for the Hogwarts Acceptance Letter.  That’s when the trouble began.  The envelope and letter are both printed on a nice weighty paper with a marbled texture, and is lighter in color than the letter included with the Harry Potter Film Wizardry book.  I noticed a WBE copyright on the back of the envelope, but it wasn’t terribly obnoxious, and it is on the back.  However, upon opening the letter, I realized that McGonagall must be a stickler for rules as she made sure to trademark Harry, Dumbledore, and her own name in the letter.  The Film Wizardry letter has no such trademarks.

Worried, I moved on to the Dumbledore’s Army signature list.   The paper feels like generic laser printer paper, and I almost tore the list trying to unroll it.   Thank goodness I’ll never unroll it again.  There were so many trademarks on the sheet that there could’ve been trademarks for the trademarks.  After looking at this piece, I was done.   I couldn’t un-see all the copyrights and trademarks.  I put it back in the box and continued on.


Lily’s letter to Sirius is on printer-like paper with a marbled texture.  I won’t divulge the contents, but it is a sweet note from new mom Lily to Uncle Sirius.   She does mention Dumbledore, but never fear, Lily remembered that his name is trademarked.

The Quidditch World Cup ticket is printed on glossy card stock; the ticket feels like you’d expect a crazy wizard sporting event ticket to look.  However, I wish the WBE copyright was on the front.  It would’ve made it less noticeable.

The Hogwarts Express Luggage tag is made of metal, which was a big surprise.  It’s nicely done.  The WBE copyright is on the back, and very noticeable on the white background.

The Sirius Black Wanted poster is also nicely sized, but is printed on that same chea, light paper stock.  Thankfully, the WBE copyright is not terribly noticeable since the poster is black and white. 

Overall, the Artefact box is an excellent idea and the replicas were clearly chosen with fans in mind.  However, the box is completely ruined by poor materials and the overwhelming use of the trademark symbol and copyright text.   As someone who owns much of Noble Collection’s Potter replicas, I’m very disappointed in the quality of this piece.


The Muggles of Oshkosh

I’m proud to have works featured at Oshkosh Public Museum’s upcoming Mugglefest.   This event promises to be a month-long Harry Potter extravaganza.   The event organizers are not only die-hard Potter fans, but also extremely creative.   Based on what I’ve seen so far, this isn’t just a walk-around-and-look-at-stuff event.   Attendees can expect to be completely immersed in a magical world.  Plan your July accordingly.

The Book We’ve Been Waiting For


Harry Potter Film WizardyNope, it’s not a sequel (or prequel) by J.K. Rowling.  It’s a book about the props and sets of the Harry Potter films.  Harry Potter Film Wizardry came out this month, and it is fantastic.    The book’s  is written by Brian Sibley, and the text is quite informative.  However, the design  is by Minalima.  Yes, that’s right.  Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima the design team behind all the cool things you see on screen DESIGNED THIS BOOK.  Every square inch contains an interesting photo or graphic or typeface that harkens back to the Potter films.  There are cast interviews, behind-the-scenes photos, call sheets, props, design sketches, basically everything that went into the making of the films is represented in some way via text or graphic.  Even more exciting, there are mini prop replicas of some of both the iconic and the obscure Potter props.  (My favorite is the Yule Ball programme.)  This is the book I’ve been dreaming about since the movies opened.  Having Minalima design it is like a love letter to the fans.

I couldn’t find this elsewhere, so I compiled a list of the physical replicas in the book:

  • Hogwarts invite (typed style)
  • Borgin and Burkes auction catalog
  • Advanced Potion making mini-notebook (looks like the movie book)
  • Candy boxes (Butterfly wings and pepper imps)
  • Quidditch World Cup Programme
  • Yule Ball Programme
  • Umbridge proclaimations
  • Marauder’s Map (mini)
  • Weasleys’ Wizard Weezes catalog
  • Ministry of Magic identity card

Yes, I do have a complaint:  I wish the book was bigger.  I would’ve loved to seen an individual book for each film.

Extra Supplies


When you’re making things you always tend to be on the lookout for a good deal.  I will sometimes buy five or six of something just so I can have things on hand when the muse hits.  Then fall cleaning hits and I realize how much extra stuff I actually have.  I decided to put up a bunch of extra supplies on Etsy.  Right now it’s just print-making items (brayers and linoleum block), but I intend to add more at a later date.  Hopefully someone will find these useful.

Key to Oz


I’ve been sitting on this 3D model for some time now.  Originally, I had planned to print it on my MDX-15.  When I found out about Shapeways, I realized this would be a fun way to test their service.

I had it “printed” in both gold-plated glossy and high-detail black.  The black only cost me less than $10 (and that’s WITH shipping).  Hit with a can of gold spraypaint, it makes a neat display piece.  (It’s pretty fragile-feeling, so I wouldn’t try unlocking any doors with it.)  The gold was a little more expensive, but it is solid metal.  The gold-plating has pit marks, and the plating also softened the hard edges of the key.  With a little dirt, I think it could really look like the key Billina found.  You can check it out here.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Well, I’ve returned from the high temperature hell that is home to the Universal Islands of Adventure theme park.  Orlando was H-O-T.  Did I mention it was hot?

Not only was it hot, but also the park was teeming with scores of kids on their summer vacation.  I’d definitely only entertain visiting again if it was winter and school was in session.

The Wizarding World itself was gorgeous.  The buildings are laid out to perfectly give you the illusion that you’re in a town — without the rest of the park intruding.  Even the vegetation is accurate.  They planted a small pine forest.  (It’s across from Jurassic Park, so you have the odd sight of pines on one side of the creek with bamboo and lush rain forest-like foliage on the other.)  The buildings have snow and icicles hanging from them, but that does nothing to mitigate the Orlando heat.

Slideshow and more after the jump.

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This Post is Full of Holes


Last year I purchased a Rosback perforator from eBay.  In simplest terms, a perforator is just a row of pins that can be pushed down as a single unit into a piece of paper.   Of course, there’s much more to this machine than that.  Weighing over 300 pounds, it took three people to unload it into my garage.   Although my perforator was relatively rust free, many of the pins had been bent and broken (I still cannot figure out how).  The working parts of the perforator consist of a bar to push down the pins and three parts with holes in them for the pins:  a punch holder, a stripper, and a die.  After removing the punch holder, I removed all the pins.  I then used bio degreaser on all the metal parts.  Then each individual pin was rubbed with lubricant and test fit into the punch holder, stripper, and die.   I thought about counting the holes, but I figure at some point I’ll gather more information (as in the size of the pins, etc.).  I need to replace the spring and the 2×4 being used as a pedal, but for now it works pretty nicely.  I could refinish the tabletop, but I think the dents and dings give it character.

More photos after the jump.

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Aging wood

I’m working on a project at present that involves making a box look as if it was a century old.  I came across this site http://www.xrestore.com/ and his tutorial on aging wood some time ago and was just waiting for the right project to come along.  (I actually ended up buy his book.  Although it addresses restoration or the reversing of age, the techniques and discussion of how things age has been very helpful.)

I mixed up a batch of pickling solution and applied it to different types of wood.  Rather than just use tea prior to the pickling, I put walnut ink (W) on one side and the tea (T) on the other.

Raw wood

And here it is post-pickling:

Post pickling

A little dusting with some sandpaper really brought the grain up and made the wood look ancient.