Paper Wonderland Tunnel Book Class with Charlene McNally

After a long (for me) hiatus, I finally made it back to Castle in the Air – the first time this year, believe it or not.  This time it was for the Paper Wonderland tunnel book class by Charlene McNally, my first with this very talented artist.

I’ve made tunnel books before (here, here, and here), but I’ve found that each instructor has her own unique spin on this vintage craft, and I’ve learned something new each time, adding to my repertoire of knowledge.  What made Charlene’s version unique was that the final product folded up into a book for storage when not being displayed.

Charlene did some of the work for us ahead of time, including cutting out three 5 x 7 inch black art boards, which she then taped together with gaff tape.  This tri-panel strip served as the base of our tunnel book.

3 panels of art boards held together by gaff tape

3 panels of art boards held together by gaff tape

She also provided each of us with a precut piece of wooden dowel rod that she had painted and to which she had glued on decorative end caps.  We stitched on the dowel to one end of our strip of panels with gold thread.  For extra security, I added a bit of glue to each end to keep the rod from wiggling about.

Wooden dowel rod border stitched down

Wooden dowel rod border stitched down

Stitching holding rod border in place

Stitching holding rod border in place

We cut our accordion sides out of scrapbook paper and cut out out a total of five semi-circular notches in the alternate folds.

Accordion side with moon shaped cutouts

Accordion side with moon shaped cutouts

We then glued down the accordion sides and some pre-printed images and patterned paper to the tunnel book base, using my new favorite adhesive, Yes! paste.

Yes! paste

Yes! paste

(I love this adhesive because unlike craft glue, which I use all the time, it goes on super smooth, making it easy to spread into a very thin layer).

Tunnel book base all covered

Tunnel book base all covered

Back panel of tunnel book

Back panel of tunnel book with glued on image

Floor of tunnel book

Floor of tunnel book

Then we worked on the individual, cutout panels, which were made from precut photo matte boards.  We covered the outside edges of the boards with gold paint pen to give them a finished look.

Gold paint edged tunnel book panel

Gold paint edged tunnel book panel

(Charlene is very meticulous, and had us edge everything we cut out, from the notches in the accordion sides of our tunnel book to the individual cutout images we used on the individual panels later, using the appropriate colored alcohol markers according to the colors of the images).

We took six of the same images used for the back of the tunnel book and glued each one over a 5 x 7 inch matte board.  Then we cut out the excess from the center, leaving a small border all around, which we then folded over onto the back of the board and glued down in place.

Covered photo matte for tunnel book panel

Covered photo matte for tunnel book panel

Back view of tunnel book panel

Back view of tunnel book panel

For our last photo matte panel, Charlene gave each of us an LED earring to help light up the inside of our tunnel book.

LED earring

LED earring

Panel with LED earring attached

Panel with LED earring attached

Lit up LED earring

Lit up LED earring

Charlene had some images she had purchased online and pre-printed onto thick white cardstock for us to use.  To minimize the look of the white edging while cutting out our images, we cut them out with our scissors angled back.

Cutouts for tunnel book panels

Images I chose for my tunnel book

The images were so gorgeous, that it didn’t matter which ones we chose.  They were all arresting in their own way.

For my moon face, I decided to give it a crown.  Why not?

Moon with crown

Moon with crown

I created a fairy out of a cutout of a woman, using some butterfly wings that Charlene had pre-printed onto transparency.  The wings were attached to the body using a tiny brad.

Fairy cutout

Fairy cutout

Transparent butterfly fairy wings attached with brad

Transparent butterfly fairy wings attached with brad

Back view of fairy wings

Back view of fairy wings

For my horse cutout, I had to get creative, as some of the elements were very delicate, including the reins and stirrup, which were very fine and thin.

Horse cutout

Horse cutout

I got the idea to replace the reins with strands of thread from Charlene.

Horse with reins made of threads

Horse with reins made of threads

I glued one rein, starting in the front, tracing the rein along the body of the horse and ending in the back.

Thread reins, glued front to back

Thread reins, glued front to back

For the other rein, I glued both ends onto the back with dabs of hot glue.

Thread reins glued to back

Thread reins glued to back

My horse had a stirrup, but I tore it off accidentally.

Torn off stirrup

Torn off stirrup

So taking a clue from what I did with the reins, I decided to fashion a stirrup using some fine gauge wire. Using a pair of jewelry pliers, I twisted and manipulated a piece of wire into the general shape of a stirrup and painted it using some dark paint so that it would approximate the color of the stirrup in the original illustration.

Painted wire stirrup

Painted wire stirrup

I glued the top part of the wire to the back of my image.

Wire stirrup glued onto horse

Wire stirrup glued onto horse

I decided which image(s) to use on which panel of my tunnel book and did a test drive with the images clipped onto the panels, by standing the panels up, one behind the other to get an idea of what the finished book would look like.  Since the tops of our tunnel books were going to be covered, Charlene advised us to use our lighter colored images in the back and darker images towards the front for easier viewing.

Test drive of panels

Test drive of panels

When I was happy with how everything looked, I went ahead and glued the images onto the panels.  The key to doing this was to glue at least two points of the image onto the matte board for greater stability. Here are my individual matte boards for my tunnel book, from back to front:

6th panel of tunnel book

6th panel

(I ended up dressing up the crown on my moon with crystals and a bit of Dresden trim).

Crown decorated with crystals and Dresden

Crown decorated with crystals and Dresden

5th panel of tunnel book

5th panel

4th panel of tunnel book

4th panel.  I had to tilt my fairy at an angle so that her head would still be visible when all the panels were glued together.

3rd panel of tunnel book

3rd panel

2nd panel of tunnel book

2nd panel

Front panel of tunnel book

Front panel

(I ended up changing some of my panels from the test drive by rearranging some of the images and adding additional ones).

Charlene provided each of us with pre-cut strips of patterned scrapbook paper that we used to cover up the top portions of our individual panels, so that when our completed tunnel books were viewed from top, our panels would look finished.

Top of panel back covered with decorative paper

Top of panel back covered with decorative paper

I decided to add a decorative topper to the roof of my tunnel book.  I cut mine out from the selection of images Charlene provided us with, making sure to leave a border along the bottom to attach to the tunnel book.

Topper for tunnel book

Topper for tunnel book

I backed it with the same decorative paper I used for the roof of my book.

Back of topper covered with decorative paper

Back of topper covered with decorative paper

I decorated the front with gold glitter glue, colored crystals, and Dresden trim.

Topper decorated with crystals, Dresden, and glitter

Topper decorated with crystals, Dresden, and glitter

I glued the topper to by tunnel book base.

Back of tunnel book base all covered

Back of tunnel book base all covered

Now it was time to glue all my panels together!  I found craft glue worked better for this job than Yes! paste, given the quicker drying time, which allowed me to move from one panel to the next more quickly.

Here’s what my tunnel book looked like from the top after all the panels were glued together,:

Top view of tunnel book

Top view of tunnel book

and what it looks like from the front:

Paper Wonderland tunnel book, all completed

Paper Wonderland tunnel book, all completed

I found that even the lit LED earring did not provide enough illumination when the tunnel book was displayed with the top covered.  But you can see the details better when the roof is lifted.

Tunnel book with top lifted

Tunnel book with top lifted

Here’s a side view:

Side view of tunnel book

Side view.  Notice how attractive the cutouts look.

The view from the back:

Back view

Back view

Views of tunnel book folded up:

Folded up tunnel book 1

Folded up tunnel book 2

This was the largest tunnel book I’ve ever made, by far.  All the other tunnel books I’d made in the past had three panels, while this one had a whopping seven, which really gave the finished product the look and feel of an actual tunnel as you look through it.

Thank you, Charlene, for an awesome class!

Which one of my tunnel books do you like the best?  Please let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

About Serena Y Lee

Serena worked in the biotech industry for 18 years before leaving to pursue her life purpose - to live in freedom with creativity and simplicity. Her love for baking, creativity, and story-telling compelled her to start blogging to share her ideas with a wider audience.

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